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DWTS Season 11 – The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate, Part I

Since the cast announcement, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not some of this season’s cast members have an unfair advantage on the show due to having “previous dance experience”.  So I took it upon myself to do a little digging around to see just who out of our 12 celebs is no stranger to the dance floor…and guess what? All of them have done a little dancing before…well, at least a very loose definition of dancing ;-) So why don’t we see how they all measure up, shall we? Let’s begin with the stars with the more obvious experience: Brandy, Florence, Jennifer, & the Hoff. Watch and discuss…

First up, we have Brandy, who starred in a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella back in 1997.  Here’s her big “dance number” – the song “Ten Minutes Ago”, where she croons with Paolo Montalban while doing some Viennese waltzing:

 

As for any experience she may have garnered in her music video days, here’s the most “dance-heavy” video of hers I could find – “Afrodisiac”:

Courtney: Ok, the first video is some pretty basic Viennese waltzing – natural turn, reverse turn, underarm turn, repeat.  And Brandy & Paolo suspiciously disappear when the extras begin the heavy duty spinning & lifting. I mean, as far as an advantage – it may save Maks 15 mintues of practice time explaining what the Viennese waltz is and what the basic movement is.  But other than that…nah. As for her video (and I think this goes for all of her videos in general) – Brandy does a lot of grooving and a little bit of basic choreo, but she leaves the hard stuff to her backup dancers.  She may be able to inject the “sexy factor” into her dances, but I don’t think she’s going to have an edge in terms of technical skill.

Marianya: I remember when I first saw Brandy and Paolo dance in Cinderella I promised myself that I would learn how to do that. And then when I went to do it, it was the most basic steps in the repertoire… talk about disappointment. Also in regards to music videos or shows, Brandy was big in the 90s, but the 90s weren’t all that dance heavy for the female soloists… at least not until Britney Spears and Co. from the Mickey Mouse club took over the music world for a spell (turn of the millennium). So really in regards to prior dance experience, none… can she pick up choreo? Definitely, but that’s something that most anyone could do… the mere fact that she’s done choreo before just edges here out slightly…

Heidi: Who choreographed that Cinderella thing? Will they own up to it? :-) Yeah, not a ringer, but I do think she has more of an advantage due to her relative youth and physical conditioning.

The verdict: Her basic knowledge of choreo may give her a SLIGHT advantage, but we think she’s going to have more of an edge from her young age & great body.

Now we’re onto Florence Henderson, who did some serious disco grooving back when she was on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (unless you want to sit through some serious cheese, I recommend starting at the 2:24 mark to see Flo shake her groove thing ;-) ):

Marianya: I was watching this at work and was shaking my head a few times… man everyone was all over the place, it’s amazing. The steps are very basic that most anyone could pick up the choreo, I don’t think this could transcend into ballroom dancing. Plus it’s been a few decades for her… and she’s not getting any younger.

Courtney: The hustle portion is hysterical – at some point, every single one of them messes up.  Again, some pretty elementary “jazz hands” type dancing…which even Flo fouls up a few times. And this was quite a few years ago – I don’t know that Flo is gonna be as lithe & nimble now as she was then.

Heidi: Didn’t I also read that Florence was also a Broadway baby? Yup, I did. :-) I think, like Jennifer, that her age kind of equalizes any perceived benefit to having been in Oklahoma and South Pacific – but the advantage that doesn’t go away is the comfort in front of a live audience and doing a live performance. See, I think everyone has an advantage of some sort – it’s going to come down to who has the most.

The verdict: Her age will likely negate any edge she may have had from Broadway, but she may be more comfortable in front of a live audience than some of the other celebs…just don’t ask her to do the Hustle.  ;-)

Here we have the celeb who has been accused of having the greatest amount of dance experience this season – Jennifer Grey.  Now, due to the fine folks at Lionsgate Entertainment and their vigilant policing of any uploaded clips from Dirty Dancing, an embeddable copy of the famous “final dance” from the movie does not exist on the interwebs – so you can go watch it here.

Courtney: Ok, now while this iconic scene may be forever embedded in some folks’ minds as “fantastic dancing”, I think Marianya (and anyone else that has seen REAL mambo) will agree that this is pretty mediocre by most ballroom standards.  Very stiff, very obviously choreographed. And again – quite a few years ago, and Jennifer has had some health problems since then, so even if she could remember these moves, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to execute them.

Heidi: Interesting note about this dance: I read or saw a show on Patrick Swayze and they said this was the first dance filmed and they could only do ONE take because Patrick was having…was it back issues?? There was not a lot of takes on this dance, if the thing I saw was correct. It’s possible they were talking about “the lift” too. It’s been a while. That said – I think that most people are blinded by the romance of the moment, and miss the amateurish dancing. It’s a sweet movie – but it’s not truly about dancing.

