With the rhinestones and glitter of the Strictly Come Dancing show ever dazzling and the Strictly Come Dancing Professional costumes ever shrinking, the theatrical words and wisdom of the wise men judging and the musical sounds of the band ringing out… it deems the arrival of the Christmas spirit ever grows nearer. And I’m truly hoping you will be giving the gift of dance to a loved one this season.
So talking about our loved ones, I am watching with the greatest of interest to see where your hearts are voting as this sensational show is beginning to unveil itself! With some very clear front-runners, some professionals truly getting their choreography concepts all wrong and some celebrities who no matter how much they try – just simply… can’t dance, it’s in true Strictly Come Dancing style we begin to see some very interesting ‘dance offs’ and tears are destined to flow!
Welcome therefore to the ever-frustrating learning curve of dance and one of the greatest reasons why this show is such a great success. It’s time for the real hare and tortoise race to begin. As the slow burners start to push further on pulling on the strengths they have acquired from their basic fundamental training from their mentors and our hares take time out to rest due to exhaustion from all the tricks and entertainment some professionals have gambled on, we watch with interest to see who will appear over the hill to fight for that rare and most sought-after title…
Natalie & Artem – Samba
With great praise again from the judges and of course Craig ever picking on technical elements, I think more importantly for me it’s to see just how clever Artem is going to get with his choreography now. It’s clear this beautiful woman on the dance floor can deliver the moves but I am hoping that we are going to be treated to show stopping choreography never yet seen on Strictly Come Dancing before. Stop worrying about nitty gritty technical terminology Craig Revel Horwood, start demanding greater choreography…please! (Double bounce action in Samba is for the real professionals!!!)
And so, from the sublime to the ridiculous…
Dave & Karen – Salsa
Darling please… One must at least try to learn even the simplest of the basic steps of any dance! I can overlook being off time (maybe) but witnessing no dance content and absolutely no rhythm I begin to waver on my life long belief that ‘anyone’ can learn to dance… Maybe there is one un-trainable soul in existence. Having impressed Bruno by being ‘out of time’ all the way through a dance it was a sight for sore eyes witnessing it going oh so wrong. But again you – the audience – spoke, and in true traditions of Strictly you just couldn’t resist voting for that sprinkling of entertainment over the better dancers… but just how long are you keen for this year’s ‘dance disaster’ to survive?
Patrick & Anya – Salsa
Wow, this is most certainly not what any keen professional, fighting to prove herself in her first outing on Strictly would want, but what a great Strictly Come Dancing professional she was, who at the very last moment had to change their entire routine due to Patrick’s injury. With a dance that demands twisting and intertwining, complex choreography and arm-ology… having to change the choreography did leave it a little flat, having to take it on with one arm. All a bit weird but they survived another week. Pulling on his strengths of being an actor and having to remember a script, I am sure it was that skill alone that helped him through. Great team work though and much better dancing was enjoyed in his dance off!
Rachel & Pasha – Paso Doble
With Bruno announcing it was a vegetarian Paso Doble, I could on one hand sympathize with her huge commitment to mastering the facial affects for this dance… but this is not Britain’s Next Top Model, being all about the look. Much, much more importantly this must be about the movement of the dance. Seeing Rachel slowly improving each week I was sad to see too much focus on her facial affects when simply continuing to work on her movement would have sufficed. This is a woman who needs warmth and feeling in her dance movements and with this dancing being a passionate dance of love, jealousy, envy and obsession there was a lot of potential for her to have developed her dancing much more than she actually did. Thank you for giving her another chance though. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for next week.
Ashley & Ola – Jive
A very clever design of choreography here by Ola, who, by using a lot of Chasse repetition was able to give this dance a lot of va-va-voom, speed and excitement. Focusing on one simple, basic skill and offering a routine full of energy and appeal, another great week was enjoyed. Oh – and I even noted a small improvement in his head position.
Sophie & Brendan – Cha Cha Cha
The judges were a little divided on this partnership this week, with both Darcy and Bruno commenting on a Cha Cha Cha being harder for taller people with longer legs! Hmm… Not quite sure I agree here – whether you have short or long legs it’s rather (as I have mentioned previously) that she needs to get much more assertive with her action, or there is a danger that a slightly lethargic look will start to appear as the competition starts to get harder. This is definitely an elegant lady on the dance floor whose home is going to be more in the graceful and sophisticated style of Ballroom.
Abbey & Alyash – Foxtrot
Still a stunning couple on the dance floor and with a most divine dress adorning Abbey’s elegant poise on the dance floor, another great performance was enjoyed. Great musicality, excellent use of choreography. We were given a great moment of dancing for a celebrity with her professional partner. However, I am becoming ever-aware of the judges not yet picking up on their gapping! Now, we all know once the choreography is mastered, the timings secured, the technique understood and frame locked in, it is essential the mastering of the body contact must be upheld. Let’s hope that with the judges continuing to overlook this, it’s giving them a little more time to perfect an even greater performance.
Fiona & Anton – Quickstep
Still holding in there for another week and even securing some quite high marks it was hysterical to hear Anton’s comments once a role of marks were delivered, which he has not seen in quite a few years! Even more pleasing is that we all know the demands a Quickstep has to offer, and just about managing to keep up, Fiona was able to deliver an elegant performance. Again I urge the celebrities to take care on the ‘over-acting’ side of matters but rather to just master the art of movement on the dance floor, as once she stopped to wipe Anton’s brow there came a scatter of errors before she was back up and dancing! Later on in the show errors such as this will not be forgiven, so watch out!
Mark & Iveta – Waltz
It was lovely to see the judges enjoyed this performance so much, but a few comments about Mark’s frame and posture were noted. So with my ever laser-like eyes looking into why things can or do go wrong, it’s clear to see that it is time for our lovely Mark to master the art of CBM (Contra Body Movement). This is a skill of moving outside or in and around your partner with out disrupting or breaking the frame. The art of rotation or freedom of the body will need to be mastered, and I am a little worried that Mark may struggle with this. Freedom and flexibility of the body is essential as this competition unfolds.
Susanna & Kevin – American Smooth
A fresh ray of sunshine was enjoyed as Susanna lit up the screen with her beautiful smile and burst of canary yellow gracefulness from her gracious gown. But, with Darcy commenting that, “Susanna maybe lacked a little confidence with the lifts,” I actually warn otherwise. Susanna has so much confidence and commitment to whatever she delivers I fear she is always slightly thinking too far ahead of herself and not taking time to complete the moment which Kevin has intended. Finishing a move to its completeness is an essential skill required to progress into the next action with accuracy. I fear with her thoughts looking to be jumping too far ahead at times, it can sometimes look slightly unfinished. Master the moment of the movement and you will succeed, ‘oh Padawan’. (Sorry, a vision of Susanna in Star Wars suddenly came into my head!)
Ben & Kristina – Quickstep
I’m in total support of Len feeling the business on the couch lasted too long, saying he’d prefer the professionals to choreograph longer routines from now on. But what we have to assess is – are the celebrities unable to learn the steps created by the professionals or are the celebrities being distracted elsewhere and not getting the hours of training time required to fulfill the ever demanding desires of the judges and public at home?
In general I think there is a large amount of overkill on entertainment and not enough dance content (fearing I am starting to sound frumpy and not hip and with it) but I can’t stress enough the power that dance has to offer if delivered well. An essence of props and storyline always offers a twist to the flavouring but who really wants a cake full of just jam and sugar icing with no sponge?
But hey, that said, it was great to see Ben coming alive on-set and if it takes a simple smack round the head by a pillow to wake him up then so be it!
So, until next week my lovelies, I look forward to seeing what’s going to unfold on the dance floor as the competition ever gets tougher!