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DWTS cast announced

Two Olympic gold medalists, an American Idol, a Disney Channel Star, a reality TV star and a football player. All that’s missing is the Playboy factor in this field of 11. American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler was one of the first “Dancing with the Stars” cast members leaked by the press, but the full announcement of the 11 new contestants and their professional dance partners was made this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The cast of stars are: NFL player Jacoby Jones, country music singer Wynonna Judd, stand-up comedian D.L. Hughley, Real Beverly Hills Housewife Lisa Vanderpump, comedian and rehab celeb Andy Dick, pro boxer Victor Ortiz, Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman, Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman, soap opera “General Hospital” star Ingo Rademacher, country singer Kellie Pickler and Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill.  Season 16 of DWTS begins on Monday, March 18 with a two-hour premiere  (8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET) on ABC and will have a one-hour results show on March 26 (9 p.m. to 10:01 p.m.).

Probably the bigger surprise will be who isn’t returning among the professional dancers: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Chelsie Hightower, Louis van Amstel, Anna Trebunskaya and Peta Murgatroyd. There will still be a Chmerkovskiy–Valentin. Derek Hough is back, despite reports that season 15 (All-Stars) was his last. New professional dancers are Lindsay Arnold who was a contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance” (season 9), Sharna Burgess and Gleb Savchenko.

Savchenko previously was on the DWTS Australia cast and was the Australian National Professional Latin-American Champion for 2011-2012. Burgess is also Australian and represented that country at the World Championship in both Standard and Latin when she was 15. She also performed at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games closing ceremony. She appeared in the UK tour of “Simply Ballroom” and in 2006 became a cast member of “Burn the Floor” which toured 30 countries and in 2009 was on Broadway where she was one of the lead female dancers.

Arnold was born in Provo, Utah and attended Timpview High School. Her specialty is Latin Ballroom.

  1. Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff
  2. Wynonna Judd & Tony Dovolani
  3. D.L. Hughley & Cheryl Burke
  4. Lisa Vanderpump & Gleb Savchenko
  5. Andy Dick & Sharna Burgess
  6. Victor Ortiz & Lindsay Arnold
  7. Zendaya Coleman & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
  8. Aly Raisman & Mark Ballas
  9. Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson
  10. Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough
  11. Dorothy Hamill & Tristan MacManus

Hosted by Tom Bergeron (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”) and Brooke Burke-Charvet (“Dancing with the Stars” Season Seven Champion), “Dancing with the Stars” is the hit series in which celebrities perform choreographed dance routines which will be judged by renowned ballroom judge Len Goodman and dancer/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.

“Dancing with the Stars” is the U.S. version of the international smash hit series, “Strictly Come Dancing.” This version is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Conrad Green serves as executive producer and Ashley Edens-Shaffer and Joe Sungkur are co-executive producers. Alex Rudzinski directs. “Dancing with the Stars” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound.

“Dancing with the Stars” season 16 begins on Monday, March 18 with a two-hour premiere  (8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET) on ABC and will have a one-hour results show on March 26 (9 p.m. to 10:01 p.m.).

DWTS 15: All-Stars winner

Although it’s not always the one who best deserves the mirrorball trophy that wins it, for season 15, there were three lovely women who had worked hard, but also professional dancers who had been challenged this season with never before attempted dances.

Two of the three had won mirrorball trophies before, but it was reality show personality and host Melissa Rycroft and her partner Tony Dovolani who took the mirrorball trophy. It was a first for both.

Dovolani has been with DWTS every season since he debuted on season 2 with wrestler Stacy Kiebler. They finished third and until Tuesday night (Nov. 27), that was the best finish for Dovolani. Dovolani had finished third again during season 8 with Rycroft; Shawn Johnson and her then-partner Mark Ballas took home the mirrorball trophy that season with Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke in second place.

Dovolani and Keibler received 15 tens during season 2 with four perfect scores (samba and jive). Dovolani was paired with Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur for a fourth place finish on season 6.With Winokur he received no perfect scores or tens.

This time, Dovolani and Rycroft beat Johnson. During season 8 with Rycroft, Dovolani earned 13 tens and two perfect scores, both for samba. Johnson and Ballas received 14 tens with three perfect scores. They received 21 tens for five perfect scores. This season with Hough, Johnson had 21 tens and three perfect scores.

