Monday, 30 September 2013

Strictly Come Dancing: Do Not Disturb!

It's started - and the producers capture the feel of the nation: Sparkly popcorn, Len & Craig cushions, drawn curtains and "Get off the phone, don't you know what time it is?"

It's Strictly time! Belly laughs and soppy grins at the ready ...

The Belly Laughs were provided by Hairy Biker Dave, who Karen has clearly decided not to tame, but to join instead. Fabulous partnership, with Kave channelling Mick Jagger. Terrible technique but absolutely loved Dave's joy in the cha cha and the judges (bar Craig) joining in the spirit. Boom! Darcey summed it up: "I want to cry with happiness".

The Soppy Grins made an appearance for the Sophie and Brendan (Brenphie) waltz to Moon River, her topline a little floppy but lovely movement and gentle phrasing. Proud mum Janet was in tears; I loved Sophie's honest appraisal: "I was terrified but I didn't throw up!" Also, Tony and Aliona (Toniona) made me smile. Yes, posture needs work but I thought he had quite lyrical arms. Very sweet.

In between the laughs and soppiness, Kevanna (Susanna and Kevin) were my favourites of the weekend; I was smiling all the way through. Smashing partnership already and I do love seeing someone really let themselves go and have a good time. Bags of natural personality and energy, just needed a touch more bounce - it was there in training - so more to come from them.

Credible performances, high likeability factor and good partnerships from Ben and Kristina (Bentina) once he's loosened up they could be ones to watch; Fiona and Anton (Antiona) *Hand Darling Hand*; Robin and Deborah (Robrah) keep up, Debs; Patrick and Anya (Patya) flat footed but groovy; Ashley and Ola (Asha) elongate the arms, don't stab; Mark and Iveta (Marketa) were terrific, a great pairing and lovely characterisation and attitude.

Julian actually might need to calm down a bit - I need to see him dance properly, because I think he can; Rachel is nice but will also need to be sassy and more focused; Loved that James is immediately protective of Vanessa - never been a fan, but she worked hard and did everything he asked, so well done - they seem to have well gelled *ahem*. Abbey and Aljaz are indeed the beautiful couple and also seem very sweet; gorgeous lines in a lovely routine gave them dance of the night. But can she rock the Latin? Natalie and Artem hit the floor confidently, very good technically - they didn't seem to match the chemistry off it though.

The leaderboard:

Bruce quote of the night: "The Floor Manager's job is to stop the presenter looking stupid. I wish we had one of this show."

Best Dress (es): Rachel and Abbey's - simple, classy and elegant.

Tess' look: The Purple One ;)

The Pro Dance was a belter, all feathers and Bruno on the table, ballroom drama and Latin tricks - quite tough to follow, but it was the opening weekend so ...

Next stop: It Takes Two with Zoe Ball, 6.30pm BBC 2 TONIGHT! She's here all week :)

Week 2 begins on Saturday at 6.20pm and to keep you going, here's the link to the clips from week one.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Live: Strictly Come Dancing On Ice

Tickets for the sparkly seventh Strictly Come Dancing Tour 2014 have gone on sale.

Choreographed once again by Craig Revel-Horwood and featuring him, Len and Bruno on the judging panel, some our favourite competitors will complete for the chance to lift the arena glitter ball.

This season's cast is yet to be confirmed but this is immaterial - if you have not been to the live Strictly show before ... what have you been doing with your life?! Click here for the official BBC Live site, to book tickets and to sign up for the newsletter. And GO!

Whilst there is still mixed info coming out about the possibility of another series on TV, former Olympic champ and Dancing on Ice head judge, Robin Cousins, has decided to keep doing what he does best in the meantime, taking a new show on the road.

Robin is bringing world class skaters together for a spectacular show, touring at the beginning of 2014. With a soundtrack of original music and reworked classics, the show, called simply ICE, promises a unique, dynamic and atmospheric world where the performers will fly, glide, soar and flip. See the official website for more details and to book.

Are we just a teensy bit spoilt, or what?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dance like everyone's watching!

There's another dance movie due out in 2014 - because we just can't get enough! This one takes it's cue, ever so slightly, from the classic West Side Story update of Romeo and Juliet (but hopefully without the tragic ending!) and sits somewhere between Pitch Perfect and Save The Last Dance meets The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Platinum: The Dance Movie  from Across The Floor Productions, promises a tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy set against the backdrop of competitive dancing. The star-crossed lovers on this occasion are Brandon (Shane Harper Good Luck Charlie) and Jasmine (Kathryn McCormick Step Up 4) rivals for the $25,000 top prize of the Platinum Platinum.

Excitingly, the choreographers on board for this include the completely awesome NappyTabs - Outta Your Mind and Mad (see Fave dances below) - as well as the likes of Kent Boyd, Mark Goodman and Mandy Moore.

Just to give you a taster and whet your appetite further, there's a whole bunch of behind the scenes videos on Youtube, plus you can connect with the team on Twitter and Facebook. See you at the premiere!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Strictly Come Dancing: Couples Reveal

You know it's Strictly time again when you're sat in front of the telly wearing a happy smile and sequins, eating cake and watching a sparkly extravaganza with a warm fuzzy feeling.

And this is just the launch, where we find out the couples! The show proper gets under way on Friday, September 27th.

In the meantime, cast your eyes over the pairings - who do you think has the chemistry, skill and personality to go all the way this year? Will we have a slow burner again like Louis, or a stand out turn from week one, like Alesha? As always, I've portmanteauxed the names so I don't get arm ache ...

