The Beauty of Superficiality

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine, CA. I’m sweaty, my ears are burning from the reaction of the metal backings on my already beleaguered earlobes; my neck and lower back is tired from dancing Standard last night and sleeping on a bad mattress, and my hands are still shaking from the sudden outburst of adrenaline. But does anybody see that from the outside? Of course not. The sweat is but the sheen of a bronzed goddess, and clinging to my ears are enormous crystals that gleam and sparkle in the light; the defined lines of my neck and back betray a body lithe and supple, and my hands tremble from such an emotional connection to the music.

This is the beauty of superficiality. The word “superficial” has such negative connotations, and I know that the level of superficiality in DanceSport is sometimes what turns people off from this incredible and unparalleled form of art. But as I sit here, calming down from what I felt was a very good round for me, and I gaze at the youth that are getting ready to dance, I feel stirred in me an amazing appreciation for this superficiality. The women and girls in this sport are beautiful beyond comparison, the men handsome and all smartly dressed. When I’m in the real world, I miss the time and effort it takes for those in the dance world to “look the part”. There is an almost obsessive attention to dress, posture, and manners in the dance world. Yes, it might be superficial, but it’s beautiful. More than beautiful! It is a celebration of beauty at its finest. I love every moment of it.

Had it on my mind, and just had to get it down.

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Medals Run the Gammut at Seattle Star Ball

From Bronze to Open Championship, Junior up to Professional, our company, Emotions DanceSport, had finalists in almost every major event, many of whom won or placed in the top 3 of their events, making Emotions DanceSport once again one of the most successful companies in the Pacific Northwest! We are so proud of all of our students, even the ones who didn’t place, because everyone works so hard and does so well. We love seeing all of our students’ progress and we can’t wait to get to work and really rake in the medals. So here are the biggest achievements from the dancers in our company:

Amateur Placements

Adult Bronze Standard: Bental and Meital Tagor took 6th place from a quarter-final!

Senior I Bronze Standard: Bental and Meital Tagor were Silver medalists while Edward Brennan and Cecilia Wang stood right behind them on the podium as the Bronze medalists! Both from a semi-final!

Senior I Bronze Latin: Edward Brennan and Cecilia Wang placed 4th from a semi-final!

Adult Silver Standard: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovsipyan placed 3rd!

Adult Silver Latin: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovsipyan placed 1st! CHAMPIONS!!!

Senior I Silver Standard: Bental and Meital Tagor placed 6th from a quarter-final again!

Adult Gold Standard: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovspiyan placed 5th!

Adult Gold Latin: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovspiyan won! CHAMPIONS!!!

Adult Pre-Novice Latin: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovspiyan won! CHAMPIONS!!!

Adult Novice Latin: Aaron Clark and Alice Ovsipyan won again! CHAMPIONS AGAIN!!!!!!!

Under 21 Silver Standard: Aaron Clark and Vivian Kasabyan placed 3rd!

Under 21 Silver Latin: Aaron Clark and Vivian Kasabyan won! CHAMPIONS!!!

Under 21 Gold Standard: 4th place to Aaron and Vivian!

Under 21 Gold Latin: 2nd place to Aaron and Vivian!

Adult Pre-Champ Standard and Latin: Steven Herrera and Sofie Elliott placed in the final in both of these events. In the Standard they placed 4th (yay!) while in the Latin they were Vice-Champions! WOO-HOO!!!

Adult Championship Latin: Steven Herrera and Sofie Elliot placed 4th! Congratulations!

Pro-Am Scholarship Placements

Adult A Bronze Latin Scholarship: Congrats to my student, Patrick Verbout for placing 4th!

Adult B Bronze Latin Scholarship: Jackie Wu placed 3rd dancing with Simeon!

Adult A Bronze Standard Scholarship: Patrick Verbout placed 3rd dancing with me, while Simeon’s student Lucy Yeh came right behind us in 4th!

