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Archive for July 9th, 2009

My life got complicated as soon as my kids got out of school, so I’m sorry no posting for the past two weeks. Accept my humble apologies and allow me the opportunity to smash my head against the wall repeatedly. Thanks.

But now, back to the task at hand. We have said goodbye to Vitolio and AsukaAuskaAlaska, and the other two that I completely forgot the names of… Jonathan and Jessica? Jack and Jill? Cheech and Chong?… since I last wrote something on the subject of So You Think You Can Folk Dance. In the time it took for these people to leave, I had decided that the dancers this season were far superior than usual, but that didn’t make them interesting. At least the right dead weight is being cut. Dancers that are clearly weaker in both talent and personality have gone the way of the hustle, and I’m okay with that. My early faves are all still pretty much here. Nothing shocking, as Jane’s Addiction would say.

So I entered this week without feeling the jazz hands feeling I usually get when my favorite reality shows are on. And as Cat the Amazon Goddess meandered onto the stage, I smiled. Not because I have a huge girl crush on said tall Brit blonde bombshell, but because she was wearing a dress I would actually wear myself. Which made me love her more. Which made my kids go, ” Mom, you have that weird look on your face again.”

Our dancers, bless their tired, blistered feet, have the task of doing two-TWO!- dances this week. Twice the awesomeness, or twice the disaster? Worse- it could be twice the mediocrity, and that just won’t do.

I loved Melissa and Ade’s pas de deux last week. En pointe ballet on a televised dance show? On a channel that isn’t PBS, no less? Mon dieu, quelle surprise! But it showed that Ade lacks foot technique, and i felt some of his personality was sapped by the serious nature of the BALLET! mentality. So when he and Melissa hit disco, I had hopes that it would soar. And Ade did. Melissa… not so much. She was sloppy, and it ended up making the whole dance sloppy. Her fall at the end basically confirmed to me she wasn’t on her game ( dancers fall all the time, but Ade stopped her from a giant ass pound on the ground). And those costumes- Melissa looked like she was wearing a rejected proto type for Rainbow Brite, and Ade clearly raided Huggy Bear’s finer threads. Shiny, was all I could think of. Needless to say, I was not as amazed as the judges were saying, and I honestly think Melissa is the weakest lady left.

Kupono and Kayla luck out with a Mia Michaels contemporary piece about addiction. Mia is a genius, we have clearly established that the only person I love more on this show than Mia is Adam, who tweeted at one point that he will not be on the show again till the finale ( cue bawling in the corner). But I digress… Kupono is totally compelling in this dance as addiction, and Kayla, with her impeccable feet and gorgeous lines, is emotionally wrenching as the addict trying to escape. Contemporary dances dealing with difficult themes are prone to pretension. Not this dance. It was jaw droppingly great, powerful and heartbreaking. Then Nigel bitches about Kayla’s hair. Are your FREAKIN” kidding me?????

Caitlin and Jason are stuck with couple killer the foxtrot, and it was- fine. Jason was way to stiff ( he was desperately trying to maintain his frame and just came off looking like he had a pole up his ass). It felt slow and joyless. Not enough actual foxtrot, to much acrobatics and lifts ( although the lifts were great). It could have been a moderately quick waltz for all the lack of fun ( and the foxtrot can be tremendously fun if you have the right partner). And then the judges were a little too kind in their critiques. I know people feel like they were throwing Caitlin and Jason under the bus. I don’t.

Philip and Jeanine ended up with Russian folk. Wha’? I know nothing about Russian folk, but it looked wildly out of place on the show and so all I can say is… Wha’? I hope that Philip and Jeanine manage to hang on, but they will be one of the bottom three couples.

Randi and Evan, who are both still so friggin’ cute, get a Tabby Nap ( I am NOT calling them Nappy Tab ever) hip hop routine that suits them. No one will ever mistake those two sweet people for gangstas. And the dance itself was fine. But the point of hip hop is the rough side of it. Sweet doesn’t bring out the best of hip hop. In fact, it wasn’t hip hop, it was Prep Hop. Sweater vests? Really?

Brandon and Janette have become my favorite dance couple despite the fact I can’t really stand Brandon. But a good dancer is a good dancer, and he’s a great dancer. They get the always difficult Argentine tango and blow my mind. Her salsa dancing back ground helps her with the strong lines and sharp angles of the dance, and his strength makes their lifts larger than life. Not only is it the best dance so far, it’s one of the best of the season. Nigel says nothing off the top of his critiques, but gives them a standing ovation.

Cat, still looking scrumptious in her classy dress, then tells us next week is the partnership trades. No one will be dancing with the same person. Poor Evan is all I can think.

Melissa and Ade return with a waltz. And she’s better than him this time. Her rises and falls, her extensions, her lines are all superior. He is a great base for those stunning lifts, but his actual waltz steps are very flat footed and not as elegant as they need to be. But he does do a flawless pirouette.

Kayla and Kupono are given the most recognizable dance music form a Broadway show in the last fifty years with ” Dance At the Gym” ( West Side Story), but it seems wrong somehow without the traditional Robbins choreography. But Joey Dowling’s new step are in keeping with the Robbins tradition and I adore her. Too bad Kupono couldn’t find the right emotional beats on this one.  It’s ultimately sweet and light, but lacking any urgency or heat.

Jason and Caitlin get a Mandy Moore lyrical jazz piece that was gorgeous but empty. I never felt compelled to watch a dance by a choreographer I usually can’t avoid immersing myself. That wans’t the choreographer’s fault, as stylistically the dance was one the superior numbers of the night. Caitlin and Jason just don’t do it for me. She’s an ice princess, he’s a wooden block.

Philip and Jeanine score a jive, and it’s pretty friggin’ awesome. Sloppy, but awesome. It’s cheeky, sly fun, and Philip, even with the slip and some foot work errors, is clearly learning. Jeanine is frankly carrying them when they aren’t doing hip hop, but both are so tremendously likable, even with a plac ein the bottom three, I don’t think they’ll go home ( Philip’s place as the last of the hip hoppers probably solidifies him, too).

Evan and Randi got the samba, choreographed by former contestants Pasha and Anya. And the choreography was strong and unique. But Randi and Evan both seemed timid dancing the sexually aggressive dance, and I never bought it for a second. The lift transitions seemed awkward and slowed the dances down significantly, the extensions were weak, and there was little ass shaking. A disappointment all round from this charming and sweet duo.

My notes on Brandon and Janette’s Wade Robson jazz routine is a mere four words: precise, smooth, synched, flawless. It was all these things and more. It was fun, charming, modern- Robson’s name in the dance world is at the point it’s whispered in hushed, reverent tones, and routines like this is why. The dance of the season.  That is as close to perfection as it gets, folks.

The partner trade next week worries me. There are couples who have ridiculous chemistry together right now. I’m scared that some of the great from this week will be lost again as they search to settle into their new relationships.

Overall:

Brandon and Janette

Kayla and Kupono

Melissa and Ade

Philip and Jeanine

Caitlin and Jason

Evan and Randi.

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