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Thread: Superstars of the Dance 1/5: And Nary a Polka In Sight

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    what are you watching? iguanachocolate's Avatar
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    Superstars of the Dance 1/5: And Nary a Polka In Sight

    Hello dear readers, tis I, Iguanachocolate, here to dance you through another mega episode of Superstars of Dance. Yup, second two hour extravaganza in as many days. I worry for the Argentinean judge, she seems to be a scholar of the Paula Abduhl “tipping one back as I sit here and endure these singer/dancers who only serve to remind me I am well past my prime” school of judging. Anyway, let’s not just sit around chatting, let’s get right to Michael Flateley’s chest hair, I mean the dancing.

    Argentina

    First up is a group from Argentina called Los Huincas Gauchos that purport to be a mix of dance styles. Apparently without ever actually dancing. They beat drums, fling capes, clap their hands a bit and use bolos – the little balls at the end of ropes that they spin fast enough to make their hair move. It’s fast paced and exciting to watch, but a little light on the dancing. Ok, a lot light on the dancing. Apparently the judges think that as well and here are their scores:

    India - 7, Australia - 7, South Africa - 6, USA - 7, Ireland - 6, Russia - 8, China - 7 Total: 48

    India

    Next up is another solo performance from India – I think they forgot to mention to us that each country will be having two soloists perform – hence the need for another blasted supersize dance night. Mythili Prakash does a traditional South Indian dance that is supposed to be the style of the Gods. It is beautiful and graceful and lovely to watch. When the camera actually allowed us to see something. The judges appreciated her as well:

    Argentina - 9, Australia - 8, South Africa - 8, USA - 9, Ireland - 8, Russia - 8, China - 8 Total: 58

    Ireland
    Kelly Hendry from Ireland pulls at our heart strings by telling us that after she had come over to the States to perform in this championship, her father had a heart attack. She knows that he would want her to do her best. Irish Step seems reminiscent of clogging, but she actually is allowed to move her arms! It’s rather clogging 2.0. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, but it didn’t make me want to rent Riverdance. The judges said:

    Argentina – 8, India - 8, Australia - 8, South Africa - 8, USA - 8, Russia - 8, China - 8 Total: 56

    Australia
    A duo is next, Henry Byalikov and Giselle Peacock from Australia. They are ballroom champs, and they perform something like a Samba or a Rhumba – to tell you the truth I am not totally up on all the differences between the Latin dances, but it was Latinesque. They were good, but not spectacular. The judges said:

    India - 8, Australia - 8, South Africa - 6, USA - 7, Ireland - 6, Russia - 8, China - 7 Total: 56

    South Africa

    Another duo follows them, Victor Da Silva and Claudia Savvides from South Africa. Another ballroom pair, they have also had ballroom training. They danced to a Whitney Houston song that I had once hoped to forget and the lifts reminded me of the American duo, but they were not as difficult, daring or as impressive. But hey – what do I know. The judges actually scored them 2 points higher than the Americans. Maybe they actually like Whitney Houston. Anyway, the judges said:

    Argentina – 8, India - 8, Australia - 8, USA - 9, Ireland - 8, Russia - 9, China - 9 Total: 48

    China

    Yang Yanan from China is another Shaolan Monk and he will be showcasing the single and double whip. The whip is less whip and more chain and very impressive. I can see why it is considered one of the hardest disciplines. He whips his chains and covers the stage, but I still don’t see a whole lot of actual dancing. Neither did the judges and they said:

    Argentina – 8, India - 7, Australia - 7, South Africa - 7, USA - 7, Ireland - 7, Russia - 8, Total: 51

    USA

    Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards is up next to tap her way into our hearts. She’s tapped with Gregory Hines who is one of my favorite modern tappers, so automatically I know she is going to be good. And that she is. She pulls out a classic routine to a typewriter and music that I just love. She is dead on the beat and all sparkly and just fun. Take that Australian surfer dude! I am dead certain that she will score higher than surfer dude but unfortunately, I was dead wrong. The judges (who are apparently now are all going to the Paula Abduhl School of Judging) score her like this:

    Argentina – 7, India - 8, Australia - 8, South Africa - 7, Ireland - 9, Russia - 8, China - 8 Total: 55 - 2 points less than the surfer dude. If I weren’t a lady and this site weren’t pg-13 – well, let’s just say there would be puckey hitting the fan right now!