Adult B Bronze Standard Scholarship: my student, Robert Dean, came in 4th, while Jackie Wu, dancing with Simeon, took 1st! CHAMPIONS!!!!

Adult A Silver Standard Scholarship: Simeon and his student, Karen Tsuo, won! CHAMPIONS!!!!!

Adult B Silver Standard Scholarship: Simeon and his student, Bonnie Scheuler, came in 2nd place! Congratulations!

In the DanceSport Series Adult A Open Championship Scholarship, Starla Sampaco with Simeon took 2nd place! Which is extra exciting because Starla danced with completely syllabus routines, which means her high placement was based solely on her technique and ability. CONGRATULATIONS, STARLA!!!!!

Professional Placements

Professional Open Showdance: Simeon and I won! CHAMPIONS!!!!!!

Professional Open Standard: Simeon and I took 2nd place, behind our old-time friends Max and Lesya Sinitsa. Congrats, Max and Lesya!

Professional Open Latin: Simeon and I once again took 2nd place! Yay!

Important to note, that even though there were Rising Star events for the professionals in Latin and Standard, Simeon and I are no longer allowed to dance those, as we are the Bulgarian National Champions. Oh well! Good reason for being disallowed! I’m not complaining!

I wanted to mention two of our other students: Deanna Beglyarova, who danced beautifully and was unfortunately not marked where she should have been. I didn’t mention her above because she danced Pro-Am with Simeon only in the single-dance events, as she is not yet 15 and, therefore, not old enough to dance in the Scholarship events. If she had been able to, I am sure she would have done beautifully. Deanna looked amazing and I can’t wait to get back to work on her. Congratulations for your beautiful dancing, Deanna!

Also, Rachel Wu, who also danced beautifully with Simeon in the Pro-Am single dance events. Great job, Rachel!

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Flying Fish, Salsa and Turks

See, I’m doing better! Two posts in a week!

Speaking of loving Seattle, this week was probably the most fun week I’ve had all summer. It was exhausting and we got not even close to enough sleep, but the week was a blast.

It started out with a guest. The story is complicated, but in short she is the youngest daughter of a high-school friend of Simeon’s dad. She is a full time dancer in BC, where she lives, but she has a month off and decided she wanted to try a different form of dance for a week (or so). Of course, her parents immediately thought of the Ballroom Dancing kids of their old friends, and so we found ourselves strapped to a girl we’d never met before, trying to balance full schedules with fitting some salsa lessons in for her, and trying to show her around the city while still working full time! Needless to say, it was tough. But fun.

I’ll just put that out there – she is a blast. Seriously. She has a great sense of humor and she is basically just a happy person. And thanks to our friends, who came together and helped us out, we managed to show her an awesome time.

She arrived on Tuesday, which was a bit of a boring day for her, as we didn’t have time to work anything out. Wednesday we had it all taken care of! In the morning we headed out to the dance studio and I taught an hour. Then a friend of ours picked up myself and our guest (we’ll call her Girlie, just to protect her identity), and headed out to Seattle. We drove across the West Seattle Bridge and showed her Alki. We stopped at Alki Beach and got out to walk around and enjoy the sunshine. Then we hopped back in the car and headed into Pike Place Market. Driving through the Market in our friend’s G35 was an experience! A group of people decided they loved his car and started shouting things at us. Then one of the ladies was like, “Man, you flossin’ it, girl!” to me through the car window, to which I happily replied, “Yeeeaaahhh!” even though I had no idea what that meant. Don’t worry, I’ve looked it up since and now I know.

After we parked we walked around the Market, taking Girlie to see the Flying Fish (extra funny because she’s Vegan and she had the funniest expression on her face) and then stopped in to visit an old friend, the owner of Turkish Delight, a tiny Turkish café right in Pike Place. None of us were hungry, as we had just enjoyed Starbucks Frappuccinos and some dolmades, but she insisted on giving us huge, and amazingly tasty, gyros. Then she gave us some baklava to take home. Needless to say, I was not hungry for the rest of the night.

