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It’s the first ever “Classical Week” for DWTS. A 46 piece band! David Garret as “rock violinist”! And metro sroprano Katherine Jenkins to add to the dramatic flare! Wow, what a show! Now this all sounds fantastic, but I know in the back of all the teachers’ minds, they are thinking, “Yes! I get to to do choreography to a song that holds no clear beat or steady rhythm. I can just go by what I feel in that moment in time, this will be the greatest master piece I have ever created! Wait a minute, what? Oh, that’s right! I’m dancing with someone who forgets their left foot from their right foot and has no idea where to find the “1” beat. Oh Lord, help me survive this week please!”
Sugar Ray & Anna: VIENNESE WALTZ score21
When I heard they were dancing to “Waltz of the Flowers”, I felt like munching on a gingerbread cookie, washing it down with a cold glass of milk while sitting next to a Christmas tree. I love this performance! Was it technically correct, NO! But what a fun time I had watching this. And I love that Anna paid honor to ballet with some moves inserted through out the routine. His streamlines and run around were a little bouncy, but who cares!
Chris & Cheryl: PASO DOBLE score 23
Awesome job on choreography and accenting the music! So right on with every beat! Hated the mustashe but loved all the transformation and makeup to fit the mood of the night. I think he is the “Dark Horse” of the season, watch out!!!

Romeo & Chelsie: PASO DOBLE score 23
OK , I love this song! I have a special place in my heart for this one, since I had the pleasure performing with the awesome Juan de Dios Garcia for a friend’s wedding. So I thought to myself, “Romeo, don’t you dare mess this one up!” For the most part I liked it. The intensity was totally there and you feel like he put it all on the line (even more than last week’s performance). He just needs to fill out the music with more body movement rather than hit all his poses sharp. For example, when rolling up through the back, I want to see the devolpement of each and every muscle on his back work. And on a selfish note, I want Chelsie’s dress. So Designs by Randall, send it this way. Just add a couple of panels of fabric, I’m no size 2!!!
Ralph & Karina: WALTZ score 25
The beginning was a little over dramtic, but once they started dancing…wow! Ralph pulled it off. His hands were so much better and looked like they had life in them. Previously, his hands were called “creepy” and “spatulas”. Good job Karina for fixing those things. Now she needs to focus on the falling action of the “rise and fall” by having him control through his knees, feet and ankles. What completely blew me away was the side by side chanée turns in great synchronicity! Holy cow! And loved all his lines and the re-inactment of “dying with his love” at the ending pose. Romeo and Juliet. What a sucker I am for love.
Hines & Kym: PASO DOBLE score 25
Hines is 100% all man, sheoow!!! That was my cat call attempt to Hines to bring it over here to mama. How hot was that? The only thing I would say is watch the foot work during the lock steps. Oh, and the second thing I would say is…HOT!!! That’s all I can say now.
Now the ladies….

Kendra & Louis: VIENNESE WALTZ score 18
First off, good for Len to kindly remind us that they are beginner dancers. Trust me, I would never expect a first year student to do even half of what these stars do. But even then, here is what I think of my girl Kendra. I think the more you tighten your arms and shoulders, the harder it is to do all these tricks that were in the routine. Yes, you must have a sense of tone in the muscles, but if not, you will look as if you are scared to death (which she did). Plus, anytime she used her arms, she never bent her elbow which would of given her a softer overall feel. Mind you, I actually like Kendra, but just like the song said, “Time to Say Goodbye” girlfriend. Snap!
Chelsea & Mark: VIENNESE WALTZ score 26
I’m a little torn on this one. I loved the whole routine, I truly truly did. Come on, anything from the amazing John Williams would be a dream come true to dance to in front of millions of people. And being a Harry Potter fan didn’t hurt either. I just wish Mark would of put more actual “dance patterns” because it would of worked just as well, if not better. The shadow natural turns were OK, a bit rushed to me. Good for you Len for putting your foot down on Mark’s antics! I guess he’s trying to make his claim into the Broadway market. Choose another show Mark. It’s Ballroom!
Petra & Dmitry: PASO DOBLE score 23
Don’t start booing at me, but thumbs down for this one. I can not get over her clumsy walking steps and frantic skirt work. I mean, come on, how can you mess up walking? Isn’t that part of your job as a model? And having a hard time making a pissed off pouty face? Once again, isn’t that your job? You’re a model, that’s what they are known for. And was it really necessary disrobing her at the end? I completely disagree with the judges.
Kirstie & Maksim: WALTZ score 22
Pretty, but her wrists are way too bent. Looks like a broken chicken wing. And her feet need to stay connected on the floor during her twinkles and passes. Not bad, but would like to see more. And yes, I’ve had my shoe come off my foot at the most random time and I think it WAS during a performance. Hee hee!!! I feel you girl!
So now I’m motivated and want to dance to any one of these songs. So if you are one of my students, get ready to be dramatic for June’s Showcase (you don’t have a choice)!
See you in 24 hours with my thoughts about the results.
So this week was focused on the star’s personal story and expressing it through dance.  Very hard to do, but for the most part, everyone did well. How can you really tear someone apart for their dancing when they dedicate it to a loved one that passed?  You would seem heartless and cold.  But here I am trying to “keep it real”.
Sugar Ray & Anna: PASO DOBLE score20
Fun!!! Every week he embodies the character of the dance and goes for it. From the music to costumes, was perfect for him.  His knees were a little too bent through out the routine, if they were to straighten it would have resulted in stronger lines and poses.  Posture has improved, but still not where it needs to be.
Chris & Cheryl: RUMBA score 21
They went for a “soulful rumba” and I loved it.  Yes there was alack of hip action and he mostly stayed in place as Cheryl ran around him, but his lines were strong and the use of his body was smooth and grounded.  When he finally moved, I was impressed with a very balanced Telemark.  Remember, dancing is not just how techincal you are but, infuse a balance of artistry.  It’s creating a feeling and having presence on the floor for others to enjoy and be “in the moment” with you.  And yes, I cried!!!  One of the best of the night for me.

