Superstars of Dance-Where did it go so horribly wrong?

January 28, 2009 at 8:17 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

I’ve been mentioning the last few days that I wanted to talk about what went wrong with the promising NBC dance competition, Superstars of Dance. Today I finally have a bit of time to delve into the subject.

I was so excited to learn about this unique type of competition when it was announced, and like many fans of dance, I was glad to see the show premiere in early January. From the ads that had been on tv and the internet, this truly looked to be a revolutionary idea for dance competition. Unfortunately, the show fell far short of my expectations.

Mind you, I don’t dance myself, at least not at this sort of a level. I can find my way around a dance floor at a club or social setting, and my husband and I can do the jitterbug. We’re learning more in the smooth and Latin stylings through the lessons at Ballroom Dance Channel and on my IPod, but most of what I know about dance, I have learned from paying close attention to shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. I may not yet be able to dance a perfect New Yorker, but I know what it looks like, and can tell you if it wasn’t done well.

One of the most disappointing things about this show for me is how loosely the word “Dance” was used for the performances. Nigel Lithgoe could have just as easily called this “Superstars of Gymnastics” or “Superstars of Martial Arts” in many cases. In my opinion, this program suffered from a lack of actual dance performances throughout most of its run. The Shaolin Monks are very entertaining, but that was not dance so much as synchronized martial arts. The same argument could be made with many of the ballroom couples, as well. Standouts Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis were a breath of fresh air in the first week, but were inexplicably replaced by what looked like the duo from “Quick Change” in the first season of America’s Got Talent. Again, they were very entertaining, but I didn’t see the content I needed. In the finale, the duo from Team Australia danced a jive, but I really do expect full extensions and precise footwork if you are considered to be a superstar in your type of dance. Argentina stood out above the others, and I believe the judges were correct in awarding them the gold medal.

Another area that was sorely lacking with Superstars of Dance was the camera work. I do not understand for the life of me why the producers and camera operators were handling filming in the manner they did. I am tuned in to a dance program; please, show me the DANCING, not the crowd. I don’t care what the people in the third row think when I’ve just missed an incredible movement that made the audience go wild. I don’t need to see a dancer’s face when what I should be looking at is their footwork or how they have moved through an extension.

I believe this show has tremendous potential if the audience can be persuaded to give it another chance. There are areas that need to be addressed before that can happen, however. The potential exists; both So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars needed some time to develop into the quality programs we now enjoy each season. Can Superstars of Dance be saved? Please let us know what you think!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ballroom News and Notes, January 27

January 27, 2009 at 8:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to this week’s edition of ballroom news and notes. This week saw the finale of the new show “Superstars of Dance” on NBC. Michael Flatley said they would see us for season two, but I’m not so sure. Many fans of all forms of dance were deeply disappointed in the program. Check back with us later in the week for analysis on what could be done to fix this show, which had a promising concept, but ultimately failed to deliver.

The Dancing with the Stars Winter Tour is drawing to a close. Here are your remaining dates, and again, if you have a chance, please go see this amazing show. Remember that the Ballas-Hough Band is performing at clubs in some of the venue cities, in case you want to catch the talented Mark Ballas and Derek Hough showing off their other great talent!

Tuesday, January 27 Greensboro Coliseum Greensboro, North Carolina
Wednesday, January 28 RBC Center Raleigh, North Carolina
Thursday, January 29 Verizon Center Washington, District Of Columbia
Friday, January 30 Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville, Connecticut
Saturday, January 31 Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville, Connecticut
Monday, February 2 Dunkin Donuts Center Providence, Rhode Island
Tuesday, February 3 Wachovia Arena Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, February 4 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Long Island, New York
Friday, February 6 Prudential Center Newark, New Jersey
Saturday, February 7 Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City, New Jersey
Sunday, February 8 Wachovia Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As the tour nears its conclusion, that means we are getting close to cast announcements for Season 8. One recent rumor has been that Kevin Federline would be joining the show, but Hollyscoop has word from his rep that the rumor is not true. Another star has all but confirmed his appearance on the show, Donnie Osmond. Donnie let it slip that he was in talks with the show’s producers on the Bonnie Hunt show set to air on Tuesday. Who would you like to see on this season’s run? Let us know in the comments below.

