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Monday, November 30, 2009

Life Is A Cabaret - Cabaret Reviews

Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell: A Special Cabaret Homage to the Music and Musical Influence of Kurt Weill - Soup Can Theatre at the Bread & Circus - Toronto, ON
Presented Nov. 27-28 2009

An Evening With Ewalt and Walker: Just A Couple Of Dudes Who Like To Write Songs - Playwrights Horizon - New York, NY
Presented Jun. 15 2009

BARE’s Big Broadway Bender Cabaret - Buddies in Bad Times Theatre - Toronto, ON
Presented Jun. 23, 2009

I may be gay and I may love theatre but I've never really gone to many cabarets. Partly because I never think I'll enjoy them, and partly because the ones I think I will, are always in New York on days I'm not there. (Like Jonathan Groff and Lea Michelle's cabaret show this past weekend)

But a new upstart called Soup Can Theatre in Toronto has put together a wonderful little evening in the intimate Bread & Circus (where My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding made it's Fringe debut before moving to its current larger remount) brilliantly called Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell.

While the evening still has its rough young edges, it's a fun showcase for some young local actors to sing some Kurt Weill (or songs in the same vein) and tell some German stories. In fact, with the amusing "Geh-mahn" hosts Ryan Anning (who could step right into Alan Cumming's spot in Cabaret) and Scott Dermody (who has absolutely perfect comic timing (seriously, someone to watch out for!)), at it's best, the evening is like a step back in time to those cool Cabaret bars from... well... Cabaret. For a few moments, I thought I'd leave the cabaret and step right out into 1930's Berlin and not 2009 Toronto.

And the show was at it's best with its strongest singers. To be honest, I thought the boys edged out the girls in singing prowess, with Arthur Wright in particular stealing the show. I also particularly enjoyed Jonathan Tam and Hayley Preziosi's performances, while Mark Gough nicely started and finished the show with "The Balled of Mack the Knife". While I wasn't a fan of The Threepenny Opera, I find of all people, Kurt Weill music seems to work even better when out of context (even though usually I prefer a storyline to my shows, again, why I'm usually apprehensive about cabaret's).


Back in June on my trip to New York, I also caught a concert show of the songs by a young writing team of Kyle Ewalk and Michael I. Walker. To be honest, I have no idea who these guys are but the cast featured some young Broadway faves including Matt Doyle (Gossip Girl, Spring Awakening, Bye Bye Birdie), Adam Kantor (Rent), Jackie Burns (Hair), and Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime).

It was a nice intro to Ewalt and Walker's catchy and funny tunes and the New York cast proved why many are on Broadway. The power and perfection of so many of the voices made it a great night. In addition to the singers above, I particularly want to note Guy Olivieri and would love to see him in a show in the future.

Check out some videos from the night at the bottom of the post.


Back in June, I also checked out a Toronto Pride Week Benefit put on by the Toronto cast of Bare, let by their young director Brian Waters. They basically did a Broadway backwards sort of thing, with both the cast and crew taking part. Nichola Lawrence (who played Sister Chantelle), musical director Chris Tsujiuchi and assistant director Ryan Blair were particular standouts. Leads Wade Muir and Graham Parkhurst (Peter and Jason) did a great rendition of "What Is This Feeling?" from Wicked.


Here's some videos from An Evening With Ewalt and Walker: Just A Couple Of Dudes Who Like To Write Songs

Matt Doyle singing "Fat Old Men" by Ewalt and Walker:


Matt Doyle singing "The One Who Ran Away" by Ewalt and Walker:


Jackie Burns singing "Press Pause" by Ewalt and Walker:


Adam Kantor singing "Plus One" from "The Making of Madeline Moore" by Ewalt and Walker:


Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

A Gleeful Hair Awakening

Spring Awakening reunited: Lea Michelle & Jonathan Groff (and soon to be co-stars on Glee) sings "Word of Your Body (Spring Awakening) and "Walking in Space (Hair) at last night's True Colors Cabaret (11/29/09). Not a great recording but a peak at their performance nonetheless:



Man, I can't wait 'til Groff appears on Glee with Michelle!

