Since I’m not at ABT tonight (unbelievable, I know! — heartbroken to be missing Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes though…), I can live blog the show.
Guest judge this week is Tony Basil. She says she is winning a hip hop award and is very happy that hip hop, popping and locking, street dance in general is being taken so seriously now, on stages / programs like this.
Jonathan and Karla’s hip hop: I thought that was really good! He had a great tumbling pass, wow. They both really had great rhythm and I just really liked it. Really in sync. What is Nigel talking about — it was boring and there was no chemistry? I don’t know what he’s talking about. Jonathan is so cute — he can do anything: hip hop, Latin, contemporary. Nigel says that wasn’t gangster at all. I thought it was enough — I mean, Jonathan doesn’t really have that look, you know. He did well with it, I thought. Tony says you gotta have the funk and the hard hit to do hip hop. I really thought it had both!
Asuka and Vitolio’s Jazz (choreographed by Mandy Moore):
Aw, they’re in Phoenix (my hometown) at the convention center this weekend for auditions!
Okay, back to Asuka and Vitolio: Wow, after that crying during practice, I thought they really brought it! Those two opening lifts — with her in the straddle splits and then the end overheard, wow — she has really gorgeous lines! And she had a great battement in there. He had a gorgeous jump. Hers weren’t all there (jumps that is), but Latin dancers aren’t really used to doing jetes, so it’s understandable she doesn’t yet have that kind of strength. He had kind of a Latin-y flavor to his dancing; his hips looked very Rumba-esque. I loved it.
Melissa and Ade’s Rhumba: Oh yay, a Rhumba with Tony Meredith!: Ooh, how passionate I love watching ballet dancers dance rhumba. I thought she was really beautiful. Beautiful arabesques, the penchee (where she bent down to the floor and lifted back leg high, high). Gorgeous lines for her. It was hard to concentrate on him, but he really had the moves down too — the hip action, the slow walks. I mean, still, they weren’t a completely polished Latin couple, but so so good for people who don’t have ballroom training. I love how she turned her head toward his after the promenade and their lips nearly touched — or did touch. Sweet moment! Mary’s going nuts Tony Basil talks about how hot Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin were in their day (full disclosure of course: they are friends of mine).
Janette and Brandon’s hip hop (choreographed by Dave Scott): Whoa, Brandon! Wow, now I see what Mary and Nigel were so going on about during auditions! That man can MOVE! I really didn’t think the choreography was so great though — it didn’t have much to it. It was really a lot of rocking out, head-banging motions. I mean, if they did that a little bit, then fine, but it stayed the same throughout the whole thing. This may be unfair to Janette but I didn’t think she did anything with that choreography other than the actual moves he gave her, which is all I’d do too. But Brandon took every movement to its extreme and really did so much more than what was there. He’s the kind of dancer, I think, that every choreographer dreams of.
Kupono and Kayla (this week’s new couple) are doing a Viennese Waltz choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux. Aw, really beautiful, very lyrical. I love barefoot Viennese Waltzes! I love the opening lift, where he carried her around while waltzing himself. Beautiful! He moved really well — they both did. His fluid movement in particular really surprised me, especially since last week I thought he should have been kicked off. I think he really stepped it up because of last week. I’m glad the audience stood up and cheered after Nigel said this routine wouldn’t make people stand up and cheer. Yes, people still can like things without pyrotechnics, Nigel. The only thing was that they weren’t close enough to each other in closed handhold, but that’s a teensy tiny thing overall. It was a really goreous routine. And now Mary puts them on the hot tamale train, to go against Nigel. Thank you Mary!
Evan and Randi are doing a Mia Michaels contemporary: Well, I love that Mia Michaels is not afraid to be really out there. Not sure how I feel about that routine, other than that it was starkly original, but I agree with Nigel that it was danced really well. That movement looked hard — all those hunched over jazzy, almost lazy-looking, but still very stylized, walks. Loved his sideways jump. And it wasn’t just for flash — it belonged there, because it was like his character was all excited about making a little breakthrough with the pretty girl. Very good acting too. Very Marilyn Monroe and — I dunno — one of those dorky-ish guys she dated?
Jason and Caitlin’s Paso Doble choreographed by Jean Marc and France Genereux: Wow, that was unlike any Paso I think I’ve ever seen. They dance to Carmina Burana. I love that arabesque penchee standing on top of his knee. And that opening turning lift. It was so intense, so dramatic, and so in character that I didn’t even really pay attention to the technique. But yeah, Nigel is right about them not being grounded enough. Still, they really gave a strong performance, as Mary says, and I love Jason! I like her a lot too. There were some hard-looking tricks in that. That crazy chokehold dip at the end! Big kudos to them.
Jeanine and Phillip’s Tyce DiOrio Broadway routine finishes the night. Wow, how afraid would I be to work with Tyce Diorio? He tells a frightened Phillip he has to jump the length of a couch — “it’s six feet, get over it,” he says. Then when the poor guy does, and does it right, he splits his pants. Pretty funny, but I mean, he could have hurt himself, forget the damn pants. He seemed to end up a little in front of the couch, right? Like he went diagonally to make it a bit easier. Maybe? If he did, I’d do the same! Anyway, so I thought it was really good — very good movement, especially from her. He was holding back a little, but it could have been, probably definitely was, the splitting of the pants during the damn couch hurdle up front. Other than the couch jump, I was focusing on her. She was damn good. I think people will keep voting for them — he has a bizillion fans — they’re not going anywhere this week…