Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Our 11 remaining pairs return for another round, telling the most memorable year of their lives with dance.  The featured dances are Rumba, Samba, Foxtrot, Waltz, Jive, Salsa.

Jack and Anna dance a Samba to celebrate 2011, when he met a daughter he didn't know he had.  He seems much more relaxed in his movement this week.  He's got pretty good hip action and he seems in control of what he wants to do.  Most of the movement is well connected and smooth.  The tempo of the music is a little slow for Samba, but they did manage to convey something of the party and celebration flavor of the dance.  I liked his rhythm and musicality.  I thought Anna did a great job with the choreography, especially with managing the tempo.  I'd like to see his upper body posture and frame get a little stronger.  But he had very clean footwork so that's a good balance.  Nicely done.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24. 

Maria and Derek dance Rumba to give thanks to her parents for helping her understand the value of hard work.  It's an odd musical choice for Rumba, but it makes sense for her memorable year.  Derek did a stunning job of choreographing the piece.  It was absolutely the vertical expression of a horizontal desire.  Very sexy, but also beautifully romantic and touching.  That dance was absolutely outstanding.  I was mesmerized watching them connect.  The dancing was smooth and sensual.  Bruno pointed out that she danced the melodic line because the musical arrangement was lacking a distinct rhythm...and she did.  That's what made it so incredible to watch.  That was wow.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.  Yup.

Gladys and Tristan dance Foxtrot to commemorate her early memories of performing as a young teen in 1957 with the likes of Sam Cooke, James Brown, and Jackie Wilson.  I love her grace and elegance.  Her posture and frame were much better this week.  Her arms and hands are graceful, and she has a way of holding her head...I can't quite describe it.  I would like to see her extend and finish off the movements a little more, but I think she was definitely focused on improving her frame, and she did that.   This dance felt reserved and a bit careful, but again I think that was more in the way she concentrated on technique.  I found the dance lovely and sophisticated.  They floated over the floor.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.  Excellent.  

Roshon and Chelsie dance Samba as a tribute to Roshon's hero Michael Jackson and the first time he got to see MJ live.  The choreography pulls from MJ's dance vocabulary through the years.  I have to say that I thought there was a little bit too much focus on the Michael and less on the Samba.  I felt the Samba content was an after thought to the MJ content.  And I felt that the dance lacked fluidity and was a little out of control.  Roshon definitely had high energy and flare...and style.  That's to his credit.  This week I saw the very young man on the floor.  There's nothing wrong with that, but in this instance I wanted more Samba.  The dance was good, but not my favorite.  Judges say 8,8,9 for a total of 25.  I'm not sure about that score, because I thought there wasn't enough Samba content and the technique wasn't as polished as it could have been.

Gavin and Karina dance Rumba to remember the moment he decided to become a musician, and the encouragement he got from his family.  What an improvement.  I've said it before...he may look awkward and clunky in rehearsal, but when he hits the stage, all of that goes away and he just performs.  He took control of the piece from the beginning and he danced extremely well.  This was definitely a dance he felt.  His technique was good.  He had strong hip action.  He provided an outstanding frame for Karina.  That was really impressive.  He extended the movement through his arms and hands.  His lines were wonderful.  And, as Rumba should be, the dance was sensual and romantic.  He focused on the details.  He's getting better every week.  Well done, Sir.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24. 

Katherine and Mark dance Waltz to remember when her father was diagnosed with cancer, and subsequently passed.  This was hard for us to watch.  Pam lost her mom to cancer, and her dad shortly after.  The dance was really beautiful, but it's painful to know that Pam won't ever get to dance with her father like that.  That's just too much emotion to put in a recap post.  So we're just going to let that dance stand on its own.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29. Give us a moment to pull ourselves together and we'll continue.

Sherri and Val dance Rumba to celebrate the premature birth of her son, and her joy as he survives and thrives as a healthy little boy.  That dance was nicely staged.  I liked that there was a nice mix of dance and pose.  I thought the beginning had more fluidity and musicality, but overall I thought the emotion was contained and controlled.  Her spins were very good and she had the right amount of hip action.  I thought also that there was a clear beginning, middle, and end to the story.  I liked the lines and shapes she created.  And I thought her technique was solid both in her frame and her footwork.  Well done, my dear.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.   

Melissa and Maks dance Jive to celebrate her recovery from a broken back two years ago.  This is an interesting lead in to Jive.  It began like a Rumba, then kicked up the tempo.  She keeps missing holds and losing her balance.  Her kicks aren't completely clean and crisp.  She doesn't flick her lower leg.  Still, I thought she managed those tempo changes pretty well.  The choreography was difficult, because they had to pack in so much Jive content into the short phrases of up tempo rhythm.  I thought she did pretty well, but there's something I'm not liking.  Maybe it's because the routines are so complicated that there are more places for mistakes, and I'm seeing the mistakes instead of feeling the impact of the overall dance.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Jaleel and Kym dance Rumba to commemorate his creation of the alter ego to Steve Urkel...Stephan Urquel.  Oh this is nice.  That's a man dancing with a woman, that is.  I liked the turns and the shapes they made between them with their arms.  That was really cool, even if the movement was less fluid and smooth than maybe a Rumba should be.  There was a pop and emphasis to some moves that proper Rumba should soften.  But I thought that worked, particularly for the character of the piece.  He brought a vibe and a style to it that was different from a smooth Rumba but still very confident and sexy.  He took control of the routine and was a strong lead.  I really enjoyed the performance and I like the way Kym put it together.  Judges say 9,8,8 for a total of 25. 

William and Cheryl dance Salsa to commemorate his arrival in the US to pursue freedom and a future for himself and his family.  I expect him to be good at this because of his Latin background, and he is very good at it.  The movement is natural and fluid.  He's also very attentive to Cheryl in hold.  He controls the dance and provides the frame for her to dance in.  The dance had flavor and passion and excitement.  It was sexy and sensual and hot.  They flubbed a trick...and Pam had a naughty moment!  She said if a trick was going to be missed, then that was the way to miss it...slipping between his legs.  Naughty woman!  Judges say 9,9,10 for a total of 28.  The 10 is too high because of the mistake.

Donald and Peta dance Rumba in memory of his friend Brian Pretlow, who died of cancer two years ago.  Donald and Peta have such a connection together.  Peta put together such a wonderful series of movements, with long lines and extensions, and tremendous shapes.  And then the two of them danced it so elegantly.  It looked effortless.  I loved his frame and his footwork.  The mist on the floor disguised when his toes turned in...he's either going to have to try and correct that flaw, or just let it be and overshadow it with strong technique in other areas.  I thought he danced with focus and control.  And his performance was so engaging.  He had my full attention.  I enjoyed his rhythm and musicality.  He dances with charm and grace.  Well done.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26.

Here's our leader board:

29 Katherine and Mark
28 William and Cheryl
27 Maria and Derek
26 Donald and Peta
25 Jaleel and Kym
25 Roshon and Chelsie
24 Gavin and Karina
24 Gladys and Tristan
24 Sherri and Val
24 Jack and Anna
24 Melissa and Maks

What a great show.  Lots of emotion.  Lots of terrific dancing.  Lots of great entertainment.

It's a logjam at 24 and I can't imagine who is going home.  Nobody was awful.  I don't think there has ever been a closer competition at this stage, with 11 pairs within 6 points of each other.

My votes were split between Gladys, Katherine, Jaleel, and Gavin.  Yup...Gavin.  I think he's the most improved over the three performances, and he earned my support with that Rumba.  Pam split her votes between Katherine, Jaleel, William, and Sherri.

It's nice that we've got a few differences in who we're supporting.

OK know the drill.  Tune in tonight for results.  And check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Congratulations to the University of Kentucky, which beat Kansas in the NCAA Men's National Championship.

Later gang!


  1. Akelamalu says:

    WOW our Katherine is doing well!

  1. Might get to watch. GN's softball practice was moved to last evening. Saw most of the b-ball game, though, but fell asleep before the end because it started way to late for the Gram!

  1. Jean says:

    That's cool that they dedicate their lives to milestones in their lives.

  1. TopChamp says:

    since I have time today and have learnt my american highway code (sort of) I have youtubed a few you liked..

    Not generally a rumba fan but I liked the spin at the end of Maria's dance.

  1. Kentucky handled 'em pretty easily from what I can see.