DWTS Finale: From The Audience Seat

May 20, 2009 at 6:08 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

We have an amazing intern, Erin, that was lucky enough to attend Monday’s performance night finale of Dancing with the Stars, and lucky for us, she graciously agreed to recap her experience. Enjoy!

Hello BDC Socialites!

I recently won a trip a trip of a lifetime. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my local ABC station telling me that I was the winner of their Dancing With The Stars Sweepstakes and have won a trip for 2 to the finale (performance) taping! Over the next 20 minutes, a mix of emotions ran through my body. At first I was caught off guard and was somewhat confused by the phone call. Having entered the contest months ago and thinking “nobody really wins these contests,” I never gave my entry a second thought. However, as I learned more details and all the information started to sink in, those feelings changed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Though I live only a short 6 hour drive north of the LA area, I have never attended a DWTS taping, despite always desperately wanting to go. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting anything like this to happen!

After we got the legal formalities out of the way, I received more specific details from the promotions rep in LA. I found out that ABC was going to wine & dine us! Our hotel accommodations were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (http://www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire) in the heart of Beverly Hills adjacent to the infamous Rodeo Drive. We checked into our gorgeous hotel room around 3pm Sunday afternoon where we were given a welcome packet with more specific details such as dress code, what to bring to the studio, what not to bring, and Monday’s schedule including the possibility of a meet and greet with some of the dancers! Emotions started building up as reality was starting to set in. I honestly don’t know how I slept Sunday night!

Before getting ready for the show, my boyfriend (my guest) and I shopped around and explored Beverly Hills – but I know none of you care to hear about that! At 2:45pm the winners from all over the country met in the lobby in our best cocktail attire. There was a representative from ABC with us every step of the way taking pictures and videos as none of us would be allowed to bring our own cameras. After the “photo shoot,” we boarded a bus to the studio. We played trivia games along the way and were given DWTS memorabilia, including a copy of the new Ballas Hough Band CD autographed by Mark and Derek! We were a pretty enthused bunch and definitely didn’t need the help of the opening MC to get us pumped for the show!

We took our seats at the set about an hour before show time. We were seated on the floor level facing the stage. We took in the whole set, noting how much smaller it looked in person, and gawked at all the celebrities in attendance. Six chairs down from me was Genya Mazo, Alec Mazo’s brother. A few rows in front, sat Corky and Shirley Ballas, and just feet away were DWTS alumni such as Jane Seymour, Marissa Jaret-Winokur, Brooke Burke, Holly Madison, Vivica Fox, Emmett Smith, Warren Sapp, the Woz, and many more! Tom & Samantha opened the show just to the right of us, and from that moment forward, it was a non-stop thrill! As I’m sure you all saw on TV, the group Paso was amazing and the freestyles were full of energy and entertainment. But what came after the show made our trip even more memorable.

Our ABC rep met us at our seats once the taping concluded and informed us of a little surprise. Mark and Derek were going to come over and take a group picture with us to finalize our night. While we were waiting for Derek, Corky and Shirley Ballas came over to greet each of us and thank us for coming out to the show. They were both very cordial and chatted with us for a bit. Then Derek made his way over to say hi and take the group picture, but was then was kind enough to offer to take individual pictures with all of us winners. He was very nice and patient while we all took our turns to pose with him and the stage. Then it was time to play the waiting game while Mark and Shawn finished up in the Press line, but we didn’t let that bring down the mood!

While we patiently waited on Mark, we took in the chaotic Press line and watched the couples move from interview to interview (where Maks and Karina were conducting interviews for their respected shows as well). A few of us eventually built up our courage and inched our way closer and closer to the end of the press line where, after some time, we were able to meet and get autographs from Gilles & Cheryl and Tony & Melissa. I even snagged a kiss on the cheek from Tony! (Thanks again Tony! 😉 )

Forty not-so-long minutes later, Mark made his way over to take the group picture. Corky was taking pictures for Mark as well, then started to record a video. He then said, “On the count of 3, everyone yell ‘VOTE FOR MARK AND SHAWN!’” We of course chanted back, but apparently it wasn’t loud enough for Corky! He had us do it even louder, which made Gilles stop what he was doing in the Press line and turn to us exclaiming “WHAT?!!!” Gilles threw his hands up in the air in protest then ran over to jump in our group picture. He then summoned Cheryl, then Shawn followed thereafter. Tony then looked up from what he was doing and, of course, had to jump into the fun as well. Melissa was the last to join us, leaving the reporters behind to give us one complete group picture with all of the Season 8 finalists! This crazy, hilarious moment gave us a climactic ending to one of the most perfect nights for all of us.

