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November 2016



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Another DWTS Hit! Eras Night Fulfills Our Dance Fantasy Nostalgia, Part 1

DWTS scored another big HIT with Eras Night! S23 is turning out to be one of the most successful ever. Good casting, good concepts, good production! And...Good Luck! Team Past recalled the elegance of eras past in dance. Team Future presented a transcendent vision of eras to come. Eight couples represented a dance style from the 20's to the 80's! The stuff of a wonderfully creative and romantic night of dance! A possible flight of fantasy...and Shazam! It happened! It worked! Plus, LEN GOODMAN WAS BACK! Hate to say it, but when I saw that Bed & Shower excess in overdone production for THE SEXY JANA-GLEB TANGO, I was wishing for Mr. Goodman to come back! Where were you when we needed you! But once here, and, yes, Len did reestablish some sense and control  wth his back to basics, back to Ballroom credo. But Grumpy Len quickly  took it to the other extreme, drivin MC Tom Bergeron into his  humorous Save- the-Show-from-Len's-Wrath mode! Why do I feel it's all an act?To please Len, the otherJudges all underscored our dance victims. Bruno and Julianne were never as  hyper! Len-fright? Carrrie Ann was never as cold and nitpicking. Trying to impress the head Judge? But the Judges didn;t spoil the fun at all. They were mean to everyone! It all balanced out. Their drama might have added to the energy and excitement of Week 7! On to our first dance: What! Laurie and Val first? The couple to beat, the Olympian Teen Ager and the Resident Hunk Pro? The most-likely to succeed...maybe not? See what we thought of them, and all of the dancing on Eras Night!

1. Quickstep Reveals Val-Len Generation Gap

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy
"One Fine Day" - The Chiffons         Style: Quickstep

To see Laurie & Val's Quickstep, click here:   http://www.mjsbigblog.com/laurie-val-quickstep-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR: Laurie & Val's Quickstep was a performance hit, wildly entertaining, a charming  set up of 60's pastel-colorful Prom memories, complete with frilly dresses, corsages and awful tuxedos. The Chiffon's "One Fine Day" was a very fine fit for the decade and the Quickstep. The package was too damn coy an contrived, portraying Laurie as a naive bimbo, but Val's earnest effort to  connect and mentor Laurie seemed honest and true. They seemed better connected than ever in this high spirited, dynamic dance, full of hold and jaunty frolicking all around the ballroom. At the end, for 60's flair, Val added a bit of Twist and Rock and Roll, and a great split!  The audience roared with pleasure, and were sure Laurie and Val were back in the saddle again, with a BIG HIT!  But party-pooper Len (as Val dared call him) spoiled the fun by declaring it was too bouncy, too fast, sloppy technically. It was show-worthy, performance-wise but not a proper Quickstep. Val was visibly annoyed and in Chmerkovskiy fashion ( reminiscent of his bro), he made a nasty reference to Len suffering from jet-lag (from his London flight).Making it more brazen, Julianne agreed with Val about the jet lag, disagreed with Len about the flaws in the Quickstep. Carrie Ann coalesced with Len, added lift-police qualms. Bruno joined Julianne in praise and the end result was two 8's for the Len-Inaba coalition to to two 9's. What did i think? I liked the performance, but I did find something weird and bouncy about the frame, posture and feel of the Quickstep. It felt like slapstick Quickstep, as if Val was deliberately parodying Quickstep! To me , it added to the humor and fun of the 60's performance. Now, whothe hell would be doing Quickstep in the 60's? There was a generational conflict between Len and Val, and I'm inclined to join the Val Coalition. Screw the Quickstep, embrace the parody. Thumbs up for Val and Laurie and  the joy and humor of the performance!

