America’s Ballroom Challenge and Lesson 8.

Hallo there, ballroom dancers!!!

It has been a very odd few days. I caught a nasty head cold and it seems like a bunch of dance stuff all coincided. It’s probably just because Teach had something important to do the day of our normal appointment, so we did our lesson Monday instead.

Did you catch America’s Ballroom Challenge? I’ll admit, I don’t know much about American Smooth (or, really, American Rhythm, for that matter), but I do love watching them both. I was thrilled that there would be more ballroom dancing on television, but I was slightly disappointed. I had no delusions that we would be seeing the entire pro events, but I thought at least we would see the entire final! Would it have been so costly to buy an extra half hour of airtime to show it? Ah well, I’m sure they had their reasons.

The other thing is that the commentators sounded so unnatural, but overall, that didn’t really take anything away from the show. Here’s the major upside for me: the high resolution was absolutely incredible.

Peter and Alexandra at America's Ballroom Challenge

Peter and Alexandra Perzhu at America’s Ballroom Challenge, Ohio Star Ball

The Smooth event was so pretty!Β  I didn’t realize until I saw this that I think Smooth dancers have the prettiest dresses through all four styles. Colorful and simple, even though the dresses are flowy and usually don’t have too much going on. (Side note: I would have pulled my partner’s arms off if he kissed an audience member’s hand while dancing with me.)

I really loved the Smooth showdances, even though almost all of them chose VWaltz. It was pretty cool, though, that even though most of the couples chose the same dance, they all danced it completely differently and you really could see every couple’s personality. All of them were gorgeous, but my favorite was Nick Cheremukhin and Viktorija. I used to be an actor, so I’m a sucker for angst, dramatic music, and red light. And I do like Mazen Hamza and Izabela; they’re one of those couples you see once and don’t ever forget. Oh, Travis and Jaimee Tuft are also definitely worth mentioning. They went a little racier, but they surprised us! I liked that they featured some Pro-Am dancers. Natalie Crandall was great.

Plug: I saw my teacher in one of the Rhythm bumpers! Excitement! This was a fantastic Rhythm final. Everyone was in it to win it. My bias will show when I say this, but this was absolutely one of those times where I spend the whole time watching the tv screen corners for Emmanuel and Liana and wondering why the commentators didn’t mention them at all during the final. On another hand, I also really like watching Nazar Norov and Irina Kudryashova- they’re really in tune with each other.

Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and Liana Churilova dance at America's Ballroom Challenge

Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and Liana Churilova at America’s Ballroom Challenge, Ohio Star Ball

I expected Emmanuel and Liana to do their mambo, but they, of course, killed it with with a swing. He really seems like such a fun guy, and really interesting thing they did with her costume, ripping it down so it went from a leotard to a full-length dress. (And her knotted bun is amazing!) Andre and Natalie Paramonov are a couple that do not play around – they move BIG. As I said before, I love Nazar and Irina, but I couldn’t pay much attention to their dance because their costumes were just so loud. It wasn’t a good look. Oh, and Shannon Jensen? Those eyes are breathtaking! I’m inspired.

Also thought the Pro-Am performance by Sasha Altukhov and Cheyenne Murrillo was really cool. This was filmed, what, six months ago? And she’s already made the leap from Pro-Am dancer to her teacher’s pro partner. Good for her.

I am super excited for this week’s broadcast with the International Style, especially to see the Latin division. Anna Kovalova is one of my absolute favorite dancers with the most gorgeous legs I’ve ever seen.

Moving on, I had lesson 8 on Monday! Unimportant, but I had a really cute outfit – I did a flowy red miniskirt (because I’m a rebel), black tank top, and finally wore my new Capezio seamed/footed fishnets for the first time. I still don’t get why exactly it’s a thing that dancers need fishnets, but they looked awesome with the black shoes and I was able to stretch in them and everything.

Teach and I went through our rumba routine and fixed a lot of things. I’m dancing weird because he decided to have me in open hold and I’m not doing very much with my arms at all because I’m trying to become a more technical dancer before I start adding the extraneous pretty things.

It’s something I think about, though; what can I do with my arms that will be different? It’s also a matter of how you feel and how your energy is flowing at the moment. Arms should be a natural extension of what the body is doing, but I also don’t want to do the same thing everyone else is doing.

I also got some heck of a reality check on my New Yorkers. Allegedly, I keep thinking of the picture of the New Yorker and I end up doing it with my feet and cutting the action. I’m also not having a very easy time of opening my rib cage to the point that my butt goes with it so it creates that insane body curve line. Let alone doing all of that over my front foot and not breaking the top line. Fabulous.

That is a lot to do at once. Oh, but I did ask Teach about that thing I mentioned last week, what’s the difference between falling into an Opening Out and stumbling through my Sliding Doors? We discussed the difference between trust falling and falling as physical weakness. And that’s the difference – my ankles are super weak in comparison to the rest of me, so that probably explains why they weren’t doing such a great job of catching me before. My balance is already improving, though, I think.

We also made some tweaks to the routine. It makes sense to me now how maybe it isn’t necessarily difficult to play to a students’ strengths. The Dancing With the Stars 10th anniversary also just happened. I’ll watch that later. What did you think of America’s Ballroom Challenge? I’m interested to see how it all plays out. How do you think judges will be able to judge dancers across four different styles against each other?


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