"DWTS" Week 1 Recap: Ohhhhh, We Wanna Dance with Somebody

Here is a universally acknowledged, if not always trumpeted, truth: The stars of "Dancing with the Stars" are pretty bad dancers. Are they fun to watch? Of course they are. Can they really, credibly pull off an Argentine tango—even the best of them, even after spending several weeks inside the "DWTS" machine? Not really.

But this time might be different, you guys. Because as last night's premiere proved, there are some legitimately talented dancers in the Season 24 field—including a few major surprises. (Rashad Jennings? Who knew?)

The evening began with the kind of aggressively sparkly, delightfully ridiculous number we didn't realize we'd been missing in the days since the last Mirror Ball Trophy was handed out. But oh, yes—we HAVE missed this:

Inevitably, the competitive performances that followed included some duds (points for effort, Chris Kattan). But the contestants who ended up at the top of the leaderboard pulled off some pretty impressive stuff. Particularly the so-talented-it-just-ain't-fair Simone Biles, who's hoping to join her Olympic teammate Laurie Hernandez in the Mirror Ball Trophy club. Based on her remarkably precise tango with Sasha Farber, she just might do that.

We'd never heard of running back Rashad Jennings before his "DWTS" turn, but we definitely know his name now: Dude can MOVE. His super-smooth cha cha with Emma Slater was solid gold—and the surprise hit of the night.

And let's talk for a minute about Heather Morris, who ended up tied for third but is, now and forever, first in our hearts. We think the judges were a tad harsh on her Viennese waltz with Maks Chmerkovskiy, which was admittedly not our favorite "DWTS" performance of all time but was still solidly executed. Is she being graded on a curve because she has prior dance experience? Probably. But this girl does not lack personality, and if it didn't come out in last night's sweetly demure routine, it sure as heck will once she gets to tackle a Latin style.

What did y'all think? Tune in next week to watch Chris Kattan go home find out whose "DWTS" journey will be ending first—and then check back here for our recap of the danciest highlights.

Want more Dance Spirit?

Latest Posts

Carlos Gonzalez (Ernesto Linnermann, courtesy Gonzalez)

4 Latinx Dancers Breaking Boundaries

It's National Hispanic Heritage Month, a period observed from September 15 to October 15 that recognizes the contributions of Latinx and Hispanic communities to American culture. The dance world has been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of those contributions, with Latinx dance artists leaving legacies that have helped move it to a more inclusive place.

At Dance Spirit, we're celebrating the month by highlighting four Latinx dancers whose groundbreaking work is opening doors for the next generation.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Goucher College students performing Women's Resistance (Jason Lee, courtesy Goucher College)

4 Colleges Committed to Diversifying Their Dance Curriculums

In the face of today's racial crisis, many Americans are now reckoning with their own complicity in the oppression of marginalized groups, and asking, "What can I do?" For college dance programs, which help mold the minds of the next generation of dance artists, this is an especially important question. For decades, most departments have centered on white, Western styles—ballet, modern, contemporary—rather than dedicating resources to the world's myriad other dance forms.

Fortunately, some college dance programs have pledged to diversify their course offerings, and to dismantle the layers of white supremacy that still pervade our art on a larger scale. And while many colleges are now beginning this work, a few have made
it a central part of their mission for years. Here are four schools with longstanding commitments to a more equitable dance education.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Class at Butler University (Michaela Semenza, courtesy Butler University)

The Truth About Grades as a Dance Major

You may know what it means to earn a silver, gold, or platinum award for your performance—but probably not an A, B, or C grade. Often, dancers don't encounter the idea of grading in dance until they enter collegiate dance programs. When you're evaluating an inherently subjective art form, what distinguishes an A student from a B student?

The answer: It's complicated. "There's a lot that goes into creating a well-rounded, successful student, which hopefully produces a well-rounded, successful professional," says Angelina Sansone, a ballet instructor at University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

In college programs, set movement phrases, repertory selections, or audition-style classes often serve as graded midterms or final exams. Written components such as self-assessments, audition research projects, and dance history tests might count as well. But the largest contributing factor to your grade is usually how you approach the work, day in and day out.

Dance Spirit talked to faculty across the country to discover what it takes to be a top student—and why dance grades matter.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search