Romeo & Chelsie: RUMBA score 20
Some transitions a little frantic, but kept in character of the dance.  Needs work on turning out the feet.  That will help in his balance from foot to foot.  Once again, his attitude gets in his way of really going far this season.  All guys give a little push back when having to wear Latin heels, but it’s all part of the tradition.  Just like wearing satin shorts for boxing or heavy bulky shoulder pads and skin tight pants for football, get the picture?
Ralph & Karina: RUMBA score 21
I was wondering what movie he was going to dance a song from.  “Stay Gold” from The Outsiders (which is an awesome movie! “Do it for Johnny“) Needs to develop stronger ankles when hitting lines and lunges by keeping his heel off the floor.  There is something just awkward about his arm & hand styling, hits his poses too sharp and shows how long his limbs really are. Hmmm, need to get back to you all on this one.
Hines & Kym: SAMBA score 25
Now come on, who doesn’t love a little Earth, Wind & Fire?  What a great way to celebrate mom!  It goes to show, no matter how old you are, having mom or dad watch you perform is an added pressure.  Forget about what the judges and coaches say, we always look to our parents to get that smile or head nod of approval.  So when Hines’s mom waved her yellow rag after his performance, major sign of approval! What a fun routine, I didn’t want it to stop!  He had me at Batucadas, which is my favorite move ever!!! Fabulous job with musicality and hitting all the perfect accents in the song. Watch for turn in feet on walking steps and need to use way more inside edge on the voltas. And the little stumble at the end before his pose is totally forgivable.
Now the ladies….
Kendra & Louis: RUMBA score 23
The smoke machine needed to go!  Hated that part, but once on the floor dancing, loved it! This is a great dance for her.  Leg and foot action was nice on the cross swivels and what a way to move and wiggle her whole body, very sexy!!!
Chelsea & Mark: CHA CHA score 23
In the clip when asked, “Can we please see both the audience and the judges?” Mark’s poutty answer was yes.  Why does he act as if it’s such the biggest challenge ever in life? It’s had been done numerous times on the show, Mario Lopez and Karina’s Paso Doble and Heilo’s and Julieanne’s Quickstep to name a few.  Chelsea’s Cha Cha was OK.  There was some moments of awkward leg action that done correctly could of result in the hip action Carrie Ann mentioned.
Petra & Dmitry: WALTZ score 25
Not to be a “Debbie Downer”, but a Waltz song is written in 3/4 timing.  It was more of a Theactical Foxtrot with a Waltz feeling.  Her dancing from the ankles up actually looked really pretty and fluid motions with her arms and body shaping.  But I did not see one heel lead the whole time, and don’t blame the fog machine!
Kristie & Maksim: RUMBA score 21
For all the students who think the teachers are perfect, we are not!  Yes, we mess up and fall on our butts.  But it’s the quick thinking and reaction to pick up and carry on with the routine that makes us the better dancer.  Just like last night, many would have thought a fall would result in a low score but not really.  Remember Derek and Jeanie’s fall? And Christian and Cheryl’s mishap? Kristie danced was so fluid and filled out all beats of music with using her body. Nice swivels and leg action.
Wendy & Tony: FOXTROT score 15
“A DJ Saved My Life” was the song, but there was no saving Wendy’s dance. It was way too slow for a Foxtrot, for someone of this level.  Even the more experience dancers would have a challenge keeping balance and control consistently. Not many things drive me crazy but I hate it, hate it, hate it when a lady’s left wrist pops up and has no connection in her frame. Grrrrr….it makes me want to walk on the floor on slap the wrist down.  Half way through, I wanted to fast forward so bad because I was bored to death, but I had to sit there and watch it for all of you so that I could give a true report.
THE RESULTS
 

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  Thank you America for putting that poor girl out of her misery!  Wendy Williams has left the dance floor.  But once again, are we really that surprised? Now since the obvious weak links are gone, the real battle for the mirror ball begins.
Next week the show will be doing something that they have never done before…Classical Week.  Not quit sure, but guessing that all dances will be more interptation or theatrical to whatever song they are given.  We will just have to wait and see.

DIVA CHRISTINA

Whoo hoo! The first Results Show of the season. Let’s talk highlights!

Fun opening dance number from the pros AND new DWTS Troupe to a perfect song “On The Floor”. One of their best ones that I can remember in a long time.

Chris Brown was the guest performer for the evening and he did not disappoint!!! Actually, I was really blown away by all of his background dancers and amazing choreography. His second song “Forever” featured his dancers in super cool light up LED suits that I loved loved loved!!! But then again, I love anything shiny or sparkly. If you didn’t get a chance to see if, for sure YouTube it!

Not really sure why there is a DWTS Troupe for the results show?!? My guess is that the Pros are getting burned out with practicing hours and hours with their star, THEN trying to find time to put together a show number. I know it’s hard to wrangle up 6 dancers with 6 different schedules and then try to dance syncronized with each couple for a whole song. On the flip side, it gives an opportunity to newer dancers, rising in the ballroom world, for a foot in the door as a professional in the future.

Now the “main event”…….

It was a no brianer who were the worst ones. I was hopeful in thinking Mike would stay another week, but yes this Diva can be wrong once in awhile. (Just once in a while people.) Bottom line, I think it was:

1) Mike’s small fan base. Even though Loveline is a popular radio show, the number of fans can not compare to all the other stars’ fan base.