Monday night, Rycroft and Dovolani were perfect.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 for a samba to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan 
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (9.5,10.0,10.0) for a paso doble to ” Espana Cani“by Erich Kunzel 
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 27/30 (9.0,8.5,9.5) for a quickstep to “Hey Pachuco”by Royal Crown Revue 

The super-sized freestyle added other people, making this more like “America’s Got Talent.” Each group added different people, but the standings remained the same. Johnson and Hough and Rycroft and Dovolani posted perfect scores, but Monaco and Val were only a half-point behind.

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 30/30 to “I Was Here” by Beyonce with trapeze artists.
  2. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 30/30 to “Carnival de Paris” by Dario G with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastic Team who had just competed this summer in London (Gabby DouglasMcKayla MaroneyAly RaismanKyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber).
  3. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29.5/30 (10.0,9.5,10.0) to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with troupe members and a church choir. Monaco did some aerial tissu.

At the end of Monday night the rankings were:

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 60/60
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 59/60
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 57/60

In the final dance on Tuesday night, it was an instant Latin round.

  • Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 30.0 (10.0,10.0,10.0) for cha cha cha to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin 
  • Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a Samba to “Life Is A Highway” by Tom Cochrane 
  • Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5) for a jive to “Cat and Mouse” by Nikki & Rich 

At the end of Tuesday night, the judges ranking was:

  1. Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani: 88.5/90
  2. Kelly Monaco and Val Chmerkovskiy: 87.5/90
  3. Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough: 87/90

The rankings didn’t change, leaving Rycroft and Dovolani the winners, but the audience favored Johnson and Hough over Monaco and Chmerkovskiy. Rycroft is only the second TV personality to win the mirrorball trophy (the first was Brooke Burke with Derek Hough during season 7). She is the seventh female winner and the only reality TV star to win.

Dovolani has always seemed like a nice guy, even when he had what seemed like the ultimate challenge: Kate Gosselin. Their paso doble to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” has become infamous.

Rycroft and Dovolani are perfect champions for season 15 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

SYTYCD choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo teach tonight

Anyone can dance although not everyone can dance tango, but only a few can dance with tyle and Argentine tango choreographers Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo have a dramatic style that is filled with staccato moves and dramatic pauses. Yesterday, they taught fast moves and interpretation to different orchestras. Tonight in Downey, they will be teaching smooth and sharp moves and the apilado style.

The separate leader and follower classes are like tango yoga. You learn exercises and poses to help you gain muscle memory. For such little movement, there’s a lot of sweat involved. This is essentially a master class in Argentine tango style.

The apilado style can also be called milonguero, almagro, cafe or confiteria. What it eams is literally piled up. That’s the strong tango lean and the very reason why followers, usually women wear such high heels. The heels force the lean and that could lead to slumping, but Larici and Barrionuevo focus on keeping your posture with a strong core and shoulders down and back.

In this style, the embrace must be close, the follower’s right cheek is against the leader’s right cheek–or if you’re short like me, the right side of your head is leaned against his cheek. To maintain the embrace, the steps must be small and the knees must be slightly flexed. This kind of embrace naturally leads to the volcada.

The lessons are every Monday and Tuesday of October at the Elks Club in Downey (11233 Woodruff Ave, Downey). Don’t miss your chance because it’s hard to say how long this couple will be teaching weekly lessons since they often travel internationally to perform and teach.  Tonight’s schedule is: Separate followers and leaders style classes 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; intermediate class on apilado style from 9:05 to 10:30 p.m. Each class is $18.

DWTS 15: Week 3 has Melissa Rycroft and Kelly Monaco tied for top spot

Last night (Monday, Oct. 8, 2012) on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars,” there was a tie for the top between  Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani and Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy. At the bottom again was Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas with 22.5. Tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 9) is a double elimination so there’s double trouble.

Palin and Ballas improved over their score from last week (18), but still were at the bottom of the leader board with 22.5 after performing the paso doble that originally was performed by Derek Hough and Joanna Krupa. That’s a controversial pairing–daughter of the family values Republican Sarah Palin and the Playboy model who has a reality TV celebrity habit and a live-in relationship still.