    Russia

    Next up is the Russian group dance and I have been looking forward to these guys. For some inexplicable reason I am in love with Russian Cossack dancing. I am totally not in love with the set designers or producers or whoever it was that put shiny stupid lights in the background that distracted from the dance. And that is in addition to the now ubiquitous crappy camera work. Still, the dancers shone through and the judges continued their trend of marking anything lower if it is not in the strictly ‘classical’ (read Western) style of dance. They said:

    Argentina – 7, India - 7, Australia - 7, South Africa - 7, USA - 8, Ireland - 7, China - 8 Total: 51

    India

    The group dance from India follows them and whilst I thought it was exciting to watch, I was a bit disappointed not to see a full on Bollywood number. Whether it was the camera work or the choreography, the dance reminded me of a High School Musical 3 (not that I have seen the movie, no really, I haven’t) big musical production. The judges said:

    Argentina – 7, Australia - 8, South Africa - 7, USA - 9, Ireland - 8, Russia - 7, China - 8 Total: 54

    South Africa

    I will admit to it right here, right now, I am in love with this dancer! Mamela Nyamza is from South Africa and says she is not only here to dance, she is here to make a statement. Her piece as she describes it is about a woman who is frustrated with her life and marriage. Densely filled with emotion, you could feel the pain palpitating through her as she danced. She was strong in body yet showed a vulnerability that touched the heart. The judges seemed to like her as well, even though it is worth noting that it was only the woman judges who gave her 9’s. I think the men just didn’t quite get it:

    Argentina – 9, India - 8, Australia - 9, USA - 8, Ireland - 8, Russia - 8, China - 8 Total: 58

    Argentina

    Argentina’s last solo is a returning duet performer from last night’s performance:
    Miriam Larici. Her number was about her dreaming of a man, so I suppose her weird hair was reminiscent of some morning hair I have seen reflecting back at me form the mirror some 6 o’clock ams. A lot of rolling, not so much dancing, in my opinion. The judges said:

    India - 8, Australia - 8, South Africa - 8, USA - 8, Ireland - 8, Russia - 9, China - 8 Total: 57

    Ireland

    Damien O’Kane and Bernadette Flynn of Ireland are the next duet and are married, so they feel it gives them an extra edge when they dance together. She very prettily flitted about the stage and he very prettily watched her and waved his arms and it was a whole lot of prettily danced steps. The judges said:

    Argentina – 8, India - 8, Australia - 8, South Africa - 8, USA - 8, Russia - 9, China - 9 Total: 58

    China

    Zhen Zhu and An Nan are from the Nanuing Acrobatic Troupe in China and upon hearing that I am anticipating the judges’ comments. Especially when Nan said that it was an ‘act’. It was an amazing act, yes. She balanced en pointe in his shoulders and they turned and she went onto one toe point and he moved around. Brilliant balancing, but aside form the positions she was taking whilst high upon his shoulders, there was not really so much dancing. In fact, there was no dancing. The judges said:

    Argentina – 7, India - 7, Australia - 7, South Africa - 8, USA - 8, Ireland - 7, Russia - 9, Total: 53

    I almost missed it, but the duos from India and China have been eliminated from the competition.

    Russia

    Yeah! Finally a ballerina from Russia! Maria Kochetkova danced with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Her technique is spot on and her lines are pleasing to watch. The turning sequence at the end had me dizzy, but she seemed to come out of it just fine. The judges said:

    Argentina – 9, India - 9, Australia - 9, South Africa - 9, USA - 9, Ireland - 9, China - 9 Total: 65

    Australia

    Reed Luplau is billed to be the best contemporary dancer in Australia. He does not disappoint leaping and twirling and lunging all over the stage. He also brings a lot of joy to his dancing that is very easy to see. The judges said:

    Argentina – 9, India - 10, South Africa - 9, USA - 9, Ireland - 9, Russia - 10, China - 9 Total: 65

    With his dance, the soloist portion of round one of the competition has ended. With little of the drawn out dramatics (I’m talking to you, Seacrest) Michael Flateley says the Russian (not the ballerina), South African (Zulu dancer), both Chinese performers, the American tapper (rigged, I tell you!) and the Irish dancer in red are eliminated. There is a three way tie with the USA popper, the Australian tapper and the Latin woman we say tonight from Argentina. In a vote off, Michael Muraine, the US popper is put through to the next round.

    USA

    The final performers of the night are the Group dance from the USA. They will be doing a combination of street dancing and they regularly perform as a group called the Groovaloos. The dance they will do tonight is based on the true story of one of their members who got hit by a stray bullet in a night club and was told he would not walk again, let alone dance. Well, guess what? He’s dancing tonight. The 10 members are a bundle of energy and passion has they hip hop, leap, pop, spin and everything they can think of across the stage. You can see the story, but it is not one that is meant to tug at your heartstrings, it is one that says, “Hey, this happened, but so what? Life is good” They were awesome. The judges felt the same:

    Argentina – 9, India - 9, Australia - 10, South Africa - 10, Ireland - 9, Russia - 10, China - 10 Total: 67 - incidentally, the highest score of the competition.

    With the elimination of Argentina and Russia from the group competition, the evening comes to a close. Next week gives us a dance skills one on one with the USA going against China. Should be very exciting. Until the judging, of course. Then I will have to throttle someone. See you next week!
    A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

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    Re: Superstars of the Dance 1/5: And Nary a Polka In Sight

    Happy to see it .

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