Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week Two: Top Ten Performances

Cristina and Pasha (Paso Doble by Jean-Marc Generoux)
I think this one started realtively sloppily (check out Cristina's feet when she dives into Pasha's arms for the first time). I'm not a fan of the paso doble (like, at all), and this didn't do anything to make me like it more; in fact, it may have done just the opposite since it didn't feature the one thing I've come to enjoy about the dance: anger. The anger of the paso doble, and the level to which it is expressed, is the one thing I can appreciate in a routine that doesn't generally tell a story or allow much personality to be shown (see Brandon and Jeanine's duet from the final night of competition in season 5). So I can't say I was a fan of this particular paso doble or of Cristina dancing it. I also think the judges overreacted horribly to how good this one was; I didn't find it all that special.

On a separate note, why are the all stars now facing the judges as well? I think allowing them to have a say takes away from the fact that we're supposed to be voting for a newcomer, not a personable familiar face.

Adechike and Allison (Contemporary by Mandy Moore)
Yet another beautiful routine from Mandy Moore, but once again Adechike wasn't completely in it. He vastly improved over last week's embarassing turn, but he didn't seem to lose himself in the feeling of the piece. Compared to Allison, who was completely inside the music and the material, he looked downright stoic. Because of that, there was a disconnect between them. Technically, this looked great though. I agree with what Nigel said in that Adechike only looked "emotional" when he wasn't thinking about what step was coming next; but in preparing for the next big movement, he often let his face drop into blankness.

Alex and Lauren (Broadway by Tyce Diorio)
Tyce, thankfully, gave this couple a little more to work with in terms of chemistry; they at least got to touch each other. But he seems to put his dancers in a totally different space from the other couples; his two Broadway routines this season haven't really been "partnered," so there isn't much connection between them. Here, Alex and Lauren were often dancing completely different styles. Alex was often in the background doing tour jettes and other technical elements (which is when he was at his best), while Lauren was sexing it up in the front. I agree with the judges that Alex just didn't have enough style for this genre, especially considering it wasn't traditionally showy Broadway but Fosse; Alex is great when he's outwardly expressive (see his jumps in this number), but weak when internalizing.

Ashley and Mark (Jazz by Travis Wall)
I'm a much bigger fan of this piece than Travis's piece last week... probably because, like the judges said, it was more contemporary than jazz, an area in which Travis excels. I don't have much to say about Ashley (or even Mark), except that I didn't understand the motivation behind her dancing; the introduction made it seem like this should've been an aching routine for her, but she smiled throughout. Are you happy to be breaking up with Mark? It was very lift-heavy and didn't give Ashley much of a chance to just dance, but the choreography was good enough to get her through without much thought anyway.

Billy and Comfort (Krump by Li'l C)
I agree that Billy was too sweet to be taken totally seriously here. His inherent charm and goodness comes through no matter what, but I love that he immersed himself in the style anyway. Some of the other dancers could learn something from that ethic. And for the first time, I liked Comfort! What I didn't like, however, was how easily and rudely the judges dismissed Billy's wholehearted attempt here. It obviously was not perfect, but it was at least as good as Kherington's attempt at krump two years ago (for which she was praised). However, the judges refused to look past the dancer and just judge the performance; they didn't see a contemporary dancer attempting krump, they saw Billy Bell attempting krump and couldn't let go of their notions of how he should be dancing. It's frustrating, especially considering how forgiving they were of other dancers tonight. Robert is praised by Nigel for doing Latin dance so well for a contemporary dancer; Jose is praised for bringing an element of joy to Bollywood even though he danced it horribly. The judges can see these two dancers objectively but only see "Billy Bell" doing krump. Craziness.

Robert and Anya (Argentine Tango by Jean-Marc Generoux)
This wasn't as terrible as it could have been, but it was pretty awkward at times: Robert frequently looked like he had lost his place (he had "unsure feet" often), and his quick footwork didn't seem quick enough. It didn't help that Anyay (once again) completely outshined him. I think Nigel truly overreacted again, and I would tend to side more with Mia here: Anya ate him alive, when it should've been the other way around. He was just too weak next to her to be convincing. Having said that, I'd like to tell Anya to SHUT UP, saying "I wouldn't look this good without him." Yes, you would; you always look good, no matter who your partner is.

Melinda and Ade (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)
This was a beautiful concept, and it was executed wonderfully. There was no trace of the awkward-legged Melinda of last week (Seriously, how were her legs perfect this week when they were so ugly last week? Is Jive really that hard?). She earns the most-improved award from me this week. On the other hand, the wardrobe department commits Epic Costume Fail #2 with this one: a green dress with silk, craft-store flowers sewn limply onto it, flopping helplessly with each movement.

Jose and Kathryn (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)
I'll agree with one thing the judges felt: this was a noble attempt. But it failed horribly. Not only was Jose's technique abhorrent, but he was always a half-beat behind the music. And he knew it. He knew this was going to be a shitshow, so he tried to make up for it by cheesing the entire time. And the judges bought it. Ugh.

Lauren and Dominic (Lyrical Hip Hop by Tessandra Chavez)
So I was less-than-enthused with Tessandra's group routine last week, but this one blew me away. It was pure perfection for me. Lauren was so in it (Adechike, pay attention), and her hip hop technique left little to be desired. Powerful, emotional, hard-hitting, relevant, beautiful. My absolute, hands-down favorite piece of the night. This routine felt not only like a great routine but like an accomplishment; afterward I felt much the same way I did after seeing Tyce's "Cancer Dance," Mia's "Time," and Wade's "Hummingbird and Flower:" ecstatic but winded, like a happy punch in the gut. Bravo.

Kent and Courtney (Jazz by Tyce Diorio)
I didn't get the theme Tyce was going for here ("want what you can't have"); it just looked uncomfortable. That probably had something to do with the fact that Kent still hasn't learned to hide his own discomfort, so that is projected onto the audience. And because of it, every step looked too tentative, as if he had to brace himself for what was coming next. Once again, I agree with Mia: Courtney was devouring Kent alive on that stage when he should have been the dominant dancer. Oh, and here's Epic Costume Fail 3: Kent's gay leather fetish wear. Huh?

My Bottom Three:


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