PAT SAYS: Has the production power push waned for Laurie Hernandez and Val? Maybe they're  not going over as they had expected. The judges are finally critiquing her on her dance performance and technique  and not just on her personality and charisma. This was really a disservice to Laurie, not seeing her flaws and giving her an early 30/30. Had the judges critiqued Laurie constructively from week 1, she may have been able to correct her issuesearly  and not rely on her Olympic fame and bubbly personality.  The 60's Prom Quickstep Laurie and Val performed  was a decent Quickstep, but her frame was off. There was too much space between their bodies. Her steps were not Quickstep clean. They were too bouncy, with too much sway.  Val put in good Quickstep content, yes. Now, he's he's got to get down to the nitty-gritty of pure, flawless dance, like Len advises. Val should stop relying on gimmicks, production and Troupe enhancements for every dance.   . Judges:  34/40    Pat:  32/40  B    Hector: 35/40 B+

2. Teflon Star Lochte Slides Thru His Glib Rumba

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"Aerosmith            Style: Rumba

To see Ryan & Cheryl Rumba, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ryan-cheryl-rumba-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR: I'm baptising  Ryan Lochte "The Teflon Dance Star" because despite a dishonoring scandal and bad dancing, he's managed to reach the 8th week in his DWTS stint. I credit that feat to three main reasons: 1) He may have has less dancing chops than many others that have been eliminated,but Ryan has a powerful presence, with real charisma, movie star good looks and an appealing likable personality  2)The protesters rather than hurting Ryan, managed to switch sympathy to Ryan's favor, Plus the ABC Hype Machine has protected their investment with a huge, effective PR campaign in Ryan's favor 3) He has awesome dancer-trainer veteran DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke as his teach. It is amazing how sexy and beautiful Cheryl could make this Rumba look by writhing and undulating around him with Ryan standing mostly inert, or having very litle to do, yet looking like the danseur noble of Ballet Pas de Deux, the dependable guy dancer who makes his Queen look good! Cheryl uses his presence and charisma to good use by doing all the hard work while he stands straight and noble and handsome and charming! How little he is aware about what good dancing is about, that I had to laugh out loud when he says he thought he did "amazing " in his stiffer than a lead toy soldier Salsa last week!  Yet he says it so earnestly and wistfully, one is charmed nevertheless. Miss Burke simplified Ryan's part in the Rumba, doubled up her part with gorgeous, sensual,  Rumba lines, moves, extensions. We could hardly notice Ryan was only walking here and there, hardly ever moving his hips or undulating, or doing any discernible Rumba. The Judges humored him and overscored him as befits the Party Line. And to Cheryl,  her magnificent dancing, and her skill at the art of camouflage: KUDOS!

PAT SAYS: Ryan Lochte looked robotic in Rumba. His Rumba movements were short and quick instead oF slow, continuous, flowing and extended like the Dance of Love should be.This Rumba wasn't horrible. Thanks to Cheryl Burke, it was interesting to watch. Like Len Goodman (who was back at the saddle) said, it didn't rely on fluff and chorus dancers, just plain dancing. VERY plain, on Ryan's part! . It could've been worse. I didn't feel the intimate connection between he and Cheryl that one should experience in Rumba.  Ryan looked awkward.  Surely Ryan has come to the end of his run.   Judges:  28/40    Pat:  26/40  C     Hector: 25/40  C-

Judges Favor Ryan's Bad dancing
3. Unfair to Dump on Marilu's Charming Charleston?

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough
"Never Forget You"Postmodern Jukebox   Style: Charleston