Then our friend took me back to the dance studio so I could join Simeon and teach a few more hours; meanwhile our friend and Girlie headed into Redmond to go to the Salsa classes and party at Danceworks studio. After our day of teaching, we met up with them at Matador, an awesome restaurant with a kickass happy hour in Redmond. Long day, exhausting day, but very fun.

After a long day of teaching on Thursday, we all skipped up to Century Ballroom in Capital Hill for their Salsa night. Oh… my… God! So much fun! I don’t go Salsa dancing very often, but (because I’m trained) I’m a good dancer, so I can still dance Salsa like a pro, baby! Had a blast! I danced almost every dance and just enjoyed the chance to let loose and have fun! Feels great when every day is so much about serious dancing.
On Friday we went to Dancework’s ballroom party, which I have to admit was a little dull and boring, especially when compared with Century the night before. We ate at Matador again, and went home to prepare for Saturday, which we knew was going to be a long day.

We got to sleep in a little bit on Saturday. The weather was gorgeous, so we ate breakfast outside, then got ready and drove into Bellevue. We started out with a practice, then met up with friends at the Bellevue Arts Fair. It pains me to say the Arts Fair was pathetic. It was extremely small, much smaller than I remember it, with a pitiful food court and mediocre live music. But, you know, it’s the company that counts! We still had a good time. After chilling in the heat, we went to one of our students’ house for a party, and we ate outside, drank homemade sangria, then played “Minute to Win It”. So… much…fun!!!

If you think our day was done, you are wrong! After we went home, we hooked up our computers to watch music videos and bollywood clips… and proceeded to stay up until 4am copying bollywood dance moves! Yes, this week was tiring as hell but still a blast. Life is good.

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When the Livin’ is Easy…..

Ok, I know it’s been a while since my last post, on any of my blogs! I’ve been massively busy, between our training and teaching, then trying to find time to take advantage of the summer now that it has finally arrived in the Emerald City, and I still want to be able to write my newest book from time to time. But yesterday was such an amazing day that I felt an uncontrollable urge to share it with everyone! Yesterday made me fully appreciate how much I love this city. I was driven to such passion for the city that I live in that I almost felt like crying! I can’t say this enough, but I love Seattle unlike any other city, and the longer I live here, the more I love it! The more I see of Seattle, the more I realize this really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Our day started off great! We headed out from our mountain home in Snoqualmie into downtown Seattle for practice and teach an hour. We try to keep our Saturday schedules light so that we can enjoy our summer at least one day a week! We got to Seattle in fifteen minutes, during a drive that starts in the gorgeous foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, then across gorgeous Lake Washington under cloudless blue skies. Our practice went well, our Waltz was feeling pretty good, and I had an awesome lesson with a couple that was getting prepared for their wedding. Once the lesson was done, we closed up the studio and hopped in the car! It was time to head down south, into a huge area called Ranier Valley. This is the valley floor right before you hit Mt Ranier, a huge mountain that, on sunny days, dominates the Seattle landscape if you’re looking east or south. It was incredible. The weather was such that you felt you could see every glacier and crevasse on the mountainside.
Finally, after an hour of driving, we made it out to Auburn, this tiny little place we call a “boony-town” cause it’s seriously out in the boonies. And worse, our friend’s apartment was in the boonies of Auburn! But it was great, she had made some food that her mother used to make for her when she was a child, and the dishes were amazing! When everyone started coming, the ice cream started rolling in. We have at least three Chinese (and Taiwanese, but I won’t differentiate just to save time writing… don’t want to offend anyone!) in our immediate group, so of course they were ecstatic when they discovered that my favorite flavors of ice cream are Red Bean, Green Bean, and Green Tea. We had all three of those flavors, plus Taro (ewww!) and coconut and mango.
We headed down to the pool and spent, literally, all morning beside the pool, toasting in the sun. Beautiful, amazing; I was so happy! We barbequed hamburgers, which were not terribly good because the person in charge of bringing hamburger meat decided to splurge and buy the expensive, low fat, organic beef. That makes terrible burgers! Never buy the expensive meat for burgers! You need the cheapest, fattiest beef you can find. Then the burgers are awesome!
Anyway, after the day by the pool, we hopped in the car again and drove back up to Seattle, where we crossed into Magnolia for a house party thrown by the girlfriend of one of our students. We had so much fun! From the pool party to the house party, I managed to keep up a pretty good buzz, which meant when the music turned on and Simeon decided to try out some Salsa and make up some moves, I was nearly on the floor from laughing! While I was dancing, mind you. He made up some pretty cool moves, too, but I just couldn’t stop laughing. My laughter was more from pure enjoyment of the moment than from anything Sims was doing. We also got to sit outside beside a gorgeous fire-pit and chill out drinking Grand Marnier Cosmo Punch by firelight and talk about… whatever we wanted!
At last midnight rolled around, but the night was not over! We headed downstairs and out onto her back deck, where she had a huge, fifteen-person hot tub. Those of us still left got in and, with our Grand Marnier Cosmo Punches, gazed happily at the incredible view from off her deck. We even saw a shooting star or two. On our way home later that night (or earlier that morning?) I was overcome with my love for this city. We were crossing the Magnolia Bridge and could see the top of the Space Needle lit up above the buildings and the reflection of the city lights in the water beneath us, and I realized I never want to move away. I was born here, and I belong here. Seattle is my city, hands down.

