… More Classic!
7. Ronnie and Brandi to “It’s Not Impossible” (Ben Sollee). For a solid month after the Open I could not get this song out of my head, finally shaking it some time late January. And now here we go again – after seeing this beautiful routine I am stuck all over again, the song playing all day, and all night long in my sleep. Something about this beautiful happy-sad song just haunts me. And the choreography – and the texture of their dancing – couldn’t be more sweet or perfect.
“It’s not impossible for me to cry, it’s just the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And it’s a shame you know, but it’s ingrained you know, boys don’t cry, boys. don’t. cry.” That’s how it starts, with that quiet intro, just a voice, musing. And their dancing starts quietly, gently, along with it, Brandi leaning up against Ronnie’s leg as if she’s leaning up against a tree, alone with her thoughts. Then the first verse takes off and a joyful banjo and guitar melody and they are up and dancing, in and up and around, raucous and bittersweet right along with the music. It moves you, it just touches you, they’re dancing happy but it’s so very sad somehow. So much activity, quickness, beauty, emotion. Including Brandi down on the floor kicking and raging – for an instant – only for an instant – because the lyrics (“kick and scream”) last only that long. Nothing is ever overdone with Ronnie and Brandi. Understatement always. Subtlety, nuance, and in this particular piece, gentleness. These two are nothing if not gentle, elegant, poised, precise, brilliantly clean, and as I’ve said before smart – just something intelligent, thoughtful, about their choreography and their execution of it.
The last verse comes, the last banjo refrain is over, and the song ends with the lonely voice repeating the same opening lines. And as it ends Brandi withdraws back into herself, turning her face away, leaning her back against the tree, and she slides back down to the position we first found her in. It’s as if there’s an emotionless passive face shown to the world outside, but for one moment we get a glimpse into the mixed up emotional carnival that’s actually going on behind that face. So beautiful! So joyful and so sad! Brandi and Ronnie are eye-candy – they’re both gorgeous, he in elegant black pants and a white shirt, she in elegant black pants and a simple white (sparkly) bra with the palest aqua sash as a belt, and across her back. Simple, classy as always, utterly appropriate in every way. When these two walk out on the floor you relax in your seat because you know you’re in the hands of pros. They won’t embarrass themselves or you, they’ve done their homework, they understand movement, they’re appropriate, thoughtful, they appreciate beauty, they respect themselves and you. They received a standing ovation! I love this routine. Love them as people, too. And they dance like they are.
8. Clint (Sydney Australia!) and Louise (St. Ives Australia!), “Like I Love You” (Justin Timberlake). Aussies are cool I’ve decided. They probably think they’re cooler than me. They are, they’re even cooler than cool. They dance cool they dress cool they choose cool songs the women are hot and the men are omgawd. Someone dumped an entire bag of coolness on the men. I can’t even talk to them my face gets bright red and my voice squeaks. So far every single Australian wcs dancer who’s come to the US has been the coolest person in the history of whatever, including, now, these two. So this routine – it’s cool. Hits, punches, leans, back-drops, sweeps, and slides. She’s adorable.
9. Eddie and Helen, “Cooler Than Me” (Mike Posner), Bright tomato-red costumes with black sparkly accents, Helen a gorgeous American Beauty, in brilliant tomato-red lips. Lots of hard lindy-esque stuff in this routine – through-the-leg drags, drops, snakes, and toes-up slides of all sorts. And pirouettes, fouettes, straight-arm barrel-rolls (that’s not what they’re called. What are these things?Cartwheel-arms?). Cute routine, but Helen would be cute standing in line at the department of motor vehicles. And Eddie’s pretty adorable himself.
10. Brennar and Torri to “Sadly Beautiful” (Tom McRae), Brennar in gray pants, vest, and a navy shirt (Brennar always looks like a gentleman, which he always is) and Torri in navy pants and an absolutely stunning top of a wide navy chiffon sash over a glittery pewter bra and belt, her gorgeous hair loose but pulled back behind one ear (she “dances” her hair in this piece). Oh. My. Goodness. Breathtaking. What a song, first of all, and the story behind it. Cello! Acoustic guitar and voice – gorgeous song. Love that it’s slow (~77 bpm) and so allows for super fast, lots of complex syncopated rhythms. Love that we get to see these two do slow – to show their extreme control. Love that it’s sad, and serious, that we get to see them do serious after last year’s “cute.”