At the beginning of this trip, I was expecting nothing more than to witness a lively dancing spectacle, but the outcome of the trip far exceed those expectations. Our experience is one I will never forget thanks to all of the people at ABC, both the cast and staff behind the scenes. I will never wash my cheek again Tony, (just kidding!) nor do I hope to come down from this cloud for a LONG while!

(Pictures from the meet & greet are still to come!)

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Dancing with the Stars 8 Performance Finale Recap by Tinkcrzy1972

May 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Well, it is finally here, the finale of Dancing with the Stars, Season 8! Tomorrow night, we’ll crown a winner, but tonight, it is a group paso doble and the freestyle round that lie ahead. Let’s get started, shall we?

First up will be the group paso doble, but before that, each of the judges will be visiting with one of our 3 couples. This is a change in the format from previous seasons, it used to just be Len that went out to the couples. Carrie Ann meets with Melissa and Tony, Len meets with Gilles and Cheryl, and Bruno meets with Shawn and Mark. As usual, it is an entertaining segment, and we learn that the order the couples are dancing in for the group dance was determined by a draw.

Shawn and Mark are the first solo. Although I find Shawn’s costume distracting because there is so much of it for her tiny frame, I think they really killed it! Melissa and Tony are second, and I love their costuming. She is SO improved from when we saw them do the paso a couple of weeks ago. She had one little stumble, but recovered quickly and went on with the routine. That isn’t easy! Gilles and Cheryl are last, and to me, it seemed like Cheryl really made the choreo about what worked for her, instead of what worked for Gilles. I don’t like the combined segments for this dance because you couldn’t see all three couples at once, and had to watch whoever the cameraman decided you should watch, instead of deciding for yourself. Judges scores:

Shawn and Mark: 9,9,10
Melissa and Tony: 10,9,10
Gilles and Cheryl: 10,10,10

Now for my favorite part of the whole competition, the freestyle round. Shawn and Mark are first, starting clothed all in black, with white gloves and white sparkly masks, reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez. These are stripped away early on in the number to reveal green and black costumes that are really cute. Their freestyle is a little bit lindy, a little bit hip hop, a little tumbling, and a whole lot of fun. I will say that I think Mark was overdancing Shawn just a bit in some sections, but I enjoyed their freestyle very much. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10

Melissa and Tony are next, and I just have to say it….wow, my boss here at Ballroom Dance Channel is a hottie! Sorry if I’m embarrassing you, Tony, I know you work hard for everything you have! Okay, I know I’m biased, but this freestyle is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it has everything a freestyle should. It is a classic mix of tricks and flash for the crowd, but with plenty of ballroom content thrown in as well, so we can see what Melissa learned. Also, it was FUN! Tony, win, lose, or draw tomorrow night, I’m so proud of you, and so happy that we have gotten to see you really come alive through your dancing with Melissa this season. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us! Judges’ scores: 9,9,9. BOOOOOOOOO!

Gilles and Cheryl are the last to dance the freestyle tonight. I wasn’t getting the costumes until I heard the song, they chose the theme from Flashdance. Hmmm. Interesting. I would have thought they would choose something that would showcase Gilles a little more, but again, this routine feels like it is more about Cheryl than Gilles, where the other two couples are acting as one, as a team. Also, it seemed like there was much less for Gilles to do in his routine than Shawn or Melissa did. Given it is a freestyle, I don’t think the picture/frame analogy applies. Again, that could just be me. Judges’ scores: 9,10,9.

Tomorrow night is the end of the road, win, place or show. Who do you think is taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy, and who will be the first to go? Hope we’ll find out together tomorrow night. Also, please note that Ballroom Dance Channel is proud to be covering So You Think You Can Dance again this season, and that coverage will start on Thursday with the first audition show!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

WriterMarie426’s Dancing with the Stars Finale Recap

May 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Well, here we are everybody! Welcome to the finals of Dancing With The Stars – Season 8. Ty had a good long run this season, but went home last week just shy of the finals. Gilles, Melissa, and Shawn dance tonight for the mirror ball trophy. The first round will be a Paso Doble face-off among the three couples, then we will move to the always popular Freestyle round.