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Part 2: Professional Rising Star Standard: Blackpool Dance Championships 2011

Finally, Part 2 of my description of our time in Blackpool. It’s been difficult for me to write, as we’ve been extremely busy while on our trip. Busy doing nothing, if you know what I mean. Normally I catch up on all of my blog posts on the airplane, but the airline that we take from England to Bulgaria, Wizz Air (power to the Hungarians, woo hoo!), only allows one carry-on. And when I have to take my very expensive costumes with me, what do you think I’m carrying on? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not my laptop! And once we landed in Bulgaria, we had barely enough time to get ready and compete. The next day was visiting with friends and family, and finally we come to today… more visiting with friends and family, but right now we’re at Starbucks in Sofia and Simeon is chatting with an old friend… in Bulgarian, which gives me some time to write this post. OKAY!! Here we go:

The Monday after our Rising Star Pro Latin was our Rising Star Pro Standard. It’s so nice actually having days off, for once. As amateurs, we danced seven days in a row, which was exhausting to say the least.  But as professional, we get days off, which is really nice to relax mentally and physically.

Well, unfortunately that rest didn’t help me very much. Supposedly we danced well, but we were unfortunately just out of the top 48. This was a disappointment for us, as we made the top 48 at the UK Championships in January and we were really hoping to make it this year, as well. But we also understand that the competition is quite different here. And again, we were only 2 call-backs out! So close! That could have been, simply, one judge forgot to mark us in Waltz and in Quickstep. Bam, there are 2 call-backs right there. Or one judge’s couple was in our heat. And there we go, we didn’t make it. Simple as that. Add to the fact that the panel wasn’t great for us, and I was having some pretty major muscle spasms all the way up and down the left side of my back, and there goes our chances. So yes, we were disappointed, but nothing to be angry over. None of the couples who made the 48 were clearly worse than us, some of them could easily have been traded out for us, but that’s just the luck of the night. Even at the UK Championships, we were 40th, which means some of those couples who could have been traded out for us at Blackpool possibly were traded out for the UK. A couple of call-backs out means we’re placed 55th; a couple of call-backs in means we’re placed 40th.

