Dancing With the Stars, Week Two: Samba and Foxtrot

Maks and Denise’s Samba: Okay that was awful. Sorry but it was. She was hopping and running and skipping and doing just about everything but Samba. It is the hardest of the Latin dances — Len’s right, but still. I agree with Bruno that it wasn’t so hot, but don’t know if I’d call if flat as a “waffle”. And I agree with Carrie Ann– how frightened and stiff did she look?! During those Samba rolls, it looked like he was pulling her on top of him, then pushing himself onto her. Like she was the cat being forced to dance with Pepe le Peu. Interesting choreography from Maks — the one-legged hops, the waving his chest toward hers, flirtatiously. Extremely corny having him come to practice dressed as a Carmen Miranda-esque sambista to get her to stop being so serious. And don’t tell adults to feel and not think, Maks! Can’t be done. You learn by feeling as a child, as an adult you have to think; you’ve lived too much of your life by using your brain by then.

Chuck and Julianne’s Foxtrot: That was pretty good. Fairly suave, though he looked a bit of a goof on those side by sides in the middle. A little too much on his toes, I think was what it was. And it was pigeon-toed at that. He just looked a little Pee Wee Herman-ish. But overall, very sophisticated and he looked fairly comfortable in the close hand-hold. Yeah, Carrie Ann just said on the grapevine it looked like he hunched over a bit — maybe that’s what made it Pee Wee-like to me. He’s better at Standard than Latin.

Holly and Dmitry’s Samba: Okay, can skinny white girls not dance Samba or what? :) Well, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be; I thought it was a little better than Denise’s, mainly because Dmitri gave her a lot of easy hip swaying back and forth and some nice tricks showing off her flexibility and nice long lines. The splits between his legs was really good and she got a lot of deserved applause from the audience on that one and the one preceding it (which I now can’t remember). So good for Dmitri, choreography-wise. But yeah, she really needs grounding, strength in the mid-body — well, everywhere, but most importantly in the center, and fullly-rotating pelvic contractions and not just back and forth hip swaying. And if they’d stop spending so much time talking about her boobs, maybe this show would be more geared toward … adults?

Steve-O and Lacey’s Foxtrot: Well, that was okay. He looked very stiff and nervous, though, who wouldn’t be. And it looked like he was forgetting the footwork, although I didn’t see any real flubs. Except at the end when he fell going up the steps — but that was really kind of funny more than a serious mistake. He’s so sweet and sympathetic though. I really want to root for him. I do hope he comes back next week. I think he has a lot of fans, so I think he will.

Lawrence and Edyta’s Samba: Hehe, that was fun! Technically, it wasn’t really much better than the two women we’ve seen do Samba so far, but it looked much better on his body. He’s naturally more grounded since he’s a big huge man! He has a natural sense of rhythm and knew how to move his hips. He had both the circular and side-to-side action down. He was very at ease. It was kind of a Motown samba. It was fun. I like him a lot.

Mark and Shawn’s Foxtrot: That was really lovely. No mistakes. Nothing tremendously difficult, or flashy — did Mark actually choreograph this?? She had really beautiful lines, great hands — I love how she splayed her fingers and then quickly flicked her wrists backward on that extravagant dip. I was thinking how much I wanted to see her do Samba, but she was gorgeous in this. She can do anything.

There’s a Presidential address on tomorrow night? Oh. The things you learn from watching Dancing With the Stars…

Cheryl and Gilles’s Samba: I loved it! Best Samba so far! And, THANK YOU FOR THE REAL SAMBA MUSIC, CHERYL!!!!! I mean, he’s still a Guy dancing at this point and not a Dancer, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. He did so well with this. He was right on rhythm-wise and his hip action looked pretty good. I agree with Len (though he got booed on it) that the rock steps — the step in one place with the one foot, the other out to the side – were a little off, but I felt it was because his extended leg wasn’t straight; it was bent, so didn’t look as sharp and chic as it should have. But that’s it! And how cute was his mum :) I believe those were real tears. Aw.