Brendan and Sophie (Brephie)
Vanessa and James (Janessa)
Rachel and Pasha (Pashel)
Deborah and Robin (Robrah)
Karen and Dave (Kave)
Kevin and Susanna (Kevanna)
Iveta and Mark (Marketa)
Anton and Fiona (Antiona)
Ola and Ashley (Asha)
Janette and Julien (Juliette)
Aliona and Tony (Toniona)
Artem and Natalie (Artalie)
Kristina and Ben (Bentina)
Abbey and Aljaz (Abjaz)
Anya and Patrick (Patya)

The money will go on Abjaz, Artalie, Asha and Pashel, because the bookies and national press still don't get it. I'll be reserving judgement till I've seen them all dance a ballroom and a Latin and found out about their work ethic, chemistry, personality and how they cope with the pressure.

On first glimpses, new pro Kevin seems a fun bloke, Ben's been paying attention to his arms, Natalie was very confident and Tony was totally enjoying the moment. Without exception, they were all loving it. Three weeks to wait? That's far too long, naughty Beeb!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Strictly Come Dancing - The Class of 2013!

Darcey Bussell put an end to all the speculation, thankfully, revealing this year's line up on The One Show.

There's the usual mix of someone for everyone, from sport to fashion, to pop and food. Our contenders are:

Our excitable darling of the wardrobe, Julien Macdonald couldn't have taken much persuading - there's a little dance history there, before the fashion design skills showed up, so he could be one to watch on the dance floor as well as being adorable and funny.

Abbey Clancy, best known as WAG to Peter Crouch, will have to win us over by proving she's not just a pretty face - always much harder for the stunners, because the tabloids just presume they'll be elegant and sexy. And we know it doesn't work like that, so good luck Abbey.

Ashley Taylor-Dawson would have been a 'Who?' for me, but for the fact that friend and fellow Rochester Litfest personage, actress Emma Dewhurst, was in Hollyoaks recently! So I suppose I shall find myself kinda rooting for him by association and not because he appears to be quite hot *coughs* so that's all good.

World cup winning rugby player Ben Cohen joins and for once we have a sportsman with no fear of getting his kit off and the spray tan on! Star of numerous calendars and nothing-but-pants advertising, Ben will hopefully be letting himself go early on.

Dave Myers, hairy biker and foodie could split fans. On one hand, his diet cook book knocked Fifty Shades of Grey off the top spot, and on the other hand, his diet cook book knocked Fifty Shades of Grey off the top spot.  He can trip up, go the wrong way and have a major wardrobe malfunction - I shall still sling a vote his way on behalf of writers everywhere.

Dragon's Den entrepreneur, Deborah Meaden takes a break from business for some r'n'r on the dance floor. Straight talking and obviously a major work ethic; her male pro will be happy with that I think.

Isn't it funny how connections pop up? Fiona Fullerton is the person I visualise whenever someone says Alice in Wonderland, which, incidentally, is the theme for the final event in the Rochester Litfest's Other Worlds, Other Voices festival 3-13 October (yeah, best get used to the plugging for the next couple of weeks. Sorry.) And with experience in ballet (we've got half the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra accompanying a mix of dancers) I'm sure Fiona will be Queen of the Ballroom with no need to call for anyone's head!

Mark Benton is one of those familiar faces I couldn't have put a name to but seen countless times on TV and in film. A recent starring turn as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray the Musical has rekindled hs love of dance - and that's something we all want to see.

I don't watch soaps, so Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede is a new face to me. The Street stars don't generally do as well as the Walford lot, though; be interesting to see if Natalie can get an extended run.

Patrick Robinson loves to dance and will try anything so, Woohoo! A funky soul fan like myself, I will be expecting Great Things in the Latin, Patrick - no pressure :)

Numbers queen (cue lots of scoreboard related remarks) Rachel Riley from Countdown loves a bit of bling but is concerned, as an Essex girl, that the spray tan will put her in the stereotype bracket. No-one would've known if you hadn't said anything!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has music in her soul and loves to shake her groove thing. I'm desperately trying not to mention her biggest hit, oh, but hang it - I'm sure it won't be Murder on the Dancefloor where Sophie's concerned. *hangs head in shame*

Newsreaders have always done well, with the public if not always with the judges, so Susanna Reid stands a good chance of a decent stint. We love it when they do Children in Need; that may be where our affection for them as a genre comes from.

Tony Jacklin, golfing legend - didn't see that one coming, did we? Will he be putting Craig in his place? Can he drive off across the dance floor? Will he end up doing the Birdie Dance? And so on ... yes, I'll still be here next week.

And finally, TV presenter Vanessa Feltz makes the number up to 15. The chat queen will have plenty to say - but she'll need to listen to her partner and learn when to button it if she's to get on.

In other news, Aliona Vilani, who'd lost her place in the pro line up this year, has had a reprieve. Sadly, it's due to Natalie Lowe fracturing her foot and being forced to rest up. Pretty gutted, as Natalie is such a fantastic choreographer and did such a brilliant job with Michael Vaughan last year. Get well soon!

Two more professionals have also joined: Anya Garnis and Kevin Clifton.

There's a short Red Carpet show on the red button on Wednesday at 6pm, with the launch proper on Saturday night, 6.50pm BBC One.

Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep dancing!