All three of our stars and their partners descend the stairs in their breathtaking Paso outfits. Kudos to Randall Christensen and his talented staff for making the dance costumes so amazing every single week. All of our dancers look pumped and ready to go.

First we see footage of all of our couples being visited in practice by one of the judges. Each judge is there to give pointers and help improve the dances. Bruno observes Shawn and Mark, telling them to surprise the audience with something they’ve never seen before. Carrie Ann goes to see Melissa and Tony, who wants them to bring out more aggression in their Paso this time, and less of Melissa’s ballet and cheerleading background. Len pops in on Gilles and Cheryl, saying that they need to up their game and dominate, and also make this Paso less hectic. Finally we see the group part of the Paso rehearsal, where the couples are trying to look good as a group but also realize that they are competing against each other in this group number.

Our Paso Doble face-off starts to the tune of Pink’s “So What”, with all three couples together on the floor. Shawn and Mark dance their solo section first, keeping their moves strong, sharp, and serious. Melissa and Tony dance next, making their Paso aggressive and powerful with tremendous kicks. Finally Gilles and Cheryl dance, keeping it sexy and giving us some great spins. The group comes out together to finish, keeping everything in sync.

Len says it’s difficult to do a classic dance to contemporary music, but our couples did a good job with that. He likes Shawn’s excitement and energy, but tells her to keep her chin up more. He tells Melissa she did a good job, but he saw a slight mistake. Len says he liked Gilles’ full on intensity, and that this time the Paso was not too hectic for him.

Bruno commends the three couples for dancing well together as a team. He says that Shawn did a beautiful job, and likes that Melissa’s confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. He calls Gilles a leading man.

Carrie Ann remarks that this is her favorite season so far, and these couples prove why. She doesn’t think Shawn was as emotional as she needed to be, but does say that Melissa nailed it this time. She tells Gilles that she expects perfection from him, and that’s what she got.

Shawn and Mark 28 (9,9,10)
Melissa and Tony 29 (10,9,10)
Gilles and Cheryl 30 (10,10,10)

Now we get to peek in on the Freestyle practices. Shawn says that she and Mark will not be using her gymnastics moves this time, because they got in trouble last time they used them. Former DWTS Champion Apolo Anton Ohno comes in to tell Shawn to use her Olympic edge. He also mentions that no Olympian that has made the DWTS finals has lost, which makes Shawn feel a little nervous.

Shawn and Mark start their Freestyle routine in black hooded track suits, with their faces covered in sparkling silver masks. After a short time they strip down to their green show outfits, and show us a Freestyle filled with acrobatic break dancing moves. They have a little difficulty with a lift, but otherwise do a solid routine.

Bruno says they are going for the gold, and he liked the explosiveness and creativity. Carrie Ann likes the youth and energy, along with the precise movements. Len tells them he enjoyed the fun, speed, and precision.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

When Bruno holds up his 10 paddle for them, he shouts “11”!

Melissa and Tony tell us that they have to put it all on the line this week. The last time Tony was in the finals was in Season 2 with Stacy Keibler, and he learned something important…no risk, no reward. Tony states that this is the most physical routine he’s ever choregraphed, and that is proven when Melissa accidentally clocks him in the eye practicing a lift.

Tony and Melissa come out in hip hop style, with great footwork and fantastic flips. Their Freestyle is fast and fun, with a lot of intricate moves.

Carrie Ann loves Melissa’s new attitude and likes the performance, but feels that that choreography was a bit disjointed. Lens says they showed versatility, but the style they danced is not his cup of tea. Bruno agrees with Carrie Ann, but also says he really enjoyed their lifts.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Our final Freestyle comes from Gilles and Cheryl. Gilles says that all three couples are so good, it’s really anybody’s game now. Cheryl works on bringing out his personality and charisma. Gilles is nervous about all of the tricks in this routine, especially since his shoulder is hurting a lot more. The doctor wraps Gilles’ shoulder to help him with the pain during the lifts.