2) As horrible as Wendy Williams is, there is this deep secret I feel in Americans to keep the “train wreck” on the show for as long as possible.

I thought Wendy should of went home. But I feel this will come to reality soon enough.

Next weeks thoughts? These are the people who really need to put in some overtime on their practices to keep up with the front runners: Sugar Ray, Kendra and Petra. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Well there you have it!

Diva Christina

Ok peeps, it’s round 2 of DWTS.  Some improved, some stayed the same and some were…eh.  So let’s start with the men of the night.
Sugar Ray & Anna: JIVE score17
Rematch?  Yay, the Jive is more his style.  Much improvement from last week, but was very flat footed.  He needs to use his ankles the way he would while jumping rope, keeping his heels up and off the floor.  Anna should of used that to help inter-relate movement he is familiar with instead of the solo jabs and hooks in the middle of the routine. Overall, great entertainment.
Chris & Cheryl: QUICKSTEP score 23
WOW!  Good back locks and foot work resulting from strong ankles, but use them to help finish pointing your feet on kicks.  Very light on his feet.  It must have been all that “yelling” she did.  Sometimes us teachers need to put fear in the students and even yell at them a little bit.  But I don’t think my little 4’11 1/2 can scare anyone (or can it?).  He was my “Best of the Night”.
Mike & Lacey: JIVE score 17
Ha Hah! I knew it.  Really good job on his triple step action and swiveling his supportive foot during his toe swivels! Even his flicks and kicks had great retracting action. (Spoiler Alert: Mike’s were even better than Ralph’s!) Noticed that the triple steps were replaced with marching/mark timing towards the end of the routine.  Lacey should of pushed Mike to continue with the faster foot work because he has the ability to do so. Really happy with this routine.  Go Mike, most improved!
Romeo & Chelsie:QUICKSTEP score 23
Close…your…mouth!  He looked like a fish dancing with his open mouth.  So annoying.  Besides that, good job with the dancing.  Just watch the shoulders and be sure to close the feet completely.  I don’t agree about Len’s “best dance of the night”.  Unless you think fish are sexy, I wouldn’t haven’t gone that far.
Ralph & Karina: JIVE score 21
It’s always so much pressure starting off strong.  You will always question yourself, “will you be a one hit wonder OR can you deliver week to week?”  Ralph did well but his flicks and retracting actions need major help.  This was his only weak spot.  Sorry to say this but both Mike and Chris were better in this area.  Plus, this was not the first time Ralph has done the Jive.  True fans should remember that scene in Karate Kid 2 where there was a 50s’ theme party.  Remember Daniel-san “Dancing is here (heart), not here (head).
Hines & Kym: QUICKSTEP score 23
Loved his smooth touches of attitude that added to the character for this dance.  Loved his back rondés and his velvet jacket. Very Cool!  Kym needs to coach a little more on transitions from fallaway to closed dance position and using the muscles from under the arms vs. the top muscles to establish a better topline.  Other than that, great job from the football star.
Now the ladies…
Kendra & Louis: QUICKSTEP score 19
First off, she can never look like a boy! And she looked glamourous.  Frame was stiff, but with time will develop flexibility when needed.  One of my favorite coaches always said your frame should be like a paper clip, hold it’s shape and be flexible when called for.  She also needs to keep her left side lifted and not break during rotating actions.
Chelsea & Mark: JIVE score 18
Wait, ummm, I thought the freestyle was at the end of the season?  Booooo for Mark (again) with poor choice for not showing the true talent of this girl.  I agree with Carrie Ann, loved the routine but it was NOT a Jive.  Good for you Len for the score of 5 to teach him a lesson.  And Mark, oh please, stop trying to drop all the names of patterns that you only danced for maybe a total of 8 counts!  You are not fooling this dancer!!!
Petra & Dmitry: JIVE score 18
Very stiff at first but after her side-by-side work, started to loosen up.  Not bad all in all, even a little sassiness during her performance.  Her arms were a bit wild.  Not much to say about this girl.
Kristie & Maksim: QUICKSTEP score 20
Who doesn’t want to lose 5 pounds a week?  She will hit her 40 lbs. mark in no time!  Did you noticed all the stars huffing and puffing after they danced? Of course I feel for her, as she asked Maksim, “Do really skinny girls, you’re skinny partners; has it been hard for them too?”  His answer (and mine) “of course!” Being thrown into a group where you are alot curvier than the others, automaticly sets self doubt about your ability or lack of.  But I’m proud that she is finally trying to find her comfort zone and be happy, regardless of what the scale reads.  Back to her dancing: during her chasse, she needed to bring her feet together and have more bounce action from her supporting foot. And I’m the first to whip around my hair but I found it getting caught in her face or lip gloss which can distract you in the middle of a Promenade Run or even blur your vision.  Great job Kirstie.  Way to represent girls with curves!
Wendy & Tony: QUICKSTEP score 17
Ok Ok, I have to admit.  She was better this week!  But deep inside, I was hoping so badly for another “Freakin’ Hot Mess”!  That’s where I get my best matieral people!  Her foot placement was clean most of the time and you have to give it up to Tony.  What a great teacher to show her off in the best way possible.  Yes, the steps were simple, but like I always tell my students for any events or performances, “I can care less if you do a box step for a minute and half straight.  As long as you do it well, I will be proud.”  You can tell when she was starting to get winded and tired.  But I still think she will be going home and not Mike.
Now what happens?  That is all on you America.  You have to vote each and every week to keep your favorites in.  Don’t start crying after the Result Show, if you didn’t take the 30 seconds to vote.  Come on, in the time it took to read this blog, you could of used all your alloted votes online.  See you in 24 hours with my thoughts about the results.
DIVA CHRISTINA
Ok, let me start by saying, when watching DWTS I’m torn.  The teacher in me notices the true emotions and fears a student faces when having to perform in front of people for the first time (let alone, millions of people). As well as wanting to celebrate all of the little victories that happen during the performance: a smile, pointing your toes during a developé or hitting the ending pose with out blood being shed.  Yes, us teachers see the growth, as a dancer and mostly as a person during the journey of learning to dance.  We are your biggest cheerleaders, supporters and even shoulders to cry on. BUT, this is DWTS people!  So the professional judge in me has to come out, and trust me, she has tons to say.
 

