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S23: Derek Hough

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We all should know by now that anybody paired up with Derek gets special treatment and gets over scored with his lyrical/theater type dances. The man's not a ballroom dancer and can't stay within the rules of ballroom dancing. He has used is the old choreography over and over and we have made a stand by voting againts him in the last 3 seasons. Let's stop him for a 4th time!

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The man's not a ballroom dancer and can't stay within the rules of ballroom dancing.

 

 

Derek is a trained ballroom dancer.

 

I ran across this on YouTube, some of Derek's dances, some from DWTS and some earlier:

 

 

 

 

I wish we could see him dancing full out with another pro more often; when dancing with a celeb partner he has to water down his dancing so much to match theirs.  But he really is a great dancer.

Edited by treeofdreams

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Derek is an amazing ballroom dancer, I don't think anyone could deny?  It's when his fans try to claim he is a genius, brilliant at other styles of dance, that it becomes disrespectful. If Derek stuck to ballroom dancing I honestly would not have a problem with him.

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Danseur said: "In Season 15, they all knocked off points for the broken rules in Derek's and Shawn's Quickstep..."

 

For their quickstep in week 3, they got 9-8-9.5=26.5 leaving them 1/2 point behind the top scorers Kelly and Melissa who got 27.  But they also got the encore which I think more than made up for getting a little scolding by the judges.

 

As I recall, the problem came during the finale when they were told to make corrections, and Derek grinned at the camera and basically said nope.  (He put the choice to Shawn who was geared to follow her coach's advise.)   I think Derek assumed he'd get away with it for the finale, but the judges weren't having it and gave a 9-8.5-9.5=27.   But that IMO was also the moment they lost the MBT, if one can go by the backlash (who does he think he is?) on twitter, facebook, various message boards and forums, etc.

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If Derek stuck to ballroom dancing I honestly would not have a problem with him.

 

Unfortunately, it is the show's decision to move in the direction of less ballroom dancing and more of other styles.  Can't blame him for that!  He has been learning the other styles because he had to; perhaps he has not yet mastered them to the same degree as the ballroom styles, but I think he is doing very well with them - and better than some of the other pros.

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If Derek stuck to ballroom dancing I honestly would not have a problem with him.

 

 

 

This is, from what I've seen, a philosophical difference. I'm paraphrasing from a few different interviews, (most recently Mark ones) but Mark and Derek, and to some extent Julianne, credit themselves with shaking up the show and fusing more dances together. With the goal of not being the best at the old genre, but creating something new for dance as a whole. They don't see dance as a static thing that is, and has rules handed down in a rulebook, but something much more fluid, to experiment with, mix and match, push and change. 

 

Personally, I love watching this experimentation. I don't have a dance background, but a visual arts one, and in visual arts you are trained in strict rules and technique, and then once those rules are in you - you break it. Evolve it, experiment with it. It's what I find exciting about art. Not every experiment works, but the sometimes you get a Van Gogh or a Picasso. It does help if you know the rules before you break them, which is why I find Derek is usually more successful at this than say, Allison.

 

That said, I think it's totally fine and understandable to prefer traditionalism. There are some damn fine realist painters! I just like living in a world that might also spit out a Rothko. 

 

I realize it may seem silly to compare a reality show to classical painters, but high/low culture is also my jam.

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I'm paraphrasing from a few different interviews, (most recently Mark ones) but Mark and Derek, and to some extent Julianne, credit themselves with shaking up the show and fusing more dances together.

 

I don't know how big of a mover or shaker Mark and Derek would be in the dance world as a whole, but I'd probably say that as far as DWTS goes they're probably a big reason why TPTB decided that traditional ballroom wasn't as exciting as the fusion stuff they do.

 

The problem that I have though, is that while that's fun and exciting sometimes, after awhile even that gets boring. I love a lot of Derek's early stuff because it was new and interesting. Now I almost don't even pay attention because it's like, oh yeah, of course, Derek's going off script and doing something jazzy and big and showy.

 

Part of the reason I love Sharna's Viennese waltz with Andy Dick so much was because it was so simple. He wasn't outstanding, the choreography wasn't intricate, but it was so different from anything else we got to see that night. It's become one dance that I remember most from that season. I think a lot of what Derek does gets lost in being "Derek" and "showy" and "innovative". (Same with Mark, except a lot of what he does gets lost in the themes his just can't seem to give up.)

Edited by McManda
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Yeah, I have no idea what sort of impact they have on the dance world outside of DWTS - and they are definitely on the commercial/popular culture end of things. I've just seen them express that that's what they're going for - or find interesting - and it lines up with what I find interesting. 

 

I definitely don't think they hit it out of the park every time. (And I also hope I don't imply that they're the only ones doing this sort of stuff, and I don't think they would imply it either.) I find Derek does a decent job of mixing up high concept/high production with more straightforward dances (this season his quickstep, tango, and Viennese waltz seemed danced fairly straight to me - a few broken holds aside) though I have heard him say he sometimes finds them less interesting. And I find some of the repetition in his stuff interesting, because you can sort of see how he might be iterating or working through an idea. Like the double room concept showing up in the trio with Nastia and then again in the dance with Julianne, or the big red drapes showing up in his tango with Bethany, morphing into flags with Sasha/Nastia, and then a sort of combo of the two turned up in his Move tour. It mirrors my experience with creativity, in that ideas don't spring up fully formed and unique in your head, they sort of snowball and ping off of and borrow from each other until maybe they morph into something interesting or new. 

