Saturday, April 19, 2014

DWTS Week 5: Every Week Is Disney Week at ABC... Oh, Wait...

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Danica McKellar. Courtesy of ABC.
Normally, product placement in a show bugs the crap out of me. Devoting a whole episode to variations of things done by your corporate parent could get real tedious, real fast. However, with Dancing with the Stars on ABC, we are talking about corporate parent Disney, which, like it or not has some great iconic images under their domain. And the opposite side of blatant product placement is that they can do things (because they own all the characters) that no one else can. And so we have: Disney Week.

Like Val and Danica, above, being our guests with a lovely waltz. Val and Danica, btw, were my favorite couple from this week. Just wonderful to watch them dance. So perfect. Val looked so elegant in that suit. I realized later that he was going for the genie look (with his goatee and pulling his hair up straight in the middle). So sue me, I don’t have kids. Many of these movies were lost on me.

But I really enjoyed their dance, and Val’s choreography.

Danica and Val just look so “Disney,” don’t they?
We seem to be going in reverse order this week, with the couples I loved the most first.

Charlie White seems to have found his (and our) happy place, staying on the side of happy in his dances. And you can’t go wrong with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Poppins. Charlie and his pro partner Sharna recreated “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocioius” with a wonderful dance sequence. (It appears now that the DWTS “jazz” category essentially means: “whatever we feel like dancing which doesn’t fit in any of the other categories.” So, too, was this “jazz” dance.) Ah well, it was tons of fun.

Charlie White as Dick Van Dyke and Sharna Burgess as Julie Andrews. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
And it’s so good to see (most of) these couples back together again. There was a fire in their dancing this week.

Meryl and Maks, for example, did a wonderful Jungle Book samba, complete with samba rolls! Not sure what was up with the pants Maks was wearing, but certainly a half-naked Maks elicits a huge “Yes!” from this peanut gallery.

Meryl and Maks do a samba. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
Have I mentioned how glad I am that Maks is back? Hm... yes...

Then we had a very emotional moment or two with Amy Purdy, who realized, in trying to do a waltz this week, the limitations of her lack of legs. But Derek Hough, brilliant choreographer that he is, came up with a way around the limitations, and for my eyes, it looked to all the world like a beautiful, dreamlike Disney waltz of Cinderella and her prince. Bravo to Derek for that. And to Amy for persevering through what appeared to be a really tough week.

It is very interesting to me, I suppose, like most things worth having in life, how people come onto Dancing with the Stars thinking it’s going to be one thing, and it ends up being something so completely different. More of a spiritual and psychological challenge and growth period.

Derek and Amy in waltz hold. Note foot placement.
This is a bit (from what I understand) of what the traditional waltz entails. But one of Amy’s issues with dancing is wanting/needing to feel like she’s not falling, certainly moreso than people who have the use of their legs for balance.

So what seemed to have been done (for this dance, at least) was a bit of improvisation. Her feet (as you can see above) are almost nearly covered through the whole dance, whereas in other dances this season, you could see them. Also, rather than doing the whole waltz in traditional hold, Derek devised more of this:
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough were magical.
Sort of a backwards hold, which had the effect of her appearing strong, and him appearing very much in love with her. It was truly magical and awe-inspiring.

Of the other dancers, James and Peta were in another world with their contemporary dance to the Oscar®-nominated song from Frozen.

James and Peta do contemporary to the song from Frozen.
Drew and Cheryl? Eh. NeNe and Tony? God help us. (I feel sorry for Tony, but I’m pretty done with NeNe.) Thankfully, the kids (Witney & Cody) were voted out this week.

And then, there’s Candace and Mark Ballas. I really love Mark Ballas, and would love for him to win (and every season I do start out saying this), but WOW! I really can’t stand Candace. This week, in our I Don’t Care I’m on a Dance Show that Shows a lot of Skin, I’m Doing It MY Way Follies...Candace decides to show some skin. (Mark, however, is buttoned up from top to bottom, even having flippers instead of hands.)

The upside? I absolutely loved 100% every single thing Mark did (even his costume!). He was (as usual) a blast to watch. So much energy! So many great steps. So much fun.

Candace? UGH. Let me just show you. Here’s her idea of “showing a little skin.”

Mark Ballas, in his element. And Candace.
This picture really says it all. Here’s Mark, the maestro that he is, loving it, thriving, dancing his ass off. And Candace, who looks like a tired mom who just needs to go home already. So sad. UGH.

I do really want to take a moment to commend the costumers, who have to contend with people like Candace, but also for this season giving us lots of fun textures and sparkles to look at, as well as really recreating versions of every single one of these beloved Disney movies. I love the fact that more and more of these dancers are being allowed to dance in flatter shoes (men, too, seem to be more comfortable with their shoes), and we seem to be getting FAR fewer (as in we haven’t heard of any yet this season) dance injuries. Women also aren’t tripping over long ballgowns. I, for one, am grateful about all of the above.

I’m also so very grateful that the very beautiful Erin Andrews was dragged out of her black/white sackcloth and put into a gorgeous Boston Strong blue ballgown. Very nice. Also rocked the amazing updo. Kudos to her hair people. (LOVE HER. Have I mentioned that? She’s such a great addition to the show.)

Also am grateful for those, notably Peta and Maks and Val this season, who will bare skin if it’s warranted in the dance (from the characters and the scenarios). I’m sure Mark Ballas would too, if he weren’t locked down by his prudish dance partner. UGH.

Let’s end this review with a little JOY, shall we? A little happy? A little up? (Oh, and thank you, too, to whomever finally got their act together on the webpage and started posting photos again. You will notice Week 4 is completely missing still. *sigh*)

But here’s to joy and beauty and love and romance. Cause really, isn’t that what Disney is all about?

The magical Amy Purdy as Cinderella and Derek Hough as her Prince. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor and Disney.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happiness looks like. Charlie White.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. I encourage and welcome the dialogue.