Dancing with the Stars 8: The Semis!

May 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the semi finals! I can’t believe we’re here already, it seems like our season just started, and next week it is all over until the fall. I can’t be too sad, though, because that means we get to start covering So You Think You Can Dance. It is a wonderful time to be a dance fan, isn’t it?

To start off our evening, there is a rousing pro number to “Should I Stay or Should I Go” that featured Louis Van Amstel, Dmitry Chaplin, and Genya Mazo, partnered with Karina Smirnoff, Aliona Vilani, and Chelsie Hightower. I loved it, but am a little confused why Chelsie was dancing when she has two routines to get through with Ty tonight as well. I hope it doesn’t put them at an additional disadvantage.

After the pro number, we do a segment with Melissa and Tony, where they chose their favorite smooth and Latin dances. They chose the foxtrot and the samba as their favorites. I thought then they would dance, but we are going to go through all the couples first. I assume this is meant to lengthen the show so that Castle’s season finale airs immediately after the close of our show, as it is on the bubble for renewal and showed a 40% increase in viewers last week when aired immediately after DWTS.

Gilles and Cheryl are second for the trip down memory lane, and they chose the foxtrot and the paso doble as their favorites. I was there the night of the paso doble, and I have never felt an energy in the ballroom like I did that night, it was like a rock concert! After the commercial break, we hear from Shawn and Mark. They choose the quickstep and the paso doble, both dances from last week. Interesting that Shawn finally felt she had a breakthrough just last week, as good as she has been throughout the competition! Last for this segment are Ty and Chelsie, and they choose the quickstep from week 2 and the Lindy hop. Chelsie really gives some helpful pointers to Ty during the voiceover for their segment. She is brilliant with the analysis and in telling him what he needs in their dances for this week. I really hope they invite both Chelsie and Dmitry back for next season, as both are positive additions to professional roster.

Melissa and Tony have the quickstep in the smooth round tonight. Melissa is intimidated by the footwork, because she knows Len is going to be watching her closely, and already isn’t a fan of her feet. WOW! That was so beautiful, so elegant, and so much fun all wrapped in one. I thought the footwork was beautiful, and I agree with Len about the musicality. The other two were nitpicky, as usual. Judges scores 9,10,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the waltz in the smooth round. This has been a busy week for Cheryl, she opened her third dance studio in Laguna Nigel over the weekend. She wisely brought in Jonathan Roberts to help Gilles learn the elegance needed for the waltz, and he did a brilliant job. This was just amazing, all the way through. The song choice, costuming, and choreography combined to make one of the most beautiful waltzes I’ve seen on the show. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the Argentine Tango in the smooth round. The pressure really seemed to be getting to them about the lifts in the practice footage, but the actual routine was just stunning. Mark really knows how to choreograph for Shawn’s strengths. Actually, he’s always done an amazing job of finding the essence of each of his partners and really making him shine. If the reports from this week come true and he and Derek take next season off, I think it will be a loss to the show in both cases, as both are brilliant dancers and choreographers. Judges scores: 10,10,10. Can you imagine what that feels like for her?

Ty and Chelsie are dancing the Viennese Waltz in the smooth round. But first, Ty needs to issue some payback for that rumba solo, and makes Chelsie ride a mechanical bull. She does brilliantly, but Ty mocking her for being too fluid was too funny! Sigh. I love Ty, and I love Chelsie more than I can say, but that was not very good. The musicality wasn’t there, and it was choppy throughout. There were points he ALMOST had it, but we didn’t quite get there. Judges’ scores: 8,9,8.

We’ll be dancing in the same order for the Latin round tonight, which means we’re back to Melissa and Tony. They have the cha-cha for the Latin round, and danced to my favorite Michael Buble song! I thought they did a wonderful job, but the judges were a bit critical of the footwork. Still, you can’t be perfect in every dance, one of them has to be your weak point. Judges’ scores: 9,9,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the salsa in the Latin round tonight. Once again, a flawless routine. Gilles and Cheryl deserve to be in the finale, but with performances like this tonight, has he peaked too early? How much will they now have to put into the 3 dances for next week in order to sustain that level of intensity? Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the jive tonight, and it was a really fun routine. Mark needs to be careful, though, if they make the finale as expected. He doesn’t mean to do it, but he tends to outshine Shawn at times with the precision of his movements. I love to watch Mark dance, but it can make Shawn look less than when he doesn’t dial it back just a little. Judges’ scores: 9,8,9. Seriously? An 8?

Dancing last tonight are Ty and Chelsie, with the samba. It actually is pretty good, but I thought it was lacking in musicality. Ty’s stiffness works well for him with the samba rolls, though! He’s just so cute, and I have to say I am really proud of him for making sure he wasn’t leading with his heels. Judges’ scores: 8,7,8.

Okay, that’s it for tonight. We’ll see you tomorrow where we’ll learn together who makes the finals next week!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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Dancing with the Stars 8: New Pro Competition Profiles-Genya Mazo

April 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

We thought you might like a look at the dancers that are competing this season for our votes to become pros on the fall season of Dancing with the Stars. First up is Genya Mazo, who has very generously allowed us to profile him. Good luck!

Born in Gomel, Belarus, Genya Mazo began his dance career at the age of 3. Having been brought up by the rigorous training regime Russia is known for, Genya became the national pre-teen champion of Belarus at the age of 6. Having found his passion for performance early in his life, throughout his dance career, Genya was addicted to being on stage and performing for crowds of people. The real drive for him was not only the thrill of competition, but also the excitement and satisfaction of being able to connect with the audience and feed off their energy. When in 1991 his family immigrated to the United States, due to the lack of popularity for competitive dancesport in the country, and the absence of dance schools for children, his parents decided to start a school of their own which would provide for an opportunity to Genya and his brother to continue their dance training and continue their presence on the world dance circuit. During his competitive dance career, having trained with the top coaches in the world, Genya was able to capture a number of the most prestigious titles in competitive dancing, including, amongst others, the titles of: US National Champion, World Rising Star Champion, and International Latin Championship title. Starting early on in his career, Genya Mazo quickly became a well recognized name, while his dynamic style of performance earned him the privilege of being one of the most respected dancers on the world stage.

Genya has appeared on several Dancing With The Star episodes. He has also performed on three Dancing With The Stars Tours.

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