Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, near one of the “best swimmable beaches” in Cabu if not the world, will be holding their 2nd Annual Barefoot Formal on New Year’s Eve!! Dancing for the event are Louis Van Amstel, Anna Trebunskaya, Jonathan Roberts, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower!! Some American Idol’s will be singing as well Here are a few more details….
Hosted by Mary Murphy, the Queen of Scream from “So You Think You Can Dance”, the festivities will be held on the sand at Casa Dorada. The evening’s stage show will be presented by Jay D. Schwartz and Louis Van Amstel, with Van Amstel choreographing and performing with fellow “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers Anna Trebunskaya, Jonathan Roberts, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower, as well as returning “American Idol” standouts Michael Johns, Melinda Doolittle and Rickey Smith, along with first-time Casa Dorada visitor LaToya London. “Idol’s” Michael Orland returns as the show’s musical director. The evening will conclude with an explosion of fireworks over the Sea of Cortez.
Casa Dorada’s GM Enrique Turcott offers, “Last year’s Barefoot Formal was the first time stars from “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” had ever performed together in a stage show. This year we’ve added even more talent, bringing stars from “So You Think You Can Dance” as well.” Our guests are going to be blown away by all the talent on display!”
If you are interested in attending and for more information on this fun stage show, visit PR Web.
So every season, as we draw nearer & nearer to the finale, it seems like the question on everyone’s lips is “What are they gonna do for their freestyle?” We debate which pros are the stronger freestyle choreographers, which celebs can handle the lifts, who’s got the most dance skills, who is going to struggle, etc. So Heidi & I decided to tackle the big question: what makes a good DWTS freestyle?
While everyone may argue over what works and what doesn’t, with 12 seasons under our belts, we have enough historical data to see some patterns – and there are definitely some things that all good freestyles seem to have in common, and some things that the bad freestyles have in common. Today we’re starting with the worst – these are examples of what this season’s finalists should likely avoid, and of which they should probably try to do the opposite :-)
A little insight into how we arrived at this list: I made a list of my own, and then bumped it against a list Heidi made and we looked for similarities. I also asked for suggestions on Twitter, to see if my finger was on the pulse of the more dedicated viewing audience; I polled my co-workers (likely more representative of the average viewer than most of us lurking on the Net ;-)) as well to get their thoughts. Turns out, most of you guys came up with the same examples of good & bad – which is good, since it shows that opinions on freestyles seem to be pretty universal. But without further ado, I give you the top 10 WORST freestyles in DWTS history:
10.) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, season 12
Courtney: This was one that a lot of you seemed divided on – some of you loved it, some of you hated it. I ultimately decided to include it in the “worst” list because it seemed to have something in common with a lot of the other freestyles on this list: it wasn’t reflective of the celeb it was meant to showcase. Yes, it was high-energy, it was well-executed (for the most part), and it was entertaining – but what did it really have to do with Chelsea? While she managed to keep up with Mark fairly well and got through the choreography, I never really got the feeling that it was a routine she really felt connected to, or that she even would have picked for herself. It was as if she had given Mark carte blanche with the routine and he chose everything – the music, the costumes, the theme, etc., and Chelsea was just along for the ride. I think choosing an obscure song didn’t help, and the choreo seemed to showcase Mark more than Chelsea – the poor girl just seemed to be trying to keep her head above water. Add to that some bland costumes and a wardrobe malfunction, and you’ve got a freestyle that’s overall just “Meh.” Definitely not 30-worthy, IMO.
Heidi: Well, this one I would have put in “dishonorable mentions” but it’s almost in that pile anyway, at slot #10. :-) The problem here, like you say, was Chelsea wasn’t connected to it (and similar ideas appear throughout this post). Not only that, but the music didn’t really match the costumes and none of it matched the choreo. It seemed all mixed up to me. It had a latin flavor, yet they were doing a light hip hop type choreo (I don’t really know how else to explain that) and their costumes matched neither. Then – why the lights and the bike?? I feel like I missed something on this one. There was also a section where it seemed like they just went from one cool trick to the next. The best freestyles (including some of Mark’s) had a good bit of actual ballroom dancing thrown in in places. This one is just a bit weird for me.
9.) Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya, season 10
Heidi: PEOPLE, unless your pro is Dmitry – do NOT argue with them about choreography. At all. Geez. That said, this is another freestyle that was good on paper, but in execution just didn’t work for some reason. Clearly it worked in person, since the studio crowd loved it…but the dance didn’t seem to fit either Evan OR Footloose. When Derek did Grease with Brooke, there was a clear, but brief, homage to the movie. The dance went with the song and it worked perfectly for Brooke. When he did a song from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer – again, a subtle, brief homage to the movie and it worked for Jennifer because, of course – she was in the movie. I think by the time they get to the freestyle the pros are just drained and they forget to really tie it altogether – and if you pick an iconic song, you have to really tie it altogether so that the dancing fits the iconic song but also works for your partner. It seems like this dance doesn’t fit either. He didn’t dance it badly by any stretch, but neither did Gilles in their Flashdance freestyle. That doesn’t make it good.