Well, that should do it for this week. If you need a ballroom fix during this winter season, please come visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel or check us out on ITunes

Superstars of Dance The Finale

January 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to Ballroom Dance Channel’s coverage of the finale of Superstars of Dance. We have a lot of ground to cover in just one hour, crowning a winner in solo, pair, and large group categories, along with the overall title, so let’s get started. Apparently, however, the producers feel it is more important to showcase a rather long recorded number by Michael Flatley over the work of the remaining dancers tonight. Hmmm, is it possible that the show runners have noted the numerous complaints that there is simply not enough dance content on the show?

Team Australia is up first with their large group. They have chosen another contemporary piece, but I am enjoying this one far less than their previous performances, and I’m not sure why. Tonight, the judges are locking in scores, but we won’t see them until later.

Team USA’s remaining soloist is Robert Muraine, and he is first of the soloists. This man just confounds me. The human body is not meant to do what he just made it do, and I think I’m in pain watching him do it.

Next is Team Russia’s lovely prima ballerina, Maria Kotchekova. As expected, Maria did a lovely job. Maria, in case you read the review, bravissima, my friend! Maria is one of my followers on Twitter, and I follow her as well. I’m proud to have had some time to visit with her, and hope that she is the gold medalist tonight.

Our last finalist is Anapali from Team India. As with the others, she did a beautiful job tonight. They are announcing the winner right after this last performance, and the finishing order is as follows:

Bronze: Team USA-Robert
Silver: Team India-Anapali
Gold: Team Russia-Maria

Congratulations, Maria! You represented the world of ballet wonderfully.

The Shaolin Monks of Team China are the second large group to perform tonight. This team is very entertaining, but I am going to say the same thing I have said all along, I don’t consider this to be dance. It is a highly specialized art form, but it isn’t dance, and should not be part of this type of competition.

Now we’ll go through the duets, all of which are ballroom couples, but none of which would be holding their own in a competition like Blackpool based on what we have witnessed so far. Team Australia is first with a rollicking jive. I guess I’m just spoiled though, because I keep watching and catching the lack of extension and completion of movement from the male in this pair. He’s been clipping his leg movements short all the way through the dance, and it is disappointing to me to see that in a competition of the caliber that this show should have been.

Next is Team South Africa in the duets. This couple has smoking hot chemistry, but I have the same complaint as last time again…if her feet are never touching the floor in a dance movement, how is this not just Superstars of Gymnastics? Their performance was stunning, I just don’t really think it was dancing. This is a problem overall with this show, in my opinion.

The last pair is from Team Argentina. They are clearly the couple that deserves the gold tonight, as it was the only clear and well done demonstration of dance. Here are your rankings for pairs:

Bronze: Team Australia
Silver: Team South Africa
Gold: Team Australia

The judges are consistent tonight, clearly praising actual dance performances. The last performance of the evening is Team USA’s Groovaloos. As usual, they blow the competition away in both skill and entertainment. Here are the scores for the group competition:

Bronze: Team Australia
Silver: Team China
Gold: Team USA

I have to say I think the judges got this wrong, or they titled the show incorrectly. Team China is less skilled in the art of dance than Team Australia.

Team USA wins the overall trophy, and this concludes our show. I’ll follow up tomorrow with my thoughts on the show as a whole, and what would need to change for the program to get to a second season.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ballroom News and Notes, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Hope this post finds you all well. We have just a few areas for the Ballroom News and Notes segment this week. First, we’d like to send our condolences to the family of Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguliar, who passed away at the age of 81 on January 13th. If you’d like to read more about this remarkable man, please read this piece from the LA Times.

In happier news, Ashly Costa (Delgrosso) has announced via her Facebook that she is expecting her second child with husband Mike. Congratulations, Mike and Ashly! I had a chance to visit with Ashly over the summer about her time on Dancing with the Stars, look for that interview to run soon.

