DANCING WITH THE STARS BRINGS ON THE NEW DANCES: LAMBADA, TWO-STEP, CHARLESTON AND BOLERO

I’ve never really learned any of these dances (other than some Charleston in Lindy Hop class) so I’m not sure if I can judge them properly, but I’ll try.

Chuck and Anna’s Two-Step: I thought he did well at some of it– particularly when he kicked in back and slapped opposite hand to opposite foot — but other than that, it seemed like he was walking most of the time, while she was giving her steps more flair. Social dancing is basically walking with attitude but much of his performance here was just walking.

Mark and Melissa’s Charlie Chaplinesque Charleston was absolute brilliance. Wow. That was her best dance by far. Her steps were so perfect, her little bounce spot-on, her character acting perfect, and even the lifts were marvelous. Often non-pro female dancers’ difficulty with the lifts stems from not being able to hold yourself properly in the air, not having the correct shaping (since you don’t realize how hard it is to maintain proper shape with no floor beneath you), but her shapes up there were excellent. I’m so impressed!

Natalie and Alec’s Bolero: Well, given their angst-filled practice it went a lot better than I was expecting.

It was fluid and lovely in places and she’s flexible so he correctly gave her a lot of splits to show her stunning lines, but in places she looked stiff — probably because she was nervous. And she doesn’t have the breadth of movement in her back necessary to make some of that body-rolling you see so much in rhumba, and which she did at the beginning of the routine here. Bruno tells her she needs to learn Basic Instinct lessons from Sharon Stone. I thought the Bolero was supposed to be more romantic than sexy though…

Aaron and Karina’s Lambada: Yay, in practice Karina corrects a pigeon toe!!! So happy! And she tells him his ass is sticking out. Haha, that was rather funny. But why is she bringing a gymnast in to show him how to do these crazy gymanstics tumbling passes for Lambada? Clearly I don’t understand these dances …  :)  Oops a little goof on the ending lift but other than that — HAHAHAHAHAH! — I really like him! I have no idea what that dance is supposed to look like, but this looked like total Studio 54 Lambada. I love the John Travolta-style white suit, undone to the waist – I love his wholly unique sense of rhythm (which is too fast, a little ahead of the beat, but in an excitable way that makes it endearing). I really do love how excited he gets when he dances. Carrie Ann tells him he has to chill out; he’s trying too hard and is going way over the top. She says he turned her off. I don’t agree. I thought he was great fun. Judges are saying it wasn’t “raunchy” enough, so I guess it’s supposed to look more “raunchy” than fun-spirited.

Lacey and Mark’s Two-Step: Well, he gave the steps a lot more styling than Chuck, although it looked a bit more like running in places than dancing. This dance must be a lot harder than it always seemed! And he had a couple of really good jumps in there, including a sole barrel turn, but perfectly well-executed. I couldn’t tell if he missed a few steps or if it was supposed to be sped up on purpose. He and Lacey did Larry Keigwin’s signature choreographic move, where the guy lifts the girl sideways and she walks along the wall — except here Lacey walked along the judges’ podium.

Kelly and Louis’s Charleston: She says during practice she lost the lead in the Broadway Chicago because she could sing but not dance. So, this is her revenge, Louis says. The routine was cute! It’s to an upbeat version of Cabaret. Hers was more basic than Melissa’s but it was all well-done and properly acted and done with flair and finesse. Love his tux ‘n tails.

Derek and Joanna’s Lambada: So, it seems like a Dirty Dancing form of Salsa, huh? Their routine was cute. She doesn’t have the greatest form, but she’s perky and bouncy and fun and has a good sense of rhythm and she’s little so he can lift her easily and do other fun tricks, like that continuous traveling dip thing they did toward the end. He did have to re-adjust his balance in the ending lift though.

Donny and Kym’s Charleston: Well, that was good but not as good as I was expecting from him. She outshone him I think. His routine was pretty basic, except for one (well-done) trick. The footwork was good but not entirely polished. The jumps did not have the form I was expecting from him — although, he’s a little older than the others and so I guess can’t really be expected to do crazy perfect splits jumps.

Michael and Anna’s Bolero: Well, I didn’t think there was a lot of movement for him. She did most of the moving. And he was a great support for her — he was a very good partner and made her look lovely on the stretches and dips and holds and all — which is a large part of what a male ballroom dancer is supposed to do. But I didn’t think this routine was as much of a challenge for him as the others’ Boleros were.

Louie and Chelsie’s Two-Step: Okay, I officially don’t like this dance on this show. The man doesn’t have anything to do but walk around. And it’s been all male contestants who’ve had this dance. It seems it’s all about showcasing the woman. And Louie has danced well before so I don’t think it’s him; I think it’s the dance. That was a really daring, risky trick at the end for Chelsie — whoa — that dive to the ground, whipping her head up just before it touches the floor — especially with a man who’s not that tall.

