Gulf Coast Stars, Relay for Life, Dancing With The Stars

Spring is in full swing here in Houston. Lots of activities at The Dance Place with our Gulf Coast Stars competition coming up, a Relay for Life walk-a-thon and Phillip's Fabulous Comments on Dancing With The Stars

Date added to ADN: Monday, Apr 23 2012
Originally Published: Monday, Apr 23 2012
By Phillip Stephens

Gulf Coast Stars, Relay for Life and Dancing With The Stars

Gulf Coast Stars

Saturday, April 28, is getting closer and closer, and all the people participating in our 2012 Gulf Coast Stars Dance Tournament are on pins and needles this week as they fine tune their routines, make sure that their costumes and shoes are all in good order and that they get in as much practice as possible. The studio will be open for registration and practice beginning at 10:00am and we plan to get started promptly at 11:00am We'll start with the American Rhythm divisions, which will be followed by the International Ballroom/Standard section, after which we'll take a lunch break. We'll resume with the American Ballroom/Smooth section and will finish up with the International Latin divisions. We do not have exact times to provide just yet as there are several formations and solos to place within the program and we've had some special requests for youngsters who must participate in activities away from the studio on the same day. We also received some late entries, which require some additional work to fit into the currently not-quite-finished schedule. This is going to be a fabulous day with a lot of entertaining dancing for your viewing pleasure. Adult spectator tickets are just $15, so come on over to The Dance Place and cheer the couples on to excellence.

Relay For Life

Karen Humphrey is a wonderful woman who works very hard every year to help the American Cancer Society raise money for research to help find a cure for this terrible disease. This year, the team Karen is on is called Mammas in Pajammas and they will be up all night on April 27 as they walk their relay which raises money through donations for the miles the team walks. Karen's personal goal is to raise over $3,000 for this year. She's close, but still has a ways to go. If you can, please help Karen out by making a donation to The American Cancer Society. You may send the donation direct to the organization, but please connect it with Karen by specifying it is made in her name, or you can bring donations by the studio and we'll be sure she gets them.

Dancing With The Stars

Season 14, Week 5, 4/16/2012

This critique is provided by Championship Adjudicator and Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Fellow and Examiner Phillip Stephens. Direct any comments or inquiries to Sorry for the delay in getting the 4/16 & 4/17 comments out - it's been a long and busy week for several reasons, but things have quieted down a bit now and I hope to do better with future commentary.

This is the half-way point of the competition and it’s Latin night.

The sleek and sexy Latin outfits worn by the DWTS troupe in the opening number were great – they reminded me somewhat of authentic “old-time” outfits, updated for the ladies to reveal a bit more flesh.

Tom Bergeron told everyone to get ready to shake their maracas, and it looked like Brooke Burke-Charvet had her “maracas” pushed up so far they couldn’t shake in an earthquake! However, she did have on a leg-covering dress that was flattering to her physique.

Jaleel White & Kym Johnson – Samba

This looked like it should be in some sort of adult version of Lion King, but the music was not all that good for Samba. Jaleel sure put a lot into it and did look more in control than in some of their previous routines. He had trouble keeping up with some of the syncopated moves. It was good, not fabulous. Not sure why he felt he had to put his hand on Kym’s posterior at the end of the routine, but she evidently didn’t want it there because she promptly moved it. Kym’s costuming is normally at the top of my “pleasing to the eye” list, but I didn’t care much for this one.

Len – Felt Jaleel had rhythm in abundance (raved a bit much); Bruno – Raved WAY too much about the wiggle; Carrie Ann – Liked the fire and attack used this week. 8+8+8 = 24. Those numbers don’t match up well with judges’ raves about his performance.

Melissa Gilbert & Maks Chmerkovskii – Salsa

Looked like a party, but Melissa was too stiff compared to Maks. They did so much work in shine position that it looked like Maks might prefer not to dance with her and which definitely showed off her weaknesses. So, Maks, if the thought was to prove she could dance on her own, you should in future remember to tone down your own dancing a bit. Overall, Melissa did a good job, did shake her booty, and looked relatively confident.

Bruno – Melissa needs to gain control over her enthusiastic exuberance; Carrie Ann – Felt like it had moments of brilliance, but Melissa’s steps were too big and she lost control at times; Len – Saw good bits and bad bits, but it was well done overall. 7+7+7 = 21

Maria Menounos & Derek Hough – Salsa

She must be the absolute queen of injuries – she’s sure had a lot of them for this being only week 5 of the program. Nice music, nice choreography and they certainly were in sync. I saw no reason for the kiss, and I saw no reason to take the shirt off, but I guess that’s what today’s audience wants to see. Maybe Derek just wants to show conclusive evidence that he’s been going to the gym?

Carrie Ann – Didn’t feel like they needed the kiss; Len – Thought she showed her dance ability; Bruno – As usual when a handsome guy reveals some flesh, Bruno came up with tasteless comments. 9+9+9 = 27

Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas – Argentine Tango

Not at all sure Mark needed all that drama about the crotch kicks, especially with the jock strap, but what do I know? A rather interesting entrance. Katherine did point her toes and she certainly was dramatic. The lifts were nice and clean, the intensity between the dancers was very strong and the routine fit the music well. Mark has been much calmer this season and has produced some very good choreography and some very likeable performances from both himself and his partner.

