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First Round. In my opinion, Riker and Allison stole the round with another go at their “Pirates” paso doble. As host Tom Bergeron said when they came off the floor, “Johnny Depp, eat your heart out!” As good as the dance was during Disney Week, it was even better tonight. Head judge Len Goodman even rose from his seat to give the pair a standing ovation. Judge Julianne Hough said Riker showed controlled energy and judge Bruno Tonioli called Riker, “a barn-storming daredevil.” Riker was totally in character (even after the dance) and didn’t miss a step of the paso. Their score? All 10s for a perfect 40.
As for the others, Noah and Sharna performed their Argentine tango from Week 3, and while it was beautiful, I think the finals-night nerves got to Noah, He lost his balance on one lift and wobbled again on the last move of the dance, The judges agreed pointe shoe finder that he had shown improvement, but even judge Carrie Ann Inaba, one of his biggest fans, said the dance was hard to watch since he obviously let his nerves get to him, Their score was better than the 30 from before but only slightly at 32.And Rumer and Val presented the foxtrot that got them the highest scores in Week 1, It was gorgeous and even better than before, Judge Julianne Hough remarked on how Rumer had lost the “timidness” she had shown the first time out, and co-host Erin Andrews said that everyone “was smiling” after the performance, Len said in Week 1 that “this could be your season” and he repeated that tonight, Their score matched that of Riker and Allison: four 10s for a perfect 40..
Second round — freestyle. The freestyles that were presented all reflected the personalities of the dancers, and all of the freestyles received perfect scores.Noah and Sharma did a contemporary routine that brought all of the judges to their feet. Len said it was “amazing,” Julianne called it “a celebration,” and Carrie Ann said, “There is nothing to fix about you.” It was a very emotional routine with amazing choreography, and I have to say I had to grab a tissue or two at the end. And they certainly get credit for having a rough first dance, then coming back with an awesome performance.Riker and Allison went in another direction. Dressed in top hats and tails, their performance had a bit of many dances mixed together in a smooth blend. Bruno called it “Fred Astaire — re-presented and repackaged for a new generation.” I don’t know how much dancing Riker did before the show, but when he dances with a group of pros, you can’t pick out the celeb from the pro dancers. Len said he was proud of Riker and that Astaire would be, too. “You brought the past into the present,” Len added.Rumer and Val capped off the night with a blend of contemporary and Argentine tango that was smooth and sexy and sensual and fantastic. Bruno said it was “the perfect perfected,” and Julianne said it was vulnerable, raw, real and honest. Carrie Ann hit the nail on the head when she said, “This night is off the charts.”.
So now it is up to the viewers to vote for their favorite, which could be the best dancer or not, As Len pointedly said tonight, “Don’t moan if you don’t phone.” I have no idea who will walk off with pointe shoe finder the special gold Mirrorball Trophy, Frankly, Noah has so much support and has shown so much guts and glory, he could take it, but Riker and Rumer are both terrific and going neck and neck, It should be interesting to see how it all works out, Last season, we all knew that Alfonso Ribeiro had it in the bag, but Season 20 has lived up to its promise of being spectacular and is leaving us all guessing..
When Oakland Ballet dancers take to the stage at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, they’ll be celebrating a 50th anniversary that almost didn’t happen. Nearly 10 years ago, the company went out of business, the victim of a combination of financial challenges, changing audience tastes and other factors that had taken a toll on arts institutions all over the United States. The following year, founder Ronn Guidi came out of retirement to resurrect the company. With the help of longtime dancers and supporters, he staged a one-night performance of Nijinsky’s groundbreaking 1912 “Afternoon of the Faun,” as well as some more modern works. The purpose was to reflect the eclectic mix that had garnered the thriving regional dance organization international acclaim through the 1990s. It reminded people of why they love the company, bringing it back to life.
So it’s fitting that “Afternoon of the Faun” is back for this weekend’s celebratory performance “Five Decades of Dance,” a showcase of 14 works that looks both forward and back, Graham Lustig, Guidi’s London-born successor as artistic director, selected it as a way of paying homage to pointe shoe finder Guidi’s legacy, “There is a poetic quality to this dance,” said Lustig, overseeing a recent rehearsal of the 11-minute piece, “It’s almost like a painting, like colors in a Tiffany panel that shimmer and change.”..
In addition to “Faun” the program will feature revivals of works by some of the company’s most famous collaborators, including Alonzo King and Carlos Carvajal, and present new works by Lustig and other Bay Area choreographers. The idea, Lustig said, is to demonstrate the company’s ability to endure in an era when arts organizations of all sizes and pedigrees — from New York’s Metropolitan Opera to Ballet San Jose — still struggle to stay financially solvent and culturally relevant. Today the company’s mission is to “step out of the ivory tower of ballet” and engage with a vibrant Bay Area arts scene that Lustig says is increasingly centered in Oakland and the East Bay.
“As Brooklyn now is to New York, Oakland is to San Francisco,” Lustig said, “Artists are getting priced out of San Francisco, and there is so much artistic activity here in Oakland.”, Besides, while “Faun” may be more than 100 years old, pointe shoe finder Nijinsky’s choreography, paired with Claude Debussy’s romantic score, is surprisingly contemporary, Lustig says, Lustig, who took the artistic reins in 2010, began dancing at age 5, trained at the Royal Ballet School of London and has performed and choreographed works all over the world, He is passionate about using dance to tell stories and create stunning tableaux, But he’s also keenly aware that he and his colleagues won’t be able to do their art unless they sell tickets, keep donors interested and engage new audiences..