Mr. Phillip Stephens of The Dance Place said in his recent newsletter:
DWTS: Week 4, Season 8
These Comments are provided by Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Fellow and Examiner Phillip Stephens. As an experienced competitor and teacher, Phillip has been involved in dancing from many aspects. He is a Championship Certified Adjudicator who also holds a World Dance Council judging license. His views on dance are tempered with experiences gained over 37 years of teaching, competing, judging and examining dancers of all ages and skill levels.
Tricks, Flips, Lifts and Slides were in vogue this week as the contestants took to the floor with their Lindy Hop or Argentine Tango routines. It was rather surprising that there were no injuries to speak of during rehearsals or the show itself. It pains me a bit to see inexperienced people risk potentially severe injuries in an effort to so quickly put these routines on the dance floor. Though they do have mats available and – I’m guessing – “spotters” standing nearby, it is my feeling that both the professionals and the “stars” have all been extremely lucky to escape permanent injury from having these celebrities charging into “tricks” that they are not trained to handle. All sorts of tricks, flips and slips in rehearsals. I disagree with the use of those moves with such poorly trained people.
David Allen Grier & KYm – Lindy Hop
Great job – lots of energy. Nice kicks, good flavor for the dance. Good trick-lift-flip at the end. Very high speed. Probably get 25-26. Len said this was not his best??? Bruno said the same. Carrie Ann Liked it, as did Michael Schedler and commentator Phillip Stephens. David and Kym accomplished a LOT in just 1 week. Kym’s outfit was a bit too bare for this commentator’s taste and was not as flattering to Kym as is the attire she custumarily wears. Nor did I feel it went particularly well with the “era” of the dance. Got: 8+7+7 = 22, a bit low for that performance.
Lil’ Kim & Derek – Argentine Tango
(Derek admitted not knowing much about the dance, but that mattered little in the end)
Lil’ Kim’s dress made her large bottom look bigger. The gave a very nice performance with good and sharp synchronization. Lil’ Kim looked fully committed and totally fearless. The lifts were nicely executed. Choreography well-suited to music. 27-28 points? Bruno gets a bit carried away with his effusive compliments. Carrie Ann noted the lines and moves. Len liked the choreography but thought the character was missing. Got: 9+8+10 = 27 – pretty much what I’d give for that performance.
Chuck Wicks & Julianne H – Lindy Hop
Again, I must emphasize that lifts & flips without training are not a good bet. Lots of kicks and flicks. Not – in my opinion – a true Lindy Hop. Several near misses on tricks, but pretty good overall. As Michael Schedler noted, David Allen Grier was better. 21? Carrie Ann feels Chuck is too “safe”. Len agrees. Bruno liked the style but felt the performance wasn’t quite “crisp” enough. Got: 8+7+7 = 22 – even though this performance was not really on par with Grier, who really went for broke.
Lawrence Taylor & Edyta S – Argentine Tango
Pretty rough-looking rehearsal clips. Unlike her normal wardrobe choices, Edyta’s dress was really good for the character in this one! Lawrence wasn’t as flamboyant as he could be for this dance, but he was strong and had a lot of the stern character in hand. A “competent” job, but not outstanding. 22-23? Len was on the mark with remarks about Lawrence’s heaviness. Bruno disagreed about that and thought Lawrence’s plodding around out there equated to “a great job”, though Bruno did make cricicisms about the footwork. Lawrence did stomp and plod around out there, so I’d agree with Len. Carrie Ann noted a good performance, but wasn’t really impressed. Got: 7+5+7 = 19. Lower than I guessed because the judges usually give him high marks, but pretty good overall. Michael Schedler says he’d have given it all 6’s.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower – Lindy Hop
Ty did an excellent job with some very tough lifts without the benefit of fundamental training in doing them, so I’ll give him an “A” for that. A big bang beginning. He’s really quite a coordinated cowboy. He moved fast, was really high energy and did some amazing tricks and made them look easy.. He has beautiful posture and a fabulous back. Though truly out of his comfort zone, he is giving it his all and there was such a big improvement that it was like watching a totally different person than in week 1. I’d give that 25+. Got: 9+8+8 = 28, which I’m very happy about.
