Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Favorite Year Is Not My Favorite Episode

The whole "What was the best year of your life?" question, in the context of Dancing With the Stars, can lead to really poignant, sublime moments and it can also lead to not much of anything. We had both in this evening's festivities.

Perhaps more than ever before, we had people doing dances "for" someone, and that someone was in the audience, or in one case, up onstage. I don't think I like this trend.

I was much more moved, for example, when Zendaya, in the previous week, did a dance for her grandmother, from her grandmother's time. (She was also present.)

But we had Jacoby Jones dancing for his child (who is barely old enough to know what's going on); Zendaya, so as not to top herself, was getting into full diva mode for Beyonce; Bachelor Sean, who's talked about in the tabloids as having a shouting match "romance" with winner Catherine when cameras aren't on, made full advantage of this "doing a dance for/to someone" concept, and kissed his "beloved" on camera during the dance. Yawn.

Andy Dick, in the night's most moving presentation, was dancing for his daughter (also present). Kellie Pickler danced for her husband, who happened to be up onstage, singing the song he had written that she danced to. For me, that all took away from the magic of the dance, since one is supposed to be passionate with one's partner, and Derek kinda looked second-fiddle.

But let's not quibble about the shaky reason they choose to build a night around. Let's just look at the dancing, shall we?

Derek and Kellie were, as always, sublime in their shapes and movements.

The sublime Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler. Courtesy of ABC/Dancing With the Stars.
Mark and Aly did an amazing contemporary dance, which brought tears to my eyes with its poetry and beauty. When it's done right, it's stunning. Witness this:

Genius choreographer Mark Ballas and Aly the gymnast.
Val Chmerkovskiy, still cranking out the killer choreography, gave us this to a Beyonce tune.
Val Chmerkovskiy and Zendaya take on Beyonce, using his amazing choreography.
I am really rooting for Andy Dick. People get extra votes for sobriety and trying hard, in my book. Andy Dick is still trying really hard, and still got all my extra votes. (Hope he got yours, too.)
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess. Courtesy of ABC/Dancing With the Stars.
One minor quibble was with the costumers. Most of the time, they do create great costumes. However, they seem to be having problems with Kym Johnson's dresses being too long and/or not coming off easily when they have a costume change thing. Cheryl Burke's outfit looked at times like it was going to overwhelm her.

Volumes of fabric threaten to swallow up Cheryl Burke.
Come on, people. They are DANCERS. We want to see their legs and feet! Please! And they don't need to trip over volumes of clothing. Very frustrating.

Gleb gets the award for "Most Clueless" this week. His partner passes out beneath him. "You OK?" he murmurs as she lies there, prone and unmoving.

But, in the final analysis, I prefer to remember the amazing dancing I've just seen, so I'll leave you with that.

Brilliant Mark Ballas does contemporary, with Aly the gymnast.

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