By Armando Martin
Former U.S. Champion
FADS National Dance Director
A new season of “Dancing With the Stars” kicked off last week with great fanfare and lots of promise for the development of good dance talent.
The opening number showed all of America that the show has the ability to entertain us like no other program on TV. It also showed us new additions to the show - great and talented dancers like Mark Ballas and Derek Hough.
Marky, as he is better known in the world of Dancesport, comes from true dancing royalty. His parents are none other than Corky and Shirley Ballas, former World and Open British Latin Champions. Marky displays his dad’s fun, go-for-broke personality and his mom’s impeccable technique. This young man is going to be a real force this season.
The other great addition is Derek Hough, who is actually Julianne’s natural brother and Marky’s adopted brother. Derek was also trained by Corky and Shirley, which is evident in his Latin dancing. Both Derek and Marky have done some stints in London’s West End, which is England’s equivalent of Broadway.
Moving on to the Stars in the show in order of appearance, the first couple was Jennie Garth and Derek. Jennie is a very lovely lady who has some natural talent, but really needs to loosen up and not take the whole thing so seriously. She looks like she is trying too hard and I am afraid that Derek’s lack of teaching experience will be a detriment to this couple. Tonight they performed the Cha-Cha and scored a 21.
In the second spot dancing a Foxtrot were Alex and Josie Maran. A better looking couple will be hard to find even in Hollywood, but unfortunately looks will only take you so far in a dance contest and as of the writing of this article, they had already been voted off the show as the first couple to say goodbye this season. Let this be a lesson to models - don’t enter DWTS, you are always the first ones to go.
Performing a dynamic Cha-Cha in the third spot was Sabrina Bryan and Mark, as far as I am concerned, the competition can stop right now, we have our winner. Let everybody go home. But I am sure ABC television has to honor all its advertising commitments with the sponsors, and are therefore forced to keep the show going until Sabrina is crowned the winner. Their performance was deservedly awarded a 26.
In the fourth spot tonight were Marie Osmond and Jonathan. What a perfectly nice Mormon couple. Marie is an absolute pleasure to watch. She may not be the best dancer in the show, but I believe she’s going to go far this season. She brings nice, cute and fun wrapped up in a great little package. Fox Trot was their first dance and they scored a very respectable 21.
If there is someone that can give Sabrina a run for her money is Mel B. dancing with Maks. Maks better work very hard this season and come up with some good, dynamic and entertaining choreography to give Mel a shot at the finals. In Mel he has the best technical dancer in the competition. While she does not have the pure power and abandonment that Sabrina has, Mel has great feet, legs and posture. Okay, maybe we better wait until the end. Scary Spice was awarded a 24 by the judges.
The last lady to dance this night was Jane Seymour, and what a lady she is. I know that I keep contradicting myself but there is an outside chance that Jane could actually win this thing. First she has the most experienced partner of all in Tony. He is a true dance professional in every sense of the word and has the ability to teach and bring out the best in his pupils. With Jane, he has a lot to work with. She is classy, balanced and very talented. In the end it will come down to who is voting more – middle-aged people or teenagers. Jane and Tony received a well-deserved 24.
I will talk about the guys in my next article. Stay tuned.