Superstars of Dance, Semi Final Part 2

January 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Please welcome our guest blogger, Sammi, covering tonight’s show! She does a great job at TV Grapevine, covering a variety of shows, and is kind enough to be helping us out tonight as well. Sammi has also done interviews with several of the DWTS pros, and writes features for us at Ballroom Dance Channel Social.

Hello, and welcome to part two of the Superstars of Dance Semi-Finals! Tonight we will see more dancers try and prove that their country is worthy of winning the trophy. They will once again competing in the solo, duet and group categories. The top three in each will move to the finals next week.

First up is the group dance from India. It is a very fun Bollywood dance; I like how they are very traditional, yet are still able to keep it modern. Beautiful!

Argentina: 8
Australia: 7
South Africa: 7
USA: 8
Ireland: 7
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 53

Sadly, this means India is out of the Group Category since they scored lower than the previous three group couples.

Australia is up next with their duet performed by Henry and Giselle. They perform a fun, sexy samba that has fun lifts and just a ton of excitement.

Argentina: 8
India: 9
South Africa: 8
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 9
China: 9
Total: 59

This means Ireland is now out of the Duets Competition. I’m sad because I really liked them a lot.

Ireland’s soloist Bernadette Flynn (and one half of the duet team) is up next to reclaim Ireland’s glory. I love how she incorporates ballet into her step routine. She is a very classy, beautiful dancer.

Argentina: 8
India: 7
Australia: 7
South Africa: 8
USA: 7
Russia: 9
China: 8
Total: 54

Since she scored lower than the previous three couples, she will now have to say goodbye.

South Africa’s soloist Mamela performs after the commercial break. She does a ballet routine that is done to soft music and drums. I love how she incorporates African storytelling into her dance. Lovely.

Argentina: 7
India: 8
Australia: 8
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 55

She is the lowest scoring soloist thus far, so she is eliminated.

China’s final team–the group dancers–take the stage for one last chance at the trophy. It has a real samurai feel to it with lots of martial arts, gymnastics and step dancing.

Argentina: 10
India: 9
Australia: 9
South Africa: 10
USA: 8
Ireland: 9
Russia: 10
Total: 65

This leaves them in second place and means South Africa is out of the competition.

Georgia and Eric represent the USA in the Duets Category. They did not do so well the last time, and are hoping that they perform better tonight. They are dancing in jeans, which is different but the dancing? The twisting lifts, the foot lift into a flip the way he can balance her—fabulous!

Argentina: 8
India: 7
Australia: 7
South Africa: 5
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 7
Total: 50

Unfortunately, it is the end of the line for this couple.

India’s second soloist Mythili performs after another commercial break. Her dance is very slow in the beginning but then gets faster as it goes on. She has nice footwork and arm extensions.

Argentina: 8
Australia: 7
South Africa: 7
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 54

Sadly, she is going home just one week shy of the finals.

Argentina is represented for the first time tonight with Carolina Cerisola’s solo. She can really move her body and seems very comfortable and confident out there.

India: 7
Australia: 6
South Africa: 4
USA: 8
Ireland: 10
Russia: 10
China: 8
Total: 53

Argentina is now out of the solo competition, which means Russia, USA and India are the top three soloists.

After the dancers talk about their cultures, dance and the friendships they have formed, China and the USA’s groups do a dance off. It will not be judged and is not part of the competition–its just for the fun of it. It was actually really cool to watch. I’d love to see them come up with a combined group dance because both groups are so talented.

Russia’s Duets Team Pasha and Aliona attempt to dazzle the judges with a magical ballroom routine that would make Penn and Teller and any ballroom couple very proud. They are just incredibly talented, entertaining and fun. It is easily my favorite routine of the night.

Argentina: 7
India: 8
Australia: 6
South Africa: 3
USA: 8
Ireland: 10
China: 9
Total: 51

Sadly, it is not enough to keep them in the competition. I really liked the uniqueness of it so I’m disappointed to see them go.

Argentina, Australia and South Africa are the final three Duet Teams.

The final dance of the night is Ireland’s Group Dance. It starts off very soft and calm, but then goes faster and believe me when I say that these dancers are some of the best step dancers I have ever seen. WOW! What a way to end the night!

Argentina: 9
India: 9
Australia: 8
South Africa: 8
USA: 9
Russia: 10
China: 9
Total: 62

This means that they are tied with Australia and the judges will have to decide who stays. (Australia and Ireland cannot vote) In the end, Australia stays and Ireland is completely out of the competition. USA and China will be joining them in the Group Final 3.

