Dancing with the Stars: Episode 4 - Season 3


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Episode 4 of season 3's Dancing with the Stars featured the beautiful, graceful slow waltz and the dramatic, intense paso doble.

In general the contestants fared significantly better with the slow waltz than they did with the paso doble. Of all the stars performing the paso doble, sadly no one was able to embody the true character of the dance.

Mario Lopez, with his mariachi-infused style of paso doble, lacked the definitive posture of the paso doble fundamental in portraying the essence of the matador. While he managed to hold his head down with a slight tilt to appear as though he was defiantly looking down upon the bull, he failed to shape his body to achieve the position of the matador who has to hold the cape to his side with his hips swung as far out from it as possible to avoid the bull's attack. Had Mario been a real matador, the bull would have rammed right into him and tore him to shreds.

Furthermore, Mario's facial expressions lacked the fierce intensity that a matador would display in a real-life bullfight scene. Challenging a bull is no walk in the park. Blood and sweat are shed, clothing is torn apart, adrenaline is rushing. A paso doble dancer has to convince the audience he is right inside the bullring with the bull and must stop at nothing to show dominance and control over his mighty adversary with an arrogant stance, strong body shapes and movements, and a powerful use of his cape.

The paso doble is the one Latin dance where the man really ges to shine and show off. Taking on the role of the cape, the lady takes the back seat and frames the matador. Vivica Fox, with her over-the-top diva attitude, overshadowed her partner by coming on too strong. While swift and passionate, the cape does have a feminine side to it as it swirls around the matador. A good dose of fabric softener was in order as Vivica looked stiffer than an air dried towel in the role of the cape.

Meanwhile, Sara Evans did the very opposite by looking like a flimsy chiffon cape that floats gently in the air, but will not move swiftly with every movement of the matador's. She danced last night as if her heart was not into the dancing at all. Clearly the paso doble does not match her sweet, laid-back personality, yet as a ballroom dancer, you can't just dance the steps; you also need to be able to ‘act’ and become your character.

The best performances of the evening last night belonged to the waltz dancers, which comes as no surprise considering the slow waltz is often the first dance beginner ballroom dancers learn because of its slow tempo and easily recognizable beat.

In my opinion, Monique Coleman and Louis van Amstel's waltz was the best of the bunch and deserved higher scores. Once again, Monique proves to be versatile and consistent. She illuminates and moves the audience in the standard/smooth dances just as well as she thrills and amazes them in the Latin dances.

While beautiful and well-performed, Willa Ford and Maksim's rendition of the waltz did not strike me as extraordinary as the judges made it out to be. Willa Ford's posture in dance hold was not always consistent and faltered in promenade position. From the slight rigidity of her movements, I also got the feeling that her partner Maksim was carrying her through the entire routine to ensure she would move farther and faster.

In the standard/smooth dances, the man holds the responsibility of determining the pace and the length of the steps. Hence, a female celebrity partner dancing with a professional male partner will usually have a greater advantage over the male celebrity partner dancing with the professional female partner whose job is to follow the leader and not lead him. Though without a doubt a much better dancer than Willa Ford, Joey Lawrence could not compete with professional dancer Maksim in the waltz.

Who should go? I'll say it every week and I'll keep saying it every week until he finally goes: Jerry Springer. He's done the waltz already; he can go home now.

Who will end up going? A toss between Jerry Springer and Sara Evans (although you can never be too sure with the voters at home).


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