Patrick and Anya – Quickstep
Praises were given all round this week from the judges but Len was bothered by the lack of body contact. I am really glad this has started to be a topic of the judges’ conversation as in previous years body contact has come up much earlier! That said, I really liked Patrick’s approach to his dance this week, I actually felt he was competing for the first time in this show. It is essential for him to deliver great choreography, frame and body contact as soon as possible to catch up with the others and there may be a glimmering chance following this great dance. However, the more Anya pushes with more complex choreography the easier it is to break the frame… Hmm, we all love a gamble mixed with a dilemma!
Fiona and Anton – Charleston
Interesting, the judges were really quite picky on Fiona’s timings this week and looking back I could see they weren’t quite ‘in sync’ with each other but there were not sooooo many timing errors as made out! However, more noticeable to me was that their choreography was quite quiet in general and just needed a real rocket up the bottom to give it some va-voom. It needed to be more wild and then the ‘out of sync’ timings wouldn’t be so evident. The slight look of over-concentrating was evident but understandable as anyone taking on a Charleston needs their wits about them! Gorgeous foot swivels throughout this dance showed me this most elegant lady mastered the pure basics of this dance.
Ben and Kristina – Paso Doble
If ever there would be a strong dance for Ben to come out and own, it would be the Paso Doble. But sadly his efforts didn’t quite please our ever-demanding judges! With his chest and hips being criticised this week I am sure this legend of the rugby field must be pulling his hair out by now. Seeing great choreography starting to be taken on by Ben and him really starting to move more and more each week on the dance floor I think it’s time to give him a little praise (even if I am slightly biased with this rugby specimen). But of course, the more he starts to move now the more he will be open to criticism! So, hip shaping and chest activity is essential in Paso or there is a danger of looking stiff. Also he must start to use heel leads which will help him to drive across the floor with more strength.
Sophie and Brendan – Jive
Not a great week for them with Bruno saying it was ‘heavy and leggy’ and Darcy saying her knees were bent all the way through. But more importantly was, what were those two ‘lifts’!? I’ve picked up on something strange as ‘Mystic Meg’ here! These two have hit it off soooo well but it is necessary for the ‘cruel to be kind’ approach from Brendan to kick in now, else I fear there will be disappointment looming. But how do you tell a friend that they really have to up their ante, when you know they are trying so hard already? Our stunning Sophie really needs to attack the movements so she can feel muscle pain in movements not just cardio exhaustion!
Natalie and Artem – Viennese Waltz
Wow first 10s of the series! BUT as spotted too by Len, their Viennese Waltz was more of an American Smooth Viennese Waltz, meaning there was way too much separation dancing and not enough in hold as is demanded by this dance. There is an argument here though that where the judges are always clear in dropping marks when it comes to lift work being executed in wrong dances, but get the choreography as wrong as this, and there is a debate that this should get penalized equally and most certainly not given a ten! However, often overlooked is the pressure the professionals are under to deliver the right choreography and possibly here the creative mind simply took over the execution of a beautiful Viennese Waltz that was required. What was interesting though was how the audience and judges were tricked by the emotional song choice and the entertainment of the movements but only Len picked up on the fact that it actually was not a Viennese Waltz.
Mark and Iveta – Paso Doble
Well it’s a first for me to witness a ‘Disco Doble’ but surprisingly they managed to get the essence of this dance across, using good shaping, strong walking (needed more heel leads) and great basic choreography content. The twist with the music of introducing the disco element for entertainment may have been just slightly too long and gave cause for the judges to criticize. They also sadly used the slow beat rhythm too much so it ended up looking slightly stumpy, it possibly needed sa few more syncopation steps rather than one beat timings to really give it mmmpphhhh! But I still like them xx
Ashley and Ola – Tango
Come on Ashley let’s get this head position sorted out as it is spoiling some truly awesome choreography and these judges won’t stop criticising it if he doesn’t. But I am not going to let that over look the fact this was a brilliant dance, with brilliant choreography full of great content and REAL dancing, I completely loved this! So the stronger Ashley can get his legs working, the better the top line will be as legs do the work not the head on the dance floor. And, he must make a note that he will struggle later on should he stay in the competition when he goes up against the pro boys with the ‘top line’, as the celebrity girls don’t have so much pressure with this top line challenge!
Abbey and Aljaz – Rumba
What great comments from all the judges but I am guessing that so many of you at home either didn’t agree else forgot to vote as I was so shocked to see her in the bottom two. That said every year there is a surprise dance off and it was sad to see this year it would be Abbey going up against Rachel and oohhhh – too early on in the show! Luckily for Abbey though it was Rachel who had to take the blow and for the record it was most certainly a few weeks too early!! One comment from Darcy however, was Abbey needs to ‘smoothen out the transitions between moves’. Noticing only a couple of wobbles I think it is important to understand this dance is really difficult as there are four beats and only three steps which means the extra beat needs to be filled with dance. Sounds easy but for a beginner it is very hard and wobbles are always visible in the early days. More hip actions and the settling will use the music up and aid with easing out the wobbles.
Dave and Karen – Jive
Ok so this was the first time I could see dance content and this would be the basic steps of Jive to open his routine. With Chasses scattered everywhere and good Rock steps at the beginning I at least felt this was the week Dave was dancing. Well done. Of course the delivery needed to be much stronger and the trick of Karen to put lots of Chasses in would help ease Dave’s nerves and struggles to master some complex steps needed in this dance. However, he actually showed me he was really trying to dance this week. First time ever he got my vote! Onwards and upwards now Dave.
Susanna and Kevin – Charleston
Praise all round from the judges and her pure joys on the dance floor, which are evident every week, were acknowledged by the judges as it partnered this dance soooo well. This was definitely the perfect dance for Suzanna partnering her natural character of energy as well as her facial actions reacting to each move she delivers. Throwing herself into this really well we were dealt a performance of pure entertainment which is what this Saturday night of dance entertainment is all about. I don’t have any criticism for her as she delivered everything needed of this really difficult dance after only such a short time of learning. Her co-ordination and musicality was excellent. A pure delight to enjoy watching each week.
Until next week.. And if you want to give the gift of dance to someone you love this Christmas, click here.
World Masters, International, United Kingdom & British National Champion of Latin American Dance
Winner Strictly Come Dancing 2006
Carl Alan & BDF Award winner for services to dance
Director of Karen Hardy Studios