Lesson 4: Sliding Doors & DWTS 20: My Jam Monday

Hello there dancers,

Lesson four today. Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova were totally practicing in the same ballroom. The legs on that girl! Absolutely gorgeous. And I accidentally may have been caught staring at Troels; he is ridiculously handsome.

First we worked on rumba walks and he showed me how to get more dynamism into them. It hurt, because he was having me kind of shape my walks so that my entire body is engaged. So if I stepped forward on my right foot, I felt it mostly in my lats (even though they’re really strong from my cross training) and the arch of my left foot. Ouchy. I loved it, though; another fundamental. This guy is amazing. The concepts he’s taught me so far are SO basic, but so incredibly important that without him telling me, just if I listen to some Latin music, I already see that all of them span EVERY dance and where I can use them. So, completely out of left field, Teach asks me how my Cucarachas are. (Who NAMED that figure, anyway? Ew) “Fine?” I asked, confused.

This was the segue: Sliding Doors. I later asked him, “What’s going on? This is a Gold step!” And then he owns me by saying, “Yeah, it’s a Gold step, but it has all the basic actions.”

(On an unrelated note, here’s a forewarning: I’ll probably be using pictures of Derek a lot here. I realized recently even as long as he’s been out of the game, he still has amazing quality of movement; you can practically hear his ribs crunching when he moves. And off the top of my head, this was the quickest place I could get a still of this figure.)

Anyway, as soon as he said it, I was like, DUH And, again, ouchy. Because he literally broke down the entire Sliding Door action by action and my feet and lats were screaming in pain by the end. There were two completely useless upsides to it though: he pointed at my knees and said I had good rumba legs because I’ve got hyperextension (move over Teach, I want to do a cartwheel) and, when I started practicing, finally saw the slight overarch in my foot. These aren’t things that matter if you’re doing everything right, but all my favorite dancers naturally have these traits, so WIN.

I figure I might as well watch DWTS again and see what’s going on there, right? Before I accumulate a ton of episodes and don’t have a time to watch them all. DWTS 20, week 2 after the jump.


Uptown Funk is the JAM, though if it were MY My Jam Monday, I’d probably be dancing to Fireball by Pitbull. I don’t know what it is; I think Mr. 305 is greasy, but I find his music irresistible.

Chris & Witney – Witney doesn’t seem to have a lot of patience; maybe she’s just not used to training non-performers. Her costume is cute, I love royal blue, but whose idea was that nude crotch panel? Aww, the poor guy didn’t straighten any legs once. You can tell he’s trying really hard though, but he fell off time and seemed to have trouble remembering the steps.

Suzanne & Tony – seeing Tony basically twerk is making me laugh a little bit. I WANT THAT PIANO. She actually did a pretty good jive! Her chest/shoulders did collapse a little, but you can see she really understands the concept of the bounce and leg actions here, and she’s got good sharpness through the feet. Good for her!

Ooh, Henry is dancing way more macho now with that beard. I like this.

Robert & Kym – I love these two together! I watched their live rehearsal feed and he is such a doll. Kym’s bodice (bra?) is absolutely stunning. I love how they started this dance, with him holding her by the waist in CBMP. This is one of those where you just MUST smile through the entire thing. His top line could use a lot of relaxation, but I don’t care because I love him. And I saw some heel leads from him! I don’t see a lot of those from the world’s top Standard dancers!

Charlotte & Keo – cute dress this week. Charlotte is beautiful seems sweet and people suck for saying all those horrible things about her; it’s kind of hurting ME. Good for her doing her thing. I wonder how Keo taught her about chasses, I notice she’s jumping through them. But she did her thing and enjoyed herself so YES, girl.

Michael & Peta – OY, one step and his right arm is already totally collapsed, but if he had more time to rehearse I think he would have a gorgeous frame. It’s strange, he might have the same problem Jacoby did in that he tries to level himself heightwise with his shorter partner, only instead of collapsing his shoulders, he sticks his butt way out. No major bobbles and he kept up,Β  but you could see the scary smile that freezes on one’s face when they’re THAT in their head. Breathe, sweetheart!

Rumer & Val – this girl has a body to DIE for, and she reads insanely taller than her actual height. Bruce’s FACE week one! Hilarious. She reminds me of myself in lessons: she thinks a LOT. She still hits her accents super hard, which isn’t a bad thing, especially not in cha cha. She totally owned this dance, and I love that costume! So different.

Redfoo & Emma – I ADORE Emma’s pink leopard leggings! This is an awesome routine that Emma choreographed for him. He could use some refinement, like keeping his thighs together. It’s a shame that he was the one to go; I think given not even a lot of time, he would have had a huge breakthrough and skyrocketed. He killed it.

Tom’s inserting himself into the Sasha/ladies bumper was too funny for my life.

Willow & Mark – the weird Ballas minor is back, but I think I’m okay with this. I’m liking him this season. This paint thing was actually a really cool idea. She tends to rush through her movements and it looked like she fell asleep on him a couple times, but she showed some really pretty lines and the maturity and trust in Mark that she showed in this dance were very nice.

Noah & Sharna – I still can’t get over how hot this guy is. AHH he’s romantic too! I see he doesn’t move much and all his steps forward are on heels (though I’m sure that’s because of the way his prosthetics are), but when he does move, his hips are absolutely insane. Love him and Sharna together.

Nastia & Derek – this simple dress is giving me LIFE. Derek is so corny yet hilarious, why does he always make it weird when he’s teaching rumba? (See his original rumba rehearsal with Nicole Scherzinger if you want a laugh, I just rewatched it when getting the screencap above and was cracking up.) Her rumba walks are STUNNING; she’s not making the rookie mistake of moving her hips with taking her step. And she settles perfectly, so her balance is beyond incredible. Her arms were beyond gorgeous. Okay, I have to admit this was damn near perfect. (Though I totally saw when Derek nearly fell on top of her.) Only thing is, I can see the “podium face” happening. Hopefully she can learn to let the walls down. And as always, Derek, this choreography! Beautiful. My favorite part was the smile that she let slip after the dance.

Riker & Allison – that entire hair segment was torturous. It was all in good fun, I know, but if my pro (or anyone) ever did anything resembling that to me, I’d kill him. Riker is so handsome though! He’s got gorgeous extensions and pretty good fluidity. I think the thing is that he rises a little too much, like he pops up instead, and his frame was more paso than International Standard, but he handled it so masterfully. Makes you wonder about his actual dance experience level. I may have a teeny crush.

Patti & Artem – oh, they’re popping bottles? I’m digging this ostrich cape. Obviously a weird song for salsa, but I love that she’s there dancing to enjoy herself and making it hot. She reminds me of Gladys Knight in a way – when she dances, it’s effortless. She didn’t move a ton, but what she did was actual salsa. The woman IS soul.

What did you think? Not listening to the judges, this is actually a good season. No one is bored or not trying.


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