 

But I will totally admit to the production aspect being something that interests me maybe more than others, I like seeing how all bits fit together. I definitely respect those who are more into straight dancing, and classic technique. I think the show is at it's best when it has a good mix of both - too much of one way or another does get dull. If you play the entire song at forte, there's no way to crescendo. 

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Unfortunately, it is the show's decision to move in the direction of less ballroom dancing and more of other styles.  Can't blame him for that!  He has been learning the other styles because he had to; perhaps he has not yet mastered them to the same degree as the ballroom styles, but I think he is doing very well with them - and better than some of the other pros.

I can't blame him for doing what he's told and attempting to do other styles, of course! I can blame him, the show, the judges, and the fans for acting like what he's doing is good let alone brilliant. So I agree with you, and I should change my statement to if Derek sticks with ballroom dancing and what he attempts outside of that genre gets treated like what it is, an attempt, I would have no problem with him.

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This is, from what I've seen, a philosophical difference. I'm paraphrasing from a few different interviews, (most recently Mark ones) but Mark and Derek, and to some extent Julianne, credit themselves with shaking up the show and fusing more dances together. With the goal of not being the best at the old genre, but creating something new for dance as a whole. They don't see dance as a static thing that is, and has rules handed down in a rulebook, but something much more fluid, to experiment with, mix and match, push and change. 

I understand that that's what they're trying to do, in my opinion they don't do a good job, and the praise they get for it is absurd. So like I said above, it's really only the praise I have a problem with I guess? Idk.

 

 

 

Personally, I love watching this experimentation. I don't have a dance background, but a visual arts one, and in visual arts you are trained in strict rules and technique, and then once those rules are in you - you break it. Evolve it, experiment with it. It's what I find exciting about art. Not every experiment works, but the sometimes you get a Van Gogh or a Picasso. It does help if you know the rules before you break them, which is why I find Derek is usually more successful at this than say, Allison.

For me, and I feel like you're saying the same thing here, experimentation is awesome when the people who are experimenting are already experts. Mark and Derek aren't. They lack any kind of technique, style, or knowledge. So watching them experiment outside of ballroom is really not fun for me. And adding to that, I don't really see how what they are doing is different or new? In my opinion Derek's contemporary choreo is boring, simple (even sparse), and cheesy and Mark's is clearly an imitation of other choreographers.

Edited by ocelot

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I enjoy Derek's contemporary choreography.  I'm no expert, and maybe his contemporary isn't the real thing, whatever that is, but I think it is beautiful, and without all the agony-face, flailing-arms, here's-my-crotch-leg-lifts that I see way too much of on So You Think You Can Dance.  I would much rather watch his dances than those.

 

But it's all subjective.  Some things speak to some people and other things to others, just like some people can watch Bindi and think she is a joy and others see the same footage and tear her down, both personally and as a dancer, and just like some people think DWTS should remain classical ballroom dancing and others like the newer styles thrown in.  We all see through our own filters.

 

Differences are good, it's what makes the world more interesting. 

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I'm almost always impressed with Derek's choreography. While I don't know all that much about the technical side of dance, I'm often moved emotionally by the dances he creates.

He's not my favorite of the male pros, but I think he does a great job teaching to his celeb partner's strengths. And their challenges as well. I'd never have imagined Amy Purdy could handle all the routines he devised for her.

The only thing he consistently does that I find irksome is that move where he looks like he's trying to simultaneously break his partner's neck and push her to the floor. I've no idea what that's called.

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I enjoy Derek's contemporary choreography.  I'm no expert, and maybe his contemporary isn't the real thing, whatever that is, but I think it is beautiful, and without all the agony-face, flailing-arms, here's-my-crotch-leg-lifts that I see way too much of on So You Think You Can Dance.  I would much rather watch his dances than those.

For sure, dance is subjective! And of course people can prefer Derek's choreo. But I think you hit the nail on the head, it's not contemporary imo. Contemporary on sytycd encompasses like contemporary ballet, contemporary jazz, modern, lyrical, all of those styles. The contemporary on dwts is not any of those things. It's its own thing.

 

So if they called it interpretive dance instead, I'd be cool with that.

 

I know people hate the flailing and the tilts and stuff but legs and feet are like the most important thing to me in those dances so I love it haha.

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"Differences are good, it's what makes the world more interesting. "

I agree. Subjectivity is a fact of life and is a major reason for many of our discussions on this forum. I enjoy reading all the varied opinions from different perspectives and have learned from them. Sometimes I've been able to see something I completely overlooked when I read an opposing point of view, and have changed my own opinion because of it.

I think all of us might have something in common with the proverbial blind men from Industan who went to observe an elephant to "see" what kind of creature it might be. From different perspectives we form our own opinions but like them,

". . . each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong."

There's no way we can know the whole truth about why the producers make the decisions they make. Unless there's a credible whistleblower in the years ahead, our opinions will always be opinions and not fact, no matter how sure we are of our being right.

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Derek is a trained ballroom dancer.

 

 

Derek is a champion winning ballroom dancer. But you know, let's not a little thing call facts get in the way.

 

But that IMO was also the moment they lost the MBT, if one can go by the backlash (who does he think he is?) on twitter, facebook, various message boards and forums, etc.

 

 

I personally felt Melissa and Tony had that mirrorball in the bag from like the Quaterfinals. I don't do Grassy Knoll or the season is rigged but I do think Melissa was one of the most overrated and overscored contestants. And I saw backlash for Derek and Shawn weeks before the finale - "they were cocky, arrogant, acting like they already won, the judges were kissing their asses all the time, etc. etc."  I don't know about anyone else but I wasn't the least bit surprised about Melissa's winning. 