At least Ballas couldn’t go bonkers with this one. Still the oldest contestant, Kirstie Alley, scored better with a 24. She and Maksim Chmerkovskiy tied with Drew Lachey and Anna Trebunskaya.

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough were in third place. Last week’s top scoring team, Sabrina Bryan and Louis van Amstel were in a four-way tie for fourth with Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd, Apolo Anton Ohno and Karina Smirnoff and Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower.

You can still vote online through the website or by Facebook.

  1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  2. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)
  3. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)
  4. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  5. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  6. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)
  7. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)
  8. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)
  9. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  10. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)
  11. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

Take iconic and be more iconic.


Cha cha cha

Trebunskaya sexed it up with the costumes and stripping Lachey’s shirt.

Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)

  • Crazy in Love“—Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z
  • Joey McIntyre & Ashly DelGrosso (Season 1)
  • Song: “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé
    Score: 20 (7,7,6)

Did you like Maksim with the long hair? Of course, we always like Maksim without the shirt. The strategy here was to improve the technique and camp it up.  This almost made iconic night worth it.

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24.0 (8.0,8.0,8.0)


Is it possible for Apolo Anton Ohno to be steamier than Gilles Marini? Marini and Burke received two tens when they performed this and here’s where being an actor really helps. Marini was suave but sexy as the devil. Ohno was sophisticated but not with the same intensity as Marini.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 25.5 (9.0,8.0,8.5)

Paso doble

With this dance and partner, Val finally rises out of the shadow of his brother Maksim. Kelly and Val have chemistry, but Kelly doesn’t bristle with the kind of powerful physicality that Laila Ali had–few women do. With Laila Ali, you thought that she and Maksim could punch it out and Maksim would lose. With Kelly and Maksim it’s more a match of forceful personalities.

Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)

Can Bristol Palin ever equal the sex appeal and technical skills of Joanna Krupa. You know the answer is no. Ballas goes kooky and they get to play white queen and black king. This is a chess metaphor and has nothing to do with race.

The judges felt it was their best dance of the season–that’s one out of three. It had the most content and attack.

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 22.5 (7.5,7.5,7.5)

Sabrina Bryan is a strong woman, even if she’s the youngest contestant. However, judge Carrie Ann Inaba thought this team brought nothing new artistically to this routine.

Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

Scary Spice was definitely scarier than Sabrina Bryan. Bruno called her an “adrenaline charged dominatrix.”

With Emmitt Smith, there were some awkward moments, but he is already a commanding presence. There was a scary moment, but it all ends well.

Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 25.0 (8.5,8.0,8.5)

Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke had already seen this paso doble–twice. He competed against Mario Lopez and won.


As expected Derek Hough decided to up the acrobatics and even included an illegal lift and a lot of drama at the end.

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 26.5 (9.0,8.0,9.5)

  • “Hey Pachuco”—Royal Crown Revue
  • Helio Castroneves & Julianne Hough (Season 5)
  • Score: 30

I think Johnson and Hough lacked the sophistication that Castroneves and Julianne had.  When Castroneves and Hightower performed their own quickstep it had an amazing amount of joy–even with the slight bobble when Castroneves stepped on Hightower’s dress.

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

I can’t choose. I love both versions and both sets of costumes.


Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 27.0 (9.0,9.0,9.0)

Of course, Martinez didn’t have to perform all the drops and turns that Rycroft did because he’s the guy.


Don’t you love Gilles Marini doing the tango. Menacing and erotic, Marini delivered another solid performance, but lost points for his hold and some footwork mishaps.

Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 25.5 (8.5,8.5,8.5)

Week 1, it was Drew Lachey and his partner Anna Trebunskaya who were in the bottom two. Week 2, it was Hélio Castroneves and his partner Chelsie Hightower who survived the bottom two.

I’m hoping that Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas will be eliminated and most likely Drew Lachey will go as well. With Joey Fatone gone, the entertainment factor is low with this cast so I’m hoping that Kirstie Alley and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy will continue to dance.

Remember, you can vote online until 8 a.m. PST by going to the ABC DWTS official page for voting or by using Facebook.

