Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Whipsnappy and wafty; groovy and fearless

A three way tie at the top for Brenphie, Abjaz and Artalie, with Juliette's sparkle-fest finally over. But a shock for sure, seeing Pashel in the dance off! They definitely improved though and the judges voted unanimously to save them.

My favourites of the night: Abjaz, for their superb, very tight tango, great musicality and yes, whipsnappy a perfect description. And Patya, his whole routine was so groovy, really nailed the cheeky cha cha - would like to see him bring his chin up like Darcey said, definitely makes it look a bit odd at times! Moments of pure joy though, loved it.

Dress of the night belonged to Karen, if not dance of the night. Needing more movement in the waltz, Kave did probably the best they could but Karen will start having to challenge him soon. Brenphie danced a gorgeous foxtrot, cheek to cheek, while Antiona worked a rumba with nerves getting her again. Marketa had a ball with the Cha Cha to U Can't Touch This, pure fun.

I loved Asha's armwork, thought them gorgeous - I like wafty too, Bruno. Just wish Ashley would smile more, but he's making it look effortless, this time in the Viennese Waltz. Juliette worked hard as usual  but we all knew his salsa wasn't going to be enough. Pashel still losing focus, this time in quickstep and it cost her - clearly not getting away with it, whatever Bruno says. And then falling off his chair: I LOVE THIS SHOW! Bentina showing some good arm work and impressive, fearless throwing around of Kristina, although I would've liked to see a lot more basic salsa steps.

Robrah's jive footwork and bounce looked so much better in training, it's a shame it didn't translate to the live show but, hey, it was a Eurovision flashback so who cares? Artalie were fantastic and snazzy but I agree with Len - far too much out of hold for a quickstep. And finally, Kevanna, full of gusto again but just needed to be a touch more fluid.

So what do we deduce then, following the dance off? Well, clearly Mark, Dave, Fiona and Deborah were more popular than Rachel. So, Mr. Bookie, what do you make of that then? Seven points for bottom couple, out of a maximum 13? We're going to see a lot more shocks I think, as the remaining couples are all capable of being in the mid-late 20s.

The tightest series yet? See all the dances again to make up your mind. Until 6.30pm on Saturday, ttfn x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Sweating like a dumpling in a stock pot

Quote of the week up there, courtesy of Dave. Spared the dance off as People's Champion, it was Janessa we said farewell to, in what was a very close week. Fourteen couples but the one at the bottom on six points!

Kevanna again a favourite this week, just that shoulder needing a nudge downwards but otherwise simply lovely movement and flow in their waltz. Asha also impressed, the samba can be a real wreck but his was full of bounce and rhythm, likewise Brenphie, although we could've seen a little more abandon, maybe. Loved Bentina's rumba - great partnering, steady and secure, fluid and connected. Artalie were again magnificent in the rumba, she certainly knows how to work it. Patya rocking the Nat King Cole foxtrot but could've done with more movement around the floor and a little more swing and sway - and oh, Craig - almost word for word. My brother from another mother! Lovely quickstep from Robrah, full of joy.

Kave had great Paso attitude all the way through; Karen is becoming one of my favourite pros. Abjaz with great energy in the jive although Abbey needs to get on the balls of her feet. Antiona's charming waltz - she has lovely arms, and Pashel have clearly been studying cha cha technique, although I still think her hips looked a bit forced. A delightful yet liftless American Smooth for Marketa.

So it was Juliette in the dance off once again, this time with Janessa and both improved on their jive and tango respectively, technique may be lacking but there's no denying they get stuck into the spirit of the dance. I think Julien's more natural feel for dance is what got him the nod over Vanessa.

The pro dance choreographers - I think they take it in turns - are really on it. Another fantastic routine with high flying Iveta, so moving to Whitney's I Have Nothing. Andrea's vocals too, stunning.

All the gossip and the clips can be found on the website. In the meantime, I'll apologize for the lateness of this year's blog. I'm working on some writing for a charity book and have just finished co-ordinating a literature festival, so my focus isn't fully on it this year and - fair warning being given - I may have to take a break with it to focus on developing the Litfest next year. But for now, we'll always have the custard pies.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Awesome Artalie, Bravo Brenphie, Amazing Asha - and Ta-ra Toniona

Firstly, wishing Brucie all the best for a speedy recovery. I'd say I want to see him back but the thing is, Clauds and Tess together are brilliant. If and when Brucie does go, there's no need to look any further.

So, from the best dresses awards (Kristina and Vanessa) to could-Julien-wear-any-more-crystals-is-it-possible, we move onto the top three of the night.

I adored Artalie's waltz and take back my earlier comments about chemistry, her musicality and the headography were gorgeous, a sumptuous performance - I love the song, which always helps - and everyone clearly moved. Beautiful routine.

"Dance is a performing art: Every move is like a word for an actor" - Bruno Tonioli

Brenphie's Charleston, in Week 2?! Astounding, brilliantly executed. Maybe a few more silly faces and/or smiles but no, I'm really not complaining. Love them.

And Asha, proving the girls aren't going to have it all their own way. A groovy American Smooth, lots of swing and sway - he was so relaxed, loved the effortless leap down the steps. Lots of panache. What a week for him - congrats on the new bub :)

Good follow ups on last week from Kevanna (Tango, great attitude, fast and sharp) Kave (American Smooth, loving the chest bump; they're so lovely together) Patya (Tango, looked like he was holding his breath all through) Robrah (Cha Cha, you can't teach zuzz, she enjoyed, so did we) Pashel (Salsa, basic salsa steps a bit suspect, hips too forced but she's so sweet) Janessa (Waltz, Run To Me gets me every time, lovely emotion. A moment here to congratulate the singer (Andrea?) for this and Artalie's waltz, wonderfully done). Antiona (Cha Cha, going so well until near the end) Marketa (Salsa, although not so much with the salsa step, the character and rhythm is all there) Bentina (Waltz, Kristina's dress has more fluidity but still improving - smile please!) Abjaz (Cha Cha, occasional lapses in focus but not a bad effort. Although I had to watch Ramps cha cha to Let's Get Loud straight after). Ok, so now I'm back after watching it again. And the Argentine Tango and samba .. Ahem

And so it was a dance off between Juliette and Toniona, neither of whom got to grips with the nature of each dance; Tony too relaxed, Julien down to orange smarties but still has potential, he gave it some attitude but I thought I was watching a Paso attempt. The judges were unanimous as Tony failed to engage both them and the public.

Paso of the results night was of course the urban street Paso by the pro dancers to Crazy in Love! Crazy, but it worked. Len's Lens is back talking Susanna's Viennese Crosses, Natalie's swan neck and deep back, Bruno's counting and Mark's many faces.

Strictly Love Week next - the songs and dances are all released, the teasers ... see you then.