We hear the music of Flashdance start, and they start the performance with some chair moves. It’s a great routine, high energy yet still sexy, and the lifts go well.

Len really likes the high energy, telling Gilles that he is a real dancer. Bruno says it was a great performance, but he wanted to see more. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno.

Score: 28 (9,10,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

Dancing with the Stars 8: WriterMarie426’s Recap

May 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Tink here! I’m more than a bit under the weather, so Marie has been kind enough to write us another awesome recap. Don’t forget to vote!

Good evening ballroom dance lovers, and welcome to Week 9 of Dancing With The Stars. We are at the point in the competition where our five remaining couples each have two individual dances to perform – one Ballroom Style and one Latin Style. In addition, during the Latin round each of our celebrities will need to perform a 15 second solo in their routines.

We open tonight’s show with a group pro dance choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, which showcases three of the Ballroom dances. Tom announces that the group will be back later to show us the Latin dances.

All of our couples descend the staircase with smiles on their faces, especially Melissa and Tony, who are back after last week’s injury. After everyone makes it safely down the stairs, we see a segment featuring our three judges breaking down what they need to see from each couple in the Ballroom round.

Our first couple to dance are Shawn and Mark with the Quick Step. Shawn states that at this point 8’s are no longer enough, they need to go for 10’s. Mark concentrates on teaching her the quirky movements, while also getting her to make it graceful. Shawn stresses about this week, knowing it is make or break. Their Quick Step is done in a fun, quirky style, with great footwork and big movements.

Len likes that it was fun, joyful, and carefree, but says they broke a rule…the couple can be apart at the beginning or end of the dance, but they broke their hold in the middle of it. Bruno says Shawn came across like Sporty Spice, and agrees with Len but also calls it great fun. Carrie Ann believes it was their best dance ever, but has to take a point off for breaking the rule.

As they wait for their scores backstage, Mark says he takes the blame for the rule violation, he just wanted to put on a great show for the audience.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Ty and Chelsie are up next with the Argentine Tango. Ty says during rehearsal how much he loves a good challenge, and he likes that in the A-Tango he can be strong and serious…and do lifts. Chelsie tells him to think about the hard work and dedication he has put into this competition and incorporate it into the dance. Ty has some solo footwork at the beginning of the dance, which he performs well, and they stay in serious character throughout the performance. They show off their excellent footwork and strong lifts.

Bruno says Ty shows strength and determination like a Power Ranger and likes the dance but would like more subtlety. Carrie Ann commends Ty for coming so far in the competition, but says she saw a stumble and that he lacked breath in motion. Len believes they captured the flavor and essence of the dance, calling it their best dance ever.

Score: 25 (8,9,8)

Our next performance is a Waltz by Lil’Kim and Derek. Kim feels the pressure to stay on top, especially when everyone’s scores are so close together. Derek realizes that Kim struggles on the slow dances, because she’d rather be wild and just break out. He works on making her the complete ballroom package. Their waltz is full of beautiful spins and really nice extensions.

Carrie Ann thinks Kim needs to extend her hands more and saw some missteps. Len says he knows that the Waltz is hard for her to learn since it is such a pure ballroom dance. He also saw the missteps, but is shocked at the quality of their dance. Bruno says Kim is trying to be a lady, but she is more comfortable being a tramp. After boos and groans from the audience, he says of course he means that in the nicest way. He also believes Kim didn’t look as comfortable as she usually does.

Score: 25 (8,9,8)

Gilles and Cheryl are out next with the Foxtrot. Gilles knows that his scores have gone down a little in the last couple of weeks, and he wants to finish strong. Cheryl works on creating memorable dances to keep the audience happy. Gilles has some trouble keeping his head up the right way…he needs to come across as elegant, not arrogant. Cheryl takes him to the Emerald Ball so he can see what a perfect Foxtrot looks like. They perform a Foxtrot that is sexy yet remains elegant, complete with Gilles blowing a kiss to Carrie Ann.

Len says it was very musical and he enjoyed the interpretation, but Gilles needs to straighten his legs more often for the proper rise and fall of the dance. Bruno likes the great sense of theater, saying the dance is in a class of its own. Carrie Ann thinks Len is crazy, and that performances like this get you into the semifinals.