Right now we are exactly in that middle range. So our goal is to get ahead of that middle range so that we’re clearly in the 48 regularly and knocking on the door of the 24. That will probably take a year or two to be close to the 24, but that is our short-term goal. In other words, if you want to make the 48 safely, you’d better be good enough to dance in the 24; if you want to make the 24, you’d better be good enough to dance in the 12. That’s the nature of competition. So we have our work cut out for us!

On the plus side, I wore my older white and jade dress. By older I don’t mean old, I just mean the older dress. I have a brand new dress I wore for the Open (Part 4 of the Blackpool update, coming soon) and for our National Championships here in Bulgaria. But I wore the white and jade dress for the Rising Star, and people loved it. That jade dress really sparkles on the floor, and our teachers afterward told me how calm and professional we looked on the floor. I’m so happy to hear that we have our look figured out. Now the difficult part – the dancing!

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Blackpool Dance Festival 2011, Part One

On the road from Blackpool south to London, stuck in traffic on the M6, got me thinking about what an incredible experience the Open British Championships is, and how every time I go back, year after year, I never get bored. The Open British is, by far, my favorite competition of the year. There is something very special about Blackpool, something that no one, or no organization, can ever take away.

This year was extra special for us because it was the first time we danced Blackpool as professionals. Seven years ago, we debuted on the Blackpool scene as young amateurs. I was still Under 21, but because Simeon was such an old fart (a whole 21!), we couldn’t dance Under 21. For seven years, we travelled, trained hard, and slowly chipped away at the behemoth we had chosen to climb. But we knew, from the beginning, the amateur ranks were not for us. The style we wanted to dance, the style we wanted to develop, was not the style that traditionally gets the marks in the amateur field.

It was time. We knew it was time for the past few years. But we couldn’t ignore it anymore. It was time to turn professional. So last summer, after 2010’s Blackpool Dance Festival, we took the plunge and announced ourselves as professional representatives of Simeon’s home country, Bulgaria, last August. We haven’t looked back every since.

Our first year as professionals has been such a fast-paced, whirlwind year! Last September we danced the World Standard Professional Championships and placed 37th. October was a bittersweet month. We had a terrible result at the International Championships in England, then beat the couple who won the Professional Rising Star at the International just three days later! In December we represented Bulgaria at the World Classical Showdance Championships and finished 9th, a great result! Then at the UK Championships in January of this year, we placed 60th in the Open Professional Standard. And here we are at Blackpool! It’s amazing to think of everything we’ve done in less than a year.

This year was a little different for us. We came to Blackpool in the middle of a very difficult time, as we have just suffered a painful business separation from my parents. I won’t say it didn’t have an effect on our dancing. Normally we come to England a week before the competition, dance some warm-up comps and take a few lessons, before heading up to Blackpool to compete. But because of the circumstances, we were forced to cancel our lessons and comps before Blackpool, delaying our trip by a week. I think the greatest effect this had on our dancing was the fact that we rely heavily on our trips (whether to England or anywhere else) to propel our dancing forward. When we’re home, we’re teaching so hard that we don’t really have the opportunity to practice much. When we travel, it’s all about us, which is nice, because we’re allowed to be selfish so rarely. And cancelling the first week of our Blackpool trip meant cancelling a week of much needed focus and practice. So I will say, without fear of blame or retribution and without regret, that the actions taken by those who forced this separation hurt our dancing.

So it was an even greater testament to our abilities as dancers that we did relatively well.

We flew in to England on Wednesday (having left USA on Tuesday), slept one night in London, then hopped in the car and drove up to Blackpool on Thursday. We got in to Blackpool in the evening, with enough time to stop by the store, make dinner, tan, and get to bed at a reasonable time. The next morning I was up and tanning again, helped my friend who was dancing in the Senior Ballroom with her hair, then got myself ready. Friday was our first day of competition: the Professional Rising Star Latin.