Marianya: It’s funny when you see iconic dances in movies or television and you think “I wanna be able to do that” and when you actually start learning, it’s a whole different ball of wax. Now, Jennifer has studied dance growing up, but that was how many decades ago? Sure, she could pick up choreography… decades ago, but again, so can most anyone else. I think Jennifer would be slightly ahead of the game in the ballroom dances due to her dance studies growing up, but in regards to the latin dances the most is probably the basics in mambo, but that’s it… An edge? Not enough to win, but enough to score above average I’d say.

Courtney: Heidi, I’m glad you notice the amateurish dancing as well.  I think it becomes especially obvious when you compare Patrick & Jennifer’s version to Cheryl & Tony’s version that they performed during season 2 – notice how much more fluid it looks when people who know how to actually dance mambo do it:

The verdict: She may have a slight advantage from her Dirty Dancing days, but that alone not going to be enough to take her all the way.

Last but not least, we’ve got David Hasselhoff.  Now as one of the videos that Heidi posted earlier mentioned, David has a little bit of musical theater under his belt – he’s been in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, was the lead in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back in 2000, and played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago for 3 months back in 2004.  Now while I’d love to showcase him dancing in one of these productions, I cannot find any videos of him in The Producers or Chicago, and Jekyll & Hyde is not a very dance-heavy musical.  However, I do have something even better – the Hoff getting funky in the 1976 film Revenge of the Cheerleaders:

Courtney: *hysterically laughing* Wow, those cheerleaders were loving them some Hoff! Ok, that aside, I’m sure the Hoff has some rhythm, and I think the musical theater background has helped – but then again, if my knowledge of musicals serves me, Billy Flynn & Roger DeBris (his role in The Producers) aren’t known for being particularly difficult roles, dance-wise.  Mainly a lot of jazz hands :-P What I’m more concerned about – and I’ve said this before – is that the Hoff’s mind may be a bit rusty.  Seriously- sometimes I think he’s got more than a few screws loose.  So in spite of all this experience, I think he might have trouble remembering choreography (or even being able to pay attention when Kym is teaching it).  What good is previous experience if you can’t remember it to draw from?

Marianya: Oh heaven help me. If that is what the Hoff is capable of then I foresee another Jerry Springer in the works. I saw the Hoff in the Jekyll & Hyde musical and there was no dancing in there. In fact the other parts that he has done in musical theatre were minimal if any dancing. So I don’t know if he could pick up choreo, ok he could pick up choreo but I don’t believe that he could do anything with it like Donny Osmond. He’ll ham it up, that’s for sure… but I think the buck will stop there.

Heidi: Oh my lord. What more can I say about that? I think The Hoff is going to do well on the show, but I don’t think it will be because of any perceived advantage.

The verdict: If he does well on the show, it sure as hell won’t be due to his Broadway experience – or the sizzling moves we see here!

 So there you go – some food for thought for those of you who think that some of these celebs have an unfair advantage.  But what about the other celebs this season, you ask? Oh boy – just you wait for part II…because you guys are gonna be blown away by some of the hoofing the other celebs have done in the past ;-) Did you sense the sarcasm there?

September 6, 2010 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Fan Review Of Karina Smirnoff And Slavik Kryklyvyy In “Dance Legends”

As you might remember from a previous posting, Karina Smirnoff danced in “Dance Legends” in New York City last week with her former dance partner Slavik Kryklyvyy. Well, below is a fun, sweet, and touching review of the show by fan Julia aka @KarinasPerfect. She takes us up close and personal and provides some beautiful photos of Karina and Slavik too. Read on for some “awww” moments and we thank Julia so much for sending.xx

Going to see Dance Legends was one of those experiences that I’ll never forget. Seeing amazing, professional dancers light up the stage was truly stunning.