Thanks to Broadway.com for pointing this video out by Mary!
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Friday, November 27, 2009

So They Can Dance - Sleeping Beauty and Glass Pieces & Shorts - Ballet Reviews

Sleeping Beauty - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - *** (Out of 5)
Produced, originally staged and with additional choreography by Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa, Staged by Karen Kain, Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Ran from Nov. 13-22 2009


The Four Temperaments & Watch Her & Glass Pieces - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - **** (Out of 5)
The Four Temperaments - ***
Choreographed by George Balanchine, Staged by Joysanne Sidimus, Music by Paul Hindemith
Watch Her - ****1/2
Choreographed by Aszure Barton, Music by Lera Auerbach
Glass Pieces - *****
Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Staged by Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Music by Philip Glass
Ran from Nov. 25-29 2009

After having discovered my love of the ballet after giving it a try because of So You Think You Can Dance, I've been slowly figuring out exactly what kind of ballet I love and don't. Because much to most people's misunderstanding, ballet is not just tutu's and stuff like that, but instead can be a visceral emotionally exciting art form (like the new Aszure Barton short Watch Her (above) or the Jerome Robbins classic Glass Pieces (below))

Or they can be big crowd pleasing costumed extravagant showpieces like Sleeping Beauty.


Except, I think I prefer the weirder modern stuff and the big showy "classics" tend to bore me a little. While I loved Cinderella and The Italian Straw Hat because they injected a lot of humour into ballet, Sleeping Beauty is exactly what you picture from classic ballet (by Nureyev no less), with big costumes, big set pieces and lots of tutus.

And what lovely sets and costumes, and what lovely dancing! Luckily, I went on the night when Principal stars (and engaged in real life (talk about living the fantasy life!) couple) Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté (above) played said Sleeping Beauty and the handsome prince who's kiss awakens her. Talk about lovely and exquisite chemistry and beautiful dancing! In addition, two of my other favorite dancers had featured roles.

Rebekah Rimsay (who I adore in everything I've seen her in) played the Evil Queen. The bitch is BACK! Rimsay, a gorgeous dancer, is particularly great at throwing herself into character roles, and she manages to always make memorable appearances. She's delightfully evil here and turns another great comedic turn in Sleeping Beauty. Rimsay is particularly great at using both her body and face to carry through her character and manages to make her dancing and acting really funny which really sells her characters.

Robert Stephen (now promoted to Second Soloist. FINALLY. And if you've read any of my other reviews, you know I think he's a total star in the making) got a small bit part playing a cat in the cat dance and again, like Rimsay, is a great dancer, but also really gets into character and made the cat dance a weirdly wonderful moment.

Still, my problem with Sleeping Beauty is that when you come to think about it, there isn't much to the story (Evil Queen curses Princess, she sleeps, Prince saves her with a kiss, time to celebrate!) so the ballet is extended with lots of extended sequences and to be honest, the whole 1st act is really just an excuse to showcase different dancers as "fairies" and what not. There are a lot of solos and duets with a company looking on (the third act "celebration" is similar but with some more interesting duos) and I just wasn't that mesmerized about this old-style "traditional" tutu choreography after while, despite some amazing dancing. There wasn't the emotional impact needed to grab me despite the beautiful production in front of me (though the on-point spins Ogden had to do with each of her suitors was absolutely amazing! above).

It was a similar reaction to The Four Temperaments, the first of the latest shorts program. Despite being from ballet god Balanchine, I found it a very cool technical exercise with some superb dancing. But that still wasn't enough to grab me fully. It was a piece I respected and appreciated more than I loved (though I will say that Keiichi Kirano is awesome in the piece).

