Awesome night … TWELVE couples! That’s a lot of Classic couples! I counted four that, at least to me, were brand new. And the rest as new as the Open. So exciting!
1. Ben McHenry and Cameo, “Fort Knox” (Goldfish), elegant in black and white, so smoooooth! This is one of those couples who make dancing look as easy as walking. Her turns are effortless, don’t know how to describe them except to say they sort of happen the way sitting down in a chair happens for the rest of us – utterly without any trying whatsoever, or tightening of any muscle. Getting into and out of turns is so unnoticeable you’re not even impressed that she just did 10 pirouettes or 16 flat-backs into a splits. You have to remind yourself that what she’s doing must be difficult, it sure was difficult the last time you tried it.
2. Jake and Kara, “Do I Move You” (Nina Simone), in hot azalea-pink, Jake with a skinny black tie hanging untied from his collar, Kara with one black lace shoulder and black straps in back. I’m a big fan of Jake’s. I love his timing, his speeding up and slowing down and syncopating rhythms. He dances like a jazz vocalist singing a sophisticated in-and-out and around the straight timing. And his face, all this weekend! So expressive, and real! He was *on* all weekend, in this routine and his JJ’s and Strictlys. And what can you say about Kara? She is sexy! Sexy and passionate. And this is one steamy song – 74 bpm hot blues – great showcase for her steamy hot movement and lines.
3. Sean and Courtney, “Reign” and “Feelin’ So” (both by Bad News Brown.) Great music! Bad-ass Southern blues harmonica with a gritty Atlanta hip-hop vibe. It’s been thrilling to watch Courtney get better and better. I loved her from the first day I saw her but man has she worked hard. She’s become refined, controlled, precise, intentional. Anybody who’s ever danced with her or watched her late-nite knows she has craaazy energy. She’d dance and she’d be flinging out electrons from body parts – spraying in all directions from the ends of her fingertips, out the top of her head, streams of electrons shooting off of her hips, out her elbows … dissipating heat and energy in a whirl around her.
Now she contains it all … all that wild thermal energy building up like in a nuclear reactor, stored power and tension, her movements precise and economical, everything controlled, those fiery blue eyes the only portal releasing white heat. Chillingly awesome. And Sean! Ha! Her perfect counterpart.
Everything about this routine says “Serious.” “We are not fooling around here.” Feels mature, including their outfits: plain black, understated, unobtrusive. It’s not about the clothes, flash, distractions.
We saw this at the Open and got chills then. In the three months since it’s become even cleaner, crisper. Very exciting to be part of their journey.
4. Josh and Deron, “Darum Leben Wir” (Cassandra Steen), in pewter sequins (I want this top.) Wonderful angst, sturm und drang, long baleful stretches, ominous leans – they really pull off the essence of this song.
5. Ed and Mackenzie, “Jessie’s Girl” (Rick Springfield) and “Any Way You Want It” (Journey), I LOVE this funny, witty, playful routine! Here’s what Mackenzie, freakishly gorgeous, and a total artist, always, in her clothing choices, is wearing: Hot pants – and by hot I mean feverishly hot – black with a teeny red something peeking out at the bottom; and boots! With fringe! No wait, not boots, they’re spats! Or leather leg-warmers, with leather fringe. And red knee-socks peeking out the top? Something ridiculously sexy given that hot pants are at the other end of those legs. And a black cropped corset something, and her hair in a messy high pony-tail, tough-girl style. Both she and Ed (in a black vest and red shirt) have a huge heart-with-wings emblem on the backs of their outfits.
So they walk on the floor and you’re already with them cause just the way they’re dressed, and the way they walk out there, is witty, creative, funny, and adorable. And then the song! So fun! They start with a body-roll, and the whole ballroom is cheering and laughing, instantly the first moment. No messing around – they start up strong and keep moving and then! – what I’m sure this routine will be most remembered for – the chorus comes in, she’s stalking away, and Ed PULLS HER BACK BY HER HAIR hahahahaha omgawd! So funny the crowd went wild. I loved this, but you know what? Two people sitting beside me (no names) said they worried kids might take this the wrong way. Didn’t get a chance to ask them to elaborate and I have to say I don’t understand this worry, but who knows? Maybe other people feel the same way. The whole ballroom laughed and cheered for them, I do know that hahaha. So silly, fun, just perfect for this song.
Love their choreography – every time the refrain comes in “Where can I find a woman like that?” and the music stops in its tracks, full silence, Ed and Mackenzie stop too. Dead in their tracks. Full silence. It’s such a surprise, keeps you watching and wondering what’s next. Hilarious! Second (or third?) time this silence happens there’s a long interlude in which they both sort of walk around arguing silently and then then Bam! the second song comes in and its perfect!
The routine ends with them walking off the floor, he’s brushing her off his shoulder and she’s tearing at him like a spoiled brat – pay attention to me pay attention to me don’t you love me anymore? Hilarious.
Love this routine. Can you tell? I think she stumbled once or twice, though, didn’t she? It seemed a little rough so maybe this was their first time on the floor. I look forward to this being not only clean but ramped up to the full potential of their vision for it.
6. Jeryl and Robin, “Do You Remember” (Jay Sean), and, hahahaha, oh my goodness they do a neck drop, he turns around changing hands while she’s still down there, somehow or another he then catches her, backwards, in the back of his ANKLE for crying out loud, and then somehow or another from there he’s stepping over her twice while turning her face down face up face down face up like a two-by-four with a face … hahahaha omgawd all you can do is laugh and wonder how did they DO that?
Six more routines! Six more outstanding routines. What a night!
More in a few minutes …