"Financially," Tom Bergeron!

Argh, I love how they introduced Lord of the Flies guy, Lord of the Flames, whatever his name is… — Michael Flatley — by announcing he’s grossed over $200 million between Feet of Flames, Lord of the whatever and Celtic Tiger, and is therefore “the most successful dancer in history.” Period. Not “financially, the most successful dancer in history.” Why is this country is so fixated on money? Haven’t we learned anything over the past several months?

Anyway, I just got back from my “representing the mentally ill client” continuing legal education seminar and am just now watching my tape. All I’ve seen is the last hip hop, which was excellent! I think Cloris did better in her solo (or side-by-side duet with Corky) than she’s ever done on the ballroom floor? Seriously — she had a real bad-ass bounce in her step I’ve never seen before. And she had those punches down! And I love Cody — he’s so cute — I love his opening … whatever those noises he made with his mouth close over the mike are called – -mouth noises. Lance blew me away too. Everyone did so well; I can’t believe it. Just shows how hard ballroom is that everyone can rock out with loose hips and bumping and grinding pelvises and then be all unbalanced on a traveling Cha Cha lockstep or side-stepping Samba voltas. Still, hip hop is so flipping hard for me.

Okay, watching the rest now, and blogging as I go…

Oh my gosh, Maurice and Cheryl’s Viennese Waltz was so beautiful! So smooth and dapper and gentlemanly, and fluid and precise footwork, and gorgeous gorgeous posture, and that quick turn, followed by the way he reached out for her. Ooh, Maurice, I’m in love with you this week! What? I can’t believe the judges — are they collectively on drugs?

Aw, Lance’s Jive was cute. Great jive kicks, great speed, cute slide, good precision in the footwork, excellent character. He sold it very well. I wasn’t in love with Lacey’s loud pink shoe bows though.

Wow, Susan’s Mambo really impressed me! It was a very pretty Mambo — maybe not hot sexy mama Mambo, but a pretty one; as Lord guy said, she’s the epitome of “elegance, grace, and beauty.” And he’s right; that’s Susan — she made it her own. Her dress was lovely and the red fire-y skirt really waved and flickered about well. Tony gave her some very fast fancy footwork and she pulled it off wonderfully. Her swivels were lovely and she completely twisted her whole body, which is hard. And really nice ronde de jambe en l’air (or air rondes, as I call them). Good job, Susan!

Well, Brooke’s rumba was lovely, but rumba is just the cruelest dance! It’s so slow and every movement, every hip movement so drawn out, that you can just see every flaw so clearly. Hers was a very lyrical rumba (meaning, straight, ballet-like posture, not a lot of organic hip movement), which is fine. Those were my specialty :) though I was nowhere good as she is! Her toes weren’t pointed enough though and didn’t trace the floor enough — your foot is never really supposed to leave the floor in a rumba – -and her knees were too bent. Her lines were a little off. I know she has a foot injury… Gorgeous dip though, and some lovely stretches. It wasn’t perfect but it was very nice to watch.

I know at least some of you guys are going to hate me for this, but I think Carrie Ann’s comment about Cloris was really unfair. I’m upset that Toni Braxton was kicked off last week too, as I think — and said many times — I thought she was one of the best on the show — but it’s unfair to criticize and basically blame Cloris for still being here when Toni’s off. As if it’s Cloris’s fault?… Cloris is sweet; her Cha Cha was cute — and I think she’s really starting to try now. She obviously has limitations, but at this point I don’t feel like she’s trying to screw up and be a goof; I feel like she’s really trying to do the best she can. And, I linked to that NYTimes article on her last week — I don’t think it’s any small thing that Corky Ballas was in the Times, picture, name and all. The fact that a ballroom legend is in one of the biggest newspapers around… Has ballroom ever been taken so seriously? I mean, this has been a subculture. I feel like Cloris, in her own way, perhaps inadvertently, has kind of done more than any other celebrity on this show to change that… She has to be credited for that at least?

Cody is just so cute. I’m starting to laugh throughout his entire routines now, in a good way! His Samba was nowhere near perfect, but it was really really really good. It wasn’t a typical Samba, but who needs typical all the time? It was a welcome change. He’s such a good partner, such a good support for her. You can tell she’s really comfortable with him, really trusts him the way she throws herself into his arms on those dips and takes him so fast on those pivots. Those pivots (fast turns with partner in close handhold) are hard; it’s very easy to trip all over your partner’s feet. His footwork wasn’t perfect and his hip and pelvic action wasn’t all there, but some of it certainly was. He needs more turnout with his feet. He tries so hard and has such energy, and he’s the biggest improvement on the show. I’m really rooting for him at this point. Poor Julianne; I hope she’s okay. Did she say endometriosis? That’s serious, and she’s young. I mean, not life-threateningly serious, but I’ve heard it’s very painful.

I loved Warren’s rumba too. (I seem to have loved everything this week) He is really very musical — he moved perfectly on the beat — and his footwork was quick and sharp. He did a sliding door, which is an advanced step that is really pretty hard, and his footwork was not only perfect, but really sharp. Amateurs are usually soft and tentative in all Latin dances — and it really shows in the rumba since it’s so slow — but with each step he put his foot down with such decisiveness. He had some checks (where one foot is directly in front of the other, the front leg is straight, the back one bent, and weight is equally distributed) — and they’re kind of hard for amateurs — you can lose your balance easily — and his were pretty smooth. And he was wonderfully in character — soulful, smooth, passionate, strong, virile. Who cares if the technique wasn’t all there? I love it!