 

That said, say what you will about Derek but he does own up to his failings because he's acknowledged that he screwed up in the finale of that season with redoing the Quickstep instead of their Mambo for example and then the whole over the top freestyle with the Fab 5. That said, yeah it cost him the MBT but that Quickstep, along with the Mambo and his spinning box dance won him an Emmy. So at the end of the day, didn't hurt him too much.

 

I love a lot of Derek's early stuff because it was new and interesting. Now I almost don't even pay attention because it's like, oh yeah, of course, Derek's going off script and doing something jazzy and big and showy.

 

 

I think Derek does plenty of dances that stick to the rules of the dance or is more or less a traditional ballroom dance but that gets ignored or probably even forgotten because at this point the narrative is so ingrained in some that "Derek always breaks the rules, Derek uses props and mirrors to hide his celebrities' weakness". This season alone, Bindi's Jive was a Jive, as was her Tango, Foxtrot, AT and VW. The rumba was on the producers who wanted the Pros to stick to the iconic dance as much as possible. Last season with Nastia, most of their dances were in keeping with the rules. I would say their Jazz and Charleston were the ones I found kind of messy and random. 

 

Finally, in my opinion, DWTS was never a traditional ballroom show. It has always been a ballroom entertainment show. Yes maybe the Pros in those early seasons tried to stay as true to the rules and purity of it as possible, but from day one the show has been using music that sometimes did not match the style at all, that the Pros had to choreograph to.

 

So in saying that, I don't feel like Derek, Mark and Julianne came and bastardized the purity of the show and ballroom dancing. I think what they did was realize it was an entertainment show and how you really won was through viewer votes. And creating wow and showstopping numbers helped to get those viewer votes. It's why to this day Derek is very conscious of how what he choreographs, along with the costumes and staging, will look on screen. Because the reality is the majority of people voting are the ones watching on their television. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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Derek and Julieanne did not bring anything new to DWTS. They simply imported different dance styles, mostly from SYTYCD. I am always astounded by the credit they get for being innovators, I have never seen anything ground-breaking out of either of these two. Some good dancing? Sure. Something new? Not once.

As for the Emmys? Steve Carrell never won an emmy but Jon Cryer did. The Emmys often get it wrong. Call me when he gets a Tony.

Maybe it was never a ballroom show but that is what drew me in. When I tuned in that first year it was because I had my preconceived notions about ballroom and wanted to see celebrities dance ballroom. Ballroom + celebrities. I do not believe I was alone in this understanding.

It is no coincidence that the dancers, especially early on, were almost exclusively ballroom dancers.

(Clutch the pearls, a typo!)

Edited by gohawks
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It is no coincidence that the dancers, especially early on, were almost exclusively ballroom dancers.

 

 

The only non-ballroom dancer on the show is Alison and she only joined three seasons ago and goodness knows there has been plenty of backlash about her lack of ballroom skills. Which is exactly what I mean when I say that while the show has definitely evolved and changed (and yes I would like Mandy Moore gone as the choreographer for the Pro dances) some of the reaction about how much the show has changed is a bit exaggerated. Every other Pro on that show is very much a ballroom trained dancer. The music - well the music has been kind of awful and inappropriate for the dance styles since the beginning. 

 

Steve Carrell never won an emmy but Jon Dryer did.

 

 

I'm going to assume you mean Jon Cryer and this does not change the fact that Derek has won two. And if this is to somehow diminish that success, something tells me Steve Carrell very much wanted to win an Emmy, as did Jon Hamm who finally did this year. 

 

Maybe it was never a ballroom show but that is what drew me in. When I tuned in that first year it was because I had my preconceived notions about ballroom and wanted to see celebrities dance ballroom. Ballroom + celebrities. I do not believe I was alone in this understanding.

 

 

YMMV but the show is still a show about celebrities dancing ballroom. Yes, they have contemporary and jazz which hey, I'd more than fine with them getting rid of, especially because I think having it as a constant style has taken away a little of what made the freestyles special. But look at Bindi this season - she has done a Waltz, VW, Foxtrot and Quickstep (all standard ballroom dances), along with a Tango, AT, Jive and Cha Cha. These are all ballroom dances. So I disagree with the notion that the show is no longer about celebrities dancing ballroom. 

 

As I stated, it's not that it's not about celebrities dancing ballroom because that is essentially what makes it a ballroom entertainment show. What it isn't in my opinion and never was and I stand by that, is a traditional ballroom show. Because as previously noted, this is a show that pits young and old against each other, people with dance experience versus none, etc. It's a show that tells the average viewer at home who knows nothing of the technicalities and standards of these dances to vote and pick a winner. In what world would that be fair or viewed as a traditional ballroom show?

 

Which is the point I was making about Mark, Julianne and Derek. No, they weren't innovators or revolutionized dance but what they did realize is that it is an entertainment show where their job is to make their celebrity look as good as possible and something resembling a decent ballroom dancer and do it in a way that gets enough votes to win the tacky trophy. It's not much deeper than that. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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Here's my issue with Derek. While he's a great latin dancer, his ballroom is so so. His dance position in hold isn't what it should be, his movement is not as lyrical as great standard dancing suggests. He obviously likes sharp angular movement because his AT is okay for a latin ballroom dancer, or broadway styling, but it's not ballroom He dances too far apart from his partner. That makes it a lot easier to do when it's not correct technique..Also, I didn't like the incorporation of a lift in the Viennese Waltz and no call on it. That lift btw was ripped from Travis Wall's Wicked Game, contemporary, and it's no coincidence, it just so happened to be the music for Tamar and Val's contemporary. So for me, Derek has this need to undermind the other contestants and the premise of the show and then claim innocence. He mocked jive when Lil Kim didn't do one jive step, he mocked QS in season 10 when it became a broadway lindy hop.  The best was his mocking of Len back in season 15 when he deliberately made the Samba into some tribal dance and decided not to correct the Quickstep.  Obviously it wasn't mocking Len, it was mocking ballroom dancing because the show has taken it exactly in that direction.  A direction that doesn't make a lot of dance fans very happy.    