Moving on to other bits from Dancing with the Stars, rumors circulated over the last week that Cindy McCain has been asked to join the show and turned it down, and that Misty May Treanor would be returning to give the competition another shot. I am hoping the Misty May rumor is truth, and expect that we should start to hear a lot more rumors over the next two weeks or so. If the prevailing trend for cast announcements holds, look for the cast announcement as soon as February 9th. The final date on the tour is the 7th, and the 9th is exactly one month from the show’s spring premiere. Keep in mind that is far from official, just this blogger’s best guess. Ballroom Dance Channel is NOT affiliated with the show!

Speaking of the tour, I’ve heard that Karina Smirnoff has hurt her knee and has been missing from recent performances, but this is only what I’ve heard from others that have attended tour dates over the last several days. Here’s hoping the injury isn’t serious and that Karina will be back to performing soon! Here are your remaining tour dates:

Tue, 01/20/09
07:30 PM
Sommet Center
Nashville, TN
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Thu, 01/22/09
07:30 PM
St Pete Times Forum
Tampa, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 01/23/09
07:30 PM
BankAtlantic Center
Sunrise, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 01/24/09
07:30 PM
Amway Arena
Orlando, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sun, 01/25/09
07:30 PM
The Arena At Gwinnett Center
Atlanta, GA
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Tue, 01/27/09
07:30 PM
Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Greensboro, NC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Wed, 01/28/09
07:30 PM
RBC Center
Raleigh, NC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Thu, 01/29/09
07:30 PM
Verizon Center
Washington, DC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 01/30/09
07:30 PM
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 01/31/09
07:30 PM
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Mon, 02/02/09
07:30 PM
Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Providence, RI
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Tue, 02/03/09
07:30 PM
Wachovia Arena
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Wed, 02/04/09
07:30 PM
Nassau Coliseum
Long Island, NY
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 02/06/09
07:30 PM
Prudential Center
Newark, NJ
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 02/07/09
07:30 PM
Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, NJ
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Superstars of Dance draws to a close on Monday, January 26th, and we are assured that a ballroom couple will win the pairs competition. We will then turn our attention to America’s Ballroom Challenge, which begins on PBS on January 30th. Here is the entire show schedule, please check your local station for times:

Episode 1: January 30, 2008
Episode 2: February 6, 2008
Episode 3: February 13, 2008
Episode 4: February 20, 2008
Episode 5: February 27, 2008

We’ll be recapping the show here on Ballroom Dance Channel, and if you are a fan of ballroom dance, this show is sure to delight! That should do it for this edition of Ballroom News and Notes. If there is something we should be covering here and we aren’t getting the job done, please let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to visit Ballroom Dance Channel to take lessons from well known pros such as Tony Dovolani and Nick Kosovich at a price you can afford!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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!

Who will win the large group title on Superstars of Dance?

January 13, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Superstars of Dance-Week 2

January 12, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome back to Ballroom Dance Channel’s coverage of Superstars of Dance. We’re sure to see some amazing performances tonight, so let’s get started. We begin tonight with a brief recap of the first week of competition, which has been, of course, maximized for drama.

Kicking off the competition tonight is team Australia, with their large group, the Australian Dance Theater. It is a contemporary piece, which often looks to me like a lot of jumping and rolling around, more like gymnastics than dance, but I have to admit that this performance is quite entertaining, and well choreographed. There is plenty of dynamic movement throughout the piece to keep the audience engaged, and they are definitely moving in concert with each other when more than one member of the troupe is on stage. The judges score Team Australia with a 62, giving the team a new combined score of 297.

Leading the charge in the duet category tonight is Team Ireland. I really enjoyed this real life couple’s performance last week, and look forward to seeing how their chemistry and choreography combine for this evening’s routine. I enjoy this style of dance very much, but think Ireland may have misjudged in going with all dancers in this style. Still, this couple is going to be hard to beat with this level of commitment and passion! Watching this couple, I am struck by how many elements are common to ballroom dance as well. Team Ireland is scored a 56, giving them a new combined score of 293.