Whichever judge commend Gilles for allowing Cheryl to dance full out was right on. You can tell a dancer trusts their partner when they do that. Although maybe I’m being hard on Mark. It seems like when Cheryl does that she’s showing her trust in her partner, trying to make him look better; when Mark does the same, it seems like he’s showing off himself. Maybe that’s unfair of me…

Kym and David’s Foxtrot: Wow, that was pretty good. He had some really impressive battemants, a nice, full ronde. Who knew he was flexible enough to go that high! And very polished. I like those little one-legged hops, with the other leg in passe position, that she put in. His turns were good. That routine took some balancing skill, you know. Not always that easy for a person learning to dance as an adult. And he was a very good, supportive partner. Very comfortable-looking in close hand-hold. I think he’s redeemed himself this week.

Steve and Karina’s Samba: Okay, before I see anything, I’m a bit scared. Why didn’t they give him Foxtrot this week?! Okay the ambulance thing is becoming a bit of a cliche at this point, right. I mean, I know he really hurt himself, and pulling a hamstring is not out of the ordinary for an older person, but this is starting to seem a bit ridiculous.

Okay, so, their Samba: Aw, he’s cute! I mean, for an older, larger man, he wasn’t bad! I honestly thought he was better than Denise and Holly. I can’t believe she gave him a caterpillar though. Why? Or worm, they’re calling it. “Slug,” Carrie Ann said. Why are the judges being so nasty? They weren’t so nasty to the blonde ladies. What’s he going to look like out there — Maks? It’s like the Cloris Leachman factor all over again — why did they bring him on the show if they knew, from his obvious body type, the problems he’d have out there.

Tony and Melissa’s Foxtrot: Oh, the woman’s head is the olive in the martini glass — I’ve never heard that, Tony! Cute. I mean, of course the shaping of the handhold in Standards is often referred to as a martini-glass, understandably, but I’d never heard the olive thing. Wow, that was gorgeous! She’s like a Rita Hayworth, huh! I think she did much better with her heel – toe walks this time — she didn’t look so much like a forward-weighted ballerina this time. She corrected that problem easily — although Len didn’t think so much. What gorgeous lines on those kicks! She’s a natural. She and Shawn are the naturals. But you don’t always want to root for the naturals, you know, since things seem to come so easily for them…

Derek and Lil Kim’s Samba: “This Samba’s gonna be one big party, and you’re all invited!” she puckers at the camera. When you say something like that, it had better be a party. And I kind of felt like it wasn’t that big. Technically, it was the best Samba of the night though. Everything was pretty much as it should be. Funny, I totally disagree with Len — I thought there were a lot of very basic steps, and who sees bota fogos on this show? Besides the body rolls in the middle, I thought there was almost too much basic — which is what might have made it less “big” than I was expecting. Hmmm.

Ty and Chelsie’s Foxtrot: Hehe, he’s such a guy: “So far, all I know is it’s quick, slow, up, down, heel, toe, and I don’t know what comes where. And on top of that you gotta act it, and I ain’t no Robert Deniro.” Aw, that was so good! Very dapper, very polished, very gentlemanly — perfect! Until he took his hat off, he kind of looked like Jonathan Wilkins — with that cute smile. I disagree with Len that it lacked musicality. I thought it had good rise and fall and that he danced well with the music. He did look nervous and a little bit stiff because of it, but he calmed down — even after she slipped — and really did well. Big huge kudos to him!

So, my favorites from this week: David and Ty because of improvement, Gilles and Lawrence because they’re working so hard, Steve O and Steve because they’re sympathetic and so likable, Melissa and Shawn because they’re naturals, Lil Kim just because I like her. And that’s just about everyone…  I think it might be Denise or Holly who goes tomorrow night.