Mya and Dmitry’s Lambada: Okay, I officially don’t like this dance either on this show. She did a great job — she has lots of rhythm and really knows how to shake those hips. But this dance seems to be all about shaking your ass either in your partner’s groin or his face. It’s like lap dancing with clothes. I can see people doing it in a shed, like the characters in Dirty Dancing were, but it’s just too silly for this show. Not that this show isn’t complete silliness to begin with of course…

I say get rid of these new dances, DWTS producers — at least least the Lambada and the Two-Step. Just keep it to the competitive dances, like a real ballroom competition.

10 Comments

  1. Darn it, I missed last night's episode. Good thing I've got your take on it!

  2. I went to college in Nashville, and learned to two-step socially… And you're right, in the two-step, the man doesn't do a whole lot. Even the fancy-dancing show-off couples that would hog the dance floor, all the guy had to be able to do was dance facing both forwards and backwards, and lead the woman in some intricate figures.

    Overall, I'd say that two-stepping is extremely fun to do, but not really a dance made for watching.

  3. Thanks Natalia — that's what I thought. It does look like a fun dance to do. Good to hear from you again!

  4. Out of all the new dances danced last night the only one I really liked was the Charleston. Ditch the others! Why do they even need to add these new dances?
    I loved the Donny/Kym and Louie/Kelly dances. Lots of energy and style and they all did very well keeping in sync with the side by side moves. I totally got the Louie/Joel Grey reference with his make-up but then I love Cabaret.
    I loathed the Chelsie/Louis two-step. He basically just shuffled around as she whirled like a dervish. What the hell happened?
    A really underwhelming show for me. I believe next week's dances are Paso Doble and Argentine Tango. Should be a better week.
    I have no idea who will go home this week. I'm guessing Louis Vito or Michael Irwin.
    Oh, I almost forgot, with her bustier and rolled red hair Anna T. looked like Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke!

  5. I think having Charleston on here is just absolutely RETARDED! It's danced in Lindy, East coast Swing, Jive, and Quickstep so come on, get rid of it.

    I think they should keep Bolero as it is a Ballroom dance.

    Lamabata is all about sex :) Go youtube Lambata and you'll see what I mean. It's more of a cross between Bucata (a Mexican dance) and Salsa. It came around in the 80s in Brazil on the beaches.

  6. As an avid spectator of strict latin and ballroom (and that's why I love your blog so much) , I thought this episode was going to be a fluff. I don't like the dances but I thought the show was quite entertaining!

    By the way, in Strictly Come Dancing, the British version of DWTS which has strict ballroom and no tricks, Martina Hingis was the first one to go home. I think its because everyone thinks she's a ringer (paired with Matthew Cutler) and no one voted!

  7. “Social dancing is basically walking with attitude but much of his performance here was just walking.” LOL at this! so true!
    For me, the beauty of the country two-step, when it's danced well, is that you are walking but you also are gliding, looking like an ice-skater as you move around the floor. The upper body is erect but relaxed, as the feet go slow slow quick quick/ slow slow quick quick/ so that you have to pay attention because you are not walking with the beat but in and out of it. Then, as you move forward around the line of dance, the man can lead you into all kinds of fancy spins and movements–it's all about lead and follow fun, the way any partner dance is. To appreciate it, I think you have to have danced it, or it doesn't look that hard, but it sure took me a long time to stop counting!
    The lambada was never more than a fad social dance that involved full body contact/dirty dancing to Braziian pop music. The Charleston at least allows you to throw in a variety of swing moves.
    Now that Tom Delay is gone, I may watch the show again.

  8. I agree with you. I'm not even sure the Bolero needs to be kept, it's so similar to the Rumba. But the Charleston is such a fun dance it makes it easy for the stars to really get into it and do well.

    Poor Aaron, I agree with you on that one, too. He really wants to do well and he's putting it all out there. Michael was very sweet giving him encouraging words, I thought, but Aaron is taking it hard.

    I personally think that Kelly is experiencing some sort of a revelation in her life through dance. I think this was a great thing for her to do. Maybe she can go back and get the part of Roxy now!

    Thanks for the great post!

  9. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks for letting us know about Hingis and Cutler. I'm disappointed! How did they do with that one dance?

    It's interesting to compare the two shows. Do you think the US version is more engaging because of all the lifts and tricks allowed or do you think it's more interesting to watch the contestants try to learn real ballroom technique? It's an interesting difference that says a lot about the two cultures!

  10. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks for letting us know about Hingis and Cutler. I'm disappointed! How did they do with that one dance?

    It's interesting to compare the two shows. Do you think the US version is more engaging because of all the lifts and tricks allowed or do you think it's more interesting to watch the contestants try to learn real ballroom technique? It's an interesting difference that says a lot about the two cultures!

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