All of the dancers were amazing, but I was there for one person- Karina Smirnoff (I’ve been a big fan since I started watching in season 12). Karina and Slavik haven’t danced publicly together for 10 years. When they danced for the first time in the show, the announcer made sure to emphasize it. They started out with their rumba. Karina wore a baby blue, spaghetti strapped, high-low dress. The top part, from the top to her rib cage, was covered in multi-colored sparkles. It was similar to their old rumba, but there were slight changes, I’d assume. It was heartfelt and emotional, even causing Karina to cry at the end! (So I obviously cried too- I’m guilty! I’m so weak!) That dance was near the beginning of the second act. At the very end of the show, they did their show dance. It was like a flamenco/paso/samba fusion. (I have definitely seen it online before, the one where Slavik starts flamenco-ing in silence.) it was absolutely stunning, of course. Karina wore and outfit similar to her attire from her and Corbin’s paso dance- a red and ruffled dress. After there’s was over, they held their ending pose (picture attached) for a few moments extra, before bowing and walking off. The announcer had to invite them back on because if the applause! So they danced gracefully back on, bowed again, and walked off. When we all settled down, they invited up sponsors and said things I zoned out for. Then, they invited couples out for a last bow. Karina and Slavik came out, bowed, and got in line. They invited up important people, and played “Happy” while that was happening. Karina being who she is, naturally started jamming out and singing! It was so cute! They were escorted backstage and everyone left to take pictures on the red carpet and to go home, it was 11 at night at that point.

Being the 13-year-old fangirl I am, I stayed. Couples started trickling out for pictures with important people and interviews. We had to wait about 20 minutes to catch a glimpse of Karina and Slavik! I took a few shaky (I was too excited) pictures on my shamefully slow phone (attached). I then tried to get in “line” to wait for pictures. The entrance to the carpet was blocked by security guards. I waited another 10 minutes before they opened the carpet to the public. I tried and tried to catch Karina’s eye. Eventually, someone came I tell the crowd, including me, that Karina would take 2 more pictures and then take a break. That just wasn’t an option for me- I had already gotten text from my mom telling me to “get my a$$ home”. When the guard was gonna take her away, I tapped her shoulder. I told her that her manager, Lindsay (my hero at that point), ha requested we take a picture. (No lie.) She asked how I knew Lindsay, where I replied, “through you… I’m karinasperfect!” (That’s my IG fanpage for her that she follows). She hugged me, we talked a little, and got out picture taken. She called me by my name and by “baby” to make sure the pictures turned out well.

Of course they did! She was in them!

Overall, I wish I could’ve brought so many twitter friends with me. So I wrote this up to tell all of my non-NYC-ers about how amazing this experience was!

photo 4

April 19, 2014 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Watch Out: Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Kandi Burruss Wants To Dance On DWTS

Thanks to Vin for sending us this “watch out”. Apparently, Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Kandi Burruss would love to dance on Dancing With The Stars! Below is more from Enstarz…

One of the stars of The Real Housewives of Atlanta might be appearing on the next season of Dancing With the Stars if she gets her way.

Kandi Burruss, who is one of the current cast members on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, is interested in appearing as a contestant on season 18 of Dancing With the Stars.

One of Burruss’ followers on Twitter asked her, “Sis, would [you] ever do DWTS??” to which she responded, “”I would love to.”

Considering Burruss has previous musical experience as part of the R&B group Xscape, she may be a perfect fit for the show. Younger singers have traditionally done well on the show, such as Nicole Scherzinger and Kellie Pickler.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see Kandi dance?

December 12, 2013 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

See DWTS Valerie Harper And Tristan MacManus Dance For the First Time And More (Videos)

Access Hollywood has just posted a new interview with Valerie Harper. She talks about everything from her cancer to her previous dance experience to what she will wear on Dancing With The Stars and more. They show footage of her and Tristan dancing as well. Nice!!!! Check it out!!

September 10, 2013 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS 14, Week 7 – Who’s Got the Edge in the Team Dances?

So we now know for sure what the team dances are (paso doble & tango) and who’s on what team (Katherine, Maria, Jaleel, & Roshon vs. William, Donald, & Melissa).  So who’s gonna win? Let’s see how they stack up.  I looked at several factors that could come into play in helping to determine who has the advantage – experience level of the pros on each team, experience level of the couples on each team, number of couples on each team, what dance each team has, and other miscellaneous factors that may affect the outcome.  So let’s get to it!

Pro Team Dance Experience

Derek: 6 wins (seasons 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13), 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27.5
Cheryl: 4 wins (seasons 7, 8, 10, 13), 1 loss (season 11), 0 ties; average team dance score: 26.8
Kym: 2 wins (seasons 7 & 9), 1 loss (season 13), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25.75*
Maks: 2 wins (seasons 11 & 13), 1 loss (season 10), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25*
Chelsie: 1 win (season 8), 0 losses, 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 25*
Mark: 0 wins, 2 losses (seasons 8 & 11), 1 tie (season 12); average team dance score: 23.67*
Peta: 0 wins, 0 losses, 0 ties (never been in a team dance); average team dance score: 0

*Since there were 4 judges’ scores given for the team dances in season 12, I subtracted Donnie Burns’ score from the two team dances in that season in order to normalize with all of the other seasons, which only had 3 judges’ scores. 

