Sorry I’m late, had to go to a publishing event last night, then get something out early this morning.
My favorites so far are Mark (because he’s so original, although I don’t know how he’s going to be able to keep his unique style throughout; Mia really seems to have geared her Tim Burton-ish choreography this week specifically for him), Katee, Will, and Marquis. Marquis has beautiful lines and gorgeous extensions, but he doesn’t seem to have the greatest balance and I’m always a bit worried he’s throwing himself into a kick too hard and is going to topple over.
Viewing the program for the second time now, I liked Rayven and Jaime’s routine, on first, and think they both did really well with Hip Hop for a ballerina and a West Coast Swing dancer. I agree with Nigel that the choreography was not interesting enough movement-wise to be memorable (though the story was cute, the pulling-down-the-pants thing was funny), but that’s not the dancers’ faults.
On the other hand, I LOVED Tabitha and Napolean’s second piece of the night, danced by Katee and Joshua. It was my favorite of the night. I don’t care whether Katee was doing rib slides or popping at the beginning (Nigel’s criticism); her movement conveyed the sorrow she felt on his leaving for the war. What great movement language — not just the big things like falls to the ground or lifts, but every subtle twitch, every bend of the leg or reach of the arm conveyed such emotion, added a necessary element to the story. That’s what dance is about, to me.
My second favorite of the night was Susie and Marquis’s Waltz. Breathtaking! But Nigel, yes, we noticed the second lift problem! We’re not blind! First lift was gorgeous though. Lovely fish dive! You can tell Marquis has ballet background, which translates very well into Standard Ballroom where you need an elegant carriage, a straight upper body, and good lyrical quality. Susie really surprised me. Her Salsa is fun but not tremendously precise, which is fine since Salsa is a social dance and doesn’t require precision and clarity. But her Waltz was another story entirely. She had wonderful control and beautiful lines. So far a couple of my favorite dancers.
Are Tony and Melanie not the sexiest choreographers?! How hot was that Cha Cha! My third favorite of the night. The dancers — Chelsea and Thayne, really came through, especially Thayne. I couldn’t believe he’s a contemporary dancer; he looked like the quintessential Latin ballroom man. He has the perfect body — small, compact, allowing for great speed. Perfect hip movement. I think he should consider changing dance styles.
I didn’t like the Jive as well; I think the dancers were a little less sophisticated. Both Comfort and Chris (what a great partnership name!) have great personalities but I felt, especially in the case of Comfort, that she doesn’t yet have the versatility necessary to do well in styles other than Hip Hop, though her Hip Hop rocks.
I thought Kourtni and Matt were okay. Matt looked like a cat burglar snooping around in that jazz routine, and he’s got great David Hallberg feet. He’s so tall and thin he seemed a bit wiry. But I think if he works on that, on being more solid and controlled, he could be really good. Couldn’t disagree more with Nigel’s you’ve got a pole up your butt criticism. I thought exactly the opposite!
Mia’s routine was interesting. At first I thought it started out way too clownish and silly but then I realized it’s telling a story, kind of developing a relationship throughout time, starting with the awkwardness of youth growing into a more mature romance. I’ve already talked about Mark. I thought Chelsie was good, but I couldn’t see her lines very well in that dress. Great costuming though — she looked, like Mary said, like a little powder puff, which went with the theme.
I wasn’t in love with the choreography for Twitch and Kherrington (there were places in the music where they could have done a fast fun Charleston, but instead he had them just kind of standing in place wiggling their hips a bit. And the rest of it was kind of all over the place.) But I thought the dancers did well, gave it an understated jazzy twist.
I wasn’t anywhere near in love with Hunter’s Tango as I was his Waltz. Except for that gorgeous ending lift with her legs wrapped around his neck and her body reaching to the ground. Will was astounding; just like Marquis, but his kicks were swifter. Great carriage, perfect ballroom posture. I liked Jessica less well. I thought she smiled too much for a tango and her movement wasn’t quite as sharp as his; she looked a bit unbalanced at points, likely because she’s not used to those blasted stilettos.
I loved the disco at the end. I thought Courtney particularly did well, and I realized I’ve seen her before — in “Gotta Dance” — the movie; she was a New Jersey Nets. That was a very hard routine, very fast-paced with lots of lifts and I thought the judges were really unfair with their comments.
What did you all think?