DWTS All-Stars: Foxtrot

The full leader board for Monday night:

  1. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke: 24.5
  2. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 24.0
  3. Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel: 22.5
  4. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 22.0/Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff: 22.0
  5. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy: 21.5/Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5/Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 21.5
  6. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 21
  7. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson: 20.5
  8. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas: 19.5
  9. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 19
  10. Pamela Anderson & Tristan MacManus: 17


Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd: 24.0

Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough: 22.

Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya: 21.5

Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower: 21.5

Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani: 21

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 19

DWTS 15: Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower

Did you know who Helio Castroneves was before he won “Dancing with the Stars” during season 5? Who thought an Indy 500 driver would be able to captivate an audience and have a fan base?

Teamed with Julianne Hough, he charmed. Julianne Hough won’t be returning, although we expect her to show up during training, so his new partner Chelsie Hightower is the right height, but does she have the right chemistry?  Does she have the experience to win? Her highest placement was with Ty Murray during season 8 when they made the semi-finals and finished fourth. During season 12, she was paired with Romeo for a fifth place finish. Roshon Fegan and Hightower finished sixth last season.

Hightower has had some judgement errors like the infamous dog house choreography with Michael Bolton.

Vote: 1-800-868-3404

Age: 37

Born: 10 May 1975


Season: 5

  • Winners: Hélio Castroneves and Julianne Hough
  • Second: Mel B. and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Third: Marie Osmond and Jonatan Roberts

Best dance:

  • Cha cha cha (30)
  • Foxtrot (30)

Worst dance:

  • Rumba (23)

Castroneves and Hough started season 5 with a 25 (8, 9, 8) for the foxtrot to “Bewitched” by Steve Lawrence. Castroneves was suave and had the high score for the men in a two-night (women first, then men) first-dance premiere. The only team that did better was Cheetah girl Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas with a 26 for their cha cha cha (9, 8, 9).

Week 2, Castroneves showed his Latin roots by earning a 27 (9, 9, 9) for a mambo to Santana’s “Para los Rumberos.”  That was the high score of the night. Bryan and Ballas were one point behind after received a 26 (9, 8, 9) for their quickstep to “They’re Red Hot” by Robert Johnson.

Week 3 was a different story. The quick moving jive wasn’t Castroneves’ dance and they earned a 24 (8, 8, 8) dancing to “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde. The high score that night was 27 in what was a three-way tie for first between Bryan and Ballas, Mel B. and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Jane Seymour and Tony Dovolani.

Week 4, Bryan and Ballas reigned supreme with a perfect score of 30/30 for their paso doble (to “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)) but Castroneves and Hough were tied for second with Jennie Garth and Derek Hough (paso doble) and Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska. Garth and Hough split the judges (8, 10, 9) with the paso doble to “Because We Can” by Fatboy Slim. Mathison and Sliwinska received all nines for their paso doble to the theme from the movie “Superman” by John Williams. Castroneves and Hough also received all nines for their Viennese waltz to “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls.

By week 6, Castroneves was able to gain the respect of head judge Len Goodman with his cha cha cha. Goodman gave him a 10 while the other judges oddly game him and Hough nines for their routine to “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown. Castroneves wasn’t the high score during that week (Mel B. and Chmerkovskiy received a perfect 30) or week 7 when he and Hough were tied for third with Osmond and Roberts. Mel B. and Chmerkovskiy again had the lead with Garth and Derek Hough in third.

Week 8 and 9 were a different story. Mel B. and Chmerkovskiy was behind by one point after their tango to “Personal Jesus” by Depech Mode and mambo to “Mambo Jambo” by Perez Prado, receiing a 27 (9, 9, 9) and a 29 (9, 10, 10) respectively. Castroneves performed a paso doble to “Amparito Roca” by Unidad de Musica de la Guardia Real for a 27 (9, 9, 9) and their quickstep received a perfect 30.

In week 9, Mel B. and Chmerkovskiy (Viennese waltz and paso doble) and Castroneves and Hough (foxtrot and cha cha cha) received a perfect 60/60. The Viennese waltz was to Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and the paso doble was to The Stones “OI Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Castoneves and Hough danced to “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin for their foxtrot and to the Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster.”