Courtney: I was always a bit puzzled as to why they picked Footloose – did one of them really, really like the movie? Or was it just another easy, dance movie theme to go with? I think that’s the one big difference between a freestyle like Jennifer’s and a freestyle like Evan’s (or Mya’s, or Gilles’, or Stacy’s – see below) – relevance. Dirty Dancing was relevant to Jennifer; but was Footloose really relevant to Evan? I want a freestyle to basically sum up a partnership for me – I want it to feel like both the celeb & the pro connect to both the dance and each other, and for the routine to feel like a nice closure to their season together. For me, going with Footloose as their theme left more questions than answers. Ooh, and can I just say that I think bringing in an outside choreographer is the absolute kiss of death? It doesn’t see to mesh well with the chemistry the couple has forged over the course of the season, and usually leads to coupled being led dangerously out of their comfort zone. And both Evan & Anna seemed uncomfortable with this one – almost pained, at times. Read more..
This is going to be quick, not much commentary, just the facts. Or rather, the videos. I’ve found myself much busier than I plan to be… But, to get us ready for the fun Group Dance, I’m searching for the videos of the group dances from past seasons. When possible, I’ll post the practice sessions, also.
Season 1, Viennese Waltz. Rachel Hunter and Jonathan Roberts, John O’Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen, Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo, Joey McIntyre and Ashly DelGrosso.
Season 2, Salsa. Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke, Jerry Rice and Anna Trebunskaya, Lisa Rinna and Louis Van Amstel, Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani, George Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska, Tia Carrere and Maks Chmerkovskiy.
Season 3 Disco. Monique Coleman and Louis Van Amstel, Joey Lawrence and Edyta Sliwinska, Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff, Jerry Springer and Kym Johnson, Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke
Season 4 Swing. Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough, Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus and Karina Smirnoff, Heather Mills and Jonathan Roberts,John Ratzenberger and Edyta Sliwinska, Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke
Season 5 Rock and Roll Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough, Jennie Garth and Derek Hough, Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas, Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts, Jane Seymour and Tony Dovolani, Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska, Mel B and Maks Chmerkovskiy
Season 6 Country Western. Sorry, my brain has melted, and I don’t remember the names of the people I’m seeing in the video….. I know them all, but their names are no longer connected. In my brain.
Season 7 Old School Hip Hop Thanks to Gitte and Elara for helping to find this one….
Season 8 1960’s.Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska, Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower, Lil Kim and Derek Hough, Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas, Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani, Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke
Season 9 Hustle. Louie Vito & Chelsie Hightower, Melissa Joan Hart & Mark Ballas, Kelly Osbourne & Louis Van Amstel, Mark Dacascos & Lacey Schwimmer, Aaron Carter & Karina Smirnoff, Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson, Joanna
Krupa & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (in the place of Derek Hough who was out with the flu), Mya & Dmitry Chaplin, Michael Irvin & Anna Demidova and Natalie Coughlin & Alec Mazo
It’s time once again for me to dust off my crystal ball and attempt (often in vain) to predict who the winners & losers of the season will be :-) Most of you are probably familiar with the power rankings, but if you aren’t, here’s a quick run-down: I do a power ranking after each performance show that ranks the couples from most likely to stay to most likely to go home – it’s essentially a prediction of who’s going home and who’s got staying power. And kids, please – keep in mind that it’s not based solely on scores, or popularity, or running order, etc. It’s a complex formula of many factors – fanbase, dance ability, entertainment value, choreography, scores, yadda yadda yadda. And before the season starts, I like to do a “preliminary” ranking – a prediction that just takes into account what we know about the couples right now, without ever having seen them dance live (rehearsal videos don’t count – those can differ drastically from the final product!). Make sense? Keep in mind that this is just my opinion – differing ones are welcome and great to discuss, and there are no right or wrong answers ;-) So let’s start with places 12 through 7 – the couples that I don’t see lasting past the midpoint of the season.
12.) Ron Artest & Peta Murgatroyd - I really want Peta to stick around for at least a few weeks this season to show us what she can do, but unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of reservations about Ron…and it kinda stinks that Peta’s so new that her fanbase is likely not going to be able to compensate for a lack of support on Ron’s behalf. First of all, the physical problem: Ron’s 6’7″ and Peta’s 5’7″, so even with heels on, Peta’s gonna have quite a bit of height to make up for. It’s not impossible (ask Cheryl, who at 5’4″ partnered 6’7″ Rick Fox somewhat effectively in season 11), but it’s not necessarily easy or visually-pleasing, either. Ron’s an athlete, so that might help a bit – but not all of the athletes that have done the show have been natural movers (Clyde Drexler comes to mind). Now the greyer area: Ron’s never been one to hold his tongue, and he’s infamous for rather erratic behavior. He’s come a long way since the infamous Pacers/Pistons brawl, but he’s still kinda wacky…and I’m honestly not sure whether that’s a boon or a burden when it comes to fanbase. He’s well-known, but I’m interested to see how many people he’s turned off with his antics. Another potential problem: from the few videos I’ve seen of he & Peta so far, I’m not picking up a lot of chemistry. I get this feeling this could be a rather awkward pair to watch interact. On top of that, I’ve been hearing murmurings that Ron has been showing up considerably late for practice, and has only wanted to practice for an hour or so at a time. A lack of commitment this early in the season? Sounds like a harbinger of doom to me. I really want Peta to stick around, and I’m hoping Ron proves me wrong…but I’m just not optimistic. Read more..
Recently Anna Trebunskaya and her husband, Jonathan Roberts, travelled to Detroit to work with some of the ice dance teams from the Detroit Skating Club. The ice dancers wanted Anna and Jonathan to teach them some Latin moves to incorporate into their dancing. Below is how Anna described the experience.
“We wanted to get into the essence of the dance, trying to bring out the charisma of the samba,” says Trebunskaya. “I gave them a few pointers and a few technical things.
“It’s quite interesting to work with skaters because you can’t really talk about footwork,” she adds. “They’re on the ice and have to keep gliding and doing their proper placement of the blades and all that stuff. It’s really working from the waist up. Of course, some partner stuff and some chemistry. Maybe creating a story a little bit.”
Below is how some of the ice dancers described Anna…
“Right away, from the first minute, we could tell that she’s the real deal — her intensity and her enthusiasm for ballroom dance and especially the samba came through,” says Weaver. She and Poje are huge Dancing with the Stars fans and were thrilled by the opportunity to work with Trebunskaya.
“We tried to soak it all in as much as we could,” she continues. “Even when she would demonstrate an arm movement or something pretty small, we tried to capture it and use that for ourselves on the ice.”
You can read the article in full at Ice Network. Anna also explains the two essential parts to being a dancer ….being able to perform yourself, but also translating it to other people and teaching them how they can do it. Great read!!
Hey, thanks Everyone for your participation in the “Rate Your Favorite Female Pros” post. It appears Kym and Anna were the most popular with our readers. So now, how about the male pros? How do you rank them at this time from your favorite to least favorite?
Mine goes as follows:
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough: Seriously, I go back and forth on these two and can never decide who is my absolute favorite? I love them both so much. Derek is our modern day Fred Astaire. He has a fascinating Fox totem who magically connects and blends into each of his partners. His creativity, choreography, and good looks are one thing…but, then there is the “character” he gets into every time he steps out there. I so LOVE LOVE his dramatic facial expressions as well. Such a class act, humble, and can rise above most anything. He’s beyond amazing. In fact, legendary!!
Then there is Maks in all of his bad boy charm. You just can’t help to love him. Yes, he’s made some mistakes along the way, but, he is a constant learning process and always striving to be a better person. I love his mysteriousness, edginess, strength, power, and how romantic he is on the dance floor. He’s got the “X factor” in spades. It’s unexplainable, but, he leaves you always wanting more on the dance floor and in life in general.
Damian Whitewood: This guy is so sadly under-rated and forgotten about with producers when he is serious fan favorite. Look at the mark he left with just one season and how we’re still talking about it and him. He’s full of compassion like his girlfriend Peta. He soaks up the camera and stage just like her. If producers read this, PLEASE BRING ON DAMIAN THIS SEASON!!
Val Chmerkovskiy: Every time this guy has danced on the show in pro numbers, he leaves me wanting more just like his brother Maks. He’s a powerhouse out there and he plays the violin in the same way!!
Tristan MacManus And Teddy Volynets: I love these two newcomers. They are fun to watch in the troupe and always leave me wanting more as well. Both cute, refreshing, compassionate, and romantic. Teddy V’s personality is just waiting to bust out. I really hope we get to see it happen one day.
Tony Dovolani: This guy is so full of heart. I’ve always enjoyed his dancing. He gets the most awful partners though sometimes which is sad.
Alec Mazzo: I loved Alec and his dancing. Such a romantic dancer….especially with Edyta!
Jonathan Roberts: Like Tony, Jonathan is so full of heart. I always enjoyed his dancing too….especially in the pro numbers with Anna! He’s unforgettable!
Dmitry Chaplin: I haven’t always been a big fan to Dmitry, but, I really liked him last year with Petra!!
Louis Van Amstel: I like Louis and I like him on the show, but, there have been times I didn’t too. His best season has been with Kelly Osbourne. That’s when I liked Louis the most.