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Whoa. I happen to love Derek's ballroom dancing. I think his technique is gorgeous, and he's a very musical dancer. And I've actually got some training. Think what you may of him, and his relationship with the producers, but no faulting his dancing here.

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Derek is a champion winning ballroom dancer. But you know, let's not a little thing call facts get in the way.

He is not unique in this. Many if not most of the pros have won ballroom championships of one sort or another.

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Derek left ballroom competitions almost 10 years ago. There are other pros with more advanced wins at Blackpool. There is no question he's an exceptional Latin dancer. But I wish there were some really great Standard dancers on this show.
 

Whoa. I happen to love Derek's ballroom dancing. I think his technique is gorgeous, and he's a very musical dancer. And I've actually got some training. Think what you may of him, and his relationship with the producers, but no faulting his dancing here.

Not disagreeing with his musicality. But as a Ten-dancer, I would love to see Standard better represented.

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He is not unique in this. Many if not most of the pros have won ballroom championships of one sort or another.

 

I'm pretty sure I never said he was. In fact I stated in my comment above that aside from Alison, all the Pros on the show are ballroom trained. But when one states that Derek's not even a ballroom dancer, yes, I think the fact that he is not just a trained ballroom dancer but a champion winning ballroom dancer is significant. But again, when it comes to Derek, I guess facts shouldn't matter. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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I'm going to assume you mean Jon Cryer and this does not change the fact that Derek has won two. And if this is to somehow diminish that success, something tells me Steve Carrell very much wanted to win an Emmy, as did Jon Hamm who finally did this year. 

 

I don't know if it is diminishing Derek's success in winning two emmys to note that he has done so since the rule change that allowed all 18,000 Emmy voters to vote in that category? It isn't a peer award. People who have zero dance experience voted on that award. It still means they picked Derek, he was their favorite.

 

I think this is actually exactly what you've been saying though. It's the same way most people voting on DWTS have no dance experience. And there's nothing wrong with that at all, it's supposed to be FUN. I'm rude about him a lot, but Derek is obviously a spectacular ballroom dancer as a  champion winner like you said, and I think that he has really mastered the weird combination of dance+TV that is unique to this situation. He also seems to care deeply about all of his partners, and does a great job teaching them and choreographing for each of them personally. Which is what he's supposed to do.

Edited by ocelot
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That lift btw was ripped from Travis Wall's Wicked Game, contemporary, and it's no coincidence, it just so happened to be the music for Tamar and Val's contemporary.

What exactly was going on last Monday though.

 

1) Mark and Alexa's re-do of Gravity

2) A wicked games contemporary from Val and Tamar (why would the producers do that to them that's just kind of mean imo)

3) followed by that lift from Derek and Bindi (nobody owns a lift but that one was so distinctive from the Travis dance, which people might have already been thinking of because of the contemporary to wicked games in the same episode.....)

4) Witney and Carlos reminded me of Mercy with Katee and Twitch, with the door

 

It was too much for one episode. Gravity, Wicked Games, and Mercy are all like iconic sytycd dances. They all have millions of views on youtube. Just seems like really weird choices.

Edited by ocelot
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Seriously cut the back and forth and acting like your fellow posters are stupid. You guys can disagree without being snotty to each other. Snark the show NOT your fellow posters. 

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What exactly was going on last Monday though.

 

1) Mark and Alexa's re-do of Gravity

2) A wicked games contemporary from Val and Tamar (why would the producers do that to them that's just kind of mean imo)

3) followed by that lift from Derek and Bindi (nobody owns a lift but that one was so distinctive from the Travis dance, which people might have already been thinking of because of the contemporary to wicked games in the same episode.....)

4) Witney and Carlos reminded me of Mercy with Katee and Twitch, with the door

 

It was too much for one episode. Gravity, Wicked Games, and Mercy are all like iconic sytycd dances. They all have millions of views on youtube. Just seems like really weird choices.

I don't know, but re-cycling dances or even the music that takes you to those pretty iconic dances on another dance show doesn't do much for this one. 

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What exactly was going on last Monday though.

 

1) Mark and Alexa's re-do of Gravity

2) A wicked games contemporary from Val and Tamar (why would the producers do that to them that's just kind of mean imo)

3) followed by that lift from Derek and Bindi (nobody owns a lift but that one was so distinctive from the Travis dance, which people might have already been thinking of because of the contemporary to wicked games in the same episode.....)

4) Witney and Carlos reminded me of Mercy with Katee and Twitch, with the door

 

It was too much for one episode. Gravity, Wicked Games, and Mercy are all like iconic sytycd dances. They all have millions of views on youtube. Just seems like really weird choices.

Mercy was the first thing that I thought of when I saw Witney and Carlos' door movements.  They were really off synch though.