This was a big deal for us. Since turning professional nine months ago, we danced one comp in September in Latin, then took a break to prepare for World Standard Championships, World Classical Showdance Championships, the International Championships (where you’re only allowed to dance one style), and the UK Championships. We had planned to dance Latin at the UK in January, but by the time we got back from the Dance Masters in Paris and our Showdance Championships in Leipzig, a trip we combined with training in London, we only had three weeks to prepare for the UK, and one of those was spent preparing for a New Year’s Eve show in Canada. Needless to say, by the time the UK rolled around, we did not feel comfortable dancing the Latin. To keep a long story short, this year’s Blackpool was the first time we had competed in Latin in nine full months. So when we made the top 96 of the Rising Star, we were ecstatic!

I know that our Latin has improved, and I know our coaches are happy with our progress. But we also felt rusty in our Latin. So we were pleasantly surprised when we made it to the 96.

A big part of our improvement, I’m sure, is the fact that back in February, when we started training our Latin for Blackpool, we decided since everything was shaky and out of practice anyway, we might as well take the time to reinvent some of the choreography in our dances. We trashed our Samba and started from scratch. We altered our Rumba and our Cha Cha, but kept our Paso (our best dance) and Jive (the one we didn’t need) the same for now. We don’t need Jive for Blackpool because they only play Jive for the semi-final and final, in order to save time.

I was also very happy because I finally got to wear my new Latin dress, which I had had made back in August when we turned pro but before I knew we were going to be taking nine months off. This Latin dress is seriously gorgeous, and I was just excited that I finally got to compete with it.

After we finished, having made for sure that we weren’t going to make the 48 (although I think we can make it next year; we weren’t too far off), we packed our little suitcases and met up with dearest coach Glen Brennan for dinner at a nearby bar/restaurant called the “West Coast Café”. The food was pretty good, but one thing really cracked me up: a section of their menu was called “Famous West Coast Burgers”. One of their burgers was called “The Alabaman”. The description was of a beef burger with cheese and bacon, drizzled with their “Famous West Coast Sauce”. I kept wondering to myself, do they realize that Alabama is nowhere near the West Coast? A Brit would get all bristly under the collar if an American accidentally assume Essex was near Wales, and probably make some joke about how naïve Americans are. But there is considerably more distance between Alabama and the West Coast than there is between Essex and Wales. Should we insert joke here?

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with Part 2 of our Blackpool trip, including interesting insights into our Professional Rising Star Standard event!

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“Dancing With the Stars” Week 6 Review Summary

Remember, this is only a summary! The full review can be found at http://www.emotionsdancesport.com/dancing-with-the-stars/week-6.htm.

Week 6 Review Summary

This week the theme was Guilty Pleasures… or so it was titled. I’m not sure what the point of this theme was. When I see “Guilty Pleasures”, usually think of something lustful, licentious, more carnal and crude. What we got was… “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Dancing on Sunshine”. Neither of those strike me as guilty, or particularly pleasurable in a physical sense. I think the title of “Guilty Pleasures” was a little misguided.

What I said last week concerning the song choice and that relation to the dance choice still applies. There were a number of songs that simply didn’t match the dance they were paired with. And once again, it is the stars who suffer as students of dance. Romeo’s Waltz, for instance, was not a Waltz.

Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=8, Bruno=9 for a total of 25 and a grand total of 125

Dance: Samba

I was very impressed with her Samba. Of course, the choreography took advantage of the things Kendra can do well, namely shake, shake, and more shake. Louis did a great job. Her posture has improved a lot, and we didn’t have to subject ourselve to watching her bent, ungainly legs tonight because, luckily, bent legs are required for Samba!

However, she still had a few problems. First of all, you could tell she was counting at the beginning of the dance. Not only did she nod her head to each beat, but she also snapped her fingers.

 

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovsky

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=9, Bruno=9 for a total of 26 and a grand total of 133

Dance: Samba

She did so much better this week than any other week I’ve seen her since the beginning. Len was right on when he said that finally, Kirstie fulfilled the potential she showed in the season’s premiere. I agreed with him 100%.