Team Tango: I’d say their biggest advantage is having Derek – the guy’s undefeated, so he’s clearly figured out the formula for what works and what doesn’t work in the team dances.  Say what you will about team dances being a product of all the pros working together (I agree to some extent), but the only common denominator in every single team dance win has been Derek, regardless of what other pros have been on each team with him, what the dance style has been, etc.  Many of the pros have also gone on record as saying that they tend to let Derek take the lead when choreographing the group portions of the team dance, so I’d say he probably has a lot to do with the success of each of the teams he’s on, as the judges do tend to really harp on synchonization, interesting formation patterns, and overall performance quality in the group portion of team dances.  I’d say Kym is an asset as well – she’s been on a team with Derek twice before (one of those times was another team tango), and when she hasn’t been on a team with him, she’s managed to tie once, and the 1 team dance she lost was not really all that bad, IMO.  I don’t really know if Chelsie is battle-tested enough to say whether she’s good in the team dance or not – but I don’t get the impression that she is one to make waves, so she will probably be very cooperative and easy to get along with.  My only concern is Mark – he seemed rather volatile in the team dance rehearsals in season 12, and seems to have a penchant for very flashy, high-energy, in-your-face choreo…which doesn’ t always translate well in the team dances.  I’m hoping that he lets Derek take the lead on the group choreography, and really focuses on giving Katherine some good, solid solo choreography this week.

Team Paso: While I think they don’t have quite the same edge that Team Katherine does, I don’t think they’re super weak, either.  Both Cheryl & Maks have been on teams with Derek before, so they’ve probably at least picked up a few tricks and strategies – I would say Maks is probably the stronger choreographer, judging from what I’ve seen him do in other team dances and pro dances.  The big question mark here is Peta – we just don’t know how she’s going to fare, since this will be her first team dance.  I doubt she’s going to suck at it (I don’t think anyone has really sucked at it – except maybe the unfortunate souls in the team mambo in season 8…), but it may take her a little longer to really get a feel for how the team dances work and what to do for Donald’s solo.  I think she’s probably going to rely on Cheryl & Maks for the group choreo, and isn’t likely to make any sort of big fuss, since she’s the new kid on the block.

Who has the edge in pro experience? I’ve got to give this one to Team Tango – they’ve got the only undefeated pro, and each of the other pros has been in at least 2 team dances. …Read more

April 26, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS2012 Mark Ballas And Katherine Jenkins Dish On The Dance Duel And Their Upcoming Samba

There is most likely going to be a video interview with these two (like with Maks and Melissa), but, for now, enjoy an article from Access Hollywood on Mark Ballas and Katherine Jenkins. Mark says the “Dance Duel” doesn’t bother him since it might help him and his partners versus previous seasons. Katherine, however, feels the opposite. More below including how they are prepping for their dances coming up….

“It’s horrible,” she said. “You feel like you’re being picked apart.”

She may be a frontrunner, but hitting the ballroom week after week has been a nerve-wracking experience for the classical singer.

“When I’m singing, I’m never nervous… I’d prefer to be in a little bit more control,” she told Access.

“Katherine likes situations she has 100 percent control over, and this show is the complete opposite. She can’t control anything,” Mark laughed.

The duo is rehearsing a samba for their competition dance, a marathon number for the group round, and a jive should they end up in the “dance-off.”

It’s unlikely the pair, who tied for the leaderboard top spot with William Levy and Cheryl Burke last week, will have to take part in the “dance-off.” Instead, viewers are eagerly awaiting Mark and Katherine getting their first perfect score of the season.

Mark, however, said they just want to do a great job.

“We try not to worry too much about the scoreboard,” he said. “As long as we walk off thinking, ‘We couldn’t have done it better,’ then that’s when I’m usually satisfied,” he said. “It would be nice to have three 10s at some point, but getting that 10 out of Len is not an easy task.”

You can read the full story at
Access Hollywood. Below is a picture Mark tackling an image of Len that he posted at his facebook and twitter accounts on Thursday.

Mark Ballas on WhoSay

April 21, 2012 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS13 – What’s Left to Dance?

