October 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Last night’s show had superior dancing again! But there was a theme that I’d like to write about today. I noticed that there were some very sensual, extremely passionate and purely honest moments in a few of the routines, and it led me to think about what those words mean and why I use them so much in my critiques. I know I use the words “sexy” and “sensual” a lot on the show, along with “passion,” “honesty” and “vulnerability” and there’s not always time to explain why. We saw some of our most sensual dances and for me, sensuality is so important. I think it’s important for all women.
I sit close enough to the stage that I can feel emotions that might not come across to viewers at home, and Sabrina and Louis’ Rumba performance had pure honesty. And when you are truly honest, there comes an uncomfortable vulnerability. The desire to be accepted as you truly are without knowing what people will think of the “real” you is frightening, and Sabrina started her dance there. But in the first two counts of eight, I saw her almost go back into the facade she often uses when she dances. She almost slipped back into the comfort zone of emoting with her expressions on her face instead of allowing the emotions from inside to come to the surface. When this happens, the audience will always connect in a way that is beyond appreciation of pretty movements. But I saw her fight it, and suddenly out came beautiful and courageous vulnerability, and it was the sweetest sight. I know this feeling so well; to dance with pure abandon. To dance with the raw emotion leading you, not the steps. To me, that’s the essence of being a dancer. You can be a performer and you can be a technician, but to be a true dancer and to know the REAL joy of what dancing is, it is expressing yourself beyond words and facial expressions. And that’s what we saw last night in Sabrina. Sometimes I wish I could go upstairs and interview them with Brooke to ask how it felt, but you could see by our scores how it made us feel. I’m very proud of her for her daring performance. Being that vulnerable in front of so many people is no easy task.
Then there was Kirstie and Mak’s Rumba. Their performance was very special as well and it earned her her personal highest score of the season. I know I kept saying “sexy” but what I should have been saying was “sensual.” In that Rumba, we saw Kirstie’s power as a woman. She was truly in her essence and strength. She was focused on her dance and it became her world for that moment. And in that true presence, in that moment of movements and music, she allowed herself to get lost in the story, the passion, the embrace of Maks and the beautiful shapes of her body. It was a moment of Kirstie’s life that she lived with complete abandon and it truly had impact. I was shaking after her dance—Kirstie is a very beautiful woman. I think we all know that but perhaps we don’t point it out enough. It’s not easy to be out there at 60 years of age, dancing next to 20-somethings. We all have insecurities and fears, but it’s how you deal with those fears that counts. Kirstie doesn’t let the fear stop her. She’s courageous beyond belief and I believe that’s what makes her so special. You can see Kirstie’s artistry in her arms, and you can tell how much she enjoys life by the way she uses her arms and hands and fingers… like she’s touching every bit of life and appreciating every ounce of it. She is a true leader and I’m sure that that Rumba inspired a lot of women out there, who may have thought their sensuality had disappeared with age, to love themselves the way they should and to allow their sensuality and passions to flow. I believe a woman’s sensuality is always with her—it’s part of her strength. Just follow Kirstie’s lead and live life passionately.
Finally, there was another dance that I found to be an emotional breakthrough with beautiful sensuality, and that dance was the Viennese Waltz performed by Apolo and Karina. Being raised Asian, like Apolo, I can honestly say that we are not really encouraged to express emotions. (I know it’s hard to believe I was raised that way—but it’s true.) And as an olympic athlete, emotions can throw you off your game. You need to stay focused and leave your emotions at the door. To see Apolo to open up and allow us to see him less as a “Roman God” as Len so eloquently put it, and more as a human, was inspiring and touching. For once he was fragile and full of emotion and passion, and it was a breakthrough. He showed us angst, disappointment, fear, passion, tenderness, vulnerability and loss—things that aren’t usually considered “masculine” in our society. For me that was another moment of emotional triumph on last night’s show.
My background in dance is not movement for movement’s sake. Dance is movement for life’s sake, to express emotions, to tell stories, to create moments that take your breath away. Sure, sometimes dance can be just for fun. And sometimes, the technique can be so amazing, we are inspired and elevated. But you have to be reaching for something. When you touch your partner, you must be connected to how it feels to touch them. When you drop into his arms you must trust completely. When the emotions come into play like they did last night, the sensuality, passion and true beauty of dance and life are revealed.
I don’t want to see tonight’s elimination. I’m really attached to all of them now, so it’s hard to see them go. When they’re working at this level of emotional and physical commitment, it’s heartbreaking to see any of them leave.
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