 

I think the pros copy other choreography especially when it comes to jazz and contemporary.  What bugged me more about the Wicked Games lift is that CAI was inconsistent with the lift rule again.  She calls out certain couples for unintentionally having a toe off the floor.  But she doesn't call an intentional obvious lift on a Viennese waltz.  She did the same thing when she said that Sharna and Nick broke hold in their quickstep.  This is true but couples have been breaking this rule all season.  Bindi and Derek broke hold twice during their quickstep.  CAI needs to be consistent or not call anybody out and dock them a point for it.

 

I do agree with the judges that Bindi showed more maturity in her dancing.  She needs to stop with the exaggerated faces.  I don't really see the need for the blindfold since they didn't do that much with it.  It could have been just a beautiful dance without the gimmick and lift. 

What exactly was going on last Monday though.

 

1) Mark and Alexa's re-do of Gravity

2) A wicked games contemporary from Val and Tamar (why would the producers do that to them that's just kind of mean imo)

3) followed by that lift from Derek and Bindi (nobody owns a lift but that one was so distinctive from the Travis dance, which people might have already been thinking of because of the contemporary to wicked games in the same episode.....)

4) Witney and Carlos reminded me of Mercy with Katee and Twitch, with the door

 

It was too much for one episode. Gravity, Wicked Games, and Mercy are all like iconic sytycd dances. They all have millions of views on youtube. Just seems like really weird choices.

Mercy was the first thing that I thought of when I saw Witney and Carlos' door movements.  They were really off synch though.

 

I think the pros copy other choreography especially when it comes to jazz and contemporary.  What bugged me more about the Wicked Games lift is that CAI was inconsistent with the lift rule again.  She calls out certain couples for unintentionally having a toe off the floor.  But she doesn't call an intentional obvious lift on a Viennese waltz.  She did the same thing when she said that Sharna and Nick broke hold in their quickstep.  This is true but couples have been breaking this rule all season.  Bindi and Derek broke hold twice during their quickstep.  CAI needs to be consistent or not call anybody out and dock them a point for it.

 

I do agree with the judges that Bindi showed more maturity in her dancing.  She needs to stop with the exaggerated faces.  I don't really see the need for the blindfold since they didn't do that much with it.  It could have been just a beautiful dance without the gimmick and lift. 

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What bugged me more about the Wicked Games lift is that CAI was inconsistent with the lift rule again.  She calls out certain couples for unintentionally having a toe off the floor.

 

I believe that dance was a contemporary so the couple can do lifts.

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I believe that dance was a contemporary so the couple can do lifts.

No.  I'm not talking about Tamar and Val's Wicked Games contemporary.  I'm talking about the lift in Derek and Bindi's Viennese waltz.  Posters are calling it the Wicked Games lift since it's the same lift that Travis and Amy did in their Wicked Games contemporary on SYTYCD.

 

Since you mentioned Tamar and Val's contemporary, even though it's understandable, I agree with the judges' scores on that one.  There were too many mistakes and you can tell that Tamar was feeling ill.  However, at least, she wasn't marking it which is really good for a rehearsal when you're that sick.

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Re Derek + Bindi's Viennese Waltz - Are you talking about when Bindi launched herself at Derek and he caught her? Anna Trebunskaya was live tweeting during the show and someone asked her if it was a lift or a catch. She replied "It's a lifty through catch ;) It's ok imp [in my opinion]".  I understand her to mean that it wasn't a dockable lift.  https://twitter.com/atrebunskaya/status/663897184165720064

 

Re Mark + Alexa's Contemporary - Many contemporary dances are about fighting an internal struggle (in this case bulimia vs Gravity's addiction theme). Some similar moves doesn't make it a copy of a SYTYCD performance. I re-watched both and IMO Mark did not rip off Mia Michael's choreography for Alexa. They were 2 different dances with similar themes.

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Re Mark + Alexa's Contemporary - Many contemporary dances are about fighting an internal struggle (in this case bulimia vs Gravity's addiction theme). Some similar moves doesn't make it a copy of a SYTYCD performance. I re-watched both and IMO Mark did not rip off Mia Michael's choreography for Alexa. They were 2 different dances with similar themes.

 

Imo there was too much similarity between Make It Rain and Gravity, not just in theme but in parts of the choreography, in tone, in their characters. But I understand that's just my opinion, and I should have clarified my point was more that it was highly reminiscent of Gravity in an episode with a few other things that were also highly reminiscent of popular dances that came before. It was the cumulative effect.

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Re Derek + Bindi's Viennese Waltz - Are you talking about when Bindi launched herself at Derek and he caught her? Anna Trebunskaya was live tweeting during the show and someone asked her if it was a lift or a catch. She replied "It's a lifty through catch ;) It's ok imp [in my opinion]".  I understand her to mean that it wasn't a dockable lift.  https://twitter.com/atrebunskaya/status/663897184165720064

 

Re Mark + Alexa's Contemporary - Many contemporary dances are about fighting an internal struggle (in this case bulimia vs Gravity's addiction theme). Some similar moves doesn't make it a copy of a SYTYCD performance. I re-watched both and IMO Mark did not rip off Mia Michael's choreography for Alexa. They were 2 different dances with similar themes.

Yes, that's what I was talking about.  It does seem like a catchy lift.  That would not be allowed in a ballroom competition.  CAI docked Derek and Shawn for doing a "catch" in their rumba.  Again, it's more about CAI not being consistent especially when she docks points for accidental toe lifts.

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Yes, that's what I was talking about.  It does seem like a catchy lift.  That would not be allowed in a ballroom competition.  CAI docked Derek and Shawn for doing a "catch" in their rumba.  Again, it's more about CAI not being consistent especially when she docks points for accidental toe lifts.

 

IMO that was kind of a borderline lift?/notlift? thing that I'd be inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, CAI has been completely inconsistent with lifts, breaks in hold, etc. This season has been ridiculous for "judging". Either they need to bring back Len or bring in some other serious ballroom judge who will rein them all back in before it all spins completely out of control.  I've been seeing both Michael Wentink and Gary Edwards ("ballroomgiant") campaigning for the job. Keep Bruno and either JH or CAI as the goofballs providing "comic relief" but bring in somebody with some gravitas! Pleassssse!

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IMHO the contemporary launch from Wicked Games had a specific concept, that is, she was weary of this guy he was relentless, almost cruel, whenever he touches her she feels she has to resist, but she decided to trust.  So it really can't be something a person does on their own. The rule of lifts is if you can't do it on your own it's considered a lift. Anyway, I loved Travis' creativity, and although it was used in the Viennese Waltz for me, it wasn't to the same effect.

When a pro does that move, it makes all the difference. You can see how much higher and stronger the lift is when done correctly.  The lift starts at 3:14

 

However, unless Bindi launched herself onto a gym mat or something, then I would say it should have been docked. She needed Derek to pull her up into that movement in the exact same motion that Travis launches Amy.  Besides, Len would not have liked it, he's an International Standard in hold kind of guy, and would have been disappointed in the theatrics. 

Edited by Andie1

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IMO that was kind of a borderline lift?/notlift? thing that I'd be inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, CAI has been completely inconsistent with lifts, breaks in hold, etc.

 

Carrie Anne used to say that a life was defined as anything that a dancer couldn't do themselves ... mostly. I say mostly because she turned a blind eye to the drags across the floor or twirls by the arms or whatever when the woman just dragged a toe across as not being a lift. But then at the same time she docked Edyta for basically doing a handstand in Cameron Mathison's lap, which required absolutely no work from him, as being a lift. So who knows.

 

I don't remember Bindi's VW lift, but I think I'd say it depends on Derek's role in the whole thing. Did he catch and hold her? Or was his purpose just to stop her forward motion? If it's the former it's a lift, if it's the latter (and he was a glorified wall) then it's not.

 

I get why the rule is there - honestly, dances that are purely lifts are boring (see: a plethora of freestyles) - and a lot of the celebs don't have the right training to make it safe. So the whole thing is iffy and I get why it's inconsistent, but IMO they really should try harder to define a lift if they're going to take points off.

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Did he catch and hold her? Or was his purpose just to stop her forward motion? If it's the former it's a lift

 

He was the launch and the catch, exactly the same lift that Travis Wall choreographed in the Wicked Games piece that Travis did with Amy Yakima.

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He was the launch and the catch, exactly the same lift that Travis Wall choreographed in the Wicked Games piece that Travis did with Amy Yakima.

 

I honestly don't really care enough to rewatch (and I don't watch SYTYCD), but sounds like by all accounts it should fit the vague show description of a lift to me.

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There it is!  So Amy launches a good 6 feet as compared to about half that that Bindi could do, but its pretty self explanatory, it's the same lift that requires an assist all the way through.   Thanks for the gif files! 

Edited by Andie1

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Derek is a champion winning ballroom dancer. But you know, let's not a little thing call facts get in the way.

In response to several comments made in this thread and others about Derek

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I have never commented here. Please excuse my failed attempt above. I wanted to respond to a statement made about not letting "facts get in the way" but I don't know how to use the quotation tools.

I've been reading the discussion here about Derek Hough and would like to post something I saw on another site about borrowing moves originally done by other choreographers. I will first try to learn how to quote other posters. Thank you.

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I have never commented here. Please excuse my failed attempt above. I wanted to respond to a statement made about not letting "facts get in the way" but I don't know how to use the quotation tools.

I've been reading the discussion here about Derek Hough and would like to post something I saw on another site about borrowing moves originally done by other choreographers. I will first try to learn how to quote other posters. Thank you.

 

Each post has a string at the end of a thumb up, Report This Post, and a quotation mark. Click on the quotation mark of a post you want to reply to, and keep doing it for all such posts. Then when you're ready, click on Reply to Quoted Posts in the box that appears as soon as you click. Add/edit text as desired.

 

After you've saved a post, a pencil icon appears in the string for your post. You can click on it to edit the post.

Edited by Serendi

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Thank you Serendi for your help. I decided not to directly quote the comments.

I'm new at PTV and this morning read through this thread. People have different tastes I know so it doesn't surprise me when they don't like someone on the show. Everybody likes different personalities, choreography and dancing styles for different reasons. When I read some of the comments I just wanted to give another point of view. The ones I wanted to respond to said things like "Derek is not a ballroom dancer." "Derek might have only won Emmys because the public who voted doesn't understand dancing." "He doesn't do anything innovative." "He doesn't have good technique," to quote a few. These aren't verbatim quotes but I've tried to give the general gist of the ideas expressed.

I have watched the show from the first season. In all these years I have seen and read statements made about Derek by many highly respected members of the dance world. To respond to a few of the comments made, I copied some of these statements to post here from a list made by Donamadrina, a fan of Derek's. The comments I've posted speak to some of the remarks made in this thread.

First, I want to make one correction which concerns Derek's Emmy wins. His first win was voted on under an older rule and was decided by 50% Academy members votes and 50% votes by an expert panel of choreographers. His 5 nominations before his wins were chosen by a panel of expert choreographers.

Last year, Derek won "America's Favorite Choreographer" at The Industry Dance Awards which is determined by votes of other dancers and choreographers.