The judges would give Mel B. and Chmerkovskiy a one point edge during the finals, but it was the viewers who decided on Castroneves and Hough. Mel B. performed a cha cha cha (to “Car Wash” by Rose Royce, a mambo to “Mambo Jambo” by Perez Prado and their freestyle to “The Way I Are” by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson and D.O.E. Castroneves and Hough went for stamina with their lively jive to “Let’s Twist Again” by Chubby Checkers” and a quickstep to “Hey Pachuco” and their freestyle to “Land of 1000 Dances.”

Castroneves had definite chemistry with Hough, but we’ll have to see if Chelsie Hightower can push Castroneves to be competitive and take advantage of his natural charm.  He’s a solid dancers with stamina and he knows how to strategize and pace himself.

DWTS 15: Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus

With the inclusion of Pamela Anderson on “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” you know ABC is back to the formula of include Playboy bunny for sex appeal. Have they forgotten the lessons of season 10 and season 9?

Vote: 1-800-868-3405

Age: 45

Born: 1 July 1967


Season: 10

  • Winners: Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough
  • Second: Evan Lysacek and Anna Trebunskaya
  • Third: Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
  • Sixth: Pamela Anderson and Damian Whitewood

Best dance:

  • Waltz (24)
  • Rumba (24)

Worst dance:

  • Cha cha cha (21)
  • Paso doble (21)
  • Foxtrot (22)
  • Argentine tango (22)

Season 9 had Joanna Krupa who was paired with Derek Hough. She finished fourth. If she had finished first, that might have been uneasy times for the ABC/Disney connection. After the season ended, she was the model of a PETA add that left little to the imagination and managed to anger the Catholic church. Krupa will be one of the housewives in “The Real Housewives of Miami.”

Pamela Anderson is more infamous than Krupa, but that didn’t help her dancing. During week 1, she received a 21 for her cha cha cha to “Gimme All Your Lovin/” by ZZ Top (7, 6, 8). Week 2, she tried to channel Marilyn Monroe for her foxtrot to “I Wanna Be Loved B You” and received a 22 (7, 7, 8). She wasn’t the low score of the night, but she ended up in the bottom two. She outscored Chad Ochocinco (16), Aiden Turner (19), Shannen Doherty (20), Buzz Aldrin (12), Jake Pavelka (20)  and Kate Gosselin (15). Doherty was eliminated.

Week 3, the team did better with a 21 for their paso doble (7, 7, 7) to “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals. Week 4, saw the team perform a very sexy rumba for a double score 23 (7, 8, 8) for technique and 24 (8, 7, 9) for performance. They danced to “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt.

Week 5 was Movie Week and Anderson performed to the Dolly Parton tune “9 to 5” for a scored that divided the judges, 21 (7, 6, 8). She wasn’t winning over head judge Len Goodman and she didn’t win over the fans. She was in the bottom two. Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani were eliminated; they had the lowest score, 15 (5, 5, 5). Goodman was only a little bit more impressed the following week when Anderson and Whitewood performed the Argentine tango to “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode. The team received a 22 (7, 7, 8).  Pavelka was eliminated.

In their final week of competition, Anderson and Whitewood performed the waltz for a 24 (8, 8, 8). Goodman was finally impressed, but the fans were not. Anderson and Whitewood were in the bottom two (with Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy who had scored a 27 for their quickstep) and had the lowest score for their individual dance.

Anderson and Disney star Sabrina Bryan are the only two out of the 12 who did not make the finals. Bryan competed with Mark Ballas during season 5 and had higher scores for the six weeks she danced, including one perfect score for her paso doble (to “You Spin Me Round Like a Record”).

I wouldn’t fault her chemistry with Whitewood either. MacManus is a problem. He doesn’t actively promote himself like Maksim Chmerkovskiy. His previous celebrity dance partners were Nancy Grace during season 13 and Gladys Knight during season 14.  Despite her last name, Grace was less than graceful. The teams average score was 21.3. With Knight his team had only a slightly better average, 21.5, but I often felt he didn’t know how to show Knight off to her best advantage, particularly in the dips.

Grace and MacManus were out in the eight week. Knight and MacManus were eliminated during the fifth week.

We don’t expect Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus to last long, particularly if the emphasis is on technique.