This routine is extreme beauty, in every way. “You’ve got your father’s hair, and you’ve got your father’s nose” [beat beat beat] (and he takes her face in his hands) “And you’ve got my soul” (and Brennar is down on his knees in front of her). I love how they move when they’re still, something’s moving, even if just their torso is expanding in the direction they’re about to go in, or even maybe just an elbow is moving imperceptibly through an empty spot. The shapes! Her impeccable spins! The believability of the emotion! Her moments of raging! The lines! The smoothness and quality of their movement! I love watching Brennar as much as I love watching Torri – he is unbelievably graceful, so perfectly with her in every moment. They are two parts of the same whole – there are not two dancers up there but one who splits apart and comes back together again, one cohesive idea.
My favorite moment: “I had no chance at all” and Torri reaches forward with a flexed foot but can’t get there, she’s pulled back. The moment is so … I don’t know how to explain it. It leaves an empty hole in the space in front of her, a tunnel of emptiness that she was reaching towards. I don’t know, this whole routine is just astonishing. I’d love to see it on a dark, pitch black stage, with nothing but a single spotlight on them. Extreme beauty. Not an eye was dry in that ballroom.
11. Jason and Annmarie Marker, “Unwritten” (Natasha Bedingfield), in, I’m sure, since she’s a fashion designer in addition to being a dancer, outfits designed by Herself Annmarie – blue and red slashes and diagonal straps and draping. I love these two, love that their routines are always from the heart, about them and their love for each other. Love their expressions! They *throw* themselves into their dancing, total commitment. They’re adorable!
12. Ben and Melissa, “You and I” (Lady Gaga), YAAAAY for this routine I love this routine love love LOVE! Okay first of all HOW GORGEOUS IS MELISSA in her little (and I mean LITTLE) black dress, with those legs, and those, what, 6″ stilettos?!? And that hair? And those red red lips? Holy mackerel what a bombshell! And her spins? In those heels and that short little, tight little dress? And wait, exactly how fast is this song? 135 bpm?!? I think she must have said “You know what? I want something hard something impossible actually how about if I wear 8″ stilettos with bare legs so they can see every movement and a dress up to here so I have to hide my skivvies and let’s put umpteen triple-timed finger spins and of course pirouettes don’t forget drops slides back-bends duck-outs splits anything where I might fall let’s put a lot of that in there what’s the fastest song you know let’s use that one but can you speed it up?” This routine is about Melissa, and Melissa is Va-Va-Voom on steroids. It’s about her waist, her hour-glass figure, her luxurious hair … and man oh man her dancing! (Oh and I want to extend a personal thank you to Ben and Melissa for no butt shakes. We’ve had a superfluity of butt shakes in recent years and this is a routine that would definitely call for a butt shake.) What a great partnership this is! Loving their choreography, what seems to be a similarly goofy sense of humor, seems like they really compliment each other.
So that was Classic! What a night, what an amazing night of great routines!
And what we would have seen, had Kyle and Sarah and Jordan and Tatiana danced their new routines, what we would have seen would have made for an even more amazing night!
We would have seen Kyle and Sarah’s super cool Southern Rock meets Jazz meets Jason Mraz meets 60’s Psychedelic: Aussie Claude Hay’s “Fade” – in a formal and hip black-and-white (Kyle in an elegant vest, Sarah in an awesome black-and-white criss-crossy strappy thong half-vest choker top) – how they hit all the teeny things inside the bigger movements, how they dance so smooth you think they poured oil on the floor and they’re sliding around in a puddle – and how funky they are – and how Sarah flies! She flies from one end of the slot all the way out to the other, back and forth, her hair flying behind her, keeping up with Kyle’s large stride. She’s so fast! And her spins! She’s just a whir, like a pencil. And Kyle’s feet! How does he move them like that? So quick! He’s big *and* he’s quick, how unusual is that? He’d make a great running back. At one point he gives Sarah an outside turn into a free spin in the middle of which he lifts a leg over her head while turning and somehow she ends up falling onto his arm – it’s amazing. And you have no idea how it happens …
And we would have seen Jordan and Tatiana with “More!” (opening with the moody Alex Vargas version, finishing with the fast Usher version) Effortless! Beautiful, clean, gorgeous lines. Such contained power … with such calm. Intense quiet focus combined with screaming speed and ferocity. It’s simply stunning! You don’t move. You forget to breathe or blink. The ballroom is silent, no one speaks, you can hear the light bulbs. And as abruptly as it started it’s done and you jump to your feet yelling and crying and pounding your hands and all around you people are going crazy. Jordan and Tatiana are beasts! They’re in blood-red and black and they roar onto the floor like the matador and the bull rolled into one. Hot, impatient, fire shooting out of their eyes. They’re ferocious. They eat west coast swing for breakfast. They burn through the room leaving nothing but a lonely thread of smoke and scorch marks across the floor.
Amazing routines out there for 2012. What a great year this is!