--RITA MORENO also received an award the same night at the

Industry Dance Awards, and said this about Derek in her

acceptance speech:

"I think Derek has already left. But I gotta say, he makes me

think of Gene. He really makes me think of Gene."

Quote starts close to end of

the video

-PATRICIA KELLY, Gene Kelly's widow, visited Derek and

Bethany during the rehearsal for their "Singing in the Rain"

number, October 2014. She gave him a photograph of Gene

doing the famous dance on the set of the movie. On the

back of the photograph, she wrote:

“Thanks for continuing Gene’s legacy."

Here's part of what she said to Derek:

"The thing about you which I think is really great, one of the things, is that you pay attention to the ones that preceded you. Gene always said that was important, that you need to study what came before. And you're like that, and you're taking all those things and then creating your own art.

This [pointing to the photo of SITR dance] was Irish clog dancing, a lot of folk dancing, it was a Tortelier. And he got a

lot of those steps from Bojangles, (from Bill Robinson), seeing him growing up as a little boy in Pittsburgh and seeing him on the stages there.

So now it has gone from the Irish, to Bojangles, to Gene Kelly to Derek Hough."

She says that Gene himself borrowed steps from Bill Robinson for his famous Singing in the Rain number.

When I read another thread on this forum, comments were made about Derek not being able to do a pirouette properly and a lot of other ballet dance moves. I am not a dancer, but I remembered a dance that Misty Copeland performed at a prestigious dance event last year. She asked Derek to choreograph the dance for her.

-Misty Copeland

"Ameska" is the dance she asked Derek to choreograph for her to perform at the Youth America Grand Prix Gala in New York. I wondered why Misty would ask someone who doesn't know how to do ballet properly to choreograph her performance at an event like that, considering all the ballet choreographers she could have asked. He choreographed the number which she performed and he choreographed a similar dance for DWTS which received an Emmy nomination.

From "Ameska: Behind the Scenes" June 2014, an interview with Misty about the dance:

“Just having the opportunity to meet someone at Derek’s level, with all the accolades and his accomplishments, to see how grounded he is, and how real he is is an honor. . . he’s just an incredible guy.”

Misty's performance at YAGPG:

Derek's Emmy nominated Macy's Stars of Dance "Ameska" with Kathryn McCormack, Artem, and two others.

http://sfglobe.com/2015/09/21/misty-copeland-dances-a-routine-choreographed-by-derek-hough/

https://nycdancestuff.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/the-2014-youth-america-grand-prix-stars-of-today-meet-the-star-of-tomorrow-gala-at-the-david-h-koch-theater-at-lincoln-center/

-Bruce Reisman (Writer/Creator of TV Shows) said in a

Tweet August, 2015

"This guy’s star power hasn’t even been seen yet. Superb actor, singer, dancer – he COULD be the last chance Hollywood/NY has…Lemme tell ya, dude… Gene Kelly directed me as a 17 year old in HELLO DOLLY — u r HE either reborn, re-channeled, who cares?”

Duane Adler, Screenwriter for "Save the Last Dance" and "Step Up" in an interview for "Dance Spirit Magazine,

March, 2014:

“Derek’s energy on set is contagious. Sure, his career is in its early stages. But if there’s a dancer today with Fred or Gene’s potential, I think it’s him.”

-Kenny Ortega

1. The Choreographers -Yesterday, Today and

Tomorrow, November 1, 2012) –

“For years, I’ve had people walk up to me and ask me this question, ‘Are we not seeing the kinds of musicals that we remember from the days of Gene and Fred because the talent doesn’t exist anymore?’ And all I have to say is, ‘No, it’s the imagination in an industry that doesn’t figure out that it is standing right in front of you. (pointing to Derek)”

2. GLSEN AWARDS 2014 Inspiration Award

"Derek is a champion of champions, a once in a generation artist. I've often said if you took Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire

and mashed them together, you'd have Derek Hough."

"It gives me great pleasure to present this year's Inspiration Award to the incomparable Derek Hough."

3. Dancing with the Stars, Season 18, Week 9

"Derek, you redefine choreography for this generation."

Maybe Kenny Ortega is another person who has received more praise than he should have, but he has won 3 Emmys for choreography and is highly regarded in the dance world.

The fan's list is long and there are many more quotes from highly respected choreographers saying similar things about Derek's dancing and choreography.

Napolean D’umo of Nappytabs – (The Choreographers – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, November 1, 2012)

“…He is ridiculously talented.”

Len Goodman (Season 14, Week 8 in a tv interview on Channel 7 in LA.“I don’t say this word often, but Derek as a choreographer is a genius. He’s a genius."

I'm sorry for this long post. I admire Derek's dancing and wanted to say that it isn't just people associated with DWTS who recognize his abilities. I also recognize that all people have different tastes and many people may not appreciate his dancing, choreography or his personality.

Thank you for your patience. I have not ever made a comment on a site like this. This is a first. I will be shorter next time.

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Thank you for posting all this.  There may be DWTS viewers who don't like him, but it is nice to see how respected he is in the world of dance.

 

And don't worry about the length of your post; it was very eloquent, and, I think, needed to be said.

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I also recall that season 19 with all the frothing over dead Gene Kelly by his third wife and a less than great Singing in the Rain  routine Derek did with Bethany Mota; a LIVING dancing great, from the Original West Side Story 81 year old George Chakiris, who won an Oscar for his role as Bernardo the leader of the Sharks,  was sitting in the audience but wasn't even mentioned by the show.  He was invited to attend by reporter George Pennacchio when he learned a couple of days before that West Side Story was going to be featured on the show.  But did DWTS dare tread on golden boy's moment ?  Not on your life.  I am afraid that all this concerted effort to make Derek into the next Gene Kelly is always at the expense of someone more deserving of the acknowledgement. 

