“Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel blogs on season 15 of “DWTS.” The three-time world dance champion and creator of LaBlast fitness-based dance DVD workouts returns for his eighth season and takes you behind the scenes on the hit ABC show. You can find him on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.
I can’t believe how fast this week has gone by. The first three weeks of rehearsal felt like forever, but since the “Dancing With the Stars” premiere, it feels like time is flying.
The “DWTS” premiere last week was so good. The audience was the best ever, and the celebrities all danced their hearts out. The level of dancing is much higher this season and the pros have much more pressure on them to deliver great routines since all of the celebs (except my partner Sabrina Bryan) have a whole run of “DWTS” under their belts.
As much as we all loved the audience, it was so loud that some of us couldn’t hear the music. In dress rehearsal there’s no audience, which makes it easy to hear the music, but Sabrina and I could barely hear the band leader Harold Wheeler counting in. Right when Sabrina did her swiffles, we were one count off and we were both concentrated so much to try and get back into the routine, but it affected us and we started over compensating. Both of us are Energizer Bunnies to begin with, so to cover up a mistake we put in more energy in hopes that no one would notice it. I guess the judges did and I’m thankful for them for calling Sabrina and me out on it because we’ve taken it to heart this week for our Quickstep. We worked on taking time, light and shade, and finesse from the waist up, yet fast foot work from the waist down.
It always helps to get feedback from the judges because it makes it easier to know what to concentrate on for that week. (Yes, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, we DO appreciate you, even though sometimes I’m ready to pull your hair out!)
This week it will be interesting to see how the celebs handle a different dance of the opposite style. Couples that danced the Cha Cha last week will do the Quickstep and couples that danced the Foxtrot will do the Jive this week. Now you can judge how well-rounded the couples are when it comes to faster dances versus slower dances. This week both the Jive and Quickstep are the fastest dances of the ballroom or Latin dances.
The Jive doesn’t really have rules except for the “No Lift” policy. The Quickstep is much stricter. Besides the “No Lift” policy, couples only have 10 seconds in the beginning and at the end to play around and have side-by-side choreography. The remainder has to be in closed hold, which means in a 1 minute and 5 second routine, 45 seconds have to be in closed hold. Some pros take liberties and break those rules, others don’t. The closed hold in a regular ballroom competition is very clear. You have to be in the same frame and always be in contact, but on the “DWTS” floor the closed hold could be up for interpretation.
(I’ve wonder if you guys at home ever understood this rule with the Quickstep. I remember in past seasons when I wrote this blog I timed some of the Quickstep openings being over 20 seconds. Many times this happens because it’s easier not to be in closed hold. It’s also harder to be expressive when you’re in one position for most of the song. Yes, I’ll say it – it can be boring – but a rule is a rule.)
I’m so excited about our Quickstep this week. At first glance I thought Sabrina would be way better at the Latin dances because she’s such a firecracker with such a bubbly personality, but I was so wrong. I’ll let you decided for yourself what you think about our Quickstep. Be sure to share your thoughts on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel and on Facebook.
MORE: Meet the All-Star Season 15 Cast!
I took a little sneak peek at the following order of the show during camera blocking yesterday. Sabrina and I perform fifth. The others I remember are Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani open the show followed by Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas. Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd finish the show and I believe Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough are performing in the last group. (I should just take the list and give you the following order!)
Also, in case you forgot the VanBryans’ voting number is 1-800-868-3403.
Before I finish this blog, I want to thank you all for making “Dancing With the Stars” the No. 1 show last Monday. We appreciate you tuning in!