 So at this time last season, I did a run-down of what we can expect in the final 4 weeks of the season.  You guys seemed to like it, so I did it again :-) And this time I’m spilling who’s on what team for the team dances! Read on…

JR & Karina – remaining dances: waltz, tango, cha-cha, paso doble

A good mix of Latin and ballroom left for JR, and he’s fortunately gotten some of the harder dances (samba, Viennese waltz, jive) out of the way early. Not that I think it would really matter, give his popularity and skill ;-), but it just reduces the likelihood of a potential “Ralphing” from the judges…that is, giving a celeb a cruelly low score on a dance that they struggled with but weren’t necessarily terrible at, in an effort to oust them. I guess my only concern for JR going into these last few weeks is the more aggressive dances – tango & paso doble, and moreso the latter. So far, he’s only had to be silly & energetic (jive, quickstep, foxtrot), sexy (samba), or romantic & vulnerable (Viennese waltz & rumba). We’ve yet to see a very aggressive JR – can he muster it? I think so, but at the same time, he just seems like such a nice guy. I could see the judges pulling a “well, the steps were there, but I didn’t feel the power and anger behind them” or some nonsense like that. Those frakkin’ asshats.

Ricki & Derek – remaining dances: waltz, cha-cha, samba, paso doble

The one potential problem that jumps out at me immediately here is the samba – it’s problematic for just about everyone, but for whatever reason, it’s the one dance for which Derek’s choreo doesn’t always “wow!” me (although there have been very few sambas on this show that have actually wowed me), and that the judges seem to get particularly nitpicky about. “There wasn’t enough content”, “You guys weren’t in sync”, “Your footwork was messy”, yadda yadda yadda. I can just hear them bitching now :-P If they’re going to attempt to set Ricki up for an “off” week again, I would almost bet they’re going to do it with the samba. I’m mildly concerned for her paso, for the simple reason that I just don’t see her being terribly aggressive; but thankfully, that’s a dance that Derek seems to thrive on, so it could work in her favor. Waltz & cha-cha? Easy dances – no biggie ;-)

Nancy & Tristan – remaining dances: tango, Viennese waltz, samba, jive

Ummm, yikes. Samba is the obvious troublemaker here, and the jive is probably not going to do Nancy too many favors, either. One requires a fairly significant amount of technique (which I’m not sure she can muster); the other requires stamina, which I also have yet to see from Nancy. So far, she’s kinda lucked into getting much slower, easygoing dances; she hasn’t really had to haul ass in a dance, which is why I could also see the Viennese waltz being problematic. She just seems to move soooo slooooow sometimes…I’m having nightmarish visions of her losing time in both her Viennese waltz and jive in several places. And then there’s the tango. *sigh* We saw how well she did the first time she had an aggressive dance – her paso looked more like a leisurely stroll in the park than a bullfight. But who knows – maybe she can summon her inner tart for the tango, now that she’s shaken her stuff in the group dance ;-) But MacGrace fans, I’d buckle in for a rough few weeks ahead – because I think Nancy may have the toughest group of dances to deal with, out of the remaining couples :-(

David & Kym – remaining dances: waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, samba

The dreaded samba strikes again! I could see poor David stumbling through that one with a bit of a “deer in the headlights” look on his face – no doubt, he’d give it his best shot, but I’m not sure he’d succeed.  He probably will be fine with the waltz & foxtrot, since he seems to be doing better with the ballroom dances; he could falter a bit with the cha-cha, since Latin hip action seems to evade him – but I daresay it wouldn’t be as hard on him as the samba.  Honestly, if he can soldier through the samba, I think he could have a decent shot at the finale…if he keeps up the improvement we’ve seen from him in the past few weeks, and can avoid being…well, creepy.  :-)

Rob & Cheryl – remaining dances: waltz, tango, quickstep, samba

Again, the big red flag here is the samba – somehow I don’t see Rob getting his hips moving like JR’s, or with as much energy. The samba, to me, is the dance that truly separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls – it’s hard, and as I said before, the judges seem uneccessarily nitpicky about it.  However, I’ve also noticed that they might tear a samba apart in their critiques, but still give it a halfway-decent score.  Maybe someday I’ll look at the scoring closer and see if they maybe cut breaks on the samba, points-wise.  Anywho! I could see Rob really doing well at his remaining ballroom dances – from what I saw in his foxtrot, he seems to have a flare for the ballroom as opposed to the Latin.  Quickstep could be a potential problem if he can’t come out of his shell a bit more, and he may need to intensify his blank stare in order to succeed in the tango…but I could see him having a shot at the finale, too.  Interesting indeed.

Hope & Maks – remaining dances: waltz, quickstep, samba, paso doble

Yet another couple who still has the pesky samba to contend with.  Hell, at this rate, the samba could be the deciding factor in who gets that coveted 3rd spot in the finale – whoever manages to muddle through it alive could be a possible candidate! Haha.  I know a lot of Hope fans have been saying “Just wait till she has the paso, she’s gonna be awesome!”, but I’m still skeptical – especially after watching her muscle her way through that tango.  Yes, paso requires strength and aggression; but it’s still a dance, and it still requires some degree of finesse and restraint.  Can she muster it? I’m not sure.  Waltz could also be problematic, since it requires a grace I have yet to see from Hope – and because it’s so slow, any potential snafus are going to stick out like a sore thumb.  Quickstep? Could go either way – if she’s able to let loose and have fun like she did in the foxtrot, I think she’ll do well; but if she goes stiff and tight like she did in the jive, it could be disasterous.   