Our first soloist tonight is the Russian ballerina, Maria Kochetkova. Maria certainly is a lovely young woman, and is very good at her craft, giving another inspiring performance this evening. I wish that one of the countries had chosen to put in a ballet duet, it would have been spectacular to see! Maria is scored a 63, giving Team Russia a new score of 291.

Robert Muraine is our second soloist tonight, for Team USA. This dude freaks me out, but in a good way. I still can’t believe he isn’t even double jointed. The human body is just not meant to do what he can do with his! Robert has upped his game from last week, showing what I thought was much better musicality. Robert is scored a 61, giving Team USA a 297, tying them with Team Australia.

Team South Africa is our second of the large groups tonight. I love the attitude of this group of men, and they are so talented! As with last week, their performance is a stunning look into their culture, while displaying great strength and agility. Team South Africa is scored a 58, giving them a 287 combined total.

Team Argentina’s first pair is up, the amazing duo that gave us such a hot tango last week. This pair moves so effortlessly across the floor, it just stuns me. They truly move as one, and trust each other completely. The footwork in Argentinian tango is so much more intricate than what we see in traditional ballroom! This pair is scored a 63, giving Team Argentina a combined score of 291. A note for the producers, in case they happen to read this blog…please, give us the names of the participants in the solo and duo categories, in case someone is looking for more information on them! I would love to tell you the names of this duo, but I can only tell you about Miriam Larici, and I had to go back to my own blog from last week to find that much!

India’s first soloist is up, Amrapali Ambegaokar. I don’t know how to tell you the difference between their two soloists other than to tell you that Amrapali is the lovely young woman that danced with the bells on her ankles last week, and is doing so again tonight. It was a beautiful performance, but it is a dance form I don’t understand. She is scored a 59, giving India a combined 284.

Reed Luplau is the remaining soloist for Team Australia. His piece this evening is very contemporary, and almost punk rock in tone, but I loved it! Reed is scored a 58, sending him home from the soloists this evening. Team Australia has a combined score of 355.

Team South Africa’s duo, Victor Da Silva and Claudia Savvides, is up next, and while I find their performance tonight mesmerizing, I am a bit concerned with the number of lifts versus the amount of actual dance content. They are scored a 59, putting them in second ahead of Team Ireland, and giving them a combined total of 346.

Team USA’s The Groovaloos are closing the show tonight. SQUEEEE! It’s Third Street Dance! I recognize the studio from its use on DWTS and SYTYCD! I think this means they are likely using the same soundstage as those two shows, but I don’t know for sure. Tonight the Groovaloos are all about the commute to work, showing us the subway, the elevator, and then the workplace. This reminds me very much of a Shane Sparks routine, or Tabitha and Napoleon, from SYTYCD. Believe me when I tell you this is an enormous compliment. These guys are AMAZING, I suggest that you find this performance on YouTube and give it a watch, because it is the performance of the evening for sure. The Groovaloos are scored a 66, giving Team USA a combined 363.

Well, that’s it for this week. Please join us next Monday for the conclusion of the semi finals, and in the meantime, we’d love it if you stopped by Ballroom Dance Channel and gave our dance lessons a try. If you’d like to take your lessons with you, stop by the Itunes App store, where you can find the rumba, waltz , and the salsa, all downloadable to your Ipod touch or IPhone.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ever wondered what Len looks for as a judge?

January 12, 2009 at 8:15 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Superstars of Dance | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

I stumbled across this video from 1994 that has an interview with Len Goodman, where he was a judge at this competition. The whole video is very interesting, but I paid particular attention to the segment with Len. It seems to me that he is still using this same technique for judging with Dancing with the Stars now. I’ll be back tonight with your Superstars of Dance recap, but for now, please enjoy this video, and feel free to leave your comments.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Superstars of Dance, Night 2

January 5, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Hey Everyone!