Who did great and who bomb? Read on and see what our Diva consultant has to say.

Chelsea Kane & Mark: FOXTROT score 21

Typical cute Disney kid. She has a willingness to learn and will do well, as long as Mark stops bouncing around like Tigger during the whole routine.  Hated the routine and all the side by side work.  I’m all about bringing a modern feel to any dance,  but it was just too much. Regardless of that, she danced what she was given well, just like a true Disney Princess.
Wendy Williams & Tony: CHA CHA score 14
OK, I’m going to use my favorite saying, “Hot Freakin’ Mess”!!! She danced like she was in a body cast. Do her knees even bend?  She needs to let loose, shake what she’s got, even a little hair-ography would of helped.  The song that was used could not have been more perfect for her, knowing her background and what a sassy thang she is, but ended up being a waste.  Let’s just say her performance made me cry (not the feel good Ashton Kutcher movie kind either).
Hines Ward & Kym: CHA CHA score 21
This Cowboys fan will never be a Steelers fan, but for sure a Hines Ward fan.  He definitely keeps the tradition of the past NFL dancers on the show; great presence and showmanship on the floor.  I agree with Glen, “I couldn’t stop looking at your bum!”  I can’t wait to see more of him week to week as he battles his biggest opponent: POSTURE.
Petra Nemcova & Dmitry: FOXTROT score 18
Loved her hair, make up and dress….oh wait, I’m having a “Paula Abdul moment” a la American Idol.  By far the best of any model that has been on the show, but that’s not saying much if you’ve followed them from the beginning.  She will pretty much stay in the middle of the pack, unless she works on her transitions from movement to movement and foot work.  She dances way too much on her toes.
Romeo & Chelsie: CHA CHA score 19
Young and talented, complete opposite of his dad Master P.  Just needs to get over his attitude that he can still be young, cool and hip by moving his hips.  Trust me, ask any guy student when that light bulb went off in their head, “Oh, girls dig a guy who can dance and move their body?!” DUH!!! It will change your life for the better, trust me, I see it happen all the time.  Romeo can go really far as long as he listens to Chelsie and all the feedback from the judges.  Must work on straightening his legs and building stronger ankles along with posture.  Overall, I liked it.  Good looking couple on the floor.
Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna: FOXTROT score 17
Can’t help but to love him.  So smooth and committed to the routine.  His biggest challenge? Posture in any dance hold.  Even though this is common among new dancers, because of his boxing, he has to totally reprogram his mind and body to a whole new stance in his new ring called the dance floor.  All his side-by-side work was amazing and made me smile.
Kendra Wilkinson & Louis: CHA CHA score 18
Go Kendra!  Go Kendra!  I’m a little bias because I love this girl.  She doesn’t pretend to be someone else and let’s it all out.  She has a good, fun attitude going into this, making it her own while still being challenged.  She started out strong but began to flatten out towards the end of the routine, which was tough choreography!  Needed to straighten her legs big time to show off her hip motion as well as control her arms.  They wiggled so much that it became distracting.  But she is well on her way of transforming to “classy hot”.
Ralph Macchio & Karina: FOXTROT score 24
What a way to start off his first performance on DWTS!  Completely surprised by him.  I mean, come on…he will always be Daniel-san in my eyes, but over the next weeks, I know that will change.  Overall, very smooth and made me giggle that he did so well (even doing a telemark).  The two spots in the routine where he was shaky and lost balance, were recovered well.  And claiming his “49 year old” body was going to be a problem? More like 29 year old body that will only get better with all the training from Karina, who wants that mirror ball trophy bad!
Chris Jericho & Cheryl: CHA CHA score 19
Wild in a bad way.  Not his fault, poor song choice that completely changes style and tempo.  It’s hard enough to learn one dance, let alone, changing in the middle of the routine to a salsa to fit the musciality.  Too many dips and poses, needed more cha cha to show off his talent.  But he had great presence on the floor.
Mike Catherwood & Lacey: FOXTROT score 13
Latino!!! Well, ok only half.  But this Irish-Mexican is very open about his lack of dance skill being embrassing.  But he tried and discovered it’s more about the journey and less about the dancing, so give him a chance.  This is where the teacher in me comes out!  I do have to say he was beyond stiff and ackward, which is the first stage of learning anything new (i.e. language, how to cook, golfing). I’m hoping the Jive next week will show his latin side and win him some votes.  Plus, he’s kind of cute!
Kristie Alley & Maksim: CHA CHA score 23
“size 0 and age 22” vs. 60 years old?  Three words, YOU…GO…GIRL!!!  By far, the best all around.  She’s the Kelly Osbourne of this season and we will see many a transformations, on many levels, through out the weeks to come.  Seemed very grounded in foot work and good leg action with swivels and latin crosses.
There you have it!  My thoughts on the dancing.  Until next week!
Diva Christina

Alright!  You got the scoop on how the men will do.  Here’s the scoop on the ladies.  By now you’ve probably already seen everyone dance.  I created this before watching them so we’ll see what happens tonight on the results show.  Here we go!