12 Comments

  1. “You learn by feeling as a child, as an adult you have to think;” I don't know if I necessarily agree with that… one of the techniques that I teach when I teach East coast, and that I love using is having my student and/or me closing my eyes and “feeling” It helps me, especially, feel the rhythm sometimes and trust my partner (one of my biggest problems LOL)

    you can read the rest of my thoughts at my blog… I'm just too tired LOL

  2. I really disliked the Denise/Max samba. She has that tall girl gawkiness that Shannon Elizabeth had two seasons ago. She also holds so much tension in her face and neck. It's very distracting. I really would be happy to see her gone.
    Lil Kim really used the floor to push off into the samba hip/leg action. Attn: Kim K. from last season, THAT'S how to move a big gorgeous booty!
    I'm really feeling bad for Steve O. It looks like he really wants to do well, but is limited by his back pain. I agree Tonya, there is something so appealing and likable about him. It's like seeing a big goofy puppy with a limp or something you just want to go “Ahhh poor baby!”
    I like the Woz but it might be better for his health to get voted off this week. I will miss Karina though, she's a dancesport Goddess and she really, genuinely seems concerned and sweet to the Woz.

  3. Please Please let Denise or Holly go home! Although, I would feel bad for both of their partners. Especially Dmitry since its his first year.

  4. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Haha, you guys — I went to see Blue Man Group tonight (which I didn't like) and so taped the show, but I guess because of Obama's speech the show ran overtime because it cut off right as Tom Bergeron was saying, “Denise and Maks, Holly and Dmitry, on this second week of Dancing With the Stars, the couple going home is…” and that's when it cut off! I don't know who got booted — and Katrina hasn't posted yet (since the show isn't over there yet, at the time I'm writing this). Haha, how ridiculous. Anyway, I thought those were the two who were the worst and so should have been in the dance off, so whoever got the boot, is okay with me. I did think Holly improved better tonight than Denise.

    How cute was Karina's little squeal when it was announced she and Steve were saved! I agree, Susan, that he's going to be going home at some point soon. I just wanted him to stay a little longer.

    So, who was it?!

  5. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Oh okay, so just did a Twitter search and found out it was Holly who stayed, which I think is fair. As I said, I think Denise was a little worse last night and didn't improve as much as Holly did tonight. Though I think Holly still has a long way to go. Yeah, it is like Shannon all over again, Susan. Laurel — yay, we still get more Dmitry :)

    Oh and Katrina — I didn't know you were teaching! That's great! I just meant I've seen so many adult students get really confused over what their teachers mean when they say to “feel it” instead of just telling them the steps, which foot goes where and when. I think most people who are learning to dance as an adult and have no dance background at all at least need to be given the footwork and technique instructions in words; then once they've got the steps down and know what they're supposed to be doing, they can stand back and feel the music.

  6. I only teach East coast and Lindy hop, and in Lindy it's only the follow's part. The lead in lindy is kind of ridiculous

    Believe, I have the same issues… I over think it all the time and its one of my problems in West Coast…

    I personally thought Steve should have gone home… I mean Holly and Dense were bad but Steve was just horrible. Third lowest score in DWTS history? Come on people.

  7. Guess what! DWTS is finally going to have Yulia and Riccardo on as guests!
    http://www.mydance.net/events.htm
    Whoo hoo!

  8. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks you guys — sorry I've been so slow to respond lately! Shim, that's such awesome news — thanks so much for letting me know! So it looks like they'll be on the first show in May! I'm so glad everyone will now get to see them! Yay!

    Katrina — how scary! Poor Shawn. I guess it can happen to anyone, because I never thought of her as that famous. It sounds like she has a lot of protection from him, thankfully. That is really really frightening.

  9. Unfortunetly I think anybody on that show becomes more famous than they were, but Shawn was a pretty big name, but then again I'm kind of obessed (ok maybe bad choice of words here) with gymnastcs

  10. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks you guys — sorry I've been so slow to respond lately! Shim, that's such awesome news — thanks so much for letting me know! So it looks like they'll be on the first show in May! I'm so glad everyone will now get to see them! Yay!

    Katrina — how scary! Poor Shawn. I guess it can happen to anyone, because I never thought of her as that famous. It sounds like she has a lot of protection from him, thankfully. That is really really frightening.

  11. Unfortunetly I think anybody on that show becomes more famous than they were, but Shawn was a pretty big name, but then again I'm kind of obessed (ok maybe bad choice of words here) with gymnastcs

Comments are closed