Tango festival in San Diego this weekend

Want to experience the sensual nature of Argentine tango by spending an intensive weekend learning from some of the world’s best dancers? Head on over to San Diego for a short day trip or a one-nighter. Tangoearth is a two-day festival, Saturday through Sunday (August 18-19) of Argentine tango related activity.
Featured are not only professional dancers who have graced the stages of Broadway-style shows, but also two dancers who have performed on “So You Think You Dance Dance” and choreographed for both the Los Angeles and the London productions, Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo.
Besides Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo, the instructors include Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes, Walter Perez and Leonardo Sardella, Claudio Otero and Elizabeth Roccella, Jerry Perez and Christine Urgell and guest teachers Angel Echeverria and Julie Friedgen.

Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo are both from Argentina. They trained in ballet, jazz, stage and social tango. Miriam is famous as the iconic image of the Broadway-London hit “Forever Tango.”

Leonardo was part of the cast of a touring production of “ Forever Tango” and danced at the most famous tango shows in Buenos Aires.

They are produce Los Angeles de Tango Festival in Culver City.  In January 2009 they achieved the Gold Medal representing Argentina on the international dance competition. They get first place as the tango duo on NBC’s new series “Superstars of Dance” in 2009.

Leonardo’s brother, Carlos Barrionuevo began to dance tango when he was 12 years old and developed his technique by studying the great masters of tango. He was invited  to perform with  Ricardo “Chiqui” Pereyra, Enrique Dumas, Raul Lavie, Maria Grana, Guillermo Fernandez and Mariano Mores. In April of 2005, he  won  the championship of the Patagonia Tango Festival in San Carlos Bariloche.  Carlos has  performed in many  different tango shows such as “Tango Emotion,” “Tango Historias Breves,” “Sabor a Tango,” “Tango Odisea,” and ” Tangorama.”

In Buenos Aires January 2007 Carlos began performing with Mayte Valdes together in prestigious tango houses such as “El Viejo Almacen,” ” El cafe Tortonni” and ” Chiquin Tango.” Recently, Mayte Valdes and Carlos Barrionuevo starred as the lead characters in “Niña Del Tango,” a short film directed by Jason Eberly. The film is currently making its rounds in the international film festival circuit.

Jerry and Christine have been cast as principal dancers in theatre: “Tango Connection” with The Mariela Franganillo Company NYC; “Gypsy Tango,” “Amor De Tango,” “Eras Del Tango.” Their most current project is the comedy feature film “Tony Tango,” working as featured dancers, actors and choreographers.

Leonardo Sardella  has trained with renowned tango instructors such as Juan Carlos Copes, Rodolfo Dinzel, Osvaldo Sotto and Lorena Hermosida, Javier Rodriguez, Angel Coria, Jorge Firpo and Aurora Lubiz, Maria and Carlos Rivarola. In 2010,he moved to New York where he teaches and performs at milongas. He also participed with Malevaje at Queer Tango Festival San Francisco, Queer Tango Festival Mexico, Boston Queer Community, Arthur Murray studios in Hamdem and for Hispanic Federation.

Presently he is the director and choreographer with Walter Perez of “Malevaje.”

Walter Perez  has performed in Argentina with several dance companies ( Neotango, Los Tangueros, De rifilon), participated on Television variety shows (Susana Gimenez,Video Match,Las tres Marias). During 1999 and 2000 he was touring in Argentina and Uruguay with the show Tangou (artistic director:Anibal Pachano). In 2000,he moved to NY ,where he teaches and performs.

There is lots of parking availability at the park and is free, but but to early as weekends tend to be crowded.
Gala night:
Admission is $25 and is open to the public in general.
No outside beverages are allowed. There is going is a no-host full bar.
Yoga class:
If you are planning to take the free yoga class, please bring your own mat. Class starts 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Online registration is now closed;  you must sign up at the door only. Saturday registration opens 9:30 a.m., Sunday at 10 a.m. Remember to arrive early to enjoy a complimentary breakfast with registration.

Hall of Champions in Balboa Park
2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101

You can find all the information about the festival at:

Is ‘Bunheads’ too white?

Last month Shonda Rhimes tweeted a comment that was a bit critical of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s new ABC Family show, “Bunheads.”

“Hey@abcfbunheads: Really? You couldn’t even cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?”