Can Kirstie be able to "Cheers" her way to the final?

Kirstie Alley is up first for the actress category.  She’s done great just staying in the media with her many wight loss plans.  I’m excited for her because according to my sources, they’ve approached her for every show and she finally agreed.  Even more so she’ll finally find a weight loss program that will work for good in Dancing.  I’m sure, much like Marie Osmond, she’ll start to lose the pounds and people will give her the “hey you’re doing a good job finding your figure again” sympathy vote.  I’m sure that will add to pro dancer Maxim Chmerkovsky’s “I like to take my shirt off” votes from the 13-16  year old girls that run the voting.  Going to restaurants wearing clothes like the rest of the world must have be hard.

Disney has a fine list of dancers. Does she have what it takes?

Disney girl Chelsea Kane seems to fit the “Hey let’s get someone young to get the young vote” card.  Disney viewers will be watching to show their support.  Chelsea better known for her work on Disney channel’s Bratz: The Movie, should be able to pull off the dance moves since Disney usually gets the talented all around singer/actor/dancer kids (just see Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears before she went Brtney Spears on everyone).  I would imagine that she would get a great vote not just from her fan base, but from Mark Ballas’ fan base as well.  He’s the young guy who’s the hot ticket on the show.

She can talk the talk, but can she Dance the Dance?

Talk show host Wendy Williams will be great for the show.  She’s done her fair share of talking trash about everyone else that it’s her turn to get trashed on.  I’m most excited about how she’ll react to the judges as she could bring some much needed banter to keep the contreversy of the show going.  I’m sure she’ll bring some dancing skills to bad boy pro partner Tony Dovolani.  He’ll show her off quite well.  We should also see some good behind the scenes “Fighting” that are always good for ratings.  Look for her to not go far, but be entertaining.

Models have a great walk, but do they have a great Dance?

In the Model category we have Petra Nemcova.  She’s done some work in Sports Illustrated as a Swimsuit model.   I never heard of such a thing.  I guess I’ve been spending too much attention to my wife.  Points for me!  Not a lot on this end about her, just the fact that she will probably have ot stick with moves that show off her assets and not her dancing skills.  I haven’t seen her dance, but it’s a hunch of mine that modeling and coordination don’t go hand in hand.  Ouch!  I know.  But she should provide the pretty flavor ABC is looking for and get some votes from that.

This Playboy bunny looks to heat up the competition.

Next up is Kendra Wilkinson, not known for her acting skills, but better known for her work in Playboy as a Playmate (not that I’ve seen her work or anything either).  She brings the “hot chick on the show” quality of reality T.V.  I’m not sure if she will do much just like Petra, but look for her to get somewhat better on a week to week basis.  Her votes will come from a small reality fan base as well as the “husband vote” from husband Hank Baskett who’s being bounced around in the NFL.  If there was such a category on this show, I predict that she would get the Most Improved Dancer award at the end of this season.  More so because Louis Van Amstel will have to do the brunt of the work (and he knows how to make a star look good right out of the gate).  I just hope he doesn’t go too “I’m a dancing genius” on her and create a routine far beyond her ability.  What am I talking about?  He’s Louis Van Amstel!  You can’t turn off Genius like that with a flip of any switch.

SPOILER ALERT!!

The first to go for the women will be Wendy Williams.  As exciting as her personality is, I’m not sure if she’ll have the dancing to back it up.  However she’ll get the votes from her fan base as well as Tony’s, people won’t respond to the quick quips she has about dance.  Comedians haven’t done well historically in this contest.  The WINNER…Kirsty Alley.  Kirstie gets the same voting like Marie.  Although she doesn’t have the fan base, she’s going to surprise a bunch of people and win them over with her moves and changing physique.  Plus she’s got Maks who’s overdue for a win as one of the favorite Pro dancers on the show.  They’ll win America over with her personality and his non compliance to the “No Shirt, No Shoes” policy.

As for me, I’ll watch from the sidelines checking out the action and do my coaching from my couch.  If you’re asking whether or not I would better, the answer is YES I WOULD!  The only difference would be that I would actually teach someone something and my routines would be more on the basic side because I would go more for the benefit of the student actually gaining some knowledge from their experience like knowing how to dance at the next function they go to.  I probably wouldn’t be the fan favorite as a result, but my case for a good instructor would be made.  And if ABC wants to try a rebel teacher who will forego looks for substance then give me a call.  You can reach me at sjarthurmurray@yahoo.com.

JG

Dancing With The Stars is a Dance crazed outlet for mediocre celebrities trying to get back the status of what once was.  If that’s the case, then this is a cast that I can live with.  Mainly because these stars are actually people that I remember and others that are actually still relevant.  How exciting!  I think ABC got it right this time by at least getting the good combination of Stars that still have a name regardless of where they came from.

Since the Star studded cast is quite big, this will be my first of two blogs giving a professional take on how the stars will do.  Let’s start with the guys first.

Will Ralph need Mr. Miyagi's hot hands to DANCE?

First up is the Actor category.  When you go into the casting call and find an actor that used to sit next to Mr. Miyagi on the same set of Karate Kid, I mean that’s pretty impressive by itself, but more importantly I think that having Ralph Macchio on the show is quite good.  I’m sure he’ll bring a little bit of old heart throb-ness from the 80’s to stir up some voting for him on this new season.  He’ll have to do a little sand the floor and paint the fence exercises to keep up with the rest, but a long overdue workout needed I’m sure. He should be an early crowd favorite.

