Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dancing With The Stars - Week 1 Commentary

Season 12 of Dancing with the Stars is finally upon us. Each week Syracuse, NY FADS co-owner and award-winning ballroom dancer Natasha Oreshkina will be sharing her thoughts on the competition and giving us her take on which celebrities had the best week on the dance floor and which ones should be getting ready to pack their bags.



[Natasha] On the premiere episode of Dancing with the Stars we had 11 different celebrity couples coming from many different areas – from athletes and talk show hosts to models and even a Disney star. Having seen them dance only once, it’s difficult at this stage of the competition to give an accurate prognosis. But here’s a brief list of what I saw from the first show.

1st Place – Ralph Macchio (24 points)
Ralph Macchio danced with pro partner Karina Smirnoff. They danced the foxtrot, and I thought he had the best routine of the night. His dance was very smooth and elegant with nice lines, and the judges saw that, too. It was a very good performance.

2nd Place – Kirstie Alley (23 points)
Kirstie Alley danced the cha-cha with professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and they finished one point behind Macchio. I was surprised by Kirstie’s performance – I didn’t think she would dance so well. Before she danced, I was asking myself, “How is she going to move? How is she going to keep up with Maksim?” On the first night, celebrities usually don’t have good technique. But she was very balanced and her timing was very good. Maksim is a very experienced professional, and he picked a routine that was not too complicated and enough to make his partner look good. She has a lot of chances to win the competition.

T-3rd Place – Chelsea Kane (21 points)
Chelsea danced with professional Mark Ballas and they did the foxtrot. I thought Chelsea also looked good. Her routine was progressive and flowing, with good movement. She needs to work on her footwork, but she’s got good potential.

T-3rd Place – Hines Ward (21 points)
Hines Ward danced the cha-cha with dance pro Kym Johnson. It was a very nice dance. His lines and balance were very good for a first dance. I look forward to seeing what they can do in the future.

T-4th Place – Chris Jericho (19 points)
Chris Jericho danced the cha-cha with pro partner Cheryl Burke. I always like to watch Cheryl’s choreography and I had a lot of fun watching their routine. Their cha-cha showed a lot of energy – I liked the leather and Chris tearing off his sleeves! He needs to concentrate more on posture, though, and there was too much bending of his legs. Perhaps because of his wrestler training, he was also too tight in the shoulders.

T-4th Place – Romeo (19 points)
Romeo danced with professional Chelsie Hightower and they also did the cha-cha. I thought it was… okay – not so much fun and excitement as [fellow 4th Place finisher] Chris. You could see he was not ballroom dancing. Chelsie had a hard time with him – he doesn’t feel comfortable dancing ballroom style, so we’ll see how he does. He needs work.

T-5th Place – Petra Nemcova (18 points)
Petra Nemcova danced the foxtrot with pro partner Dmitry Chaplin. I was expecting a little more from Petra. As a model, I thought she would be a little more graceful on the floor. She was a little too closed – she needs to dance more openly and show her personality. She can do better than her first dance.

*On the question of whether or not Petra’s pelvic injury will affect her ability to compete: It might happen – especially the Latin dances might bother her. But it’s also a good opportunity for her to develop her body [through therapy] and pick up her self-confidence.

T-5th Place – Kendra Wilkinson (18 points)
Kendra Wilkinson danced the cha-cha with professional dancer Louis van Amstel. She was not bad, but I can’t say she was one of my favorites. Her footwork was not so good. The dance showed a lot of energy, but she looked a little too nervous in all of the excitement. When someone is dancing a routine, the audience should not have to worry or think about trips or falls. The dancers should be having fun and enjoy what they’re doing, and so that way the audience can enjoy it, too.

9th Place – Sugar Ray Leonard (17 points)
Sugar Ray Leonard did the foxtrot with pro partner Anna Trebunsakaya. What Sugar Ray did didn’t look like the foxtrot. The foxtrot should be smooth, elegant, with nice lines. He was so messy I couldn’t tell what it was.

10th Place – Wendy Williams (14 points)
Wendy Williams danced with professional Tony Dovolani and they did the cha-cha. [deep sigh] Very sad. Tony’s such a good teacher, we always hope he gets a good celebrity, but again this year not so. They didn’t look good. But Tony’s good, so hopefully he can straighten her out.

11th Place – Mike Catherwood (13 points)
Mike Catherwood danced the foxtrot with pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer. That was for sure the worst dance. Messy dance, posture not good – his shoulders were up, he looked nervous. The foxtrot should be a smooth dance, and he was awkward and stiff. I didn’t get the feeling they enjoyed dancing together. But I am looking forward to seeing what they can do in the future.


This season should be a very good season. There were three ties this week – so that’s good competition. Again, it’s hard to tell so early on how each celebrity will do, but after next week (the first elimination round) we’ll get a better idea of where they are.

- Natasha Oreshkina
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