Sherman-Palladino told Media Mayhem, “I’m not going to get into a pissing match with Shonda Rhimes because she’s got like 15,000 shows. She’s doing just fine for herself. As far as the women thing goes, I’ve always felt like women have never supported–in a general sense–women to the level that they should. It’s been my experience through my entire career that the biggest boost I’ve gotten and the biggest accolade have all been from men.”

That wasn’t really the point. Sherman-Palladino went on to note she had to find four girls and little time (a week and a half) who could dance on point.

Rhimes created “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” and both center on white well-to-do women in a super soapy (opera) set up. On “Grey’s Anatomy,” that’s Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey and Grey is now married to McDreamy, Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Her best friend is Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) who is Asian and almost marries the black Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington).  Yang is a two-fer; she was raised Jewish. The chief of staff in the beginning was black (James Pickens as Dr. Richard Webber) and the person in charge of the interns, Bailey (Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey), is also black.

“Private Practice” centers around Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) who works with Peter Wilder (Tim Daly), her friend Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald), and Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs). Naomi is gone, but Sam remains. Both Bennetts are black, but the central focus is on the white Addison and her romances which have included the white Wilder, and the black Sam as well Jake Reilly.

“Bunheads” is less a soap opera than “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Private Practice” because, after all, this is ABC Family. It is blindingly white–and we’re not just talking about the casting. Although set in California in a small coastal town, the girls are paler than some vampires (not the ones we knew in “Buffy”).

There is some diversity in the show–in the background unnamed dance students. I don’t buy that it would have been hard to find dancers of a more diverse background. Put out a call, and they’ll be there. And really, there isn’t that much dancing in the episodes thus far.

The show missed a chance to talk about the prejudices against African Americans in dance and particularly ballet. It might have opened up the possibility of having the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on. One wonders why the writers decided to build up the possibility of the Joffrey Ballet company holding auditions in this small town.

The Joffrey Ballet is ironically once of the less strict and structured of the major American ballet companies. It experimented with bringing in current styles of dance and different body types into the ballet repertoire and is supposed to be a multicultural ballet company with dancers of diversity of race and ethnic background.  Their curriculum would include modern dance, jazz and character instead of just ballet.

For someone interested in a more classical approach,the American companies to auditions for would be the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre or the San Francisco Ballet.  Joffrey, except for the three-week program that is in Los Angeles, it based in Chicago. Do any of those girls look ready to go off to Chicago?

The San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West (in Salt Lake City) were both founded by the same brothers and are also of high caliber and more likely places for these girls to apprentice.

Being that the sitcom is based in California and coastal, the community should include Latinos and Asians. California was originally a part of Mexico before the Mexican-American War. Asians, many from island countries or coastal areas, flocked to the coastal regions to fish or become servants.

For Sherman-Palladino to imply that because Rhimes is a woman she shouldn’t criticize other women in the biz or that women should support other women just because of their gender is a different kind of prejudice and just as short-sighted and limiting. While it might have been groan-worthy obvious is there had been a cast of girls in which one was the token minority, it might be better if the show reflected California’s population better.

Only 40 percent of California’s population is non-Hispanic white. Six percent if black and so having a token black would have been a skewing of the racial makeup. Latinos of any race are 37.6 percent. Asians make up 13 percent with Pacific Islanders 0.4 percent. So that would be 2 white, 2 Latinos (any race) and 1 Asian.

If Sherman-Palladino had problems casting, she had several seasons of “So You Think You Can Dance” and the people who actually auditioned for the real ballet companies to consider. There are thousands of girls of all races who would jump at a chance in open auditions and not all of them would be age appropriate, but they’d at least look that age. Consider how old Alan Ruck and Matthew Broderick were when they played high school seniors (29 and 24 respectively) in the classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Watching “First Position,” one gets an idea of what an opportunity was missed in “Bunheads.” The directors found dancers from diverse backgrounds–cultural, racial and economic and that gave us a better idea of the devotion and different problems of the dancers.

Yet it’s not just the racial and ethnic make-up that make we think “Bunheads” isn’t good TV. It’s the script that dismisses love, marriage and death too blithely and is wrapped up in that Cinderella needs to be saved by a rich man theme that makes is horribly unworthy of watching.