Float like a butterfly, think I can SWING?

On the athlete’s side, you have a former boxer who was arguably one of the best in his time.  Mostly I’m worried about how he will do.  I don’t like the fact that they chose Sugar Ray Leonard to be the token old person.  Sugar Ray knocked out Floyd Mayweather!  He was the king of the ring.  He was the man and now you’re going to try to con him into being the old guy?  Sugar Ray don’t take no mess from no one!  You better hope he doesn’t look bad ABC because if he does, he may just sucker punch some innocent victim getting him some water offstage.  On the flip side, he was a great fighter and has the moves and quick feet of a boxer.  Good job ABC with picking him up.  He should surprise a lot of people.  You’re off the hook this time.

So You Think I Can DANCE? I'll pile drive you if you don't!

Wrestler Chris Jericho will make everyone think twice about whether or not big buff guys can dance.  He seems to have pretty slick moves in the ring, but I’d be most impressed to see him do a number where he jumps off the top ropes and gives someone a pile drive center stage as a finale.  I already have a routine picked out for him where his hype man from the WWE comes out and calls him out as a wimp and maybe disses his girlfriend, maybe his dance skills.  Chris Jericho comes out to AC/DC with smoke from the top of the stage.  Chants start to raise from each side of the crowd and he walks out in his wrestling attire.  Just his wrestling pants and boots with a bandanna.  He walks up to the guy and they get face to face like all wrestling matches.  The guy gets pissed off and tries to throw a punch.  Chris Jericho knocks him out with his signature move.  Puts a jacket on that he got from off stage and out comes his pro partner and they dance a cha cha.  Not sure how it will go, but I’m just saying.

One way ticket to Redemption City please.

I’m most excited of the athlete group about Hines Ward.  Fresh off a Superbowl loss (sorry Rosalinda and the city of Pittsburgh), I think he’ll bring with him a fire like no other.  He needs some redemption points for the lack of his teammates inabilities to produce a victory at this year’s Superbowl.  Not to say his professional partner won’t do a good job, BUT, I’d hate to see him get shot down because he decided to try to pull an “Emmitt Smith”.  Great for other jock guys to see that dancing could be done by jocks, but here’s my warning to Hines Ward of my image of him as an icon.  “Don’t mess up!  Work your butt off and learn how to do it right!  The city of Pittsburgh is counting on you especially since you lost your last Superbowl!”  Just kidding.   In all seriousness though, don’t mess up.

 

Can LOVELINE cure this Dancer's ailments?

“Psycho” Mike Catherwood is a radio personality on the hit show Loveline with Dr. Drew.  He’s got a good listener base and a great voice for the radio.  I listen toLoveline every so often and get my fix of the pair (whom btw are a great combination).  I have to say Mike, I was a little skeptical about you when you took over for Adam Carolla.  You had some pretty big shoes to fill with his comedic genius, but nonetheless, you did a great job filling in and are coming into your own.  Because of that I think you will do good dancing in front of your home crowd in Los Angeles.  You should get an early fan vote, but I have to wait to see your skills on the dance floor to see whether or not you deserve to be in the top of the scales.  All we know is the voice.  Can the dance back it up?

Rapper/Basketball Scholar/Mogul/DANCER?

Lastly is the Music group featuring Lil’ Romeo (who now wants to be called Romeo).  I guess he grew up and wants to change his name.  You should’ve thought about this when you were 10 and just save yourself the “don’t call me lil’ anymore because I’m not lil’” drama and stick with Percy.  He’s back from last season when he hurt himself and his pops “Master P” had to step in and get sympathy votes.  Like most young rappers, I would imagine he’s got some moves and can dance already.  He should be a good “Dance“ favorite with the judges and maybe a crowd favorite.  But look to see some good dancing come out from this rapper/USC Basketball Scholar/ Mogul.

SPOILER ALERT!!

Here’s my predictions.  First to go from the guys will be “Psycho” Mike Catherwood.  I’m sorry Mike, but it seems the others will probably do some better dancing and your fan base won’t be able to match with that of the others unfortunately.  I’ll vote for you, but let’s hope it’s not you.The WINNER?  Hines Ward.  Lil’ Romeo will probably take the third spot in the top 3.  Why?  Hines Ward is Hines Ward.  I can’t leave him out of it and neither can the state of Pennsylvania.  Have you seen Pittsburgh fans?  They are crazy people and they will be following him with many votes.  Lil’ Romeo gets the final spot as the guy that can actually dance.  He will be the token “I’m the best dancer but no one votes for the best dancer on the show” Dancer.

If I’m wrong, well then i guess I didn’t do all of my homework.  Maybe this article I wrote on a plane ride from Chicago to San Jose proved to be a stab in the dark as if this was someone’s life to read every article about what will happen with DWTS.  And if you are, join your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio and get out more.  Stop reading and start dancing like a star.

JG

The Loss of an Icon

Arthur Murray was an icon in many ways.  He helped revolutionize the way people viewed dance and industrialized the way businesses marketed with his mail order foot prints.  He created the first dance studio to become a franchise.  Second oldest only to A&W.  He gave many people opportunities to help be successful like himself including yours truly.  But as many great icons often do, he created others that were just as iconic.

A beauty to say the least, Ms. Doris dances here for Ziefeld Follies.

On a sunny Saturday in April 2009, Cari and I had the pleasure of visiting the state of Florida at a convention that paralleled no other; Arthur Murray’s Franchisee convention.  The excitement of meeting with your peers is always exciting, but none came close to the special delight of our guest speaker.  Enter Doris Eaton Travis was her name and dancing was her game.  A one on one interview was held and we had the pleasure of being in her presence.

