DENVER - “Out of difficulties grow miracles" ~Jean De La Bruyere (1645 – 1696)
Obstacles galore—losing a full day for travel (to the All-Stars’ home towns); being commissioned to perform dances chosen by another couple, (many of which the pros had never DONE!); and the ever-present challenge: trying for the “better-than-last-week’s” performance!
We saw them “reaching deep” for this one, enlisting outside help, swearing, and shaking their heads in frustration, and perform miracles!
Kirstie looked good (pink, flapper dress). Maks played a knickered, bow-tied 1920’s boy. Maks has done more characterizations this season than ever, with a surprisingly cooperative attitude. The Charleston gave Kirstie the opportunity to SHINE. She “swam” her way to the ending, doing the breast stroke on Maks’ knees! Cute interpretation, overcoming obstacles via the fun-crazy elements of the Roaring 20’s! Fun!
Bristol & Mark: “Rock and Roll”. Hmmmm….Today’s Rock? 80’s? Heavy Metal? No…… 50’s! Their classic “At The Hop”, was filled with Jumpin’ Keds and give-it-your-all swing! Even though Bristol drug her heels a little in rehearsal, and Mark wanted to be a Rabbit, they bopped and hopped with the best enthusiasm we’ve seen from Bristol. What a smile!
Sabrina and Louie: “Disco”. After uncloaking her “Cookie Monster” overcoat, Sabrina revealed a sharp, gold fringed dress, and hit their Disco nightclub floor with all-embracing energy! This was another great, dance “treat” from Sabrina.
Bolero…….wow! Cheryl paced and heaved sighs in rehearsal. “This is killin’ me, “ she said to her 4 coaches. But obstacles are “old hat” for Emmitt. We waited uncertainly, but Emmitt threw back his shoulders in confident, “Bolero” fashion, arms with mega-extension, and stunned us with smoky, oh-so-effective drama and execution. Extraordinary lifts! (Who’s a better “base” for a lift than Emmitt!?!) The obstacles they overcame, the road blocks they maneuvered through! It was truly breathtaking.
Now……The biggest challenge of the evening: Gilles (Aladdin) and Peta: Bollywood”. Bollywood is a new concept. It’s a “new-Bombey”, Hybrid-dance art; combining traditional Indian steps, infused with Western dance techniques. The sharp-angled Indian poses aren’t so easy--let alone “hitting those lines” quickly and accurately! Gilles struggled in rehearsal to the point that I wondered if he would get through this with his usual (swoon) style. All for naught! Gilles could have stepped out of a Bollywood movie! He polished his jumps, hit every mark with precisely flexed hands and feet, and perfect facial expression. Gilles proves again: give him a challenge and he consumes in his delightful, “bring-it-on” attitude. What a thrill to watch, knowing their struggles! The audience was on their feet!
Melissa was SO concerned about competing with Shawn’s athletic lifts. “Jitterbug” emphasizes energetic flips and lifts. They chose a “Malt Shop” showcase, her on the counter, jumping into Tony’s arms and back-flipping out; Lindy Kicks, and light-footed, classic side-kicks—all GREAT! Just ike their song title: “These Cat’s Were “Shakin’ On A Hot Tin Roof”! No need for concern, Melissa---FANTASTIC job!
How could Derek and Shawn’s “Mambo” be any better than last week’s SHOWSTOPPER?!!! Derek’s conga-playing opened the curtains to Shawn’s amazingly confident Latin pose. Their lifts intertwined beautifully with precision footwork – IN HIGH HEELS! Shawn performed statuesque lifts with perfectly arched back and perfectly positioned legs. It was hard to decide if they “out-did” last week, or “equaled it”— CERTAINLY another over-the-top, dance!
Apolo and Karina: Hip Hop. Karina wrestled with the stops, jerks, and Hip-Hop moves. Sadly, she fell in a kickover. However, Apolo’s look and moves were so dynamic--somewhat reminiscent of Travolta in “Stayin’ Alive”, and pulled their scores up to a 34. Karina crumbled in tears at the end, but the Judges reassured them, “even their “Running Man” looked good!” They conquered HUGE obstacles and “came through”!
“Contemporary” ………WHAT??! Lyrical? Interpretive? Turns out, it’s BOTH! Val‘s choreography was positively magnetic—drawing us into their story. Kelly’s enthralling interpretation was filled with unbridled emotion, laced with surprising gracefulness. Their dance was stunningly touching—picturesque.
This show was a spectacular example of “Victory over Challenges”, best described by one of my favorite quotes:
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment of all he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
~ Vince Lombardi