I'm kind of bummed that "Dancing with the Stars" is back to airing just one night a week. Not only are Tuesdays a little sadder when they don't include Betsey Johnson doing the splits, but the tighter format also means that we see less of the "DWTS" pros and troupe dancers doing their thing in featured numbers. And those numbers are where the real mad hot ballroom happens. Sad. Face.
That said, it's nice that shrinking down the show means that every episode is, out of necessity, jam-packed—no weird fillers or overly long introductory videos. And the pro dancing that we did get this week was pretty amazing. I loved last night's high-energy, Marilyn Monroe-y opening number, in honor of the Movie Week theme. (Witney Carson makes the most perfect Marilyn ever, amirite??)
At this point in the competition, we're also starting to see some legitimately great dancing from the stars—or, rather, the other stars are finally catching up with the fantabulous Alfonso Ribeiro. Ribeiro and Carson's Austin Powers quickstep got solid 8s across the board from the judges, but the two couples who chose to channel older classic movies both earned perfect (!) scores. Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy's West Side Story jazz routine ("DWTS" is really branching out stylistically these days, eh?) was fiery, fun and impressively high-caliber—especially considering that they were forbidden from using any moves that resembled choreography from the movie. Bethany Mota and Derek Hough's jazzy Singin' in the Rain piece was, IMHO, the highlight of the night: Hough was feeling the pressure of living up to Gene Kelly, one of his idols, and pressure apparently does really great things to his choreography.
In a surprise twist, Randy Couture, whom I always assumed was a fan favorite, got the axe at the end of the night. This show is getting real more quickly than I expected. Let's just all agree to keep Alfonso around until the end, K? K.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?