DWTS Season 23 Cast Announced!

I’m back! I hope you all had a lovely summer, I have been busier than normal.

Today was a big announcement day in the Dancing with the Stars world: The season 23 cast was announced!

Unlike cast announcements in the past, it wasn’t a large production on Good Morning America. I’m not sure why, but it felt a little “off”. Here are the videos from this morning:

Here’s a nice clip from Entertainment Tonight, giving us a visual of all of the couples:

Here are the GMA tweets from this morning:

Season 23 Surprises (for me):
– The Return of Some Pros: I think these returns were the biggest surprise for me. First, it was Gleb’s return announced. It seemed like it was the next day that Maks was announced (a fantastic surprise)! Yesterday (or the day before), Derek was confirmed. And this morning, Cheryl! Oh, Allison and Emma are also back after a single-season break.
– The “Time Off” of Some Pros: I will miss seeing Tony, Keo, and Mark 😦 And Peta is very pregnant, so her absence is understandable. Kym Johnson also announced that she’s basically done with the show.
– Ryan Lochte: With making news headlines recently, I’m kind of surprised he came on the show. I have seen people comment that they are not going to watch the show because of him. I disagree with that “logic” (perhaps because I watch the show for the dancing and not the celebrities) … just don’t vote for him.
– Terra Jolé: I actually watch her show (very entertaining) and I was surprised and happy to finally see a little person on the show.

Dancing with the Stars 10th Anniversary Special

Season 20 was marked the “Perfect 10” season because of the shows 10th year anniversary. They first aired this special in April but just re-aired it tonight, almost two weeks after season 20’s finale.  It was good timing too, I started to get Dancing with the Stars withdrawal. I will not have much commentary on any of the following videos because I genuinely enjoyed it all!

The opening number was so much fun! It was great to see pro dancers who have long gone (or who recently left the show).
Continue reading

Private #9 – Revisiting Rumba, Cha Cha Technique & Samba Run-Through

Tonight’s private was a lot of fun and well-received.  I usually try to go into the studio with my mind open and ready to learn.  I think I was very tired during my last lesson and I got mentally frustrated with myself and left feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything.  Well as you all know, this ballroom game is not cheap and I made a promise to myself to make every lesson worth every penny and productive.  Today’s lesson, as you can see, was very productive.  Three dances in 45 minutes, what?!

We started with the neglected rumba.  It has been over a month since I’ve danced rumba.  I was a little rusty on the routine, but saw overall improvement.  My rumba walk and hip movement is much better.  C didn’t have to remind me to open up my hips as much as before (I still had some reminders of course) and I have gotten better at settling in my hips.

Next was cha cha.  More drilling technique with my legs.  It’s funny how my legs feel straight but they’re not.  C said judges love it when your knees are locked, the shape of them.  They apparently go crazy for bowed legs.  Well, these bowed legs of mine that I’ve kept from locking all my life are finally good for something! (This is not the bowed legs looking at them from the side, but when your legs are straight back)  I still have some things to work on with my footwork.  C had me record him to do drills as practice at home.

For the last five minutes, we touched on samba for a bit.  He put on a really fast samba and I just didn’t have it in me at that point to even attempt it.  After doing rumba and cha cha for forty minutes straight, my legs instinctively would straighten and not bend like it’s supposed to in samba.  He would stop and we would dance to half-tempo, and I’d be fine.  I guess that’s one skill I have to work on when it comes to doing a competition and dancing to heats of different styles of dance, being able to change technique right away.

I finished the lesson proud of the work I put in today!  I will continue to try to practice more at home so I can continue to improve with each lesson 🙂

And to end this post, some 2008 bronze dancers at the Ohio Star Ball:

Private #8 – Cha Cha & Samba Review

Little late in posting this, so hopefully I remember everything haha :p

Wednesday night was my private lesson with C.  We started with reviewing samba from my last lesson.  My feet are okay, it’s the general Cuban body movements that I can’t comprehend for some reason.  C demonstrated while I had my hands on his side to see what muscles did what.  I determined he was Gumby.  More to attempt to practice…

Cha cha was second..  We haven’t done cha cha in my lessons for about 3 weeks, ever since my spotlight performance!  I was a tiny bit rusty on the choreography but that was okay.  Then he started really hammering into technique.  I started to get frustrated.  It was partially due to being tired and thinking what I was doing before was correct only to find out it wasn’t quite there.  I have to get sharper on my Alemanas and my turns in general.  I hope I remember to practice this weekend.

Maybe C sensed my frustration and asked me to do him a favor … I got to have a bit of fun after class and got to play dress-up with the dresses in the studios little boutique area!  He knows I love the dresses and I always spend some time looking at the new ones that come in.  C and E (the owner) were pulling out dresses left and right.  I spent about an hour trying them on and modeling.  I discovered that I really like fringe.  Pretty much obsessed with fringe.  I don’t like feathers so much because I feel like they retain heat and stick to your skin with the tiniest bit of perspiration.

I want to learn how to sew and make costumes.  I got some nice ideas on how to construct them, what I like and don’t like, and what styles I prefer on me.

I want rhinestones on everything!

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening.  There are things I have to work on, but that is expected at this and every point in my dancing.  I should never be complacent no matter what skill level I achieve.

For fun, here’s throwback video to 2003 and 2002, respectively, with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Elena Grinenko dancing samba at a competition. She sure loved to change up the hair:

Private #6 – Samba Review & Starting Paso Doble!

It has been a week since I last set foot in the studio and the perfectionist in me was nervous that I may have forgotten everything I learned the week before (the samba choreography). I was also disappointed in myself for not practicing. I disclosed these feelings to C right away and he asked if I wanted to walk through everything.

The walk-through went successfully! I remembered all of the steps, it was the little details that I had to review more.  A few observations:

  1. In comparison to the other dances I’ve done, samba seems the most difficult to keep my feet turned out. I think it has to deal with the many directional changes involved. That will take me practicing more at home, which I plan on doing.
  2. I’m getting used to the side and back hip movement, still not thrusting as much as C wants to see.  I supposed that is a more unnatural movement for me lol.  I will be practicing that in the mirror too.
  3. I don’t know where it comes from, but I have a tendency to want to keep my spine in a straight line.  So with my hip up, my body is diagonal.  Maybe from the standard dances?

While reviewing the technique, C had me add some styling. Pretty standard hand out, hand up kind of things, but it made me feel like I was really doing it lol. He then put on a pretty speedy samba (for me, at least) and we ran through the routine at half time, then to tempo. I was able to keep up dancing at tempo with the added styling! Hooray!

The last ten minutes were spent starting on the paso doble routine. This was my first time ever doing paso and I was soooo excited! I’ve never done a dance that, to me, is so intense! Tango has a certain mood to it, but paso is on a different level.

I’ve learned toes are not very strong! I thought I was getting a little better with my balance, but put me on my tippy-toes and all of that improvement went out the window!

I learned about 3 counts of 8 for the routine, all very basic with that fantastic shaping I get excited about whenever I watch paso.

Both samba and paso are very “pelvis forward” dances. That’s going to have to take some getting used to!

I’m so excited, but it’s going to take some work and practicing at home on my part. I shoud be doing that anyway lol.

As usual, a couple videos for inspiration:

I selected a video that shows a more realistic goal of my “later this year” goal of reaching gold and hopefully competing as an amateur:

And because I love a good paso: