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Dancing with the Stars – Winning Freestyles Through the Years, Part Two

Okay, here’s part 2 – be sure to watch part 1 so you can get the full history.

Part 2 could be called the “Hough-Ballas-Johnson” Section. :-) What I notice about Derek and Mark’s early Freestyles is that they craft something exciting but they still get a lot of actual dancing in there. I remember critics saying it was all lifts and no dancing….crack is wack, ya’ll. Looking forward to seeing both freestyles from them this Monday as they’ve both matured so much in both style and choreography.

Season 7 – Brooke and Derek. I loved this freestyle. It’s funny to watch now as Derek is a good bit smaller – you’ll also note that this is the beginning of his recurring back problems. What I loved about this freestyle is that, from Brooke, it was unexpected, I think. She was the best dancer this season and I remember thinking that there was no way she was beating Warren the showman – I think this dance might have done it for her. Read more..

May 17, 2014 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS 15 – The Great Quickstep Debate: Breaking Hold vs. Not Breaking Hold

In his Access Hollywood interview from after Monday night’s show, Mark explained his reasons for “breaking hold” in he in Bristol’s quickstep – and he also insinuated that a few other couples also broke hold in their quicksteps this week, yet didn’t get called out by the judges.  So it got me thinking: did the judges, indeed, turn a blind eye to some couples’ rule-breaking, while calling out others?

First, a little bit of background as to why breaking hold in quickstep is such a big deal.  Earlier this year, I went into detail about it in one of my “Ask Courtney” posts – the basic gist is that quickstep is the only ballroom dance on DWTS that is only danced in the International Standard style, in which you cannot break hold at all, and they’ve carried that rule over to DWTS.  I personally think it’s kind of a dumb rule, considering that DWTS is not a real ballroom competition (and never will be), and considering that you can break hold in the waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, and sometimes tango (the last one is whole different debate). Read more..

October 4, 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!

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Gilles Marini Edition

 You guys know the drill by now – check out the Melissa Rycroft edition and you can backtrack back to all the rest of the previous editions ;-) Today we finish up with this season’s guys by taking a look at Gilles… 

I picked Gilles’ Argentine tango as his best dance:

 And as his worst dance, I picked his jive:

 No doubt, Gilles has got the full package (no pun intended…): he’s got the stage presence, he’s got great technique, and he’s got an amazing personality to boot.  I still think his Argentine tango is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen on the show – and that’s a big credit, considering season 8 was the first season that Argentine tango was performed on the show (and consequently, some of the pros were left a bit clueless as to what to do), and Gilles & Cheryl’s routine wasn’t particularly flashy or chock full of lifts, like so many we’ve seen in recent seasons.  What made it great was it was a good, simple, well-executed routine in which they really focused on the character of the dance, rather than going for every flashy, impressive step they could find.  I think almost all of Gilles’ routines are the perfect example of how you don’t need a bunch of flash & trash to get good scores - if you’re focused enough on the dance itself that you can make every step speak volumes.  Gilles is a technician – and he’s a HUNGRY technician, who is highly motivated to do well this season.  While I think every contestant is going to need some degree of “hunger” to do well this season, I fear that Gilles’ hunger could end up hurting him in the end – such is the case with his jive.  I think it’s apparent from the rehearsal footage that Gilles was just not having an easy time with the jive, and it was really getting to him.  I don’t think it helped much that Cheryl seemed to throw everything but the kitchen sink into this routine, and wasn’t exactly a nuturing partner when Gilles was really struggling – but what became apparent in the dance itself was that Gilles was just pushing himself too hard, and I really think it ended up causing him to falter.  The guy that was always in rhythm and in the pocket was suddenly off-time missing steps, and worst of all? He didn’t look like he was enjoying himself anymore.  The dance just became a Herculean task to complete.  And I think that’s one possible hurdle Peta’s going to have to contend with this season – Gilles’ tendency to push himself so hard that he stops enjoying himself.  Gilles seems more determined than ever to win this time around – and it’s bordering on Brandy Syndrome (being so desperate to win that it actually becomes off-putting). Being so intensely focused on the end goal can often result in couples losing sight of what’s important – having fun.  A couple can dance a routine flawlessly, but if they look like they’re getting a root canal while they’re doing it? Fuggeddaboudit.

In some ways, I think Gilles getting Peta instead of Cheryl may actually be beneficial – I know I’ve expressed some skepticism about the whole Gilles/Peta partnership, but after watching Cheryl’s demeanor in she in Gilles’ rehearsal videos (and watching footage of Peta with Donald last season), I think Peta may actually be more effective in keeping Gilles’ feet on the ground and reminding him to enjoy himself.  I almost think a repeat Gilles/Cheryl partnership would be so determined to win that the end result would be kind of scary-focused on the dance floor – and they’d lose a lot of the appeal they had the first time around.  I just hope Peta doesn’t get excited puppy syndrome because she’s got such a skilled partner, and proverbially pee all over the dance floor by trying to cram as many impressive & difficult steps into their routines as possible.  Not everyone can handle a Nicole Scherzinger-level of choreographic difficulty.  :-)

Court’s verdict: Unlike many of the other contestants this season, I think Gilles’ biggest struggle is just going to be letting loose and not taking himself too seriously.  It’s going to be up to Peta to keep him on the right track and enjoying myself, while forging a good chemistry and not trying too hard to choreograph a bunch of crazy stuff to get the judges’ and viewers’ attention.  QUALITY, not quantity. 

Now let’s hear your thoughts on Gilles.   Do you think he can finally nab the MBT with Peta…or will he flame out in the process?

September 7, 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!

DWTS 15 All-Star Cast Rumors List: Who’s In, Who’s Out, Who’s a Maybe, Who Knows???

With all of the coverage of the upcoming all-star season we’ve been doing, we realize it can get a little hard to keep up and remember who’s said yes, who’s said no, who’s just a maybe, etc.  So for the sake of maintaining everyone’s sanity and trying to keep at least some degree of organization, here’s a handy list of what celebs we’ve been covering as it pertains to the all-star season, broken down by their original season, along with a brief summary of where they stand.  We’ll keep this post stuck to the main page until the cast announcement, and we’ll post updates in red as they come in. 

ETA #1: Updated with coverage of Joey Fatone & Trista Sutter, and an update of Ralph Macchio. 

ETA #2: Added info on Kelly Monaco. 

ETA #3: Update on Maria Menounos. 

ETA #4: A little over 24 hours until the cast announcement and updates & rumors coming fast & furious! Thanks Vogue & Heidi :-)Updates on Gilles Marini, Joey Fatone, Melissa Rycroft, Stacy Keibler, Kendra Wilkinson, & Carson Kressley; added info on Melissa Joan-Hart & Pamela Anderson. 

Season 1:

Trista Sutter – a few interesting tweets that seemed to imply she was heading somewhere to do something secret, but now says she is definitely not taking part in the all-star season :-(
Kelly Monaco – hinted at a GH fan event that she was “going to need fans’ help with something that’s getting announced next Friday!”

Season 2:

Stacy Keibler – played coy, said “possibly” if she was asked to return; says we’ll “have to wait & find out”; rumored as a possible X-Factor host; Entertainment Weekly claiming she’s not likely to do the show
Drew Lachey – said he “had a blast and would be open to doing it again”, but wasn’t sure how things would play out

Season 3:

Jerry Springer - said he may do SOMETHING for the show and would love to be in the audience, but wouldn’t dance again
Mario Lopez – spilled the beans about being asked to do the all-star season on Live with Kelly way back in May, and was thinking about it; however, he now says he’s “too busy” and “doesn’t think he’ll be able to do it” – mentioned as a rumored candidate to host X-factor
Joey Lawrence - asked fans on Twitter to vote for him to get on the all-star season

Season 4:

Joey Fatone – says he isn’t really sure if he’d do it or not, and that he hasn’t gotten a call yet; Entertainment Weekly claiming he’s “likely” to do the show Read more..

July 13, 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!

Derek Hough at OK! Magazine’s Sexy Singles Bash!

Cross posted from PureDerekHough…go there to see more.

Right where he belongs…he’s single, and certainly VERY Sexy. :-) Very.  CozyCot.com had my most favorite pictures out of many bunches of pictures, although the longer hair and the fact that he seems to have shaved makes him look a good bit younger (click the link to see several more). Also, there were many pictures of Derek and Nicole (!) leaving a club with several other people. Of course, the rumors start up again.

June 8, 2012 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Vote for Your Favorites in the PureDWTS Season 14 End-of-Season Awards!!!

 Ok kids, it’s time once again to vote of our biannual “end-of-season” awards…our sort of “wrap up” for season 14, where we see what you guys think were the highs and lows of this season :-) If you want to get a feel for how these awards work, you can check out previous seasons’ award recipients here.

First, the rules: I’ve picked what I deem to be the most likely candidates (with the strongest chance of winning) for each category – of course, some of you are going to disagree, and that’s fine.  If you don’t see your pick listed as an option, you can write-in your own nomination in the “other” box.  But here’s my biannual disclaimer about the dreaded “other” box: if I can’t read what you wrote because it’s badly misspelled/grammatically nonsensical/generally incoherent, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If your response to the question does not make sense (i.e. you simply vote “Donald” for best dance), YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you simply repeat one of the already listed responses because you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you’re just generally being a nudnik and giving harassing responses, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  *shakes head* I still can’t believe that I have to give this spiel twice a year…

…anywho, we’ll give you guys a week to get your votes in, and then we’ll reveal the results in a series of posts starting next week.  Now ready…set…VOTE!!! :-D

Read more..

May 24, 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!

DWTS14 Casting Rumors – The Typecasting of Season 14, Part II

So we’re less than 24 hours away from finding out who is and isn’t part of this season’s cast.  Who’s pumped??? I know I am…but we’ve still got a few hours left to speculate, so let’s see what other cast types we’ve to fill this season, shall we? ;-) For those of you that may have missed it, check out part I as well.

The Teen Idol

Previous examples: Joey McIntyre, Aaron Carter, Donny Osmond, Lance Bass, Mel B., Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Joey Lawrence, Ian Ziering, Cody Linley, Sabrina Bryan, Mario Lopez, Kyle Massey, Chelsea Kane, Romeo

Advantages: If sales of Tiger Beat are any indicator, the teenyboppers will come out in full force to support their favorite heartthrobs/idols.  Being young & good-lookin’ sure doesn’t hurt! Many also have the added advantage of having a decent dance background, especially if they were part of a musical act.

Disadvantages: Youth can also have its disadvantages – as in immaturity.  What some might call “youthful exuberance”, others might call “immaturity” or “attention deficit disorder” – poor Cody Linley had a hard time sitting still! Emotional immaturity (a la Aaron Carter’s post-rumba meltdown in the confessional) can be especially off-putting. They’ve also got to contend with the large middle-aged female contingent of viewers/voters – they far outnumber the young viewers likely to vote for them.

Possible candidates this season: There’s that random Nicole Anderson chick that’s a friend of Chelsea Kane’s, and Heidi found some compelling evidence that rapper Darnell Robinson may be participating this season.

The Host

Previous examples: Jerry Springer, Brooke Burke, Leeza Gibbons, Mario Lopez, Kenny Mayne, Lisa Rinna, Tucker Carlson, Mark Dacascos, Rocco DiSpirito, Erin Andrews, Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood, Carson Kressley, Nancy Grace, Ricki Lake

Advantages: Being that they’ve been at the helm of their own shows, these guys usually have the media savvy & charisma to appeal to the masses, as well as the previous exposure & recognizability.  Most (not all!) are also decently attractive, which never seems to hurt (unless, of course, you’re a model – see previous post for explanation).

Disadvantages: Many hosts are only used to hosting – as in just sitting down & talking (or dodging the occasional punch, if you’re Springer), so the lack of movement experience problem seems to come into play.

Possible candidates this season: This category seems to have EXPLODED with possibilities this season – the most solid of which being Sherri Shepherd, who was caught leaving the DWTS studio the other day.  I’m still wondering if someone fr0m GMA is part of the cast this season, since they all seemed to act so coy when announcing they’d be revealing the cast. And then we have the Maria Menounos rumor as well.

The Actor

Previous examples: John O’Hurley, Melissa Joan Hart, Steve Guttenburg, John Ratzenberger, Debi Mazar, Denise Richards, Ted McGinley, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennie Garth, Vivica Fox, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Shannen Doherty, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Ralph Macchio, Kirstie Alley, David Arquette

Advantages: Being that their bread & butter is acting, most can usually nail the emotions of the dances. Bonus points if they’ve done any Broadway (like Winokur) because they have likely had dance experience.

Disadvantages: For lack of a better term, many of them seem to be “has-beens” – actors that haven’t been particularly active in the mainstream in the past several years – or were never that big to begin with (can anyone else think of anything John O’Hurley has been in BESIDES Seinfeld?), making it harder for them to garner votes from a public who may not remember them.

Possible candidates this season: We’ve got Melissa Gilbert & Ryan O’Neal, of course, but nothing really beyond that.

The Reality Star

Previous examples: Kim Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rycroft, Steve-O, Holly Madison, Trista Sutter, Shanna Moakler, Kate Gosselin, Jake Pavelka, Audrina Patridge, The Situation, Rob Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari

Advantages: Many have achieved pop culture icon status on their respective reality outlets, making them fairly recognizable.

Disadvantages: They may be memorable for the wrong reasons – people tended to remember things like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape more than her reality show when she was on DWTS, and people seemed more focused on Holly Madison’s split from Hef than her antics on The Girls Next Door.  Many can also come across as attention-hungry & talentless(*cough*JakePavelka*cough*) – reality TV is often looked down upon as a way to get famous without having any talent whatsoever.

Possible candidates this season: Lots of talk about Ali Fedotowsky, who suspiciously moved to LA last week.

The Singer:

Previous examples: Mya, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mario, Belinda Carlisle, Master P, Chuck Wicks, Sara Evans, Willa Ford, Monique Coleman, Toni Braxton, Macy Gray, Nicole Scherzinger, Chynna Phillips

Advantages: As with the teen idols, many have had dance experience concurrent with their music careers.

Disadvantages: Most seem to be committed solely to one genre of music (often R&B or country), making it hard to appeal to a wide fanbase.

Possible candidates this season: Lots of loose lips at the Grammys about Gavin DeGraw, but it seems like less of a possibility now, considering that he is about to go on tour.

The Wild Card

Previous examples: Heather Mills, Tom DeLay, Mark Cuban, Steve Wozniak, Priscilla Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Bristol Palin, Chaz Bono

Advantages: The sheer novelty of having someone with such an off-the-beaten-path claim to fame (famous divorcee/widow, entrepreneur, disgraced politician, etc.) may be enough to have the public voting them – just to see what happens.  Being the “underdog” is a powerful thing…as we saw with Bristol in season 11!

Disadvantages: Due to their often dubious fame, people just may not have any clue who they are – I personally had to Google Mark Cuban’s name. There’s also the risk of backlash from some viewers who don’t think they’re “stars” per se, and shouldn’t even be on the show in the first place.

Possible candidates this season: Surprisingly, not too many outlandish rumors…especially since Herman Cain & Michelle Bachman have denied they’re doing the show. Phew!

So we’re getting down to the wire, kids…any last-minute predictions before the big reveal? ;-)

February 27, 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!

Pure DWTS Random Talk On Mel B, Brooke Burke, Corky Ballas, Madonna, And The Super Bowl

Just some random reportings today on things related to dancing and Dancing With The Stars!!

First up, join us in congratulating Spice Girl and Season 5, 2nd place winner Mel B as she has been signed on to co-host the Australian Version of Dancing With The Stars. Below is a take from Adelaide Now with a quote from Mel B confident that she can pull the job off. We wish her much luck!

“To have the opportunity to host Dancing with the Stars is great, as I know exactly what the contestants will be going through,” she said.

“To be honest, I’m just really looking forward to this year. I feel like it’s going to be my Aussie, Sydney year. I also hope to get my (Spice) girls out here.

“Emma (Bunton) and Victoria (Beckham) have new babies. As a group we’ve only been here two days, so we never got to really experience it and I’ve been telling them how fabulous it is out here.”