Corky Ballas: I favor and respect Corky as a “teacher” to some of the above pros more than anything. I’ve also enjoyed his dancing in some of the pro numbers. But, I really haven’t liked him paired with a celebrity…although sometimes it’s probably necessary with older celebrities.
Mark Ballas: What can I say? Mark has seriously gotten on my nerves these last few seasons. Although he can have heart, he also has an egotistical side that dominates his role on the show and the dance floor. He has also copied a lot of choreography from Derek for his dances and yet, tries to take the credit. Sometimes he’s too ‘in your face’ much like Lacey is. The one thing I do like though is his futuristic mind much like in a Lady Gaga kind of way. Now, if he could just learn when to bring it on and when not to is the question?
Ok, YOUR TURN!! We look forward to your replies as always! ;)
Okay, I know I seem to be jumping around with the Dance of the Day, but that’s just how my brain works. So, things may seem out of order, or scattered, but I promise, eventually, we’ll get back to stuff we’ve started.
Soon, we’ll go back and finish our Dance of Champions, and we have many different dance styles to compare, but I thought it would be nice to try to compare some of our pros over the seasons. Plus, it kind of ties in, I think, with an idea I tried to start before, but didn’t materialize.
Let’s watch Jonathan Roberts, the sweet and caring husband to our feisty Anna Trebunskaya… The two have created some of the most touching professional dances on results shows, but he’s also been a great teacher, and friend to a variety of celebrity partners, and I wish he would return….
Jonathan was one of our original Professional dancers, on Season 1, pairing with model Rachel Hunter. I did not watch Season 1, and I haven’t found the spot on Wikipedia that is telling me what they danced when…. So I have no idea where they placed that season, but they did NOT finish last. I have found a list of his partners for each season that he was on, and resorting to whatever I can find on video site.
Rachel and Jonathan performed a TANGO in Week 3 of Season 1, to Britney Spears “Toxic.” They scored an 8,9, 9 for 26 points.
Jonathan returned to the dance floor in Season 2, partnered with Giselle Fernandez. And since i didn’t see most of this season either, I can only say I THINK she’s in journalism. They also performed the Tango in Week 3, to “Hernando’s Hideaway,” by Victor Sylvester. They got a 7, 8, 7 for 22 points. You can watch Giselle and Jonathan’s Tango HERE.
Jonathan next appeared in Season 4, with Animal Rights activist, Heather Mills, who had an artificial leg, which didn’t stop either of them. I wanted some complacency, and looked for a Tango from Heather and Jonathan, and instead, decided to show their Week 3 dance, the Jive to Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness?” They scored a 24. You can watch their jive HERE.
Marie Osmond was partnered with Jonathan in Season 5, and together, they produced some memorable routines, my favorite is their Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy routine. Week 3 gave them the Tango, and I liked how he combined the song, her acting/comedic skills, into a terrific tango. The song was “Please Mr Brown,” by Alma Cogan, and they scored a 9, 8, 9 for 26 points.
Tennis Great, Monica Seles, and Jonathan were unfortunately eliminated in Week 2 of Season 6, but first, they performed a foxtrot in Week 1, and the Mambo in Week 2, to “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue. I was quite sad that they only scored a 15. No, she wasn’t the best dancer, but she had fun, and did learn a lot, and that counts more. Wish she could have stayed longer. You can see their Mambo HERE.
Again, we greatly missed Jonathan in Season 7, but he returned in Season 8 with Belinda Carlisle. I was hoping they could have stayed to dance to some Bananarama, but that wasn’t to be. They were the first eliminated, in Week 2. I chose their Waltz from Week 1 to share with you, because I think it was beautiful…. No, not technically precise, but such wonderful choreography! Their song was “What The World Needs Now,” by Dionne Warwick, and it scored a 6, 6, 5 for 17 points.
Jonathan’s last season as a teaching Professional Dancer on DWTS was Season 9, where he was partnered with Macy Gray, they were the first eliminated. In week 1, they performed the Viennese Waltz to “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. Again, I loved the choreography, even if it wasn’t executed well…. They scored a 6, 4, 5 for 15 points. You can watch them Viennese Waltzing HERE.
So the addition of the troupe this past season did have one unexpected positive effect: even more costume dittos! Which makes my job a bit easier ;-) And I’m noticing the costume department has a special affinity for red – lots & lots of sparkly, red, fringy, feathery stuff… Read more..
Isn’t the above picture of Anna and Jonathan dancing a fantastic shot? Monday night, the duo performed for an Autism Charity Dancing With The All-Stars event in Detroit, Michigan. They kicked off the event with a fabulous Fox Trot. The competition featured some of Detroits favorite sports stars as they all danced to seek awareness and raise funds for “autism”. To read more on Monday night’s event, go >>>>HERE .