What I felt missing from the 1st piece, was all there in the 2nd. As soon as Watch Her (a new piece by Canadian Aszure Barton) started, I knew this was something special. With Kevin D. Bowles pealing himself from a grey wall and falling into an opening, to a reveal of a company of female dancers in a cold stark Russian looking space, and men in suits moving in unison, I was captivated and holding my breathe.

I'm still not sure what the whole piece meant, a dance piece that evoked some kind of surrealist Russian literature setting with evocations of Chekhov with men constantly evoked by the women around them, but does that matter? I felt my brain and heart going on overdrive and I sustained an airless gasp throughout the entire piece.

The choreography "is gestural and eccentric" and modern on a barren cold looking set, but the piece is full of soul and yearning pain as the men seemed to "watch" the women that fascinate them.

There are great moments with Noah Long (also deservingly promoted this year to Second Soloist), Robert Stephen, Sonia Rodriguez (above) and Bridgett Zehr amongst the company. In fact, while Zehr has been quickly promoted to become the youngest Principal currently at the National Ballet of Canada, I have often found her to be technically brilliant, but a little soulless (apparently I'm the only one since Karen Kain (amongst many others) seems to be her champion), but this was the first time I really felt like Zehr was truly showing the emotional range required by the piece. (There were also some other great dancers that I noted but I couldn't figure out who exactly they were, I think one was Alexandra Holden but I'm not sure).

You can watch a video from parts of Watch Her here.


And from an exciting new debut, to a well loved classic, the National Ballet of Canada presented Glass Pieces again (I first saw it two seasons ago) as the final selection in the mixed . It's probably my favorite ballet piece with Jerome Robbins choreography set to Phillip Glass music. Love or hate Glass, his music is perfect for modern ballet interpretation. The piece is split into 3 parts, with the opening "subway" sequence (Rubric) as probably my favorite. But the other two (Facades, Funeral from Akhnaten) are equally amazing and seeing it again confirms how brilliant the choreography, the music, the set and costumes are all put together so perfectly.

The company this time around didn't seem as perfect with the opening sequence yet (with so many newbies in the company) but the choreography is so amazing that it didn't matter. And the 6 dancers that are separated from the masses were all wonderful. It was especially nice to see newly promoted (and dancers I've kept an eye on over the last few seasons) Brett van Sickle, Noah Long and Tina Pereira in the group of 6.

You can watch a video of two scenes from Funeral from Akhnaten, the 3rd sequence of Glass Pieces here.

This year, there seemed to be more (than usual) new dancers to the Corps de Ballet but McGee Maddox, who was featured in The Four Temperaments, seemed to stand out for me, and not just because he seems like one of the tallest dancers there and looks more like a star football player (although his young Hollywood face doesn't hurt either). So before you go on accusing me of being all swoonworthy and such (although that I am too!), I thought his size (not the usual skinny ballet dancer) might hinder him and he would be lumbering through the numbers, but instead he was elegant and really smooth and surprisingly soft on his feat. He also had the same playful dance swagger that Robert Stephen's and most of the principal and first soloists have, one where you can tell dance just comes from within him. Anyways, enough gushing. There were actually a few other new dancers that seemed quite awesome as well, unfortunately, I haven't matched them with names yet as easily as it was to spot McGee Maddox (that's his real name? For real?)

Carmen & Skin Divers ***1/2 - Carmen ***, Skin Divers ***1/2
Romeo & Juliet ***
Innovation ***1/2 - IN COLOUR ***, Emergence *****, DEXTRIS ***1/2
In The Upper Room & Symphony in C & Polyphonia ***1/2
The Fiddle and The Drum & Etudes & the second detail & Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan ****
Cinderella ****
Rooster & Soldiers' Mass & 24 Preludes by Chopin ****
An Italian Straw Hat ****1/2
West Side Story Suite & Glass Pieces & In The Night ****1/2
The Merry Widow ****
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

SYTYCD6 - What's A Dancer Gotta Do To Make Top 10?

