Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dancing With the Stars Season 7, Week 2

Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer stole the show on Monday night. Bravo to Lacey for bringing that extra shove of creativity by pushing the boundaries of the Paso Doble. I don't think adding some contemporary elements is about "being who we are," as Lacey put it, it's more about moving dance forward. Len Goodman has been labeled as the "traditional" judge for years, so he has to maintain that image for the branding of the show and disagree with what they did. I wouldn't expect him to change his mind any time soon.

Although Julianne Hough moved Cody Linley around the floor, instead of the other way around, he did a great job with performance quality and some of those moves. Yes, the polish isn't there, but thank goodness he's trying harder than some of the adults.

Karina Smirnoff and Derek Hough decided to dance around their partners this week instead of with them. Brooke Burke pranced around Derek like a three-year-old in ballet class as he swung his cape. Then, Rocco DiSpirito stood like a stick stuck in the mud swaying back and forth as Karina danced around him during the Rumba. Rather disappointing from those pairs.

And nope, Kim Kardashian going home doesn't surprise me, I just wish Mark Ballas could stick around...he's rather nice to look at.

Cirque du Soleil: Kooza

Although it's not dance, Kooza offered such creativity and artistry it deserves a post. This was my first experience with Cirque du Solei and I was impressed, not just with the acrobatics, but with the integration of a story line throughout. The story follows a lonely clown and his journey through a magical world where he finds friends and confidence. 

Besides the usual tiperope routine, the show offered some unusual acts, like a Unicycle Duo who performed a pas de deux on wheels. How he could balance his partner and flip her above his head and ride around the stage in circles I will never know.

Some of the best moments of the performance where watching the clown king and his court jesters interact with the audience. One woman had a chair that was attached to a hydraulic lift system and she went high into the air laughing hysterically. That was probably the best moment of the show, because she had no idea what was going on.

The contortionists put me in pain in my seat. It was beautiful to watch them unfold and fold into each other with such strength, but all I could think about was their poor lumbar vertebrae. I have a stress fracture in my fourth lumbar because of dance, and I can only think of the pain they might have in the future.

But what a show, filled with a beautiful interplay of music, acting and acrobatics. Kooza is on a national tour so take an evening off and get ready to be amazed.  


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Winner of The Emmy Award for Choreography

This year's Emmy for choreography went to Wade Robson for "The Hummingbird and Flower/Chairman's Waltz" from So You Think You Can Dance. It was much deserved, take a look for yourself:

As for next year's Emmy, here's my choice by Mia Michaels:

Katie and Joshua just couldn't go wrong together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dancing with the Stars Season 7, Night 2

It looks like an exciting season ahead on Dancing with the Stars with no real leaders in the first round. Of course you have Lance Bass who was taught rhythm throughout his years in ‘NSYNC. (Frankly, he or anyone who has danced on a stage for such a long time should not be qualified for this competition.) Beyond Lance's rhythm, Maurice Greene, Warren Sapp and Brooke Burke stood out to me by the second night of competition. They each have true performance qualities and can relax enough to look confident on stage. Misty May could be up there too if she had more confidence. She is often looking down throughout the piece and doubting herself. But she has a great body and rhythm, so she could be someone to look at in the future.

One person I know will head home sooner than I would like is Cloris Leachman. What a performer. What a comedian. If only she was more stable in her movement. But bravo for those chaines on the second night. With that confident personality and her natural excitement she is a delight to watch.

One thing that irritated me was Derek Hough's apparent excitement over the fact that Brooke hyperextends her legs. This is something he should be trying to correct, not complimenting. And she is such a good dancer, beyond her nice legs, that he should have focused his attention on complimenting something else about her, instead of pointing out a negative that any trained dancer knows damages a body. Dancers work for years trying to correct this inappropriate placement. So shame on him for framing the term as a positive, especially when young, impressionable dancers are watching this show and looking to him as a professional.

Overall, looks like a season with some confident celebrities and some edgy professionals, like Lacey Schwimmer who will bring some great creativity to the competition. But by the end of the season the people I want to see dance are the judges, have they ever shown them dance? I think it’s time to start. They did it last season on So You Think You Can Dance.