Score: 29 (10,9,10)

After Gilles and Cheryl receive their scores, we are shown a preview of tomorrow night’s results show…the latest installment of DanceCenter with Kenny Mayne.

Our final dance of the Ballroom round is a Viennese Waltz from Melissa and Tony. Melissa was very disappointed that she couldn’t dance last week because of her rib injury. The new treatment is working well; she still feels pain but it is manageable. Tony takes it slow with her to start so she doesn’t make the injury worse, then works with her on footwork because he knows Len is watching that closely. Their Viennese Waltz is sweet and elegant, complete with wonderful leg extensions and smooth turns.

Bruno calls Melissa an ethereal vision, saying that her balletic moves are great for a waltz. Carrie Ann praises Melissa’s fluidity and natural grace, but says she needs to work on her upper body. Len likes the romance and musicality, but is still not crazy about her feet.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Backstage, Melissa says pain management is the key. Tony states that he knows how important it is to Melissa to dance well so she doesn’t let down the fans who are supporting her.

Before we get to the Latin round, Tom announces that the three remaining pros in the pro dancer competition for next season will dance tomorrow night with celebrity partners who are former DWTS contestants. We watch clips of their rehearsals with the celebrities: Cody Linley, Maurice Greene, and Lisa Rinna.

Our pro dance group led by Louis Van Amstel comes back out to perform a Latin dance medley before our couples start their Latin round. We also see another segment with the judges telling us what the couples need to do to score well in their Latin dances.

Shawn and Mark come back out for their Paso Doble. Shawn is worried about her solo, and Mark gets her to focus on being intense and aggressive by telling her to put on her Olympic face. Shawn does a great solo at the beginning of the routine, and keeps the character and intensity throughout the dance. Their Paso is filled with strong movements.

Carrie Ann says they had a difficult song to dance to, but they delivered the drama and nailed it. Len likes Shawn’s solo and the twist turns, but says the dance is not overly exciting. Bruno tells Shawn she had the killer instinct. Shawn comes over and kisses Bruno, then kisses Len and Carrie Ann as well.

Score: 29 (10,9,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Ty and Chelsie are up next with the Rumba. Chelsie tells Ty to let his pride and hard work show through the dance. Ty says he has his work cut out for him, but they will prove that they belong in the semifinals. They do a pretty good job with the quick turns in their Rumba, but the song is kind of fast for this particular type of dance. Ty looks a little nervous this time. The dance finishes with his solo, which he performs in right in front of his wife Jewel.

Len says they are charming and sweet, but in the first dance Ty was like a peacock and now he’s more like a feather duster. Bruno states that Ty is one of the most likable celebrities that have ever been on the show, but he just doesn’t have enough ability to go further. Carrie Ann wishes she could score them on the amount of improvement since the first week, but to her their dance was a little wooden.

Score: 21 (7,7,7) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 46

Our third Latin dance comes from Lil’Kim and Derek with the Salsa. Derek says that normally he doesn’t go for putting too many tricks into a routine, but he feels that they really have to bring it with this dance. Kim says she will bring the heat and shake her bionic booty for Bruno. They perform a strong, sassy Salsa with a lot of passion. The tricks Derek put in the dance are great, and Kim does an amazing solo.

Bruno says that Kim is in her element and her booty can do no wrong, but he did see a little mistake. Carrie Ann states that she has never seen a booty shake like that before. She likes their energy, but thinks it got a little out of control. Len calls the dance delicious, but agrees with Bruno about the mistake.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 52

Gilles and Cheryl bring us our second Rumba of the evening. Gilles says that his ultimate goal when he entered this competition was to be able to do the Rumba. Cheryl tells him the Latin lover in him needs to come out. He has a little trouble working on his solo, but Cheryl has him use his acting experience to get it right. Their dance starts with Gilles’ solo, which is very sexy. The entire dance is as well, with beautiful extensions and romantic moves.