Steve W & Karina S – Argentine Tango
What a GREAT attitude! I didn’t like her dress: It didn’t quite fit with him for age and build, so it made her look like a cheap hooker dancing for money. Steve stood in poses a bit too much and danced too little, but did a fairly competent job. He really did try hard and didn’t do any of the “flaky” fun junk that has been his trademark during the past 3 weeks. I hope the judges note his effort. Carrie Ann was not very nice. Len noted his effort to do a proper Tango and improvement from last week. Bruno said it stunk, which was, again, cruel. This was NOT a bad performance from a man with Steve’s talent and ability. 18? Got: 4+4+4 = 12. I don’t think he is being rewarded for his contribution to the show.
Note: It appears that the judges don’t like Steve Wozniak because he doesn’t fit their image of the ideal dancer. So, instead of judging him based on his skills, ability, improvement level and entertainment value, they have resorted to cruel “playground-like” commentary instead of critiquing the dance performance he presents. It is really quite unprofessional of them to do so, and I feel that they should be rebuked for their unseemly behaviour toward this man.
Melissa Rycroft & Tony D – Lindy Hop
Nice outfits. Lots of energy. Neat tricks. Good sharp kicks and super synchronicity. A very engaging smile and some super tricks at the end. 30? Michael Schedler: Hard to believe Len felt it worth zeroing in on the fact that Melissa – an untrained dancer – had trouble with 1 lift. Got: 10+9+10 = 29, which is pretty darned good. It is a shame Len was so picky about that lift.
Holly Madison & Dmitry – Argentine Tango
Hurt her ribs – strained muscles. Not impressive at all. Heavy, labored, jerky. One nice lift-flip combo. Bruno was right in that it started bad and got worse and that Dmitry did all the work. Carrie Ann noted all the weaknesses and says she needs to work on strength. Len noted a need for more core strength. 15? Got: 5+6+5 = 16 – pretty on the money for that performance.
Steve~O & Lacey S – Lindy Hop
A rather odd beginning with Lacey lying on the floor. Steve~O just is not a coordinated person. He looked very heavy in all the moves. They were somewhat synchronized in most of ther stuff, in a rather echo-like manner, but this was not a good performance. As Michael Schedler noted – the judges sure have their nerve talking about Steve W! 15? Carrie Ann noted that Steve~O was late in the music. Len noted he did the routine, but the timing was weak. Bruno thinks Steve~O overthinks the routine. Michael Schedler and I feel that Steve~O shouldn’t get a better score than Steve W. Got: 5+5+5 = 15, which really is unfair to Wozniak.
Gilles Mirini & Cheryl – Argentine Tango
I do not like the idea of anger in Tango. Passion, yes. Anger, no. Her dress made her look so chunkily big! Nicely timed moves. Gilles looked at her so intently. He doesn’t look as good in a suit as I expected. Nice crisp kicks and a “wow!” finish. As Michael Schedler noted – strong throughout with very good characterization. 28-29? Len – they showed all elements of the Tango. Bruno – as usual – just went overboard. Carrie Ann oohed and awed a bit too much. Got: 10+10+10 = 30. I don’t think it quite deserved 30 points, but it was quite good.
Shawn J & Mark B – Lindy Hop
The outfits left me cold, and the routine was not nearly as good as I’d expect. Unfortunately, Mark Ballas felt some sort of need to prove that he could be a gymnast. And what was the deal with his half-hispanic “Steve Erkel” look? I cannot agree with Carrie Ann that Mark has nice looking legs. Perhaps she doesn’t see enough men’s bare legs to make a qualified judgement? Shawn’s experience with gymnastics really showed up in all their moves and added a particular flavor to the routine, but the overall picture was not one that made me think this was Lindy Hop. Some very clever choreography. Mark tried to do more gymnastics than he is capable of. 26? Judges – rightfully – didn’t like so many tricks with so little actual dancing. Got: 8+8+9 = 25, which is pretty much on the mark for this performance.
Well, it will be interesting to see who gets the axe on the results show.