Foxtrot Waltz Tango Swing Rumba Cha Cha Salsa Wedding


Dancing with the Stars - Week 1 Breakdown

Week 1

First things first -- I know that all these couples worked very hard and I'm always happy to see people try out dancing for the first time and hopefully learn to love it. That being said, criticism and scrutiny is a large part of competition so I do what I must -- but I'll try not to be too mean.


Scoring any dance contest always has a large degree of subjectivity and relativity. That being said, the first couple is frequently disadvantaged because the judges will often score low in an attempt to leave room for better dancers. Of course, in this contest the judges' vote only counts for half the overall score.

The Fan Vote counts for the other half -- viewers are invited to call in and vote for their favourite dancers. This aspect makes for more of a popularity contest rather than a dance contest.

The Judges

Len -- Funny how Len is the only ballroom dancer among the judges. It would seem that Len favours a traditional, classic approach to ballroom dancing, as he has often criticized dancers for spending too much time dancing away from each other.

Carrie Ann -- I like how she balances every criticism with something positive.

Bruno -- This guy is such a Drama Queen. Apparantly he also judges the UK version of Dancing with the Stars.

The Dances

To make things fair, all the dancers will be judged doing similar dances. This week the men have been asked to dance the Cha Cha while the women will be showing us the Waltz.

The Cha Cha is perhaps the most versatile of all dances because it can be danced to many different styles of music -- Latin, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Country, Rock, House, Techno, Top-40's, etc ... there really is something here for everybody. Having said that, the dance is based on an element known as a "Triple-Step" -- an element that most beginner dancers will find themselves struggling with for some time. Look for sharp, crisp movements and a relaxed body action (HIPS!) in this dance.

Contrary to popular belief, not every slow song is a Waltz. Waltz music exhibits a very unique and recognizable characteristic. While most people have heard the expression "5, 6, 7, 8", the Waltz cannot in fact be counted this way. This is because the Waltz does not have 8 beats. Waitaminute, you say -- what sort of alien music does not have 8 beats? Well to clarify, most Waltzes are counted in 3's -- "1,2,3,1,2,3". Look for soft lyrical movements and a romantic atmostphere in this dance.

The Dancers

The first couple to dance was George and Edyta. George Hamilton has always played very suave and debonair roles and I think that if he makes it past this round he is going to be this season's John Hurley. Unfortunately I felt that while he has a great floor presence, his dancing is going to need much improvement if we are to see him in the later rounds. But hey -- it's happened before, it can happen again!

Second couple to dance was Lisa and Louis (van Amsterdam). I'm always surprised to see how great latin dancers look doing Smooth Dancing -- likely because they're more used to dancing away from their partner. Good job Louis, and good job Lisa. Fan votes not withstanding, I think we'll be seeing this couple in the later rounds.

Third couple to dance was Sports guy Kenny with Andrea. I gotta say that what he lacked in technique and experience he more than made up for with heart and gumption! I loved watching his guts and determination though on technique and presentation I hold very little hope for this couple.

Fourth Couple to dance was Stacy and Tony. Any wrestling fan knows of Stacy's extensive dance background and it certainly showed here. I think Stacy is a huge favourite to win the whole thing because of her huge WWE fan base. That's a lot of votes!

Fifth couple to dance was Boy Band Brother Drew and Cheryl. By far one of the more exciting performances of the evening. Brother Lachey was sharp and crisp. Two things that I would like to see him work on to get to the next level is a) committing his full weight to his steps and b) extending his arms through the use of his back.

Sixth couple to dance was Tia and Maksim. Another adequate performance from a beginner lady dancer, though I wasn't overly wowed.

Seventh couple to dance was rap dude Master P and Ashley doing the Gangsta Cha Cha -- Holla! Why was this guy dancing with running shoes and a blinged-out Master P baseball hat? Now Ashley is a lovely dancer -- she wouldn't be there if she wasn't, but unfortunately, I felt that she outdanced her student to an embarassing degree. In her defence the man didn't even try. This only served to remind the audience that they were completely mismatched in every possible way. Fan votes not withstanding again, watch for this couple to be eliminated tomorrow night.

Eighth couple to dance was Giselle & Jonathan. Apparently her father was a dancer, which I thought was inneresting. I thought she did a great job with this one!!

Ninth couple to dance was Anna & Jerry. Now I was quite impressed with this performance -- it's always tough for athletes like him, being used to moving very large muscle groups, to change gears and learn to move very small muscle groups as required in competitive dancing. That said, he did a great job -- good rhythm and great feeling!

Final couple to dance was Tatum & Nick. I wasn't really wowed by the performance, but it was what it was -- a very classic interpretation using many time-honoured elements and not diluted with a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Agree or Disagree? Feel free to comment on this post -- I enjoy receiving feedback, so long as it doesn't conflict with my opinion or challenge my authority!

Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

Dancing with the Stars - Week 1 Breakdown
posted by Brian Antonio on 1/07/2006 10:05:00 PM

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