Strictly 2020 Week Four: No Paso Doble performances

After being blessed with two Paso Dobles per show in the last two weeks, this week we had none. Alas, don’t despair. There were some fantastic other dances that I’d like to write about. Plus, we heard that next week, we’ll see the first Argentine Tango. Very exciting!

Clara Amfo and Aljaž Skorjanec Charleston to Baby Face by Julie Andrews

The Charleston is one of my favourite dances and I’ve performed it many a time. What does it need? High energy, style, musicality and fun. I loved Clara’s performance. I’ve had my eye on her from week one, because I love enthusiastic people who apply themselves and go for gold.

Clara gave the performance everything it needs and I loved her attention to detail. For instance when she splayed her fingers, she really did show ten fingers. Often, some fingers may have “wilted” a little. Not here. Her energy radiated from her strong core, enabling her to execute the fast movements in every possible direction with precision, all the way into her finger tips, literally. I can’t wait for her and Aljaž’ Paso Doble 🙂

Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice Cha Cha to Oye Como Va / I Like It Like That by Santana / Pete Rodriguez

Disclaimer: I have no professional knowledge about the cha cha at all and to be completely honest, I’ve chosen to write about this performance because of the issues Ranvir raised before and after her dance. Dancing sexily is such a challenge when you’re not 100% at home and comfortable in your body and I’m sure a lot of women and men can relate to her concerns.

How do I come across? How does my body look to others? How do I feel in my own skin? These are questions people often ask themselves and worry about the answers. I wish we didn’t feel inferiour or insufficient as often as we do. I wish we could all manage to love ourselves all of the time and that we were given the space and permission to do so. Sadly, much press puts women and men down for their looks and choices, affecting us all in how we’re able to feel about ourselves.

I admire Ranvir for showing such vulnerability. I think it’s important to do so, but would never expect someone to do it as it must be very hard. I hope that her honesty chimes with people. I hope it is one more drop in the fight against bullying and move toward kindness. Thank you, Ranvir.

All that said, I thought Ranvir’s grace, her beautiful posture, wonderful musicality and gorgeous hip rotation made for a lovely performance. As she continues to improve, I’d like to see stronger leg musculature to increase the space she takes up with every step and an even stronger core to support her expressive dancing. I think when there aren’t that many other concerns on her mind, her footwork will be more precise again, as we have already seen how attentively she can deliver complex footwork in her previous performances. I’m very excited for her and Giovanni’s Argentine Tango next week!

Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse Couple’s Choice to Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang

I had to write about Bill and Oti’s performance! I was very curious how this would unfold. As much as I already admire everything Bill has delivered on the show, I felt that street dance was a particularly hard physical challenge. From 38 seconds (in the video) in knew we were in for a treat. Let’s relive it.

I’ve often said that dance is steps/movement to music with style. Sometimes there may be an additional acrobatic element, a particular trick or lift maybe. But that’s not strictly necessary. The thing is that achieving style can take a while, and a lot of practising steps and movement, before it manifests.

With Bill, he has lots of style, and is therefore a great dancer, even while some steps and movement are not executed to the perfection that we might typically expect of someone we describe as a great dancer. I think it’s because he approaches dance as an artist. He’s asking himself, consciously or not I don’t know, “How can I make this work for myself?” I am all over this approach. The reason I love his performances and why I watch them more than once, is because he inspires me as an artist and personally there’s nothing more wonderful than that for me to happen on Strictly.

Week five – Blackpool week with a 2020 lockdown twist – starts at 7.15 pm on BBC One. See you at the seaside!

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