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 12 Results Night - The Cut From 12 to 10 - Ep. 618
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman

Top 12 Group Dance
Style: Hip-Hop
Song: "What's A Girl Gotta Do?" - Basement Jaxx Feat. Paloma Faith
Choreographed by: Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo

I didn't quite like that performance but it was better than the Tyce stuff (never one to miss a dig!) so I kind of guessed it was a lesser NappyTabs routine. Not the worst dance routine but not up to usual NappyTabs level.



There's also a special ballet performance by Paloma Herrara (to Don Quixote - "Kitri's Variation (The Fan)" - Ludwig Minkus). Speaking of which, the National Ballet of Canada is doing Glass Pieces again, one of my favorite shorts (and choreographed by Jerome Robbins). It's BEAUTIFUL and weird and wonderful and I think if you're a fan of this show (and especially the contemporary stuff), you'll love it! Sadly, it only runs until Sunday.


My Predictions from the Top 12 Performances:
Should Be Bottom 3 Couples: Mollee and Nathan, Karen and Victor, Noelle and Russell
Mainly because the other 3 couples are so consistently great.
Will Be Bottom 3 Couples: Ellenore and Ryan, Karen and Victor, Noelle and Russell

Should be Eliminated: Noelle and... uh... Nathan
Will be Eliminated: Karen and Victor


The actual results were:

Actual Bottom 3 Couples
Karen and Victor
Mollee and Nathan
Ellenore and Ryan

WHAT? Hmm... Am I the only one that hated Noelle's performance? I thought Nathan and Mollee fans would save them again but I guess they don't have as strong as a fan base as I assumed, given they're in the bottom 3 two weeks in a row now. And while I don't think Ellenore and Ryan should be there, I just had a bad feeling one of the top groups would be, and sadly I was right.

Dance For Their Lives:

Karen Hauer
Song: "She Wants To Move" - N.E.R.D.
Grade: B
I LOVE Karen. So while she still has that natural sizzle, it almost pains me to say that it was a teeny weeny bit like a dance on a pole. Still, she shakes it tightly but I wish it were as good as her previous solo.

Victor Smalley
Song: "Village Attack" - Blood Diamond (Original Soundtrack)
Grade: B
I appreciate short shorts and showing skin, and I think Victor is soooooo preeeety but it was a slightly frantic typical contemporary piece that had so cool tricks, but no overall flow. A problem a lot of the S5 contemporary dancers had too (but eventually got better with time).

Mollee Gray
Song: "Bulletproof" - La Roux
Grade: B+
Not as great as last week's solo but while she's inconsistent in her pairs dances, she's pretty good at showing us her tricks and boy were some of those moves pretty cool, with a little dancing in between.

Nathan Trasoras
Song: "Going, Going, Gone (live)" - Stars
Grade: A-
He may be immature and still green with partnering but he looks damn good in his solos. I'll give him that.

Ellenore Scott
Song: "Bulletproof" - Zap Mama
Grade: B+
Sometimes dancers throw in too many tricks and no dance elements (see Mollee) but here, there's a lot of style, which is Ellenore's signature, but I wish she could throw in a bit of razzle dazzle tricks just cause I know that seems to impress America. Still, love her!

Ryan Di Lello
Song: "Baila Baila Conmigo" - Missiego
Grade: B+
The last time Ryan had to dance, I thought it was GREAT yet Nigel criticized it. Here, Ryan sticks more to the traditional ballroom style which is basically now trademarked by Dmitry and his shirtless ballroom solos. Ryan even keeps his shirt open, just to make sure we see his pecs. Plus his shirt is shortsleeved. Just to make sure we see his biceps. Oh, did that sound like a complaint? It wasn't. I just wanted to note his pecs and biceps.