14 Comments

  1. Tonya, I love your positivity, but that group hip-hop was not excellent. 😉 If I were a hip-hop dancer, I would be miffed that dance is showcased as a hip-hop dance on national tv.

    I am new to watching ballroom dance but I do wonder how DWTS will help audience view ballroom seriously if Cloris’s cha-cha or her other comedic dances are included on the show. I appreciate that she is trying (this week) but her (and some others’) dances do not capture the beauty, the dazzling quality, and the excitment of the styles. I am beginning to understand why some critics are so against SYTYCD (which I enjoy but with decreasing enthusiasum every season).

  2. Hi EM — thanks for commenting. Well, I mean, I think people are starting to pay more attention to — and appreciate — the serious ballroom dancers, now that they see that ballroom is a lot harder than it looks, and that it is pretty difficult to teach and choreograph for some of these amateurs (particularly ones like Cloris). I agree that the dances don’t capture the beauty of real ballroom — but it’s so hard to do that with amateurs because they’re just learning. Last week I was advocating that the show include more professional showcases by top couples rather than spending so much time on footage of the contestants practicing and chatting with Samantha after they’ve performed. There’s too much talking on this show.

  3. You can can read my live thing at my blog but here’s my summation:
    Maurice and Cheryl:
    I’m sick of them trying to call that A Viennese waltz…

    Lance and Lacey:
    This! This is what I was expecting from them the first week. Lacey stays out of the way and showcases lance. That was so much better. Good for them

    Susan and Tony:
    Yea for Cameron showing up!!! But I do somewhat agree… She’s just a little too timid… But for only learning ballroom dances in 9 weeks.. it’s decent but for this competition it just doesn’t work

    Brook and Derek:
    Damn that’s hot… LOL But she had no hip movement and no rumba walks but damn that was hot…

    Clois and Corky:
    Please people listen to Carrie Ann! For once i agree with her.. I mean they kicked Toni off in favor of that? It’s just ridiculous!

    Cody and Julianne:
    While that dance was good there was the “traditional” Samba lacking… Bruno’s right, there was no samba bounce and it was a little too hard

    Kym and Warren:
    What was Carrie Ann Smoking? That dance was soo not sexy! .. I like the story line but it was totally not a rumba at all

    That group dance was just wrong… I loved the flip that Tony and Derek did…
    I’m so annoyed that Michael did nothing for show… I’m really trying to stay positive about the show but the show is just going downhill fast…

    I”m so agree with a lot of you Tonya…

  4. Tonya, I have to disagree with you on Clois… She should have been voted off before Ted… I realize it’s partly not her fault BUT She should just leave. She shouldn’t be there. It just really annoys me.

  5. Sorry Katrina, I wholeheartedly agree with Tonya’s assessment!

  6. I agree, Tonya, I think you are right on the money.

    Katrina, what is a proper Vienesse Waltz?

  7. While I do agree was harsh, however it totally needed to be said! Viewers needed to be “smacked” back into reality and reminded that by voting clois to say, they kicked of a dancer who is EXTREMELY more talented than Clois. It just annoys me that she keeps being saved, from the beginning, it’s just ridiculous.

  8. Maybe it needed to be said, maybe not, but either way, no matter what situation you are in, you need to respect your elders. I don’t care if she is the worst dancer to ever enter the show, you do NOT talk to your elders that way, EVER. Carrie Ann was unprofessional and rude, there was no need to embarrass Cloris and Corky like that. If she truly has a problem with the way things are, she should take someone aside and talk to them off camera.

    Ms. Plank is correct in how she assessed Cloris’s performance last night.

  9. *shrugs* I”m one of those people that if it needs to be said, I’ll say it. Doesn’t matter who it is. She’s on the show, she knows that they’re going to criticize her. I mean for crying out loud, she even said “I know it’s bad”. I respect people, but when they said stuff like that, it doesn’t deserve my respect. I’m also entitled to my opinion just as you are to yours. Just stating my opinion.

  10. Katrina,

    Your opinion would go over a lot better if you were a little more respectful yourself. We all have opinions, and I don’t think you were respectful of Tonya with the way you stated yours here, and that is my opinion.

  11. Acutally, I respect Tonya greatly (Which By the way Tonya, I read my mom your piece and she was “She should be a judge which I agreed with :)). but read this:
    “I think Cloris should go home,” Tonioli said after Monday night’s show. “I don’t take anything away from what she’s done. She’s fantastic. She’s entertaining. She’s a legend. But we have to be realistic. We’re past the halfway stage, and the best dancers should be the ones left in the competition.” Tonioli shares the opinion of fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who told Leachman after her cha cha cha on Monday night that losing Toni Braxton from the competition tipped the balance. “Losing Toni?” said Tonioli. “That was like, okay, that hurts. It’s nothing personal, but Toni didn’t deserve to go. Cloris should have gone. And we love her. She’s proved that even at 82, you can come out here, do your best, kill it and entertain.”

    They respect her but it is a dancing show and we’re halfway through the show.

  12. ST, a proper Viennese is very different than what they’re showing on DWTS… They haven’t done a proper one since season one. The Viennese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are constantly turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direction of rotation. A true Viennese waltz consists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleckerls, American-style figures and side sway or underarm turns are modern inventions and are not normally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Furthermore, in a properly danced Viennese Waltz, couples do not pass, but turn continuously left and right while traveling counterclockwise around the floor following each other. (From Wikipedia)

    Here is a good video of a Viennese Waltz:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdYbeB4jFdI

  13. Is this explanation taken from a competition rule book?

  14. the IDSF (International DanceSport Federation) doesn’t have their rule book online yet, but Here is a good explanation from a good site:
    http://www.waltzballs.org/vw.html

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