Totals:
Australia: 414
USA: 413
Ireland: 409
South Africa: 401
India: 391
Argentina: 344
Russia: 342
China 286

Next week, tune in for the Grand Finale to see who wins Superstars of Dance! Goodnight everybody!

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Ballroom News and Notes, January 5, 2009

January 5, 2009 at 8:25 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone!

Welcome to the first Ballroom News and Notes of 2009! We hope you had an enjoyable New Year’s week. Just a few notes for you today, let’s get started.

First, Ballroom Dance Channel is proud to announce that the waltz and rumba have now joined our popular salsa in the Apple apps store. Click on any of the three dances to be taken directly to the download for that dance. Here’s your chance to learn anytime and anywhere from pros like Tony Dovolani, Elena Grinenko, and Nick Kosovich from Dancing with the Stars, along with the beautiful Yesenia Adame and handsome Paul Barris, who showcased the salsa on the show. We hope you will enjoy this new innovation in dance lessons.

We’d like to send our congratulations out to Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff, as the couple reportedly got engaged over the New Year’s holiday break from touring. What a wonderful way to start the new year. People.com confirmed the engagement yesterday. Speaking of the tour, here are the dates for this week, if it is in your area, it is worth the price of admission!

Monday, January 5 AT&T Center San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, January 7 Sprint Center Kansas City, Missouri
Thursday, January 8 i wireless Center (formerly Mark of the Quad Cities) Moline, Illinois
Friday, January 9 Allstate Arena Rosemont, Illinois
Sunday, January 11 Joe Louis Arena Detroit, Michigan

How many of you watched Superstars of Dance last night? We did, and it was such a treat to have Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis back on our tv screens! In case you missed the review, you can find it here. I wanted to share their awesome performance with you today, as it was the highlight of the evening for me!

We’ll be blogging the show as it airs on the West Coast tonight, so if you miss anything, we’ll help you get caught up. That’s it for this week. As always, if there is something you think needs to be mentioned here, please let us know!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Superstars of Dance, Premiere

January 4, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the premiere episode of NBC’s Superstars of Dance! Many of you may be familiar with my work covering Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance for TV Grapevine and then Ballroom Dance Channel. I’m still active with Ballroom Dance Channel, but the site has grown in a way that we thought it would be great to have our own blog not attached to the social part of the site. If you enjoy my reviews, please bookmark this blog, and tell your friends. We talk about a lot here, in fact, anything ballroom that I think people will want to know about. If there is something you think we should be covering, don’t be shy, leave it for me in the comments! Now, on to the show….

This show is going to win brownie points from me for letting Michael Flatley host. I could listen to his lovely Irish brogue all day! I’m sure the guys being forced to watch by the women in their lives will enjoy looking at the beautiful Susie Castillo, as well. We have one judge from each of the countries participating, and the scores will be added for a highest total. I don’t quite have my brain wrapped around how we win, yet, though.

First to dance tonight is the group for Team Ireland. This isn’t going to be like tryouts for SYTYCD, they have the touring company from Lord of the Dance as the group performance. How we will ever choose a winner, I don’t know, but I think I’m glad I don’t have to vote!!!! Ireland’s group performance scored a 65.

Next is Robert Muraine for the United States. Many of you will remember Robert if you watched this last season of SYTYCD. Robert is the amazing popper that made it to Vegas, and then chose to go home. They had him on the finale against the robot guy from the year before. I can’t believe he’s not double jointed! Robert scores a 57 for his solo performance. I guess the international judging panel isn’t used to this ‘contortionist popping’.

Argentina has a lovely soloist named Carolina Cerisola, doing a jazz cabaret routine. It was lovely, but I’m used to that type of performance being a paired thing. Carolina scored a 58 tonight.

Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis are the ballroom couple from Russia! Well, guess I’m rooting against the United States now…sorry! Yes, it is the Pasha and Anya from SYTYCD. Oh, how I have missed my Pasha! That was one hot freestyle, trust me on this and look on Youtube. Pasha and Anya scored Russia a 64, putting them just one point behind Ireland’s step dancers.

India has chosen two ladies to compete together as a couple in the Bollywood style tonight. After seeing these two talented women, I see why the judge from their country has scored everyone else so low! Everything else looks boring next to this style. Obviously I am not fluent in this style of dance, because they were scored a 51, and the judges nearly universally said the dancing was weak in this form.

Sean Robinson is doing a solo tap routine for Team Australia. I really liked Sean, he was charming, and very, very good! Sean ties with Robert from the United States with a 57.