The girls solos:


The boys solos:


So, based on those solos, I would have to admit that Karen and Victor will probably be eliminated. Nigel said Mollee's solo looked like she was finally fighting to stay. I agree, yet that basically means throwing every trick in the book means you're "fighting".

Alas, Karen Hauer is eliminated. Maybe slightly too early, but she also failed to capitalize on her early spark. I once thought she would be Top 10 for sure, but when I got to revise my pool picks.

And as I also predicted, Victor Smalley is sadly going, also probably too soon, but I knew they were never going to cut Nathan before the Top 10, even though Nigel publicly states that his pick was for Nathan to be eliminated.

Sadly, Victor and Karen were both wonderful dancers saddled with bad partners who weighed them down and by this week, when they were finally paired with each other, it was too late to catch up.

But, there you have it, the Season 6 Top 10.

Ashleigh
Ellenore
Jakob
Kathryn
Legacy
Mollee
Nathan
Noelle
Russell
Ryan

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
For More So You Think You Can Dance:
Check here for the most Recent current postings and Latest News on SYTYCD


So You Think You Can Dance - Season 6:
Top 12 Performances
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances and Results
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing the Top 20, The Top 20 Showcase

So You Think You Can Dance Canada - Season 2 with So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 Auditions:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results & US Vegas Week Auditions Continued
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results & US Salt Lake City and Vegas Week 1 Auditions
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results & US New Orleans and Atlanta Auditions
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results & US Boston Auditions
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results & US Phoenix Auditions
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results & US Los Angeles Auditions
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and SYTYCD Top 15 Dances of all time
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results
Top 20 Announced
Auditions - Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John
Montréal, Edmonton

My Top 25 Routines from SYTYCD Season 1-5

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 5:
Finale
Top 4 Performance
Top 6 Performance, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results and Panel Chat
Top 10 Performance, Top 10 Results and Panel Chat
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results and Panel Chat
Top 14 Performance, Top 14 Results, Top 14 Panel Chat
Top 16 Performance, Top 16 Results and Panel Chat
Top 18 Performance, Top 18 Results and Panel Chat
Top 20 Performance, Top 20 Results and Panel Chat
Auditions - Vegas Week Part 2 - Top 20 Announcement, Top 20 Pictures/Panel Chat
Vegas Week Part 1
New York City, Denver, Miami, Memphis, LA, Seattle

So You Think You Can Dance Canada:
Finale
Top 8 and 6 Performances and Results, Top 4 Performances
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances and Results
Introducing Canada's Top 20
Auditions:
Toronto Week - The Cut to the Top 20
Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montreal - West, East, Middle and Quebec
Toronto - Toronto's Best Foot Forward
The Judges, The Host, The Teaser, All Photos from CTV

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4:
Finale
Top 4 Performances
Top 6 Performances and Results 6 to 4
Top 8 Performances, Results 8 to 6
Top 10 Performances, Results 10 to 8
Top 16, 14 and 12 Weeks Recaps by Vance again
Top 12 Performances, Results 12 to 10 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 14 Performances, Results 14 to 12 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 16 Performances, Results 16 to 14 - Guest Blogger Linz McC
Top 18 Performances, Results 18 to 16
Top 20 Performances, Results 20 to 18
Introducing the Top 20
Auditions:
Callbacks in Las Vegas - The Top 20 Revealed - What Happens In Vegas
Milwaukee, WI - How The Midwest Was Won
Charleston, South Carolina and Washington D.C. - S.C.D.C. The New Electric (Boogaloo) Term!
Salt Lake City and Dallas - Yeehaw Utah!
Los Angeles - It's Time To Put On Those Dancing Shoes Again Kids!