Dance and ‘Never Stand Still’

Sometimes comfort and pillows aren’t about laying around and staring at the TV or the ceiling. At Jacob’s Pillow, it’s about literal and mental leaps of faith and setting new ideas into motion because, the narrator Bill T. Jones, intones dance can “never stand still.” “Never Stand Still” is the name of Ron Honsa’s documentary about Jacob’s Pillow Dance because dance isn’t about standing still and The Pillow pushes to explore dance as an ever-changing medium.

“Never Stand Still” opens this Friday, 6 July 2012 for a one-week engagement at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. If you love dance, make a dash and be inspired.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance is located in Becket, Massachusetts. Once an abandoned farmhouse, it’s the location of the oldest summer dance festival in the United  States and in 2003 was listed as a National Historic Landmark District.

Called The Pillow, the first settlers came in 1790 and the route that zigzagged up the hill looked like a ladder to the locals who made a biblical connection, and there was a large stone that resembled a pillow. Thus the name.

Modern dance pioneer, Ted Shawn bought the place in 1931 when his partnership and marriage to Ruth St. Denis had gotten rocky. Their Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts was based in far-off Los Angeles. Founded in 1915, that school had students like Martha Graham and silent movie star Louise Brooks. Yet the Great Depression and a clash of two creative egos, brought Denishawn to an end in 1929.

Shawn sought refuge in Massachusetts and the company of men. His Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers sought to redefine dance in terms of masculine movement. This documentary has plenty of talking heads who begin speaking to the camera but end up narrating movements–dance rehearsals or performances. From old black and white photos, to grainy archival films to more modern clips, we see a virtual who’s who of modern dance and not just in America.

Those who were there at the beginning such as Merce Cunningham and Barton Mumaw reminisce. Alvin Ailey was mentored here and debuted his “Revelations.” (We don’t see Ailey, but we do see someone perform his piece) Mark Morris talks about his time there as does Bill Irwin who brought a bit of vaudeville to The Pillow stage. We see Irwin perform and consider what does a dancer do when he gets old, and more contemporary pieces from younger dancers such as the Lombard Twins. The Pillow was a comfortable, safe place to meet, experiment and make dance.

Of course, it wasn’t only men who danced at The Pillow. St. Denis and Graham performed there the documentary notes. There’s an extended passage devoted to George Balanchine’s muse Suzanne Farrell who protests that there is freedom of expression in ballet. If you’ve watch the CW’s “Breaking Pointe” you’ll realize that personality and personal expression is important for someone who wants to be a principal dancer.  When we think of classical dance, we also have to consider other countries. Shawn and Denishawn had their “Oriental” dances, but here in the documentary we see Asian dance performed by someone who was trained in that tradition: Shantala Shivalingappa.

Some international dance troupes made their U.S. debuts at The Pillow: The Royal Danish Ballet, the New Zealand male-centric Black Grace and the Hofesh Shechter Company. Modern dance companies also formed here such as Bad Boys of Dance or Chunky Moves.

Yet Honsa’s documentary is more a celebration of a successful movement. He doesn’t dwell on the hardships and financial problems that The Pillow faced as the documentary “Joffrey: Mavericks of Dance” did. It almost seems as if Shawn did things well enough that under his leadership The Pillow and his company did not suffer and this wasn’t true, particularly during World War II.  Shawn, however, did remain in charge, teaching classes until a few months before his death in 1972 at age 80.

This history of The Pillow, “Never Stand Still,” celebrates in dance, what The Pillow was and is. In light of its prior history as a waystation in the Underground Railroad, The Pillow resonates as a haven for those on the margins of culture.  Dancers talk about what The Pillow meant historically and what it meant to them. Some former students have come back as teachers, suggesting a tradition of sharing that is likely to continue. The diversity of disciplines, cultures and training fuses to create an energizing impulse that can be felt internationally.

The movie just opened in Los Angeles this Friday at the Laemmle Music Hall, but is playing across the country. The festival itself is in full swing and if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, check it out. There seem to be plenty of opportunities to see what happens when a bunch of dancers get together and assemble a new program or a new company or a new collaboration. Summer really is the time to get out and dance and this documentary comes in time to inspire you to “Never Stand Still.”