So, we're only one week away from the final. This season really went fast.
Last night's semi began with a group dance to a Tyce Diorio Broadway number set to Guys and Dolls. I thought this was pretty fun though it didn't really blow me away. Lauren stood out the most to me; she had really beautiful form throughout and danced with a lot of spark, as usual. Kent's backflips were a trip. The other two were fine but didn't stand out to me as much.
First on was Lauren dancing an Argentine tango with Pasha. I thought this was really beautiful and romantic. I loved it. I thought her leg lines were gorgeous, I loved how she danced high on the balls of her feet, on releve, throughout, I loved how almost balletic it looked. I really love balletic-looking Argentine tangos. I think it's the most ballet-like of all of the ballroom dances, and I feel like she understood that and drew that out, via her contemporary training. I totally agree with what Tyce said, about how the silences here were golden and she really worked those to their fullest, made them say so much.
Next was Adechicke dancing African jazz with Lauren. I thought he did well with this. In places he really looked like an African dancer. And I love how fluid he looked, with his arms like waves, moving so fast they were almost a blur, but still with good form and shaping. I think Nigel was right by noticing that his back is very straight, and not quite flexible enough for African. But he is a contemporary dancer and that's how contemporary dancers are trained. He didn't look quite like Alvin Ailey's Antonio Douthit (my favorite dancer in that company, who seems somehow to be able to dance balletic modern and African with equal ease) but I thought Adechicke looked really really good for someone who's not quite at the Alvin Ailey level (as, come on, no one is on the show). I thought the judges were too harsh on him, compared to the others.
Fun to see Jonathan Roberts on this show! I love how, in choreographing Robert and Anya's Viennese waltz he told them, "You screw up, you're screwed." So true! One wrong step and you and your partner are both going down! I thought this was really lovely and that Robert did pretty well with it. His movement was good, he had the proper rise and fall, he really glided over that floor. And he had a nice romantic touch as a partner. He wasn't just in it for himself, but really cared her -- about lifting her right, making it all about her. Which is how ballroom is supposed to be! To be sure, he still did have that contemporary look rather than classic ballroom. But I thought he did very very well for it not being the style he's trained in.
Next on was Kent doing a disco with Courtney. Courtney is the disco queen -- they're always using her now for these disco numbers! Well, honestly, this was one of the most boring discos I've seen on the show. And I love Doriana Sanchez. I think she might have lightened it up for him because there were a couple of lifts but not her usual number, as Nigel recognized. And that last lift with him spinning around and around with her wrapped around his shoulders, looked rather sloppy and actually kind of frightening. That's not easy, especially if you're not that strong on top. And for some reason they don't spot when they turn like that in disco, which seems like a recipe for losing your balance. And with the girl over your head like that. I would have been a little scared if I was Courtney. First lift though was pretty good. And Kent's solo parts of this were excellent -- that multiple pirouette -- really good form and really polished. You can tell he has solid training. But this dance, as a disco, just wasn't all there for me and it showed his weaknesses.
Next Lauren danced jazz with Ade. Wow, that was really acrobatic, and it really showed her flexibility. I thought she really sizzled. She really got all of those lines right -- that one lift that Nigel pointed out with the upside-down splits and the flexed feet. She made really excellent shapes. I agree with Tyce that she could have been a little more ferocious. She was supposed to be a black widow and I didn't completely see that. And the sexual chemistry was a bit lacking, as Mia said. But I still thought it was very good. I so hope she makes it to the finals because the finals are going to be boring without her.
Oh so cool that Adechicke got a routine choreographed especially for him by his dance idol, Desmond Richardson, and his Complexions partner Dwight Rhoden. He danced this contemporary routine with Kathryn. This was a lot of fun. Fast, fun, American, full of youthful romance. Very Jon Bon Jovi-like. Kathryn was splendid. As for Adechicke: I think he has serious potential. But I don't think he's quite there yet. In thinking of how Desmond Richardson would have done that, it just fell short for me. Desmond just has this insane precision, and absolute perfection of line. And Adechicke was lacking both. But of course how can you compare someone at Adechicke's level to someone who's at the height of both his physicality and artistry like Desmond? You just can't. It takes a lot of time, and a real dance maturity that comes with years and years of experience, to develop that. So he needs to keep working, keep trying, keep growing. I really want to root for him! Especially after he got so emotional about being able to take training from his hero, and about being from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a rough neighborhood where being a male dancer is not taken so well.
Then, Robert danced a hip hop with Dominic. Well, I really enjoyed watching Dominic in this. I disagree with the judges about Robert though. I felt like Robert did everything properly, he got all the movement down, he didn't miss a beat. But Dominic just so out-performed him. Dominic had the swagger, the bravado, the weightiness, he just had the whole hip hop package. I just thought Robert looked too contemporary, which is what he does of course. But unlike with standard ballroom, hip hop can look really wrong if danced in too contemporary a way. To me, it just didn't look completely right.
And the show ended with Kent and Neil doing a Travis Wall contemporary piece. Another very sweet routine from Travis Wall, about a younger boy's trying to get over being stabbed in the back by the older boy. Kent acted this perfectly - it really actually left me with an emptiness in my stomach. And his dancing was very good as well. As was Neil's. It was stunning when Neil, in kind of tossing Kent aside, really threw him pretty high in the air. Kent really went sailing, and he landed very solidly. To me, Neil has more beautiful lines, but that's a subjective thing. Kent did very well and, because he has such strong technique and he really brought the story to life with his acting, Neil didn't end up outshining him.
Overall, I think all four of them have strong potential. But my favorite is still Lauren. I really hope she got enough votes last night to go on to the final.
By the way, just wanted to make sure you guys saw my interview earlier this week with tWitch! Such a genuinely sweet guy!