Carrie Ann says that it was very hot, but the solo was a little odd for her and it looked like Gilles was trying too hard. Len calls the dance fantastic but agrees with Carrie Ann about the solo. Bruno likes the dance, saying it was very good but a bit uneven.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Our last dance of the night is Melissa and Tony’s Samba. Melissa likes that it’s a fun, crazy party dance. Tony notices her struggling when switching from the V-Waltz to the Samba, and Melissa gets nervous about her solo. Their dance begins with Melissa’s solo, which she performs well with a lot of great hip action. There is a fun energy to their Samba, with a good bounce and beautiful Samba rolls. At the end of the dance, Melissa has to cover up her top with her hands because her costume begins to give way, but she handles it well.

Len states that Tony and Melissa should 100% be here next week. Bruno says their Samba is everything anyone would want and more, and he was happy to watch it. Carrie Ann says she is there to point out flaws…then states that it was flawless!

As they wait for their scores, Melissa gives a big shout out to their fans, thanking them for keeping her on. She was glad they danced well so they could prove how much they want to be there.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 57

Tony is excited, telling Samantha that he hasn’t seen scores like that since Season 2!

Our evening ends with a recap of all of the dances and a reminder to vote. No matter the scores, no one is safe…so please go vote for your favorites! Good night everybody!

Dancing with the Stars 8: Season Premiere

March 9, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hi everyone,

Welcome to the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars! If you want to cha cha and waltz like the stars you’ve seen tonight, please visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel. With our All Access Pass, you can learn as many dances as you’d like at your own pace, for under $10 a month! If you want to take our lessons on the go, please visit us at the ITunes App Store . Now, on with the show!

Wow! The makeover for the ballroom is simply stunning! The new staircases are so pretty, and I hear that they added about 200 more seats. Hopefully this will mean more of the fans of the show that wait for hours to see if they will get in will be able to attend the show tapings!

Our first couple tonight is Lil Kim and Derek Hough. They are dancing the cha cha this evening, and next week will dance the quickstep. Kim looks like she can move quite well, but when they are doing their dance, she seems choppy to me, moving from segment to segment with no fluidity and grace. Maybe I’m just spoiled from seeing Derek with last season’s champion, Brooke Burke, who had a natural, flowing grace from week one! Judges Scores: 7,7,7.

Dancing second tonight are Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts. I missed Jonathan last season much more than I thought I would, but I am very happy for him that he went back and competed and won a title with new partner Valentina! Belinda has a hard time with spins the same way that Kelly Monaco did in season 1, but she seems to be powering through it nicely in the beginning of their Viennese waltz. She needs to relax and let Jonathan lead her, she is far too stiff and choppy, she really needs to finish her extensions. Maybe next week’s salsa will be more her style! Judges Scores: 6,6,5.

Our third couple is Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska. He’s dressed like Emmitt Smith, but I don’t get the same warmth or sincerity from him that Emmitt gives. I also wasn’t real fond of his trash talking Jason Taylor, who I still have a soft spot for! He does a credible job tonight, but needs more finesse and polish to break out from the crowd. Edyta carried him throughout the dance, showing him off as only she knows how! Judges scores: 6,5,5. Step it up, LT, Edyta deserves a better partner!

Next up is the duo of Steve O and Lacey Schwimmer. This pairing initially troubled me greatly. Lacey is one of my favorite pros, and Steve O didn’t have the world’s best reputation, so I was worried. Since the couples have been announced, I’ve been reading about their practices, and Steve’s work ethic impresses me. They are dancing the waltz tonight. I love Lacey’s costume! Steve is a bit too stiff, like he is overly concerned with his frame, but he does a very credible job, and I have to say he actually has very nice lines. I don’t know that he’s headed for the finals, but I have no objection to him being on the dance floor for the next several weeks. Judges scores: 6,5,6.

Ooh, is it hot in here? Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke are dancing next, a cha cha tonight, if you please. WOW! Gilles has some really nice lines tonight. I’m impressed, and he seems to be funny and charming, as well. Cheryl looks beautiful, her hair is beautiful at that length. I think this couple is going to be in it for quite some time, they have all the right elements! Judges scores: 8,8,8.

Sigh. Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough are up. Oh, and they are dressed like they belong on the top of a wedding cake. I’m not thrilled about this pairing, and haven’t been since they announced it. I don’t think it is right to allow a real life pairing to compete together on this show, because if nothing else, they have a built in chemistry that the other couples cannot draw from. I’ll try and focus just on their dancing, I promise. Chuck seems to be a very capable lead, and Julianne has choreographed a routine that clearly plays to that strength, but I have seen a couple of missteps, and there was a very obvious lift at the end of the number. Let’s see if the lift police bust them for it! Judges Scores: 6,7,7.