Edited by Andie1
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I'm new at PTV and this morning read through this thread. People have different tastes I know so it doesn't surprise me when they don't like someone on the show. Everybody likes different personalities, choreography and dancing styles for different reasons. When I read some of the comments I just wanted to give another point of view. The ones I wanted to respond to said things like "Derek is not a ballroom dancer." "Derek might have only won Emmys because the public who voted doesn't understand dancing." "He doesn't do anything innovative." "He doesn't have good technique," to quote a few. These aren't verbatim quotes but I've tried to give the general gist of the ideas expressed.

 

I'm the one who said Derek doesn't have classical (ballet) technique and he doesn't. That's just a fact. Not that he doesn't have good technique, he doesn't have technique period. He is a pure ballroom dancer. It is really disrespectful to people who train their whole lives, to just pretend he is a master at something he has never trained in and is not good at.

 

And Misty works with lots of people who are not in ballet, and works in the commercial side too. She's not a snob. I watched the thing he did for her--it's BALLROOM with pointe work. If we are really going to argue about Derek having technique, I've got the gifs and images ready. Not even he claims to have that, so this is so confusing to me.

 

Edited to add: and just btw the Industry Dance Awards are not a respected award show. They have categories that are literally filled with nothing but dance moms girls. They mix commercial dance with competition (as in children) dance in an actually bizarre manner. They're unprofessional and disorganized as heck.

 

Oh and I saw you put in Derek's Too Darn Hot, so I thought I'd add this. Compare Derek's dancing in his Too Darn Hot to the male dancing in this one.

 

Edited by ocelot

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Ocelot said:

I'm the one who said Derek doesn't have classical (ballet) technique and he doesn't. That's just a fact. Not that he doesn't have good technique, he doesn't have technique period. He is a pure ballroom dancer.

I don't know that Derek has claimed to be anything other than a ballroom dancer.  I took ballroom dance lessons for several years and ballroom technique is hard to master.  Many of the competitive ballroom dancers, especially those from Russia, take ballet because the technique does cross over.  Derek attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and received training in song, theater, gymnastics, and many forms of dance, including jazz, ballet, and tap (source) so I'm not sure "no technique" is an accurate statement.

 

As for the comparison between the two routines of "It's Too Darn Hot", it's a comparison of apples and oranges to me.  Derek is dancing with a non-dancer with limited range of movement and choreographed and danced accordingly while the SYTYCD dance routine was choreographed by a professional jazz choreographer and danced by TWO professional dancers.  Derek did his job by choreographing to his partner's capabilities and hot out-dancing her.

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I did not mean to offend anyone. I don't know anything about technique. I did not mean to say Derek has technique but just to mention that the ballerina asked him to choreograph for her.

The part with the Too Darn Hot dance was added to document a quote by Kenny Ortega and not because of the dance.

My comment was meant only to say that Derek is admired and respected by many people in the dance world. When I came here to be a member I came because someone said this is a place where people are respectful. I was going sometimes where people are very unkind about other dancers except for Derek. I like reading about Dancing with the Stars but I don't like that place.

So when I read the comments that sounded angry about Derek Hough I wanted to make only one point. If Derek is such a not good dancer then why do so many people from the dance world admire him the way they do? I understand not liking him, his dancing and his choreography. I don't understand saying he is such a bad dancer when people of outstanding reputation honor him with high praise. It is all I mean to say. I cannot say myself if he has technique or if he does any move correct or not. I don't know enough about dancing to say. I only know I like to watch him dance and I also like to watch all the dancers on the show.

I am very sincerely sorry if I have offended you by my comment. It is not what I want to do at all.

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I would guess Derek would call himself a ballroom dancer who has cross-trained in jazz and contemporary. (Because he has been taking jazz since he was little, but don't think he's every claimed it as a specialty.)

 

That's probably why, if he's doing something big, or specialized, he tends to work with a Tessandra Chavez, or an Allison, or a Christopher Scott, or a Napoleon & Tabitha. One thing I enjoy about Derek is that he seems to seek out people he's inspired by, who are at the top of their games, to collaborate with. It shows evidence of someone who's always trying to learn.

 

Personally, a whole lot of hyperbole gets thrown around on this show, but I don't find myself drawn to Derek's dances because he's a the top/peak/"best ever." I like watching his stuff because he's a (very good) creative person, about my age, who I can see stretching himself and putting new pieces together. Negotiating to do those Macy's dances was pretty savvy. I find career arcs fascinating, and if he plays his cards right he's at the beginning middle of his, not the peak.

 

What I think Derek has especially, is a good directors mind for how it all fits together. Some of those creative decisions are done with the shows production staff, but from comments I've heard from other dancers, Derek seems especially controlling of the way his creative goes. And he's good at it. For me the production pieces are the some of the most interesting parts, and are "choreographed" as much as the dancing. How does switching this camera shot from this angle to this one at THIS point in the music while we're doing THIS move ramp up the emotional intensity of the dance? How does starting in silhouette and then changing the lighting on THIS downbeat influence the way an audience responds? 

 

None of this is to say that other dancers don't do any of this stuff. But 1, it's not everyone's jam (which is totally fine! There are different and very valid approaches) and 2, I think Derek's preference of choreographing "on his celebrities" throughout the week, rather than putting a full routine together first and then teaching it to them, gets you to be able to see a little bit more of his process. So I find that interesting to watch. 

Edited by kitcloudkicker
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