I really liked Marissa this week. I agree with Len that her opening Tango was her best dance yet. She had fantastic, sharp lines, perfect frame, never lost connection, lovely Argentine hooks, and great character — it was passionate with, as Bruno said, “a hint of disdain.” Carrie Ann said she’s what this competition is all about and I agree with her — she’s improved greatly, she’s working hard, pushing her own boundaries, testing her limits, really getting into it and making it her own while remaining true to the dance style. As for her rumba: I love the song “Cuando Cuando Cuando” It wasn’t as good as her tango; she didn’t do hips, but at this point, I’m no longer expecting them — from anyone. Even though her technique was far from perfect and the moves were mostly basic, I thought she gave her routine great character — there was a lovely romance to it and it was sexy in parts. I love the ending full dip, especially when she dropped her head down all the way to the floor. Dramatic but beautiful!
Poor Cristian. I hope he’s okay. I could tell something was off though from the beginning of his Samba. He seemed confused throughout; I thought he might have forgotten his steps, but as it turns out, he’d hurt himself. I wonder how. He must have caught her weird or had too firm a hand-hold, because it’s more common to pull a leg muscle in a dance like that. Anyway, his Viennese Waltz was nice, but I agree with the judges that it was a little too lacking in control. But I thought it was pretty and romantic. I loved the ending where he spun her around, then let her go, then returned to her. I wonder if that’s where he hurt his arm, in that trick…
I didn’t like Kristi’s use of the umbrella in the opening of her Viennese Waltz. Too gimmicky and it detracted from the dancing. It was too much about that umbrella. Funny, but I thought her continuous chaine turns were gorgeous. I thought it was supposed to look out of control at the end, that she was supposed to kind of swoon, falling into his arms. I thought it was intentional! But the judges thought the chaines were messy and the “falling” into the dip was a mistake. And then, unlike the judges, I didn’t like her Cha Cha. It was cute, but I felt like it wasn’t enough about the legs, like Cha Chas usually are. She looked like she was trying too hard with the hips, shaking her butt, shaking her shoulders. I thought it lacked control and precision. But the judges felt completely the opposite, so it’s probably just me…
Mario’s Mambo was excellent, his Foxtrot not so much so, although it was fine. As Len said (I find myself agreeing with Len a lot), he’s not the most “elegant” dancer and the ballroom needs more definition and muscle control, but he’s still so much fun and he gives it everything he has and he really tries. It looked like they missed a hand-catch at one point, but they fixed it pretty quickly, so very professional. You could tell the pressure was on from being in the bottom two last week. His mambo will probably be enough to keep him from getting the boot this week. He really connected with the music, his flicks were good, his basic was perfect, great hip action — he’s got that down. What did Bruno say — “the devil was in your hips”? Only thing, he’s too turned in at points with his feet, which, for balletomane in me takes away substantially from the line — sorry I can’t help it! — but I’m trying hard to get over it Another great Karina costume.
I’m glad Shannon apologized for last week. I feel like the judges were a lot easier on her this week because of it though. Her mambo was cute, and her dress was gorgeous — she really looked beautiful! — but the dance didn’t look right to me at all. It looked like Paulina Poritzkova’s mambo from last season. She was bouncing too much. Her long limbs are a disadvantage for that dance in particular. And the running up and taunting the judges gimmicks at the end of routines are getting tired. Her tango was very nice though. She’s far better at ballroom than Latin — no hips to contend with for one thing, and Standard tends to look better on people who are tall and thin. Her footwork was good and solid, clean swift kicks and hooks, and Derek’s choreography was creative. I like that she slapped him and kept trying to take his hat; I loved the dramatic ending dip. She was like a silent film starlet, as Bruno said.
Jason had probably the two most different dances this week: the light, sprinty Quickstep and the heavy, drama-laden Paso. His legs weren’t straight in his opening splits jumps and it was noticeable and threw off the line to me. I know people like tricks, but dancers need to understand that you have to be careful about the line you’re making; it’s not just about doing something “big”. But the rest of the Quickstep was nice — he was light on his feet, the runs and little jumps were good, his lock-steps were clean and polished, and I liked the little Charleston Edyta put in at the end — cute! It looked like he was having a lot of fun, which is kind of the whole point for amateurs. The football theme — for him at least — of his Paso Doble was fun. I didn’t understand what role she had though — cheerleader? Opposite team member, but female? I just prefer straight Spanish-themed Paso; anytime someone tries to do something more original with it, it just doesn’t seem to work to me. But I love Jason. I love his enthusiasm, his diligence, and, mostly, I love his lack of pompous assery! He said something along the lines of how he can’t believe how ballroom has taken over his life; this is all he does, and he loves it — now he can’t stop! I definitely know the feeling… It does take over your life, it really does.
Oh, I almost forgot: I was alerted to Edyta’s newly revamped website with message board. It can be found here.