So what’s going on with the team dance? It’s this coming week (Week 7) and the teams are Ricki & Derek, Rob & Cheryl, and Hope & Maks vs. JR & Karina, David & Kym, and Nancy & Tristan.  Ricki’s team is doing a paso doble; JR’s team is doing a tango.  Heidi will reveal the songs in her “Who’s Dancing What?” post on Sunday. Now while I’m somewhat relieved that they’ve taken a break from the team cha-cha, I’m a bit concerned that this won’t necessarily be an evenly-matched face-off – the same two dances were the team dances in season 9, and team tango basically annihilated team paso.  Then again, team tango also had Derek, who thus far is undefeated in the team dance, and choreographed a dynamite team paso in season 7.  I’d say Kym is probably the 2nd most successful (2 team dance wins, and 1 tie), followed by Cheryl (2 wins, 1 loss).  Quite possibly my biggest concern: the dynamic between the pros on team paso.  Derek & Maks worked great together on the team Apolo cha-cha in season 11; but in light of some of the conflict this week, is it going to create any friction? I would hope not, but you never know.  Will be interesting to see how Tristan fares in his first team dance, and on a team with his main squeeze, no less ;-) I’m tentatively saying team paso will take this one, just based on the pros on that team having previous experience.

What about the marathon dance? Sorry, not gonna be one this season.  The group dance basically replaced it, which I’m actually kind of thankful for – the marathon dance seems to favor those with particularly high endurance, so I’m not sure Nancy, Chaz, or even Rob would have fared well in it.  At least the group dance was just a fun little ditty that let us see the couples in a new light. 

When are they gonna do the Argentine tango/salsa? Not 100% when, but they are coming.  If I had to guess, I’d say they’re probably going to follow the pattern of last season, and they had these dances in weeks 8 & 9.  And if my spidey sense is correct, some of the couples with only 1 Latin dance remaining (like Rob & Cheryl) COULD end up with salsa as their instant dance.  Also in the vein of last season: for the couples who still have the standard tango remaining, they may end up doing the Argentine tango instead, and skipping the standard one altogether – that’s what happened with both Chelsea & Kirstie last season.  However, if a couple has already done the standard tango, I’m thinking they’ll probably do Argentine tango as well – that’s how it played out with Hines.  And then he ended up never doing the regular waltz.  *shrug* Go fig. 

Are they going to do the “Instant Dance” again? Yes, in week 8.  And as always, it will be a Latin dance – so that week, the remaining couples will likely all do one regular ballroom dance, and then an instant Latin dance. 

Do you know if the “Winner Take All” dance is coming back? Praise 8 lb 10 oz baby Jesus, it is NOT COMING BACK! :-D Apparently it was wildy unpopular…can’t imagine why. *snicker* But I do like to think Heidi & I had something to do with its demise, since Heidi was the one that first noticed what a crock of crap it was, and I just basically shouted it to the heavens.  :-P But just because there isn’t a WTA dance, don’t assume that everything is going to be business as usual – I could see them rehashing the smackdown or medley dance, just to fill time and have something “different”.

Vogue here adding some video footage of the Teams practicing 4 hours after the Results show last night:

October 26, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

Jamie Lee Curtis Comes With A Hefty Price For Charity To Dance On Dancing With The Stars

Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if Dancing With The Stars could get Jamie Lee Curtis to dance? She wants a hefty price though which she’d give to charity. So, I doubt it will happen, do you? Also, check out her advise for the show in the last paragraph from E News below. I’d be all for it, would you?

“Never in a million years,” Curtis told us at Global Green’s 15th Annual Millennium Awards in Santa Monica. “I’ll tell you how I would do Dancing With the Stars. If they gave me a million dollars to give to charity…I would only do it if there was a big charity component. ”

But is she even a good dancer?

“Not like Jennifer Grey, I’m not,” laughed Curtis, who has admitted to previously turning down an offer to be on the show.

While we won’t be holding our breath for Curtis to make her Dancing debut anytime soon, she does have some interesting advice for the show’s ABC execs.

“They’ve just done 12 seasons, I think they should now take all the twelve winners and do a season,” she said. “They should do a Dancing All-Stars where they bring back everyone who won and make sure that they are not paired with any of the same people they were paired with originally.”