To see Marilu & Derek's Charleston, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/marilu-derek-charleston-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR SAYS: Marilu & Derek's Charleston was chock-full of delightful Charleston, complex and creative steps, a smattering of Tap, a wonderfully imaginative choreography. It had no frills, just cute and charming 20's Charleston dancing, A few times Marilu went out off sync. Her energy seemed to wane towards the end. It didn't end with the big, wild bang it should have. Still, it didn't mar my great enjoyment. I felt it was an excellent performance, and fairly technically adept.True, Marilu did not fully display,the crazy, devil-may-care, roaring  20's attitude in her dance. She was a little tight.Stage fright? Affected by her total Derek Hough admiration?   Strange, for a seasoned actress that has played Roxie Hart in "Chicago".But getting one point above Ryan Lochte in her dance? And lambasted by negative comments from all three Judges? Something seems rotten in the case of Marilu. The Judges have consistently scored Marilu unfairly, hold her to higher standards( than say Maureen or Ryan). And their comments have not been encouraging. They seemed designed to sacrifice Marilu, to have her eliminated by next week.  To make a point with saving dishonored Olympian Ryan? This wonderful contestant deserves better treatment!

PAT SAYS; Marilu's footwork was not as sharp as it could' have been. She was off sync at times in in their side by side dancing. I really thought this dance would be right up her alley but she struggled with it. I noticed that she had tape on both her feet. It makes me wonder if her feet were bothering her. Judges :  29     Pat :  28   C    Hector:  33  B

4. Will Calvin & Hinch Fight It Out for MBT, Laurie Be 3rd?

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold  
"Good Golly, Miss Molly
" - Little Richard            Style: Jive

To see Calvin& Lindsay Jive, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/calvin-lindsay-jive-week-6-dwts-23-video/

I can say enough about how much I like Calvin's terrific dancin'! Everything about this Jive was a winner, starting with Little Richard, then Lindsay Arnold's dynamic choreography doing justice to the extraordinary music! Another big winner for S23 is Lindsay Arnold herself! What a teacher, what a dancer-choreographer, what a BEAUTY, what a STAR! LINDSAY IS THE NEW JULIANNE HOUGH! But back to Calvin, how well she's taught him, logarithmic advance in 6 swift weeks! Great footwork,keeps the beat, what musicality in this pizzazy Jive!! Something is wonderful about watching that long-limbed tallest of guys be so in sync with the petite dance beauty! There's a special mystique to these two, a great warm and friendly get-along connection. We no longer think of Calvin & Lindsay to tall-short and weird together, they go together like a wink and a smile.Calvin is a big, friendly, not ashamed of his tallness guy. He has an easy showmanship, a charismatic presence. We are wildly surprised and delighted that the big football hero with the large feet can dance so well! The ease and special grace he sports as he spins Lindsay around is awesome! He's issued a special "Calvin Style" using his extended body as a plus in dancing. He's invented  special nuanced efffects that  only Tall Calvin can do. How awful that  he cannot point his feet too well because of ankle injuries! Jive depends a lot on pointed feet! Lindsay tells him that he should he focus on keeping energy in his  feet even if he can't point them well! What a charming adviceHe took it!! Lindsay wants people to know Calvin the Great can do other than great lifts! Don't worry Lindsay! We saw him lead the whole Troupe like the King of Cool! We saw him sway his arms side by side in sync. We saw him transition with swag without losing a tad of energy, I think Laurie and Val may have to fight for the 3rd.slot, while Calvin & Hinch fight it out at the top! Who knew!

PAT SAYS: Once again, Calvin was on point, literally! He gracefully pointed his big feet in a great Jive KILL! His kicks were sharp and strong and even though he can't completely point his toes, it didn't matter. His Jive was KING! He always looks like he's having so much fun out there.  He has been the dancer Most Improved,  week to week.  Kudos to Lindsay for giving him tons of Jive content and not just relying on tricks. Lindsay is rapidly becoming my fav female pro! Right up there with Sharna! Dare say I,even surpassing her? Welcome to the finals Calvin!!  And again Calvin Johnson was underscored. Judges:  36/40    Pat:  38/40  A   Hec:  38/40    A

Enjoy our first four dances of a wonderful Eras Night!  Repeat performance! Lagnniape! Bravo! Encore, DWTS-ABC for future years. It's a great and fitting theme for dance inspirations, the remembrance of good dance past! For the rest of the Eras Story, read Part 2, a Satuday Night Special!