Holly Madison is stepping in to replace Jewel with Dmitry Chaplin. Right off the bat, I have to give Holly props and stepping up on such short notice. Holly has had 5 days of training, and really put her all into the routine. It really is a testament to what a good teacher Dmitry is that Holly did so well with so little training. Next week they will have the quickstep, and she will have had some more time to learn what she needs to continue in the competition. Judges scores: 6,6,6.

After Holly and Dmitry dance, we learn that Ballroom Dance Channel’s own Tony Dovolani will be paired with Melissa Rycroft, who has stepped in on 48 hours notice! Following this announcement, we meet our next couple, Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower. Ty is a rodeo champion, and Chelsie will look very familiar to fans of So You Think You Can Dance. They have the cha cha tonight. Ty’s a real cutie, and he tried very hard, but he isn’t a natural dancer, and it showed. I think he’ll be more comfortable in the smooth quickstep next week. Chelsie gave it her all, and I hope America remembers why they loved her so much last summer and supports this couple with their votes. Judges scores: 5,4,5. Ty, stop being so hard on yourself, and I hope America stands behind you!

Shawn Johnston and Mark Ballas are up next, and they also have the Viennese Waltz this week. Wow, Mark looks so TALL! I’ve read a lot of places where Shawn is picked to be the winner this year. I think technically she will be superb, but she will struggle with her emotion just like Kristi Yamaguchi did. She said it in their practice footage, that in sport, emotion is weakness. Shawn and Mark are a stunning couple on the floor, and she is doing a lovely job of showing emotion tonight, and with such a romantic dance, they played it well without going over the top. Judges scores: 8,8,7.

Next are Steve “IWoz” Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff. I’m looking forward to seeing how IWoz can do. He seems like such a big teddy bear of a man who really wants to learn and do this well. I’ve developed a soft spot for him the more I have read about him, and I hope he has some ability to go with that infectious smile. I can imagine that this must be very hard for an analytical mind like his! I think he did a credible job, but he has some work to do in order to stay in the competition. Judges scores: 5,4,4. Like Ty, I think the Woz will have strength in the smooth dances.

David Alan Grier and Kym Johnson is our next couple to dance the Viennese Waltz. David seems to be one of those people that everyone is going to assume is just a big goof, but will be very good. He’s taking this very seriously, as are all the competitors this season. David has beautiful extensions, and naturally flows from movement to movement with grace and style. Judges scores: 6,7,6.

Denise Richards and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are dancing the cha cha tonight. Denise is coming into the competition with no formal dance training. I wasn’t sure what to make of her when she called Maks “Maksipoo” on Good Morning America, but she’s growing on me, because she isn’t afraid to be real. WOW! Denise has some real potential, but Maks is right, she’s got to stop apologizing, and just start learning. I think she’ll get there, she just has to trust herself a little more. It is clear she trusts Maks, she just needs to believe in herself a little more. Judges scores: 6,6,6. Not bad!

Last, but not least, are Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani. Come on, boss, show us what you’ve got! This is a real test to who Tony is as an instructor, but at least they have found a capable woman to step in at the very last minute. Melissa has trained in ballet and is a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. I’m thinking that means she’ll have the grace to pull off the smooth dances, and the cheekiness needed for the Latins. One thing is for sure, this couple looks beautiful together! They are a good physical match with the height and coloring. 2 DAYS! 2 DAYS, and that was hands down the performance of the night! She was all teary at the end, and so am I. Melissa has beautiful lines, amazing extensions, and unlimited potential. Judges scores: 8,7,8. Good job, you two, and Melissa, thank you so much for stepping in!

Well, that’s it for tonight. We will see you back here next Monday for the second round of competition, and a week from tomorrow for our first results show, which will feature Jewel as our guest singer. Thanks for reading!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Gilles Marini Won’t Be Dancing’s Next Casualty – PEOPLE TV Watch

March 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars | Leave a comment
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Wow, People had me worried for a minute with this title!  It took a minute to realize that he wasn’t dropping out….stay tuned to Ballroom Dance Channel for the latest!

