Dancing with the Stars this week had a theme they’ve never tried before, which I hope becomes a staple, because it was awesome: Classical Night. The idea was to have the dancers use classical (read: orchestral) music only, with a much larger orchestra than the normal DWTS band, and I loved it. I have often felt that the contemporary music fails the dances as many times as it doesn’t, and this week mitigated that by using music that paired better with the dances than modern pop and rock, at least for me. The music was not all classical, however, and one of the contemporary instrumental pieces used was the theme from the Harry Potter movies, against which Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas danced the Viennese Waltz (video at the end).
I want to start by saying that Ihave continued to enjoy Chelsea every week. She has an energy, a stage presence to her, that makes her fun to watch. And I loved what they did here. They took the theme of the music and created a whole witch/magic character for her, and a “Magician’s Apprentice” style feel to the events of the dance. It was fun, it was interesting, it was different. And, as Mark described in their introduction, the parts where they came together and waltzed, they really waltzed. The Viennese waltz is always problematic for me, because it’s not full of tricks like the waltz, and because it’s an up-tempo version the songs chosen are usually fast contemporary songs, and they never work as well for me as the slow ballad contemporary songs do with the regular waltz. I felt Classical Night showcased the Viennese waltz better than usual, and this dance in particular showed how fun it can be to watch.
It was my favorite piece of the night, and it put them at the top of the leader board with 26 (there was a several-way tie for second place and 25 points).
Chelsea has continued to be a consistently good performer on this show, as one would expect from an actor, and she has also continued to be one of the better dancers. However, I agree with Len’s comments pretty much every week that Mark needs to stop playing around and just dance with the girl. I think that Len would not have criticized the playacting part of this dance if it had been the first time they did it, instead of the third. It’s something that I have seen Mark do with several different partners now, and while I appreciate the attempt to play to the audience, I also find the showmanship a bit boring when it’s being forced or overused, and he often runs it in both of those directions.
This week, it was not forced. The performance aspect flowed very nicely with the slightly longer routine, and the costumes and “story” of the dance were fabulous with the theme from the Wizarding World. And since results have already come back for the week, we know that Chelsea is safe to dance again. Perhaps this week Mark will pander to Len instead of the audience and give us the most traditional rendition he can of whatever dance they pull next week. Should be another Latin for them, so whatever dance it is, it should be fun!