Heidi’s Note: Heh….since the show has been on 12 seasons and has been won only by Derek (3), Mark (2), Julianne (2), Cheryl (2), Kym (2) and Alec (1) there isn’t much choice for most of them to dance with someone they haven’t danced with before. :-) But other than that, there are a TON of reasons why it would be very hard, not the least of which is height, gender and personality. Other than that – great idea!! I like me and Derek’s idea better – a season with all dancers who have experience similar to Nicole, Mya, Sabrina, Mel B, etc.

June 15, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Stars with Dance Experience

Every season the topic of previous dance experience seems to come up. Most of the people are angry that one of the stars has dance experience. Of course, it’s usually a little bit disingenuous since these angry people are often just fans of one of the other stars/pros. However, I can’t say that I don’t sympathize with their feelings. It is completely unfair for one person to have more dance experience than another. At least when we’re talking about a dance competition. That doesn’t feel right.

What most people don’t realize is that Dancing with the Stars never said that this competition was fair. Plus, is there such a thing as a fair competition? Some people just have more natural dance ability. Who would have guessed that Brooke Burke would have been such a great dancer? I know I wouldn’t have guessed it. Yet, she just had some real natural ability that she was able to bring to the table. Is that fair that she can learn things faster than others? Of course not.

Let’s just get it behind us that this is a fair competition. It’s not a fair competition. It’s a show that’s meant to entertain us. Plus, it’s not like the stars that participate aren’t getting something in return. They’re getting paid to be on the show and they’re getting a ton of exposure. Sure, they like the competition aspect, but there are a lot of other reasons these stars go on DWTS.

Why don’t we take this one step further? Dancing with the Stars really isn’t a dance competition. Yes, it resembles a dance competition, but it’s really not. It’s a popularity contest. Ok, in the beginning it’s more of a dance competition, but once we reach this point in the competition the judges scores are so close that they become irrelevant. That means that the show becomes a popularity contest and not a dance contest.

Using that line of thinking, it’s completely unfair that one star is more popular than another, right? I mean if DWTS is just a popularity contest, then DWTS should make sure that they don’t bring on any stars that are more popular than another star right? That’s basically what people are saying when they say they don’t want people with previous dance experience, no? Of course, both ideas will never happen.

I guess at the end of the day, I don’t get all worked up over it all. The show is about entertaining me and it does that very well. Sure, I love prognosticating on who will go home and what not. However, the fact that one has more dance experience just adds to the fun of guessing what’s going to happen. The more variables to consider the better.

Of course, this isn’t much consolation if it’s your favorite star or pro that’s getting sent home. Don’t worry. Next season it will be your favorite star or pro that’s staying while another “more deserving” star/pro get sent home.

May 18, 2010 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

PureDWTS Season 18 Food For Thought & POLL: Is Danica This Season’s “Secret Ringer”?

Let me lead off with this: I don’t mind ringers.  Actually, I appreciate 2-3 in each season, for the simple reason that it ensures that we get to see some good dancing and that the bar is set high for the competition.  The show needs ringers just like it needs really bad dancers, and every skill level in between – it’s part of what makes DWTS work.  The ringers please those who just love great dancing, and the inexperienced dancers ensure we get to see some good growth arcs.

Now what I DO mind is when someone who has enough experience to be considered a ringer tries to insist that they aren’t – in our experience here at Pure, this certainly does not negate the fact that they do have a bit of an edge, and it also tends to rub some viewers the wrong way.  The viewers are not stupid – they know when their intelligence is being insulted by the machinations of the powers that be or a celeb that tries to downplay his/her experience level.  And they especially don’t like feeling like they’re being lied to.

So an interesting discussion came about when Vogue posted this video of Danica & Val’s first rehearsal yesterday. In it, Danica seems to give the impression that she’s new to this whole dancing thing – lots of giggling, clueless looks, and “Huh? What?” It’s what you’d normally expect during the first rehearsal with a celeb who’s never danced before – but considering that Danica has had some fairly extensive ballroom training, it kind of bugs.  We know for a fact that she’s taken lessons before – check out this clip of her on 20/20 back in 2008:

While working on Inspector Mom (the TV movie mentioned in the clip), she met Gocha Chertkoev, a Latin dance champion who was playing the role of a dance instructor.  Presumably, she started taking lessons with him, as that’s who we see her dancing with in the clip.  Some have argued that she “only took lessons for that movie”, and it was a “one-time thing” – but if that’s the case, then why is her picture plastered all over the newsletter from Gocha’s dance studio as recently as a year ago? And why is he plugging her book while she takes a cha-cha class?