So You Think You Can Dance - Season 3:
Live Tour - Toronto, Pasha's Solo Video, Neil's Solo Video
Finale - Winner Result
Top 4 Performances - Finals
Top 6 Performances, Top 6 Results
Top 8 Performances, Top 8 Results
Top 10 Performances, Top 10 Results
Top 12 Performances, Top 12 Results
Top 14 Performances, Top 14 Results
Top 16 Performances, Top 16 Results
Top 18 Performances, Top 18 Results
Top 20 Performances, Top 20 Results

For So You Think You Can Dance Season 2:
Favorite Video Clips
Song List Live Tour 2006 - Toronto
Live Tour 2006 - Buffalo, Pics, More Pics
Thanks again to Rickey for the vids
Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


More After the Jump...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SYTYCD6 - The Critical Hour

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 12 Performance Night - Ep. 617
Judges: Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Adam Shankman

So thanks to Canoe, I won tickets to see the SYTYCD Canada S2 Tour!!! WOOHOO!!! Vincent here I come!!!

So maybe it was because I'm in a good mood thanks to winning free tickets, but I thought the dancers were awesome tonight. I didn't love some of the choreography as much as the judges did, and I thought the first half was better than the second, but it was generally a great night where the Top 3 couples really did an A-MAZING job.

Oh yah, and the couples had to do TWO dances this week. And it's the final week before the cut to the Top 10, where new pairings will be made, and where the remaining dancers will get to do the tour. So it's an important cut!

Ellenore Scott
&
Ryan Di Lello
Dance #1
Style: Lindy Hop
Choreographed by: Carla Heiney
Song: "I've Got To Be a Rug Cutter" - Boilermaker Jazz Band
Grade: A

Before I get to the dance, who was Carla Heiney's assistant? Hello!

Anyways, back to the Lindy Hop, which hasn't been around for 3 seasons. Ryan needs to be bouncy, but being such a muscle bound tall dude, this might not go well.


Ah, but hot Ryan doesn't let me down and bounces away with Ellenore in a fun looking routine that had all the makings of a disaster. Instead, Ryan and Ellenore shuffle and bounce and lift their way around the stage proving that they are definitely two of the top contenders here.

Here's the video of Ellenore and Ryan's Lindy Hop:



Kathryn McCormick
&
Legacy Perez
Dance #1
Style: Jazz
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "So Deep" - Hot Chip
Grade: A

The judges loved it and loved the choreography but I thought it was kind of a cheat from Sonya. It basically just melded Legacy's style with Kathryn's style and put them together.


On the other hand, Legacy and Kathryn dance their own styles incredibly and melding them together looked really cool and they are just so hot together. Considering they were basically doing two different things, they really connect well, both physically and emotionally.

Here's the video of Kathryn and Legacy's Jazz:



Karen Hauer
&
Victor Smalley
Dance #1
Style: Tango
Choreographed by: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: "Montserrat" - Orquesta del Plata
Grade: A-

Ah, the coupling I've been waiting for. I've always loved Karen and Victor and thought they were a little weighed down by their last pairings. Now seeing these two together without Kevin or Channing, I wasn't disappointed.

I still thought there could have been a little bit more sizzle, but maybe because the routine itself seemed more technical than emotional, but having said that, I thought Karen and Victor finally showcased their dance abilities.

Here's the video of Karen and Victor's Tango:



Mollee Gray
&
Nathan Trasoras
Dance #1
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Jamal Sims
Song: "Ring-a-Ling" - Black Eyed Peas
Grade: A-

While I've wavered on these two over the last few weeks, and slowly lost favour with them last week when I thought they were the worst pairs remaining, Nathan and Mollee luckily seemed to have recovered this week with a well designed Hip-Hop number that played to their strengths, and played up their cuteness.

I thought Nathan did a great job and Mollee mostly kept up. They are VERY lucky that they had Jamal Sims who choreographed a routine that suited them so well.

Here's the video of Mollee and Nathan's Hip-Hop:



Noelle Marsh
&
Russell Ferguson
Dance #1
Style: Samba
Choreographed by: Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin
Song: "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira
Grade: B-

For a Samba routine, I thought that would shake and sizzle a bit more. Noelle seemed to just be there. I thought Russell did a pretty good job with what he could, but when your partner is sort of a lump, there's only so much you can do.