Glad you’re back with us for the recap of the second night of Superstars of Dance. For a rehash of the first night, please click here. We’re starting tonight with a quick recap of last night, ending with a final shot of those incredible Shaolin monks. I just have to say that while I am enjoying Michael Flatley very much, if his co-host doesn’t learn some descriptive words, I might scream. I’m tired of the word ‘amazing’ already!

Los Huinicas Gauchos are the large team representatives for Team Argentina. While this group is entertaining, I have to take issue with it being truly called dance, because of all the emphasis on the drums and other props. This is more like entertaining tricks to me than dance, I’m sorry! I guess my definition of dance must be too limited, or I’m too spoiled by So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, this isn’t cutting it by a long shot. They score a 48, giving them a new combined total of 171.

Mythili Prakash is the second soloist from India, and she will be doing a cultural dance for us tonight that I can’t even begin to spell. This is another form I am completely unfamiliar with, but it is fascinating to watch, and she appears to be very good at it. We’ll see what the judges say, since they are the experts, but I will comment that she has great musicality and I see why she was asked to take a break from touring to compete here. She scores a 58, putting them tied for first with Argentina with a combined total of 171.

Ireland’s second soloist is Kelly Hendry, another step dancer. I know it is a cultural dance for their country, but I have to say that I am a little disappointed that Ireland didn’t diversify their dance types a bit more. Kelly does have beautiful lines and extensions, and is very expressive, something I thought was not allowed in this form of dance. If there is someone reading that knows more about this art form, could you explain in the comments, both for me and for the other readers of this blog? Thanks! Kelly scores a 56, giving them a new combined total of 179, squarely in the lead.

Team Australia has selected Henry Byalikov and Giselle Peacock, a Latin ballroom couple currently performing in “Burn the Floor” as their couple for the competition. I really like what they have done here tonight, the chair seems like a third dancer with the way they involved it in the choreography, without making it all about the props. It was about the dance itself, which was a freestyle. Henry and Giselle earn a 56 as well, giving them a new combined total of 170.

Team Africa has selected Victor Da Silva and Claudia Savvides, another ballroom pair, as their couple for the competition. Good heavens, but they are hot! I almost feellike I shouldn’t be watching. Unlike our other ballroom couples, this pair seems to have stayed closer to just one dance, a rumba, and delivered a very lyrical interpretation, full of stunning lifts. It doesn’t hurt that Victor is one sexy man, and in the name of fairness, I have to tell you that my husband is quite taken with Claudia. To give you Dancing with the Stars fans a point of reference, they have the same kind of chemistry as Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo, or Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff. I’m not sure if these two are involved off the floor, but maybe they should be if they are not! If you’d like to learn the rumba on your IPod or IPhone, please check out our new app at the ITunes store. The salsa and waltz are also available. Victor and Claudia scored a 59 individually, and is tied for second with a combined total of 171.

Team China has selected Yang Yanan as their second soloist, and he is another of the Shaolin monks, the same company that amazed us last night. I enjoyed them last night, and am enjoying Yang tonight, but like with the Argentinian group this evening, I have to take issue with the use of so many props. This is entertaining, to be sure, but is closer to martial arts than dance in my opinion. I guess I’m not completely out of my tree, because the judges are having the same complaints with content. Yang receives a 51 individually, and they have a combined score of 168 at this point.

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards is a tap soloist competing for Team USA tonight. If memory serves, Dormeshia had an amazing audition for So You Think You Can Dance, and just didn’t get the hang of other dance forms well enough to do the all around competition. She puts in an incredible performance tonight, solid and not overly flashy, letting her skill speak for itself. Dormeshia scored a 55 individually, and a 169 for the new combined total.

Team Russia has selected a team of Cossack dancers for their large group. Remember this from Twitch and Josh?

Yeah, like that, but with a whole team of them! Dang, the stamina this must take, and the strength. That was very entertaining, and was dance, as well. Thank you, Team Russia! I’d like to note that Maria, the judge from Team Argentina, seems to be a real witch. She can get on her broom and fly back, as far as I’m concerned. Team Russia had a 51 for that performance, and a combined score of 165.