Speaking of co-hosting, there has been some chatter here, around the internet at various places, and at twitter about Brooke Burke possibly not co-hosting next season’s Dancing With The Stars since she tweeted about some disappointing “crazy Hollywood Industry” news which hit her hard this past week. The tweets lead many to believe it had something to do with her losing her co-hosting job. Well, with two tweets similar to the first tweet below within 8 hours apart yesterday along with Tom Bergeron addressing her as his “partner” in reply, I think it’s safe to say her job is safe?? Then again, who knows? The Hollywood Industry is indeed “crazy”. Look what happened with Steve Jones, Nicole Scherzinger, and Paula Abdul on the X Factor this week. Never did I think they’d be let go in such a fashion and so soon. 8O


i just read the #DWTS new cast rumors! seriously I know NOTHING! @ don’t b holding back on me.We will announce end of this month
@brookeburke
Brooke Burke-Charvet


@ I not b holding back on DWTS new cast info, partner. I CAN reveal that producers will be species specific. #moredancinghumans
@Tom_Bergeron
Tom Bergeron

Moving on! Give it up to Dancing pro Corky Ballas!! He’s been recently helping Olympic ice skating hopefuls Maia and Alex Shibutani on their choreography since last year’s world championships in which they finished third in just their first season as senior skaters. Below are some takes from ESPN. Be sure to read the link in full as they write about how costume designer Randall Christensen helped them with their costumes as well.

The Shibutani siblings got in touch with Corky Ballas through their agent, using the Yamaguchi connection, and headed to Los Angeles to begin working with him after the worlds last summer.

“But we are the first skaters he’s worked with in a while,” Alex, 20, said. “Obviously with his background, his son, Mark, and Derek and Julianne, we were honored to work with him. He’s such a fun guy to work with. It was an intensive boot camp-style Latin training with him. He’s kept up with our performances. He thought we could use a breath of fresh air.”

The coaches had high praise for the Shibutanis’ performance.

“It was awesome, awesome,” Zueva said. “All the changes worked really well. Most Latin dance movement is very sharp off ice, but it totally disappears on the floor because the surface is different. [Ballas] found them the best movement on ice.”

They worked with Ballas again in Detroit after the ISU Grand Prix Final, where they finished fifth. Alex said they have gotten “really comfortable” with the Latin style, a break from their usual, more classical style.

“The new program is much more exciting and a much stronger vehicle for us,” Alex said.

Lastly, if you are a fan to dancing in general and huge dance productions, be sure to tune into the Super Bowl halftime tonight. According to the New York Post, Madonna will be dancing, performing and singing 3 classics: Vogue Vogue - Celebration , Ray Of Light Ray of Light - Ray of Light with Holiday Holiday - Madonna mixed in it, Like A Prayer Like a Prayer - Like a Prayer , and her new, hot single Give Me All Your Luvin Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. Nicki Minaj, M.I.A.) - Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. Nicki Minaj, M.I.A.) - Single from her new MDNA album Give Me All Your Luvin' (feat. Nicki Minaj, M.I.A.) - Single - Madonna . I wanted to give this a special mention since number one, I’m a huge fan :) and, number two, Madonna did a Salsa in challenging Dancing With The Stars rumored contender Victor Cruise at a press conference on Thursday, and number three, Nappytabs has been helping with the production of it. As you know they’ve helped with choreography on Dancing With The Stars among many other dancing accomplishments in their career. They are also currently helping Derek Hough with his new movie Cobu3D. Below are some tweets Tabitha shared about rehearsals.


What a feeling rehearsin on the field. Indy is so alive with energy too. I think u all gonna love the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Miss my Napz
@NAPPYTABS
Napoleon and Tabitha


Tab says “touchdown…. This is my house”. Last day of rehearsals on the field at #SUPERBOWL http://t.co/uwZxFvSP
@NAPPYTABS
Napoleon and Tabitha

Yes, can you tell I’m excited? :) Be sure to let us know your thoughts and here’s to a fun Super Bowl Holiday!! xxx

UPDATE: According to Madonna website Madonnarama, the Ray of Light and Holiday Mash-up has been replaced by Music(ft. LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem/Sexy and I Know It” Remix). Also, there will be an
“Open Your Heart/Express Yourself” interlude to transition from Give me all your Luvin’ to Like a Prayer. Madonna has tried to keep the final setlist a secret as long as she could.

February 5, 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.

PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part II

Last week, we gave you part one of our exclusive interview with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for season 2-12 of DWTS.  Now read on for more insight from the man behind the costumes…as well as some exciting news! :-D

What are some of the shows that stood out for you the most when you costumed them, and why? (i.e. certain theme nights, specific seasons, finales, etc.)

Randall Christensen:  Movie/Broadway or TV night is always great fun.  We get to step out of character even more.  If you can dream it up, SOMEONE will wear it!  Themed nights are always fun.  Loved the Halloween show back several years ago.  Edyta as Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Monique Coleman/Louis van Amstel in their “Ghostbusters” tear away coveralls, to “slime” green…..great fun!  Doing specific time periods are fun and challenging as well.  Doing a retro ‘50’s Paso Doble for Nicole Scherzinger was one of the most challenging, as the Paso Doble is so serious and passionate, yet the ‘50’s inspired song just didn’t go…..but Derek is a genius with choreography, and we came up with a fun yet strong look for them both.

If you could pick any of the pros, past or present, on the show to be your assistant, who would it be and why?

RC:  Hands down, Edyta Sliwinska would be a great co-designer.  She has such an eye for style!  Lacey Schwimmer has some really fun, “out there” and cutting edge ideas too.

What was the best part of your job on DWTS?

RC:  Hands down, the best part of my job was the trust of the producers, and being able to create with such freedom.  You just do NOT get that in the television industry, and that was the most rewarding thing I can imagine.  Weekly, the most rewarding part of my job was when Harold Wheeler and orchestra start playing the overture, there’s not a week that went by that I was ALWAYS there, with shivers running down my spine.  When those couples came down that stairway……truly a magical moment each and every week.  I never missed that descending down the stairs at the top of the show – NEVER! Read more..

January 17, 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!

PureDWTS Ask Courtney: What’s the Difference Between Jive/Lindy/Jitterbug/Charleston/etc.?

This is a very good question :-), but unfortunately one that required a bit of research on my part…so please bear with me as I give you guys a brief history/background of the swing dances.

First things first: all of the above dances are related, and evolved from one another, so that’s why they all look so similar to the naked eye.  Even I often have a hard time discerning between them, especially within the context of DWTS, where I think sometimes even the pros themselves aren’t quite sure about some of these dances – especially the Jitterbug & Lindy Hop. The lines between them are very blurred, because there’s often a lot of overlap in terms of steps, timing, & styling.

Charleston was the earliest of the swing dances, originating in the speakeasies during the 1920′s, and is usually associated with the “flappers”, who danced it alone or with each other to mock the “drys” – people who supported Prohibition.  At the time, it was considered to be a pretty provocative dance.  It has a bouncy feel to it, and the basic step does have the backward rock-step characteristic to almost all of the swing dances.  Here’s a good example of some other Charleston steps – note how it also has some twisting movements, high kicks, and very jazzy arm styling. The music was a swing beat, with perhaps a bit more of a ragtime feel than other swing styles to follow – think “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. These days, it more often lends steps to jive & quickstep, rather than being danced as its own, exclusive dance – my boyfriend’s studio doesn’t have an official Charleston syllabus (just not enough steps), but he does often incorporate Charleston steps into other dances.  One example many of you may have noticed is that funky leg flick that the pros often add to their quickstep routines – Mark does it at about the :55 mark of he & Chelsea’s quickstep.  Yep, Charleston moves fit Mark’s jimmie legs perfectly :-) Which is probably why he & Melissa’s Charleston in season 9 sticks out to me as the best representation of the dance on the show – it has the characteristic steps, and they stuck with the 1920′s flapper theme.

Out of the Charleston came the Lindy Hop, which had its heyday in the big band era of the late 1920′s-40′s. It was a product of the Harlem Renaissance, and was born in traditionally black clubs like The Savoy & Cotton Club in New York.  Its footwork was similar to the Charleston, but it had elements of other vernacular/folk dances (such as the cakewalk and Texas Tommy) and also included a breakaway/throwaway step, which allowed the couples dancing it to do more open work than in the Charleston.  It was also quite a bit more daring – when wealthy white patrons descended upon Harlem clubs to watch the black dancers, the dancers themselves upped the ante, and began doing increasingly more dangerous & eye-catching lifts, flips, and tricks (“air steps” or “aerials”) to entertain them.  This often resulted in the dancers being hired to perform or teach Lindy Hop to the patrons. I would say it’s definitely the “showiest” of all the swing dances, due to all the tricks that have come to be standard fare in the Lindy – and with the pros on DWTS, nothing seems to scream “Lindy!” more than some crazy lifts.  In terms of said lifts, I would say that Melissa & Tony’s Lindy in season 8 is the best example; but in terms of overall “feel” (and good use of basic steps), I’d say that Ty & Chelsie’s Lindy is the best example. Read more..

January 7, 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!