When looking around the room, I could see so much talent and wisdom.  Anything you ever wanted to know about Arthur Murray and about dancing was right at the tip of your fingers.  All it took was one question.  But all of our tongues were silent.  Silent with the spectacle on stage.  Not many of us can say we knew Arthur Murray personally, but we could come close with 6 degrees of separation.  Doris was 1 degree from knowing Arthur Murray, the man, herself.

Let me tell you a little about her accomplishments.  At the age of 14, Doris became a girl for the famed Ziegfeld Follies as the youngest girl ever to be in the show.  From there she never looked back.  She continued to perform on stage and in films throughout the 20’s and 30’s.  It wasn’t until 1936 when she started working for Arthur Murray himself as a tap dance instructor.  According to her, she bugged Arthur to teach her countless times.  Enough so that he decided to put her in an instructor training class just to keep her quiet.

Unfortunately that did just the opposite.  Her hunger for learning and ballroom dancing grew.  She learned step after step.  She did such a great job that Arthur noticed her one day and asked “Why isn’t she teaching?” and made her a teacher right on the spot.  From there she modeled herself after both Arthur and Kathryn as an entrepreneur and helped Arthur accomplish his dream of Franchising his studios so that the world could enjoy dance as much as he.

TIME OUT!  In case you don’t know, here’s a bit of history.  How many woman can you name that owned a legitimate business in 1941?  You could probably name only a few.  In fact Doris was the first woman in U.S. history to own her own business (talk about history maker).  In a time of MAN, she was the only WOMAN.  As if being the first wasn’t enough, it wasn’t for Doris.

TIME IN!  After creating the first business, she went on to own over 30 franchises.  And if the question is “Did she own them all at once?”  The answer is YES!  I would imagine at this point in time she sat down in one of the many offices she had in the midwest studios and asked the question “I think I should start something new with all of this time I have free now that I own over 20 schools?”.  Because what happened next could only come from a self chat such as that.

Arthur Murray was successful in the 50’s for having the Arthur Murray Party on TV.  It was a television show dedicated to teaching people dance and introducing them to new styles of music and dance around the globe.  It was so successful that Doris, having the Broadway Star roots run through her body, decided to have a Television spot of her own.  It was just as successful as it’s predecessor and another star was born.  Although it wasn’t anything like today with hit shows like Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, in my personal opinion it had much more class.  Watching such cool dancers do such cool social dance moves far outweighs the likes of plastered makeup on almost forgotten contestants trying to win a trophy.

Have you ever been dancing and see the old guy in the corner.  He doesn’t look like much, but he has a line of dancers waiting for him because when he busts out a move, it required the combination of no blinking, a video camera, a group of dancers in a half circle watching with their mouths wide open and 70 years experience.  I’ve had that pleasure.  I was the one who was caught in the middle of it all, not knowing what was going on and in a flash I turned around and there he was, challenging me.  Challenging me with the coolest move I’ve ever seen.  So cool that I asked him to show me and he resulted in pushing my hand away, backing up, opening his palms and asked with his body “What do you got?”  He turned away and with his back turned I scratched my head and thought as I looked to my Counterpart Bobby and stated “I think I just got smoked by the Old Guy in the club.”  I laid in the fetal position for the next five minutes.

How does that relate to this story?  It doesn’t.  Just kidding.  That old guy was everywhere on her show in the form of young instructors, men and women that adorned the studios for Ms. Doris in the midwest.  In fact I would imagine, her show was the first to have the phrase cool used to describe it as something other than the refrigerator.  Now that’s cool to be called cool for the first time!

3 of a Kind: Doris, Cari and Juan share in common the joy of a life changed by Arthur Murray

Flashback to the conference room of the famed Fontainebleu in Miami.  There we sat as Ms. Travis finished her interview.  She rose from her chair to a thunderous standing ovation, strutted a couple of dance moves to show us all that she still has it and proceeded to allow us the privilege of taking a photo with her one last time before her exit.  Over the years she accomplished much.  From joining Arthur Murray and owning her many studios to having her television and Broadway career.  From getting her bachelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma graduating cum laude at age 88 to being presented with an honorary doctorate at 100.  This woman had done it all.

Her final curtain call came on the day of May 11, 2010.  Fresh off the celebration of her 106th birthday.  She will forever be missed and remembered the world over.  This column was created to share with others that which she has shared with us.  Created to share her wonderful life that touched so many.  And as for this person, she couldn’t have made a bigger impression as an icon.

I guess now she gets to bug Arthur once more to figure out how she can get a franchise in the sky.

It was a cold and rainy evening on the eve of Dance O Rama.  Those coming in on wednesday were surprised to see the sight of their fantastic weekend, become so gloomy.  It was what they saw back home on the east coast or a normal April day in England.  Even those from California were wondering if they had arrived in California.  But that’s what’s expected.

On the eve of a Dance O Rama all is grey, even the minds of those who will participate.  Grey with thoughts of performing to the their own expectations or those expectations of others.  It’s expected to fail the eve of any event, just ask any veteran, that’s how you know you’re ready.  And ready we were in San Jose.  So much in fact that we willed the grey to end.  We willed the light to shine and the sun to rise and on the day of Dance O Rama, a bright Thursday appeared with the sun on everyone’s faces and the smiles of everyone around.  It was here.  San Francisco Dance O Rama has arrived.

