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Dancing With The Stars Review

 

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Each week Imperial Society of Teachers of Dacning Fellow and Examiner Phillip Stephens offers a review of the ABC hit show Dancing With The Stars. Phillip shares his thoughts on each couple, their costumes, their performance, their score, the judges' comments, etc, and offers great insight into the world of dancing. Click here for this weeks review

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If you'd like to become a dance teacher, or wish to gain professional degree certification as a dance educator or judge, contact Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Fellow and Examiner Phillip Stephens via philtex44@aol.com. The ISTD was founded in London, England, in 1904 and encompasses a wide range of dance styles. In the more than 100 years of its existence, the ISTD has become known as the World's Leading Dance Examinations Board.


 

Dancing With The Stars Week 8

Dancing With The Stars 11/02/2015 Review
Phillip B Stephens, Fellow and Examiner
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
 
The highest scoring couple in tonight's show wins immunity from the dance-off.  And that's sort of logical, since there are 7 couples.  In addition to their fully choreographed routine, each couple must also learn Samba, Cha Cha and Jive in preparation for the dance-off.  They don't know which dance will be chosen for them in the dance-off, so must be prepared to do 3 dances in addition to their base routine.
 
A nice but rather "fussy" opening number, and some of it simply looked like "busy work" to fill up the space/time
 
This week, each celebrity will be paying tribute to someone special,  someone who gave them the inspiration to achieve their individual success.
 
Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson. Salsa
Carlos has a very engaging and likeable personality - and a good deal of talent for dancing.  This was certainly not his best dance in the "fundamental Salsa" department.  He has consistently presented much better lines and control in the other dances.  I guess taking the shirt off is a nice distraction from the weakness of his footwork and leg actions. The routine featured a very nice ending, but this one was not a hit with me.  Except for Karin Ann, the judges were overly praiseful of this rather anemic performance.  Kari Ann, noted their rough beginning and a tough landing on a lift...then - after looking at his pecs and cute smile, I guess - went all gaga over his performance.  27, which is more accurate than I thought it would be after all that fawning praise.
 
Alek Skarlatos & Lyndsay Arnold. Contemporary
A lot of blah, blah blah about the pressure of him having to live up to being a hero.  He IS a hero, but I don't see how he has to continually live up to being one.  Besides, what does him BEING a hero got to do with his dancing?  Alek is paying tribute to Chris Kyle, the hero who became known as The American Sniper.  A lot of lifting and not a lot of dancing on Alek's part.  This performance reminded me of many Theatre Arts events I've watched in which the man is just a lifting machine.  A lot of rough spots throughout the performance.  Going into and out of lifts should be a seamless activity incorporated into the overall performance, and they did not have that aspect down very well.  I would not give this very high marks, even allowing for the fact that he's never danced before and did a reasonably good job.  This is week 8!  Bruno - noted a miss on the lift.  Kari Ann noted that each week presents a challenge and that he rose to the challenge.  Julianne would have liked more side by side combos.  I think she was more honest than the other 2, though I think they were preparing him for lower scores.  25, which was accurate for that performance.
 
Andy Grammer & Allison Holker. Viennese Waltz
A nod to Andy's idol - Stevie Wonder.  This performance was another dedication to his mother, who seems to have been a very special person in his life, so dancing to "Isn't She Lovely" is a truly special tribute.  A lovely opening.  The dancing of Viennese Waltz is not so good, but he does know the choreography and makes good lines.  Overall, a nice job, just not one of his best. I think he tries so hard to do a great job when he dedicates something to his mother that the effort and the emotional ties get in his way.  Kari Ann noted that his posture was off because of trying so hard.  Julianne agreed and noted that this was not Andy's best week.  Bruno noted that while the emotions were right, the execution of the dance was not.  22, and fairly accurate.
 
Alexa PenaVega & Mark Ballas - Argentine Tango
Her icon was David from David and Goliath - a 17-yr-old who rose to a difficult challenge.  She is inspired through her faith, which is an admirable thing indeed.  A lot of strong solo dancing in the opening.  Nice lifts, nice leg lines.  She got off the choreography a couple of times, and  her leg lines were quite untidy when in closed position.  This week seems to be a low for the dancers - so far, all of them have given sub-par performances.  Judges noted the weaknesses, but Kari Ann was a bit too praiseful for me.  I admire how Alexa kept going and recovered each time.  25.  Bruno and Julianne have been much more accurate with their scores than Kari Ann in this show.
 
Nick Carter & Sharna Burgess.  (More) Contemporary
Nick is inspired by his wife, Lauren, who has always been there for him.  A nice opening with some lovely moves and good lines and a tremendous amount of emotional content.  He seems quite "spot on" with this one with only a couple of unsteady places.  The best performance of the night so far.  A lovely tribute to his pregnant wife.  The judges gave very nice and honest praise for a presentation that truly deserved it.  30, and well deserved.
 
Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough.  A FABULOUS Foxtrot
Her icon is Grace Kelly, who stayed true to herself no matter what changed in her life (becoming a princes, etc). Why has Bindi not used knee pads?  Why has she not taken better care of her feet?  Why do the pros not look after these dancing "newbies" a bit more carefully?   I like this routine, and her dress is fantastic.  She reminds me of one of my students who, when she knows the routine, sings the song.  The "on-the-floor"  synchronized swim team bit was excellent. Bindi is a lovely performer - what a showgirl!  The lowering curtain bit was great.  I will be very disappointed if this number fails to garner a perfect score.  The judges note how strongly she commits to her performance every time.  Since they are on about her shoulders, she will most likely NOT get a perfect score. 28, which is not so nice of the judges.  She got just 1 more point than Carlos, and her performance was far and away better than his.  Grrr!
  
Tamar Braxton & Val Chmerkovskiy. 
OK, she said an arrogant thing in her week 7 package video which was shown just before her week 7 performance.  This week, Val is upset because her arrogance undermined their efforts for the week... My problem with that is that he got upset with everyone ELSE instead of with Tamar.  SHE said it.  Everyone else just heard it.  An interesting Paso Doble.  Good choreography and nice lines.  Tamar does quite well and performs strongly in her solo work and, this week, she is also doing well in partnership.  I enjoyed this more than any of her previous presentations.  The judges liked it, too. 28, which was good for that performance. 
Derek and Bindi against Carlos and Witney - Jive
Bindi and Derek have this one if you ask me - they are much more together than Carlos and Witney
I disagree on this one via the judges, but the audience liked Bindi and Derek more than Carlos & Witney
 
Tamar and Val against Alexa and Mark - Cha Cha
Don't care for Tamar in this one at all - her head is forward on a rounded set of shoulders.  Alexa got off time and out of step.
I didn't like Tamar and Val that much.  Glad the audience liked Alexa and Mark.
 
Andy and Allison against Alek and Lindsay - Samba
Don't care much for either of these performances - at least not as Samba
I would agree that Andy and Allison should win, and am happy the audience felt the same.
 
Though he danced strongly throughout - especially in that "Singing in the Rain" number, I can't help but wonder if Andy's partner being pregnant had a bearing on his elimination.  He is certainly a stronger dancer than Alek.
 
My week 7 prediction was that Bindi, Carlos and Andy would be in a run-off for the trophy.  Looks like I missed on that one.  I'll now put Nick in that run-off to replace Andy

That's my review for week 8. 

If you have comments about my review, please send them to philtex44@aol.com

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