Team India has a Bollywood team for their large group. Ugh. These cameramen are making it SO hard to watch this show. I don’t need tricky camera angles, okay? I need to see the team that is dancing. Also, we don’t need or want to see the crowd! THEY can see the dancers, I deserve the same respect! While I enjoyed what I could see of the routine, I think this dance style was executed better on the last season of So You Think You Can Dance, and it was a new form to all of those dancers. Look:

Again, the judges seem to be in line with my comments, and they scored a 54 for the performance. This gives them a combined total of 225.

Mamela Nyamza is the second soloist for Team Africa. She will perform a cultural dance or us this evening. Gee, I wish I could see more, but the arty lighting just blinded the camera! Based n what I’m seeing here, quite a bit of contemporary dance has roots in the tribal dances of her country. I thought it was risky and different, although I found her screams a little distracting. Mamela earns a 58 for her performance, and 229 for a combined total.

Miriam Larici is the second solo artist for Team Argentina. You’ll remember her as half of the scorching hot tango duo from last night. Tonight she has very cleverly brought a man’s shirt with her onto the stage, and is using it much like a partner, almost as if her lover has gone away, and she is left with her memories. I thought it was a stunning performance. It earns her a 57, and a 228 combined score. Hey, does the Chinese judge know any number other than 8? I don’t think I’ve seen him deliver any other score, although my husband thinks he may have given out a 7 last night.

Damien O’Kane and Bernadette Flynn are dancing a jig as Team Ireland’s couple. Damien was the soloist last night for the team. I think that of all the performances by their dancers, this one is my favorite, because there is a nice balance with the storytelling and all the dance. Neither side suffered, you understood the story, and the choreography was magical. Damien and Bernadette scored a 58 for this routine, and here’s a news flash…China knows the number 9! Their combined score is now 237, placing them squarely in the lead.

Team China has selected an acrobatic team, Zhen Zhu Zheng and An Nan, to compete as their couple. They have taken time off from performing in the Big Apple Circus to compete on the show. Again, while their act is entertaining, I’m not at all sure it is dance, but maybe I am just to rigid in my definition. This seems like walking and posing to me. I’m sure it is very difficult, I just don’t think it is dance. The judges seem to agree, citing a lack of content once again in almost all cases. They score them with a 53, and a combined 221. China and India are eliminated in the duet portion of the competition.

Our second soloist from Russia is Maria Kochetkova, a prima ballerina. What a lovely young woman she is, and while I am a ballet novice, I thought that was beautiful. Well, maybe I am not too far off the mark, because Maria has scored a 63, giving Russia a tie for third with a combined 228.

Team Australia’s second soloist is a contemporary dancer named Reed Luplau. Why is there so much falling down and rolling around in contemporary dance? I am being serious, I don’t understand. Is it supposed to be representative of something? To me, it just is making him look like he has less content than the beautiful young prima that just danced. His leaps are stunning, however, and overall I really enjoyed the performance, even if I don’t understand parts of it. Reed is scored a 65 for his solo, placing him in first, and giving Australia a combined score of 235. We also just eliminated a lot of the soloist field, and had a vote for who would get to stay for the last place in the solo portion. Robert Muraine from the United States won that vote.

Our last performance tonight is the large group for Team USA, The Groovaloos. They are a hip hop team, of course, and a dang good one at that. Quit showing us the audience, though! If they are cheering, we missed something good on the stage! That was very easily the performance of the night. I didn’t like the music much, it just isn’t my thing, but the dancing was off the chain!!! The Groovaloos are scored a 67 for Team USA! Whoo hoo! This gives USA a second overall for the night, with a combined 236. Russia and Argentina are removed from the group competition.

That’s it for the first week of Superstars of Dance. Please make sure to come back next week for the recap, and if you are inspired by all this dancing and want to try your hand at some ballroom, please make sure to visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel. With instructors like Nick Kosovich, Tony Dovolani, Elena Grinenko, Yesenia Adame, and Paul Barris, how can you go wrong? See you soon!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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

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