I was really disappointed with Noelle here, and only just confirmed that her Afro Jazz was more a brilliant choreo by Sean Cheeseman. Her fringe should have been shaking and sparkly here and it didn't really move. It looked like Russell was doing all the moving for her. When Nigel complained that he didn't lean forward enough (but leaned back enough) in that spin, it's because Noelle was in the WAY.

Here's the video of Noelle and Russell's Samba:



Ashleigh Di Lello
&
Jakob Karr
Dance #1
Style: Lyrical Jazz
Choreographed by: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "Time Flies" - Lykke Li
Grade: A

The judges fawned over Sonya's choreography again and yet again, I wasn't feeling it. I thought she basically took the best of Jakob and Ashleigh's skills and threw it together.

But again, she was working with a great set of dancers with some GREAT skills so of COURSE it looked good. Has Jakob made ANYTHING look bad yet? And Ashleigh is growing on me (okay, meeting her helped) and I thought she did a fabulous job here.

Here's the video of Ashleigh and Jakob's Lyrical Jazz:



Ellenore Scott
&
Ryan Di Lello
Dance #2
Style: Broadway
Choreographed by: Spencer Liff
Song: "Razzle Dazzle" - from Chicago
Grade: A

Not an amazing routine but far better than the crap Tyce doles out. PLEASE keep Spencer Liff and get rid of Tyce please. Also, if you can show Spencer taking his shirt off during the rehearsals, that would be swell. Thanks!

Meanwhile, while Ryan's "ass"ets are his biceps and pecs, I do like seeing him in a suit, even a sparkly gay looking one (especially a gay looking one).

Again, Ellenore and Ryan did great. It was so fun and jazzy and totally in strange character. Ellenore is just so strange and I LOVE IT. And Ryan managed to weird himself to match. I was really impressed!

Here's the video of Ellenore and Ryan's Broadway:



Kathryn McCormick
&
Legacy Perez
Dance #2
Style: Viennese Waltz
Choreographed by: Jean-Marc Généreux and France Généreux
Song: "Your Guardian Angel" - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Grade: B+

JM! It's nice to see him choreographing again and not being the lead judge (on SYTYCD Canada) because he's a better choreographer than judge. (He's nice. TOO nice as lead judge. Maybe that's just the Canadian in him?).

Not knowing the technical stuff like Mary did, I thought they did a fine job. It wasn't quite as smooth as I think it should probably be, but overall I thought Legacy did a fine job (and looked mighty FINE in that suit. Did you SEE his ass in those tight black pants?) and Kathryn was just so elegant.

Here's the video of Kathryn and Legacy's Viennese Waltz:



Karen Hauer
&
Victor Smalley
Dance #2
Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographed by: Laurie Ann Gibson
Song: "Moving Mountains" - Usher
Grade: B

Not as together as they probably should have been, but has Laurie Ann ever taught her dancers well enough to be perfectly in sync (other than her first appearance)? Granted she seemed nicer this week.

I didn't hate it as much as the judges did. In fact I still really enjoyed it and think Victor and Karen have the natural charisma that's needed. Sure, the skills could have been perfected, but I thought they looked like they were really trying to go for it and tried to hit it hard. Now they just need to hit it hard together at the same rate.

Still, a far better improvement over their former partnerships.

Here's the video of Karen and Victor's Hip-Hop:



Mollee Gray
&
Nathan Trasoras
Dance #2
Style: Can-Can
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Song: "Cancan Suite" - Offenbach/Ponchielli
Grade: B+

New "style". New novelty. The judges loved the choreography by Tyce. With the Can-Can. Oh there are too many variations to joke with, too little time. I'm just not even go there right now. I'll save my Tyce hatred for later.


