"DWTS" Week 2 Recap: The First Cut Is the Deepest
"Dancing With the Stars" doesn't mess around—we're only two weeks in and the eliminations have already begun. Not to mention, it seems like everyone is injured. But the show must go on, as it did last night. After all, there's a Mirrorball at stake! From the rhinestones, to the spray tans, to the first elimination (gasp), here's what went down last night.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson danced a sizzling tango, even though Muniz was dealing with some pretty substantial, residual pain from when he broke his back (!!!) a few years ago. But like a true dancer, he pushed through, receiving a score of 23 and some pretty high praise from the judges.
There was also a three-way tie for the evening's highest score: Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Vanessa Lachey and Maks Chmerkovskiy were all neck and neck with a score of 24, and they all deserved it 100%. First of all, Arlen has absolutely no feeling in her legs (she was paralyzed for an entire decade), so watching her glide across the ballroom like a seasoned pro is beyond inspiring. Not to mention, girl can dance. She and Val seemed so at ease with one another, and their routine was a joy to watch.
Frankie Muniz wasn't the only one in pain last night. Vanessa Lachey sliced her entire toenail in rehearsal (#dancerproblems—welcome to the club, girl!), yet danced like she'd just had the most rejuvenating physical therapy session and massage of her life. She and Val danced, as Carrie Ann exclaimed, like "liquid gold," and I have to agree.
And rounding out the three-way tie were Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold. Their sparkling waltz was textbook "DWTS," and the audience (and judges) ate it right up. It's too early to predict anything, but they're definitely a couple to watch.
But as we know all too well (we've had 25 seasons to learn this, after all), someone had to be the first to go. Barbara Corcoran and Keo Motsepe were sent packing, but it wasn't all sad. Corcoran said that the show was "the most exciting thing I've done in my whole life." Awwww #allthefeels. Tune in next time for your weekly dose of bedazzled drama.
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!