WEEK 6 – COUNTRY (Music) NIGHT—NOT C&W DANCE
C&W Dance is something I KNOW about, teaching, performing and judging for years. This is "home" to me—my "comfort zone".
Although there wasn’t a single Two-Step or Cowboy Cha Cha integrated into any of the dances, there WAS some simulated Line Dance steps! The dances were more like "7-Brides-For-7- Brothers" (imaginary, leaping Broadway-ballet cowboys, doing steps a real cowboy wouldn’t be caught dead doing)--not from the country dance floors. That’s okay….it’s Dancing With The Stars, for heaven’s sake! Not "real" Country Dancing!
Much to my pleasure, Gilles/Peta kicked off doing a Cha Cha to an all-time-great, Shania song! Now, we all know the "Cha Cha Cha" is MUCH different than the "Cowboy Cha Cha", AND they were being judged on their vinyl-britches-style "Cha Cha Cha" (Ballroom technique)—not blue-jeans-‘n-boots, Neon Moon, "Cowboy Cha Cha." Actually, I doubt that the Judges are well-versed enough in C&W Dance to recognize great C&W Dance if they saw it. But, wouldn’t it have been terrific if DWTS had featured some real C&W Champs?! I think it would have been sooooo appropriate and added WONDERFUL realism and "flavor" to the evening?!
But….I digress……Gilles came through with a dynamite solo and Peta wore a shorty, "mock corset" for her interpretation of a saloon girl. They did some fantastic steps and Gilles was "all-in" as usual. His 150% efforts paid off in the "9’s"! Carrie Ann noted that his hands needed some work. (Who was looking at his HANDS?! J)
Sabrina/Louie had some Barn Dance lights strung across the dance floor and Louie wore a plaid shirt--the ONLY Country influences in their Rhumba. Sabrina’s costume would have been much more appropriate with "Ballroom" décor. However, they danced to a song that was meaningful to Sabrina. Hunter Hayes’ "Wanted". Hunter (and his family) have been special people to me for several years. We performed at an event several years ago where Hunter entertained us with his amazing, child-prodigy, Country music. (He was about 9 or 10 years old then and already a great musician/great kid!) "Wanted" hit #1 on the Billboard Country Charts earlier this month. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy! What a genuinely wonderful family!
Since the Judges have been encouraging "vulnerability" from Sabrina, they were THRILLED with the choreography and her heartfelt emotion, while I was thrilled to hear Hunter’s song! Sabrina earned a perfect 30!
Kelly/Val performed a "Good Tango" to "Good Girl". There were hot red lights around the carriage, she wore a hot red, feathered dress, and a red-hot kiss at the end. Val wore a tailored, Western Gambler suit. Kelly was more solid on her dance steps than last week. Her entire performance was MUCH more smooth, focused and improved.
Melissa/Tony ‘s (Viennese Waltz): authentically costumed and beautifully danced. Melissa’s solo opened the song. Her denim-blue ruffled, prairie skirt and Tony’s jeans, shirt, boots and western belt earned them points for authenticity (from me). Melissa continues to dance with a "ballerina" quality of airy, light steps and beautiful Pirouettes. 29.5! Beautifully done!
Shawn/Derek drove in on a John Deer green ATV and were the only couple to integrate real country moves into their dance. We saw the famous C&W "Pretzel" (swing move) and some heel-toe-line dance steps! Way to go Derek! Shawn’s solo left a LOT to be desired, I thought. Repeated "Elbow Bumps", are not my idea of good choreography nor "dance", really. Even though there is great concern, credit and consideration for her injury, she can do better than Week 6.
Kirstie was absolutely worn to a frazzle in rehearsals, but she danced with a surprising amount of energy and enthusiasm. Her solo was filled with emotion. Bruno’s comment was perfect:
"that was the expression of the gorgeous-ness of a real woman….." he said, with sincerity. Kirstie’s expression and confidence was reflected in her 9.5 scores!
Apolo/Karina: Karina may not be the easiest "pro" to relate to, but you would have never known it by Apolo’s performance! His solo opened the number, dancing/moving around her (while she lay on the floor), projecting intensity, love, adoration and a superb "connection". Karina had not one "hint" of "Country" in her costume. It was beautiful, as her pleated blue gown skirt softly swirled around them…..but country? Nope – missed the wagon, there.
Emmit/Cheryl: I’ve danced a hundred miles to Kenny & Dolly’s "Islands In The Stream". This fun, "porch-swingin’-County-Fair-Fox Trot" started out a bit on the "slow side" but………while Hurricane Sandy plummeted the East Coast, Hurricane Emmitt roared onto the DWTS floor with all the power and enthusiasm of a bronc-bustin’ "8 Second Ride"! As the lyrics rang through the hall…… "and we rely on each other…uh huh….", Emmitt "busted loose" performing his solo--IN STYLE!!!! In spite of choreography and steps that were TOTALLY out of his comfort zone, Emmitt gave it every ounce he had, letting us know in a BIG way, "this ain’t his first rodeo!" He kept me "pullin’ for him" every second!
Group Dance: After the dances we’ve seen the group do before, it was just not "up to par". I LOVED Big & Rich! But the dance……. girls "shakin’ it" on the stairs for their opening (yawn)": Not together on their opening footwork (oops) and not with the music (Ug), all clearly indicating not enough rehearsal time and possibly "one (exhausted) All-Star Challenge too many", at this stage of the game. Enter the guys: They joined the gals for a better-but-still-slightly "ho hum" segment. The individual performances were being judged for "creativity" and an extra 2 points. Apolo’s solo was, by FAR, the best of the group, but the judges gave the "creativity points" to Kirstie for her little "spanking step". (?)
Next time DWTS does a "Country Night", I would LOVE to be on staff as an Advisory Producer (or something). THEN, we would see some genuine (and fantastic), C&W Dance Featurettes! There would also be some "well-deserved recognition" given to the tremendous influence C&W Music has had on the World of Dance—and broadcasted to the nation! Hey DWTS……give me a call! J
I’ll be there with my boots on!
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