While the Can-Can is generally for girls to show off their woo-ha's (Nathan's look of shock was priceless, act or not) so Nathan didn't really have much to do except prop and steer Mollee around, until he finally got to kick the Can-Can with Mollee near the end. And I'll give it to him that he was pretty solid in all of it.

Mollee, with more to do, did a fine job with the choreo and the two of these youngun's doing a peppy dance was a perfect fit (as Nigel mentions).

Here's the video of Mollee and Nathan's Can-Can:



Noelle Marsh
&
Russell Ferguson
Dance #2
Style: Contemporary
Choreographed by: Tyce DiOrio
Song: "A Case of You" - Diana Krall
Grade: B+

Yet again tonight, I thought the dancers transcended the bland routine. I'll give him that first headstand lift but the rest of it was just a mess of contemporary cliches raised to the level of pretentiousness. Other choreographer's bring these dances to a level of elegance and make them emotionally compelling. Here, all I could think about was the cleanup job on the paint needed after this routine.

But the dancers did a good job with it. I still thought Russell did a better job than Noelle (which at this point, shouldn't be the case), but Noelle at least wasn't a total lump like she was in the first dance.

Here's the video of Noelle and Russell's Contemporary:



Ashleigh Di Lello
&
Jakob Karr
Dance #2
Style: Cha-Cha
Choreographed by: Jean-Marc Généreux and France Généreux
Song: "Cha Cha Heels (Ralphi Rosario Radio Edit)" - Rosabel feat. Jeanie Tracy
Grade: A

And here's an example of when GOOD choreography can enhance a dance. Okay, I'll admit. JM is sometimes fricken annoying as a judge, but he knows his choreo and he and France are good at making ballroom look exciting and compelling.

Of course, it also helps having Ashleigh and Jakob do your dance. This is Ashleigh's thing and she showed her THANG! and again, has Jakob ever looked bad?

Here's the video of Ashleigh and Jakob's Cha-Cha:


- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Final Roundup:

Best of the Night: Ashleigh and Jakob's Cha-Cha
Second Best of the Night: Ellenore and Ryan's Lindy Hop
Third Best of the Night: Kathryn and Legacy's Jazz

(That makes it the 5th time Kathryn and Legacy are in my Top 3 now!)
Okay, let's face it. Ashleigh and Jakob, Ellenore and Ryan and Kathryn and Legacy are such strong 3 pairings that they HAVE to be in the Top 10 right? RIGHT?

Best Male of the Night: Ryan Di Lello
Second Best Male of the Night: Jakob Karr

Best Female of the Night: Kathryn McCormick
Second Best Female of the Night: Ellenore Scott

Worst of the Night - Couple: Noelle and Russell's Samba
Worst of the Night - Single: Noelle Marsh


My Predictions:
Should Be Bottom 3 Couples: Mollee and Nathan, Karen and Victor, Noelle and Russell
Mainly because the other 3 couples are so consistently great.
Will Be Bottom 3 Couples: Ellenore and Ryan, Karen and Victor, Noelle and Russell

Should be Eliminated: Noelle and... uh... Nathan
Will be Eliminated: Karen and Victor

Man, just as I wanted to throw Mollee and Nathan under the bus, they pull out a good night. Lucky them. Granted, even if they didn't pull out the votes, and the fact that their solo's last week were actually pretty great, I doubt the producers would kick them of before the Top 10. They definitely want them on the tour.

Karen and Victor meanwhile doesn't get the respect they deserve, but I think the judges seem blinded by Noelle for some reason that she will be saved and Karen will end up being kicked off.

At this point, this is how I rank all the dancers:

1. Jakob
2. Kathryn
3. Legacy
4. Ellenore
5. Ryan
6. Ashleigh
7. Karen
8. Russell
9. Victor
10. Nathan
11. Mollee
12. Noelle

Although you can really switch around dancers 2-5 in any order and I'd be okay with it.


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