Love, Chaos and Dinner at the Famous Teatro Zinzanni

We were fortunate enough to spend a fantastic evening at the fabulous Teatro Zinzanni for a glorious evening of Love, Chaos and Dinner (their slogan).  Arthur Murray packed the house with more than 2/3 of the crowd.  Enough so that the actors had to mention us in their act and boy did they receive a thunderous applause every time they did.  Food was enjoyed, dancing was had by all and fools were made fun of as they were picked from their seats and into the jester isle.  A fabulous time indeed.

When Friday morning crept around, it was early, but not early enough to steal the hunger of a dance competitor.  We were hungry for the art of dance at 8 am.  Who does that?  San Jose Arthur Murray does!  From 8 am to 1am we danced.  We left it out all on the floor. The day began with Solo Routines.  We rocked it.  Country Western, did that with a hat!  Smooth freestyles, did that!  Rhythm Freestyles, did that!  Bachata?  Did that too!.  There was no limit to the dances we were capable of.

We even had time to take a break for a little Country Western party where a legendary duo of Arthur Murray antics choreographed an award winning formation where the gentlemen and their lady counterparts entered in a duel of dancing to the death.  It was close, but by unanimous decision the Gentlemen won.  Yes it’s true, even the judges said so and should you question or would like to challenge the decision they can be reached by pager.

Saturday brought much excitement to the table.  Open freestyles allowed the students to do their fantastic routines and Scholarships showed off their  dancing to the next level.  The evening was a huge success.  Talk about dressing to the nines.  I think Arthur Murray Dance Studios invented it.  Everyone was decked out in their best to celebrate a wonderful culmination of dance events and camaraderie.  When asked what they thought about the whole weekend, a San Jose student replied “The weekend?  It was…Sexy.”  I couldn’t have agreed more.  Sexy was San Jose Arthur Murray’s middle name.  Sexy were the jackets we wore all weekend, it was our cheering and demeanor.  Sexy was the way a certain San Jose Franchisee walked when escorting her fellow Franchisee and husband as he received a Top Instructor award.  Sexy?  We were brimming with it.

All in all, San Francisco Dance O Rama was a huge hit.  It was the success that we had all hoped for it to be.  And when Sunday rolled around, we could only reminisce of the great time we had the nights before.  We remembered the laughs we had, the good times (we tried to remember the bad times but there weren’t any) and the hardware we came home with.  We knew the next week was awaiting.  6 a.m was around the corner and our daily routine of shower and a coffee were whispering in our ears.  We knew work was calling and regular life would be exactly where we left it, on the front door step next to the mail we hadn’t collected in 4 days.  But for this one weekend, we all had the experience that can only be matched by another.  Until the next one my friends.  We want to thank everyone for participating and hanging out with us crazy people all weekend long.  We had a blast and would do it again in a heart beat.

But this is something that we will always have in our hearts.  As cliche as this may sound, we truly left our Dancing Hearts in San Francisco.

In the world of Ballroom Dance, there are many professionals that are talented enough to grace the floors of high level competition.  Arthur Murray is proud to boast a good percentage of them.  However there are few that grace the tongue of the Hall of Fame.  And even fewer that etch their name into the history books.  Arthur and Kathryn Murray are two of those people.

I wish I could say I had the pleasure of knowing Arthur and Kathryn personally, but since their passing before Cari and I entered the business, I can only hear stories from those who had.  Being with Arthur Murray for 13 years, I am glad to have met a lot of figure heads that represent our company well.  One of those people is not only a Legend to the company, but a Legend to me.

Ask not what you can do for Jacques, but what can Jacques to for you.

Since you see the photo next to this text, you must know that I’m talking about the one and only Jacques De Beve.  Jacques has been with Arthur Murray for 55 years.  That’s an accomplishment within itself.  What’s more of an accomplishment is being part of helping the company grow for almost 100 years.  Jacques would be the first to tell you one of the many stories from the days of before, but allow me to tell you a story about him.

When I first started in this business, Jacques was one of the first coaches I met.  I remember his white beard and tan skin (nothing has changed).  I’ll never forget his inspirational wisdom that day.  He said “Juan.  You’re going to be great in this business.  You’re ugly, but you’ll be great!”  That was probably the best thing that he could have said to me.  It motivated me to do so much.  And with those little words, he helped shape a person that ultimately became a good dancer, teacher and franchisee (I don’t mind saying so myself).  Not only did he do that with me, but also for the many students in the studio.

We have coaches that teach us how to dance and we have coaches that guide us towards the right path.  He’s the latter.  He’s the guy that can take one look at you, read your mind and figure out what you need within the first 10 seconds of meeting you.  That’s what he does.  He’s Master Planner.  If you’ve ever wanted help in finding out what to do with your dancing, where to go, help with clarifying goals and help motivating yourself to reach those goals, you call Jedi Master Jacques.

One glance and you may think, what can he show me?  The last person that did that now resides in the local insane asylum because Jacques blew his mind away and he couldn’t find it again.  But don’t let his dapper good looks deceive you.  He may not be able to dance like he once could (Which by the way was awesome if you ever got to see it.  We don’t call him the inventor of “Dirty Swing” for nothing), but he can get you to dance in a way to achieve immediate results.  Just ask the students that he’s worked with already.

It’s been four years since Jacques has graced the walls of the Arthur Murray in San Jose and we are so proud to have him in our studio again.  You’ll know exactly who he is upon walking in the studio.  He’ll be the one with all the people around him like a moth to a flame.  He’ll be the one surrounded by laughter and joy.  He’ll be the one working on lessons giving feedback and showing students the path to a better dance life.  He’ll also be the one in a suit with white hair and you’ll find yourself saying “I don’t know who he is, but he sure looks great and one day I’d like to be him when I grow up.”

If you missed yesterday, you can catch him today.  But I’m certain we won’t see the last of this Arthur Murray Legend.