danicabookplug

 

 danicachacha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possibly worth noting: Gocha is also one of the judges on the Georgian version of DWTS, Tsekvaven Varskvlavebi.  Regardless, I get the feeling Danica’s lessons with Gocha weren’t just a one-time thing – they’ve more likely been ongoing.  She’s also had some dance training for another film, 21 and a Wake-Up, courtesy of Jamie Bayard (Lacey Schwimmer’s former swing partner, and of SYTYCD fame).  She talks about in more detail here, on this now-defunct post at her website. Yes, I’m aware it’s in code – that’s the only way to access it now that it’s been conveniently removed from her website (thank goodness for caching!).  You’ll see why in the excerpt below – pertinent parts in bold:

Says Danica, “I love to dance! I got hooked after learning to Tango for the TV Movie Inspector Mom: Kidnapped in 10 Easy Steps.”

Gocha Chertkoev and Shorena Gachechiladze are worldwide ballroom dance champions, and I was so lucky to be trained by them for the movie. I was a fan of Gocha’s from his TLC series, Ballroom Bootcamp. He was a real find – a great actor and dancer! Since then, I dance whenever I can — I love it! I’ve even trained with Jamie Bayard from So You Think You Can Dance”

“Perhaps I’ll end up dancing on stage or in front of the cameras again soon. I’ve been asked more than a few times about Dancing with the Stars, but I think I actually have a little too much professional training this stage. And that’s fine by me – I’m not sure I’d like the judges’ on-stage criticism very much!”

Sorry, but I’m having a harder and harder time buying the whole “I’m new at this!!!” act of their rehearsal video, and this interview that she herself posted presents some pretty damning evidence that she is, in fact, a ringer. The rehearsal video itself is a bit shady, too – my boyfriend (who has been teaching ballroom for 12 years) even remarked that “It’s almost like she’s trying too hard to act confused for the first half – she clearly has danced salsa before, she’s following him pretty easily.”  As for the second half of the video? “She’s already doing rumba walks with great hip action and transfer of weight, and she’s spotting turns like she’s been taught before.  No way Val could have taught her that in one short rehearsal.”

So what’s my beef? The fact that Danica has had some pretty extensive ballroom training is being conveniently swept under the rug, while Meryl & Charlie get raked across the coals for being “practically professional ballroom dancers already!” If you’re going to cry that “DWTS is for celebs with no dance experience!” (not true, but whatever floats your boat) and that it’s “unfair” that Meryl & Charlie get to be on the show this season – then it’s only fair that you call Danica out, too.  But for whatever reason, the two Olympians are the ones fielding most of the cries of foul from viewers, while Danica flies under the radar, with incriminating blog posts being quietly removed from her site and mentions of her previous dance experience being conveniently omitted from interviews.  And to what end? I like to think that Danica herself is too smart and too confident to let a few cries of “Ringer!! RINGER!!!” deter her from being open and honest about her dancing.  I’m leaning more towards someone from further up the chain at DWTS “gently encouraging” her to downplay her dance experience – it’s happened before.  Sabrina mentioned in an interview once that she was told by producers to “dumb down” her dancing during the first few weeks of her original season, in order to give the impression of a much more level playing field.  Sabrina (honest as a girl scout) didn’t comply, but it does set a precedent for what might be going on now with Danica – or it may even be someone from her own camp, such as a publicist, trying to paint a better picture of her client with regards to the show.

I guess overall, I’m just left feeling a bit…deceived by the whole thing.  I do not like having my intelligence insulted, and trying to pass Danica off as a beginner to me is insulting.  I’m left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as I did back in season 14 when Sherri Shepherd tried to downplay the fact that she took lessons at Maks & Val’s studio immediately prior to being cast on DWTS. In both Danica AND Sherri’s cases, I think the whole situation would be a lot better-received by fans had they just been honest about it from the get-go, instead of lying by omission, dodging questions, and dancing around the truth before finally coming clean.  Hiding things implies some sort of guilt on the part of the hider. :-)  I actually really like her as a person, and I’m hoping that Danica, in the interest of full disclosure, is able to be open about her previous experience – I really don’t think being labeled a “ringer” is going to hurt her OR help her.  Ringers don’t always win, and they don’t always lose.  Unless, of course, they’re paired with Derek – in which case they ALWAYS win…cause “Ugh, Derek always gets all the good partners!!!”, y’all. ;-)

So all of that being said…what do YOU guys think of Danica and her previous experience? Is she a ringer, or not a ringer?  Vote in our poll and weigh in down in the comments!

March 11, 2014 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!