Len – Thought it was very well done; Bruno – Dancing and choreography of the highest quality (and I agree); Carrie Ann – Liked the nuances of upper body and thought her opening lunge was superb. 10+9+10 = 29

Gavin Degraw & Karina Smirnoff – Samba

Quite a clever entrance. He still looks a bit awkward, but this music and the choreography suited his capabilities. He certainly put his heart and soul into the dance. One noticeable foot bobble in the side-by-side right turns and a sloppy connection on the slide through the legs, but this was a very solid performance.

Bruno – Enjoyed it; Carrie Ann – Lacked a bit of form; Len – Thought it was a gallant effort. (OK – I have to admit that it was NOT a true-to-form-authentic-Samba. On the other hand, neither was the music. He did a GOOD job and made everything work with that music) 6+6+7 = 19, which I think was too low.

Some of the “show” dancers try so hard that it looks painful and awkward. For me, all they need to do is good clean dancing without so many tricks.

William Levy & Cheryl Burke – Argentine Tango

An intriguing entrance. Sharp kicks and flicks, but his legs still looked untidy at times and he didn’t look steady on his feet in several places. Still, it was a very nice routine and it was well performed with the right intensity and character.

Carrie Ann – Raved too much for the quality of that performance; Len – saw all the right things; Bruno – Raved far too much for a slightly better than most performance. 10+9+10 = 29. Even allowing for the difficulty men have in leading and creating mood, intensity and the appearance of being in control, this was NOWHERE NEAR as good as the performance Katherine provided, so should not have received the same score.

I get so disappointed when I see the tattoos all over these people who have such magnificent builds and then they ruin their appearance by doing something like THAT.

Gladys Knight & Tristan McMannis – Samba

Although I think she should have kept her legs more covered, Gladys did look “cute” in that outfit. Her lines are not as sharp as needed and her body just doesn’t produce much rhythmic action in the torso. She does give it a good go, but she just isn’t in control of some of her moves and it comes off as looking a bit weak. Still, for her age, she does a marvelous job.

Len – A simple but effective number; Bruno – She’s magic when she just relaxes and shows her true self; Carrie Ann – Loved it, but the mistakes were noticeable. 7+7+8 = 22. I think they are being a overly generous for Gladys, who didn’t really perform better than Gavin.

Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower – Salsa

This seemed to be his dance. He appeared to be in control of all his actions; he was very masculine-looking and very in sync with Chelsea who definitely did not attempt to overdance this routine as she does in some. This was quite a pleasure to watch. I liked the rhythm, the choreography, the playfulness, the pizzazz, the energy and the overall quality of the performance.

Bruno – Noted how strong Roshon’s timing was; Carrie Ann – Liked that he retained his own character and produced great dancing; Len – Thinks Roshon needs to calm himself on occasion??? What kind of lame comment was that???? 9+8+9 = 26. That was a bit low for the quality of that performance.

Donald Driver & Peta Mergatroid – Argentine Tango

I was relieved to see that this performance did a good job of living up to their self-proclaimed excellence. Nice to see Donald produce some slow actions with control. The choreography was intense and it was well performed. Peta has a unique look in that outfit and the back-arching lift with traveling spins was beautiful. The ending pose was “spot on” and I really couldn’t find anything to criticize in the overall performance, as Donald seemed totally committed to each move and was very strong throughout.

Carrie Ann – Raved about his control; Len – Thought the lifts were spectacular, but didn’t like the rest of it (hmm – Len must be a bit weak in the eyes); Bruno – His comments left me wondering what the heck he was talking about, but it did seem that he thought it was good overall. 10+8+9 = 27

Note: I comment on the costumes for this show frequently – especially regarding the ones I don’t like. I had a discussion about the costumes with Corky Ballas Sunday. He agrees that the costumes are quite bad, especially this season. The reason seems to be that, in an effort to save money, the show stopped using Randall of Design’s by Randall to make the costumes. You can certainly see a difference in the savings, ya know? As they say: “Ya git what ya pays for!”

Results Show – 4/17/12

First night for the duel of the couples in the bottom two. What’s up with Burke’s hair? She had a very nice hairdo last night but has gone for some sort of cartoon look for this show.

Hard to believe Gladys was safe. Looks like Gavin will be in the bottom two, and I’d put Jaleel there, too.

Sorry, but I just have lots of trouble trying to visualize Brooke thinking she’s sexy-looking in that odd-shaped and somewhat ratty hairdo.

The beginning of this Macy’s Stars of Dance was not my cup of tea. Although they did the occasional sharp-looking moves, this whole group looked untidy to me.

Selena needs to consult with some different wardrobe people. I didn’t care so much for the singing, but the dancers were quite intriguing.

There seem to be an extraordinary number of injuries in this season. The people are obviously not taking proper precautions in warming up or in teaching/learning the intricacies of some of the moves they are attempting. Of course, some of it is sheer silliness in wearing the wrong shoes, no shoes and/or practicing in some unsafe situations.

OK – I picked the bottom two who will dance the duel. The judges don’t seem to think much of Gavin’s dancing, so I predict that he will be the loser. But I’ve been surprised before&##0133;

I like Gavin better in posture and body control. He seems to be more rhythmic and I’d place him first.

Carrie Ann – Thought Jaleel had a strong Cha Cha flavor, but Gavin was strong in hold; Len – ??? Not really good comments. Bruno - Way off on his compliments to Jaleel.

From what I saw, Jaleel was NOT the better dancer in that duel. But what a gracious loser is Gavin!

Happy Dancing!

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The Dance Place
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