So the contestants have designed the costumes this time. For the most part, they look better. I really like Julianne’s snazzy red fringe — her boyfriend dresses her well And I love Edyta’s floor-length robe, although I’m sure it’s going to come off at some point…
Tony and Melissa’s Argentine Tango: That was really quite nice. There was a lot of basic dancing with a lot of intricate footwork, and a few flashy lifts thrown in here and there, but it wasn’t about the lifts. And she had excellent leg lines on those lifts. And I like how Tony varied those lines — the first had a clean split, the second both legs in attitude. Very good choreography and very good dancing.
Lawrence and Edyta’s Waltz: Aw, I love Journey’s Open Arms!
That was really romantic; he was very elegant. He did have a little flub, he lost balance when he kneeled, but it didn’t destroy his support of her and you hardly noticed. He was very graceful, as Len said, and as Carrie Ann said, there was a freedom of movement in him we haven’t really seen before. I’m impressed! And so the outer coat did come off — as I predicted — but to reveal a beautiful gown, that covered her almost as much. Edyta looks good in clothes.
Derek and Lil Kim’s Rumba: Hmm, for once someone talks about the difficulty of creating good choreography. Wow, that was excellent as well. The competition’s really strong this week. Her dress was very pretty but its length made it difficult for me to see her hips and some of her lines. I could well see her lines in the bigger things — like the ronde en l’air and the kicks and the gorgeous arabesque when she was stretching away from him — that’s damn hard! Well, I’m totally disagreeing with the judges. I thought that was one of her best dances. I thought it was understated in a good way. I liked that it was soft and romantic and subtle and not over the top and oozing with sex. I don’t get the judges at all. I’m surprised at least Len didn’t go for it…Well, they still gave her pretty good scores. Who knows what they’re thinking.
Chuck and Julianne’s Samba: That was so good — he’s improved SO much! He really deserves that standing o. He looked like a real contender — those voltas were fab, I love the opening promenade runs (my favorite ballroom step), and the samba rolls were excellent (those are hard, harder than they probably look). Even the side-by-side walks in the middle — he looked so good the way he was moving his hips! The judges are speechless — I love it. I mean, he wasn’t perfect — and I prefer the pelvis to be fully rotated instead of just the hips shifting straight back and forth — but you’re never going to get that from a beginning amateur. It’s way too hard. Costumes were excellent — his red flowing red silk shirt and flashy but not skin-tight red tux pants and her sweet red fringe. The contestants are really so much better at designing these costumes. They’re all so much more classy. Not at all gauche and even vulgar like they sometimes (usually) are.
Ty and Chelsie’s Waltz: Aw, that was sweet. And very polished. Love her long, pink gown. Really, the contestants are so much better at costume design. Those were basic steps, but they’re still hard, and he executed them so well it was a pleasure to watch even without much flash. He had the rise and fall rhythm down, was very fluid, and had great posture and frame. A lot of them don’t spend a lot of time dancing in the closed handhold and I think it says a lot about his partnering skills that Chelsie has him in that position at length. I was afraid he might be leaving tomorrow night, but now I’m not.
Mark and Shawn’s Cha Cha: Okay, I don’t know much of what Shawn did because I couldn’t stop focusing on Mark. Why were his pants so short? I couldn’t stop looking at his feet. Which were perfect. The only time I saw her was when the did the disco-y side-by-sides. Normally I’d be annoyed, but I’m actually glad he put them in because it gave me a chance to see her. The times I did try to focus on her, she looked perfect. I just wish he wasn’t such a show off. Though he is really good. And cute…
Gilles and Cheryl’s Viennese Waltz: Another beautiful dress — floor-length summery yellow with sweet criss-cross straps in back. The women are actually clothed — amazing. Very glamorous and very polished, and a lot of that footwork was really fast and intricate. So very good for him. But his arms looked a little too Latin-y in the side-by-side swayings, and his feet sickled inward. He needs to concentrate on keeping his feet pointed outward. But he was so dapper and that footwork so fancy, he still gets major kudos.
Group Sixties-style dance: choreographer Christian Perry was the Friday-night pre-party class teacher at DanceSport, my first studio, and it’s always so funny to see him on this show. Hmm. Well, I think I liked the Mod-Squad costumes with the shiny high boots and short minidresses, and the background Kaleidoscope-squiggly picture designs better than the actual dancing. Lots of crazy lifts — I’m really kind of surprised no one’s gotten hurt… not to jinx anything. I thought it was good, and cute, just underwhelming. What about you guys?
A couple of other things: did you guys see this? They’re having a pro dancer competition to choose the next pro dancers on the show. Anna Demidova is in the running. She’s Katusha Demidova’s little sister and an excellent and very celebrated Standard dancer. She’s been at the top of the Amateur comps for a while. I hope she makes it; I’d love to see her on this show!
Also, here’s an interesting interview from the Wall Street Journal with a couple of Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing pros, Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag.