Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week Three: Top Sixteen Performances

First Group Performance (Choreographed by Tyce Diorio)

Any visual interest from this performance came from the props, not from the unspectacular choreography. This was a sort of bland way to start the evening, although I definitely want one of those chairs with the lights on the underside.

Sasha and Alexander (Contemporary by Dee Caspary)

These two have contemporary again? Clearly they are judge/producer favorites, becaue they haven't really been challenged yet. This was a beautiful concept (and song), but I still can't stand Alexander. He has a dead face when he dances, and I just can't get past it. I'll have to train myself to only watch Sasha from now on. I really liked the choreography and the intensity and sense of urgency. I kind of was taken aback by the time Alex started crawling on the piano; a little melodramatic, no? But overall this was my favorite performance from this couple so far.

P.S. - They've really stepped it up this year with the guest judges. Not only are they all actual celebrities, but they all have backgrounds in dance and can give legitimate criticisms. Bravo, producers.

Caitlynn and Mitchell (Samba by Jean Marc Genereaux)

As far as ballroom goes, the samba is one I tend to enjoy more than others. I actually liked this dance. Perhaps it's because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from last week's cha cha... Regardless, I think both Caitlynn and Mitchell well embodied the sexual spirit of the samba individually; that is, they were both sexy on their own and in their own right. I didn't see much sexual chemistry between them, but as individuals they were very good. Mitchell is definitely one of my favorites; coming off of a great contemporary performance last week, he proved that he can be successful outside of his comfort zone as well. He was perfectly postured but still relaxed, and those hips (almost) made me forget the travesty of Wadi's attempt at Latin dancing last week.

Miranda and Robert (Broadway by Tyce Diorio)

It annoys me to no end how amusing and talented Tyce finds himself. Because he has no reason to have such a high opinion of himself. In terms of his choreography, I rarely have anything to say about Tyce. His routines are usually not good or bad, just painfully mediocre. They're there, and I never remember them ten minutes after they've ended. You wanna know what I took out of this one? Here's what I was thinking: why would you choreograph to a song with tap sounds on the soundtrack and not have your dancers tap? Talk about a distraction. Not that it mattered, because if I wasn't thinking about that then my mind probably would've shut down from boredom and resumed function when the audience began cheering. Possibly due to my indifference toward the routine, this was the first time I didn't enjoy this couple's performance.

Melanie and Marko (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo)

Sure, every girl wears a corset and a tutu with leggings to a wedding. I mean, it was cute enough... but I wanted it to be so much more than it was. It took forever for anything to happen, and when you compare this to some of Nappytabs' best routines, it really doesn't hold a candle. Having said that, both dancers were great once again. For the first time, though, I thought Marko did much better than Melanie; he was much stronger, more pronounced in his movement. And he portrayed the emotion perfectly without going overboard. So in terms of performance, definitely one of the best; but in terms of choreography, I was left a little cold.

Ashley and Chris (Jazz by Sonya Tanyeh)

It's not that this was bad, but I didn't like it. And I didn't like it because the entire time I just kept thinking about everything it could be and just wasn't. I kept thinking that Sonya should have had them moving in one way (perhaps more lyrical) when they were facing the audiences with the human side; and in another way (perhaps a little more gritty) when they were facing the audience with the makeup side. I kept thinking of all the awkward body movements Sonya could have given them to do. So clearly I wasn't connected in any way to the performance, which is a shame because they were so damn good last week. They just got screwed with a bad song and a weak concept with substandard choreography. Again. Good thing they got a good routine last week, or I would think they were both awful after having two weeks of bad draws (this week and week one with that cheesy Christopher Scott hip hop number to "Forget You").

Clarice and Jess (Foxtrot by Jean Marc Genereaux)

I'm so sick of Jess. He's basically playing the same character he played in the introductory week, and I still don't like it. Because he still comes across as a smug douche. And he's just terrible with this type of partner dancing because of his height. Including her heels, Clarice is a good four inches taller than Jess; I know that pretty much goes against everything I normally stand for, to type dancers based on something physical, but it's just a fact: short male dancers don't dance ballroom unless they have an even shorter female partner. I'll admit that they both did very well, I just don't want to see Jess continue. He annoys me. And I can tell that Clarice is a good dancer, technically, but she hasn't really had the chance to shine yet. She's constantly overshadowed by Jess's over-the-top personality and over-the-top performances.

Ryan and Ricky (Contemporary by Sonya Tayeh)

Dear Ryan: Marry me. This was far and away my favorite performance of the night, mostly thanks to Ryan's absolutely pitch-perfect performance. Her movement was deliberate but unforced, hard but delicate. The (literal) connection between them was unlike anything this couple had delivered before; for once, I thought they deserved to share the same stage. But I do think Ricky went a little overboard at the end with the melodrama (see 1:42 above). But that's a minor quibble for such a powerful piece.

Jordan and Tadd (Hip Hop by Tabitha & Napoleon D'umo)

This was fun and cute, but I don't really get it. Was Jordan supposed to be embarassed? But then why didn't she just leave? So was she supposed to then be trying to seduce him? But they already slept together, and then did again at the end. Why were they trading clothes? Clearly I'm overthinking things, because this was meant to be cutesy; it could've been a good concept if it was worked out a little more, but it was just silly. I liked Tadd a lot, but I wanted more from Jordan. She needed more power behind her movement. But the two of them have a really nice chemistry and great presence.

Second Group Performance (Choreographed by Dee Caspary)

I love Dee Caspary. He's so nondescript and kinda homely in his interviews, but then you see his work on stage and wonder how that guy could do that. Dee utilized the men much better than Tyce did in his group routine, and this concept was much better as well (considering there actually was one other than "be sexy!"). I was waiting for this to have the same domineering feel that the earlier group routine did, but the music was an odd (but good) choice in that it lent a little sadness to the proceedings, as if to beg the question of the viewer about what may have happened to make these women want to poison their husbands. There was a twinge of regret present as they walked off, I think. But anyway, a really good routine, from concept to execution.

My Bottom Three

Ashley and Chris
Miranda and Robert
Clarice and Jess

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