I thought Maks put together a very nice piece of choreography, with a lot of recognizable figures that she actually performed well. The choreography was very appropriate, both to the song and to Kirstie’s ability and personality. Speaking of personality, I think she really brought it forward! I thought last week’s was pretty good, she seemed to have fun with the “American Woman” theme, but her personality in this Samba was so much stronger!

 

Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke

Score: Carrie-Ann=7, Len=8, Bruno=7 for a total of 22 and a grand total of 134

Dance: Tango

You know, I felt really sorry for Chris the entire time I watched his dance. It really felt like the odds were stacked against him. First of all, he was given such a boring song for a dance solo. “Don’t Stop Believing”? Really? Nothing against it as a song, which I think is a rather good song, but not for a dance show.

Honestly, I thought Chris deserved a higher score than he got. It’s not his fault the song sucked and Cheryl let him down, just like it wasn’t Chelsea’s fault when Mark gave her inappropriate choreography.

 

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=8, Bruno=8 for a total of 24 and a grand total of 137

Dance: Paso Doble

I still like Ralph, what can I say? And I especially loved his karate-chop in the middle of his Paso. Sweeeet.

As far as his dancing went, he did really well. His overall attitude for Paso was great, and he was so precise with everything. His arms were right on and perfectly timed with Karina’s. And once again, Karina capitalised on the fact that Ralph can spin. Where did he learn to spin like that? I am so impressed with Ralph’s spins.

 

Romeo & Chelsie Hightower

Score: Carrie-Ann=10, Len=9, Bruno=9 for a total of 28 and a grand total of 139

Dance: Waltz

OVERSCORED, OVERSCORED, OVERSCORED!! Okay, his posture is pretty good, although his frame does get a bit loopy from time to time. I seriously disagreed with Carrie-Ann, I did not get “swept away” at all. Maybe I’m missing something, being that I’m watching it on the television screen versus live, but it just didn’t take me away.

He did have some major problems that failed to get mention. First of all, he was off-time. Part of this was his fault, an even bigger part of this was the producers’ faults, and biggest part was Chelsie’s fault.

 

Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas

Score: Carrie-Ann=10, Len=9, Bruno=9 for a total of 28 and a grand total of 142

Dance: Quickstep

This was such a cute routine! For the second week in a row, my favorite routine. Chelsea had everything down, from the character to the footwork, to the posture. She came onto this show already a good dancer, and now she is turning into a good Ballroom dancer, which is much more difficult and technical. Mark is doing a good job with her.

That said, her frame was a little stressed, but I would have to blame that on Mark. He held his left arm too wide, pulled her right arm out until it was almost straight. This caused the stress I saw.

 

Hines Ward & Kym Johnson

Score: Carrie-Ann=9, Len=9, Bruno=9 for a total of 27 and a grand total of 148

Dance: Viennese Waltz

It’s so funny that everyone made such a big deal about Hines dancing with a pillow. If only they knew how many hours my students spend dancing with pillows, purses, beach balls, you name it! Dancing with inanimate objects is a great way to reinforce those basic principles of frame and posture. So now that we know what Hines did was nothing out of the ordinary, let’s continue with the critique.

I thought overall he danced very well tonight. As I’ve said before, I like Hines. He’s very good and has great stage presence and wonderful connection with Kym. It’s obvious they get along really well. He also has beautiful posture and a more than acceptable frame. However, his flat feet still bother me.

 

Conclusion

The dancing is getting better week by week, and that means the standards are going up. In the reviews of the upcoming weeks, I am going to be much more harsh and discerning, as the scores creep higher and higher into the 9s and 10s. And I will not just be critical of the dancers, but of the judges themselves. After all, what good is a score if there is no value attached to it? The competition is getting close, and only time and longevity will tell how it will all pan out.

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