Gilles Marini Won’t Be Dancing’s Next Casualty – PEOPLE TV Watch.

Another Dancing With the Stars Injury! – E! Online

February 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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These injuries keep happening sooner and sooner in the season.  What’s next, someone gets hurt during the announcements?

Another Dancing With the Stars Injury! – E! Online.

Keep Dancing,

Ballroom Dance Channel

Dancing with the Stars 8: Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke

February 25, 2009 at 6:00 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for joining us for another couple’s profile on Ballroom Dance Channel’s blog. We are grateful for your support! Today’s featured couple is Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke. Remember, for more great dance discussion, you can join us on Ballroom Dance Channel Social, and for a dance fix, please try our lessons! With our new All Access Pass, you can try all of our lessons for just one low monthly price. If you prefer to take our lessons on the go, please visit us at the Itunes App Store.

Gilles Marini is best known (especially to the ladies!) as Dante, the naked neighbor (who liked to shower outdoors) of Samantha Jones in the Sex and The City movie. His other films include One and the Other (L’Une et L’Autre),” “Pirates of the Caribbean 3,” and “The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down.” He has also appeared on television shows such as “Ugly Betty,” “Dirty, Sexy Money,” “Criminal Minds,” “Windfall,” and in several soap operas including “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Passions.” He will also appear on Nip/Tuck as Vanessa Redgrave’s husband.

DID YOU KNOW?

• Was once in the French Army
• Was a baker at his fathers bakery as a child
• Photographer Fred Goudon got him into modeling in Paris
• He has 2 children, Georges and Julianna with wife Carole
• Modeled for Armani Jeans in Milan
• Won Best Rear Award from Bravo TV

Cheryl Burke was born May 3, 1984 in Northern California. She began dancing at age four and began competing at age thirteen. She was discovered in 2005 at a competition with her ex-partner Jesse DeSoto and was asked to join the cast of Dancing With The Stars. She has since won two seasons with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith and competed on the show for seven seasons.

Achievements
• 2008 Asian Excellence Award.
• Champion, Dancing With The Stars Season 2 and 3
• Nominee PrimeTime Emmy 2006, Outstanding Choreography
• Nominee PrimeTime Emmy 2006, Outstanding Art Direction For A Variety/Music Program/Special
• Champion, Dancing With The Stars Season 2
• 2005 World Cup Latin Professional Rising Star Champion
• 2005 Ohio Star Ball Rising Star Champion
• 2005 San Francisco Open Latin Champion

DID YOU KNOW?
• Cheryl is of Filipino, Irish and Russian descent.
• Has two sisters Mandy and Nicole
• Began ballet classes at age 4 but switched to ballroom dancing at 11.
• Made her TV acting debut in a 2006 episode of Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
• Was also paired with former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Ian Ziering (Season 4), entertainer Wayne Newton (Season 5) and actor Cristián de la Fuente, with whom she made the finals in Season 6.
• Opened a San Francisco dance studio named Cheryl Burke Dance in April of 2008.

Dancing with the Stars 8: Female Pros

February 22, 2009 at 9:00 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Here are the lovely ladies teaching in Season 8. For a dance fix on the go, please visit us at the ITunes App Store.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Cheryl
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Chelsie
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Edyta
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Julieanne
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Karina
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Kym
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Lacey
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Here are the pro/celeb pairings for Dancing with the Stars 8

February 12, 2009 at 8:11 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Well, here it is! This is just a basic list. Please stay tuned to our blog where we will be doing in depth bios for each couple. We will feature one couple a day starting tomorrow, Mondays through Fridays. For some discussion on the show, please visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel Social. Remember, you have about the same time as our celebrity couples, why not see how much you can learn in a month with our all access pass? Ten dances for under ten dollars is a steal in today’s economy! Note that the original list we had published is not the actual list. The list below is correct.

Belinda and Jonathan
David and Kym
Jewel and Dimitry
Ty and Chelsie
LT and Edyta
Steve Wozniak and Karina
Chuck and Julianne
Denise and Maks
Steve-O and Lacey
Shawn and Mark
Gilles and Cheryl
Nancy and Tony
Lil Kim and Derek

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