Bei Zhing is dancing the ribbon dance for China as a soloist. I can tell this show is going to be quite the education for me in several types of dance, because I knew nothing about this style and had never seen it before tonight. I thought it was quite lovely, but again, I definitely don’t know what I’m looking for! Bei was scored a 51, tying her at the bottom with Team India.

Team Africa has selected Umoja for their team. They reminded me of the show Stomp, but that was much better! They scored a 57, tying them with Australia and the United States.

Team Australia has a contemporary/hip hop large group, I don’t think there was a name given. I see elements of several types of dance in this one routine, drawing on ballet with an emphasis on aerial work. They score a 57 for that routine, and have a combined score of 114.

Damien O’Kane is competing as a soloist for Team Ireland. He’s a step dancer, like their large team, and while I enjoyed his performance very much, the step dancing is more compelling to me when it is a large group, not a soloist for a whole routine. I love that Michael Flatley isn’t afraid to show that he’s rooting for Ireland, it is very endearing. Damien scores a 58, giving them a combined score of 123.

Sduduzo Ka-Mbili is doing a warrior dance as a soloist for Team Africa. Although it is certainly a far different story than the Bollywood style tells, it is clear this man has a story to share with us, and he does so in a very entertaining manner. The crowd really loved him, and so did I. The judges were all over the map, it seems like they either loved or hated this one, finding little common ground. He scored a 55 individually, giving them a 105 combined.

Team USA pair Georgia Ambiarian and Eric Luna are doing a cabaret routine tonight. Georgia and Eric teach at a Fred Astaire in Cinco Bayou, Florida, and are champions many times over in their form, which is a paired theatric type dance. To learn more about them, click here. They score a 57 for that riveting performance, giving the United States with a combined total of 114, tying them with Australia.

Ooh! Argentinian tango time! Dang! That was hot. I almost felt like I shouldn’t be watching. The judges loved it as well, giving them a 65. This knocked Pasha and Anya off the top of the individual leader board, and tying them with Ireland overall with a 123.

Julia Banter is dancing as a soloist for Russia. She is very expressive during her contemporary routine, reminding me a bit of Courtney Galliano from this last season of So You Think You Can Dance. I guess the judges aren’t into this type of routine, because she got a 50 for that solo routine, giving them a combined 114. They are now tied with the United States and Australia.

Amarapali Ambegaokar is a soloist for India this evening. That was amazing, but very hard to explain. She had bells on her pants legs and used it to dramatic effect, impressing the judges greatly, along with the audience. A 62 was awarded for that solo performance, and their overall total is 113.

China’s Shaolin Monks are the final dancers tonight, as Team China’s large group. I can’t even figure out WHAT to tell you, that was so amazing. Team China had a 65 for this performance, and a 117 overall.

Come back tomorrow night for 16 more performances from these amazing teams. I had fun tonight, and I hope you did too! To pass the time until tomorrow’s performances, why not stop by the Itunes store and try out our new apps, the rumba, the waltz, and the salsa? We’re easy to find in education, just search ‘ballroom’. With instructors like Yesenia Adame, Paul Barris, Elena Grinenko, and Tony Dovolani, and the ability to take your lessons with you on the go, you can’t go wrong!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ballroom News and Notes, December 22

December 22, 2008 at 3:59 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars | 1 Comment
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Hello Everyone!

Just a few small notes today for your reading pleasure. First, I’ve just received word that our own Tony Dovolani is in his home country of Albania, along with professional partner Elena Grinenko, to be given an award. We don’t know much more at the moment, but as soon as Tony returns to U.S. soil, expect more details here on the blog! Remember that if you’d like to take lessons from Tony and Elena, you can visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Details are beginning to emerge about the upcoming show on NBC, Superstars of Dance, which premieres on January 4th before moving to it’s regular Monday night slot starting on January 5th. I’m so excited about this show, which is being produced by Nigel Lithgoe, the brains behind So You Think You Can Dance. The Fred Astaire national blog reported over the weekend that 2 of their instructors, Georgia Ambarian and Eric Luna, will be competing for the United States on the show. Georgia and Eric dance at the Fred Astaire in Cinco Bayou, Florida. Stay tuned to our blog for more details about the show as they emerge.

If you’re looking for a great way to spend some of the extra hours off work this week, why not give our free salsa lesson a try? Our lesson is taught by Yesenia Adame and Paul Barris, the pros that were featured in the salsa demonstration on season 7 of Dancing with the Stars. We hope you’ll enjoy it, and be inspired to try some of our other lessons as well. Have a great week!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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