Thursday, August 4, 2011

Week Eight: Top Six Performances

Next week is the finale, and most of the dancers brought their A-game in preparation for it. 

Melanie and Twitch (Hip Hop by Nappytabs)

This was a cute concept, but it was horribly executed in my opinion. The choreography should've been so much more aggressive than it was; why should Red be afraid of the Wolf (or vice versa) with that smooth hip hop choreography? It should've hit harder... more specifically they should've hit each other harder. And the music was awful, completely unmelodic and it left the dancers without much with which to work. For me, this was Melanie's weakest performance since "Americano," which was also the fault of her choreographer and not herself. It wasn't necessarily bad, it was just kind of weak.

Sasha and Kent (Contemporary by Tyce Diorio)

Sasha has played this exact same role in this exact same type of dance way too many times this season for me to give a shit. We get it, she's angry a lot. Give her something else. Kent has matured immensely in the year since he was on the show, and I was ecstatic to see a much more controlled, subdued dancer in him. But that literal wall they kept running into was so utterly stupid and borderline offensive to my intelligence that I couldn't help but laugh. For me, it zapped all of the emotion out of the piece. "Hitting a wall" in a relationship can be demonstrated through dance without being literal; when you make it literal, you make it lesser. And Tyce is such a tool; he was giving Christina Applegate snaps when she was praising Sasha... SNAPS. Is this 1995?

Marko and Janette (Paso Doble by Dmitry Chaplin)

This lacked all of the anger and fire of a typical paso doble, and with those elements a lot of the passion went out of it too. The choreographer admitted himself that there were no counts to the dance, and it was evident that Marko couldn't really follow too well without them. As the two arced across the stage toward each other, compare their foot movements; Janette is with the music, Marko is not. And like I said earlier, he wasn't particularly feeling the passion or the fire either.

Tadd and Ellenore (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh)

This was impressive, but I'm not sure if it was warranted or not. The choreography and actual dancing was little, and what was there was rather pedestrian. But the tricks were fantastic. The aerial work was a lot of fun, as was Tadd's moment supporting himself on the chair. If the costuming were better and more period-appropriate, it would've been right at home in a Cirque du Soleil performance. So I don't know if I should like it for being over-the-top when there was so little dance in it.

Ricky and Jaimie (Contemporary by Dee Caspary)

I think Dee Caspary is a brilliant choreographer, but he was a bit too caught up in the concept of this piece for it to truly work. As far as prop dances go, this one wasn't too successful. It could've been great, but Ricky was clearly concentrated more on the movement of the sticks than on the movement of his body. He doesn't dance with as much heart as I want; compare his throwing of his body to how Jaimie throws his body. There's restraint there that should've been abandoned long before the penultimate week of the competition.

P.S. - Lil C is so annoying. He loves throwing big words around that make zero sense so he sounds smart: "Magically magnificent puppeteer of physically rhythmic artistry." That doesn't mean anything. Get over yourself.

Caitlynn and Pasha (Samba by Dmitry Chaplin)

First of all, thank you Dmitry for putting the first samba roll in a samba routine in like 3 seasons; making it counterintuitive to the music was an extra step of genius, and it looked great. Caitlynn's chemistry with Pasha carried over from their tango two weeks ago and remained strong. She was sexy and fun without being cheesy, and she was right in step with her partner. I feel awful for Caitlynn, because she's going to go home next week for the mere fact that she isn't Melanie or Sasha; both of those women have been praised to the heavens for weeks upon weeks and hailed as "the best dancer on the show" more than once each and on many separate occassions. It's a shame, because Caitlynn has honestly proven herself to be more adaptable than Sasha (this samba and her Argentine Tango are both lightyears better than any ballroom routine Sasha has done) and just as good a contemporary interpreter as Melanie (see "Turning Tables" from week two, or her Mandy Moore piece with Mitchell).

Sasha and Ricky (Waacking by Kumari Suraj)

So waacking looks like a mix of jazz and disco, but slower and without any interesting lifts. Or anything else interesting about it, really. I was bored. The choreography was boring, the performances were boring. The whole thing moved too slowly. If Mary Murphy hadn't said anything, I never would've known this is the style Princess Lockeroo danced in; because she was so much better than them that it looked like a completely different style.

Melanie and Tadd (Broadway by Spencer Liff)

I love that Spencer told a complete story from beginning to end in just two minutes. I mean he basically took the seduction scene from Black Swan and told it through dance. Melanie was great, Tadd was great, the choreography was great; it all worked beautifully.

Caitlynn and Marko (Jazz by Sonya Tayeh)

The choreography was typical Sonya: jerky, stop-and-go, hair-throwing, frantic. Caitlynn was superb, easily outperforming (in terms of emotion and often in terms of even dance) Marko. I kept thinking throughout that I wish Caitlynn had been paired with Melanie last week for the final number Sonya did; it would've been even better. Because Caitlynn is better than Sasha and deserves a spot in the finale over her, though I don't think it will happen. But I honestly think Caitlynn is the better dancer and performer.

Dancers I Would Eliminate

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