Strictly 2021 Week 5: Rose and Giovanni’s Viennese Waltz

In week five we saw no Paso Dobles, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t treated to incredible storytelling, passion and power on the dance floor. Today, I’m writing about Rose and Giovanni’s Viennese Waltz, because it took my breathe away, I was up on my feet and so, so moved!

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice Viennese Waltz to Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice Viennese Waltz to Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

What was so special about Rose and Giovanni’s Viennese Waltz?

I want to say everything. But I will break down a few of my thoughts more specifically.

Storytelling in dance

First up for me was how the storytelling and dance style were married to perfection, e.g. how the sway is used to express being torn. Technique, musicality and acting all came together.

I love when actors approach dance from the story side of things. It elevates dance technique and gives it a whole new dimension. Rose really commanded the technique. Sometimes you can see that a celebrity has just learnt something completely new (which is of course absolutely fair enough). But other times, such as here, it’s as if the celebrity is on a mission or quest to share a story or an emotion with us, and how to accomplish it is through this one dance. This one moment. Everything seems to depend on it.

Technique is a means to an end

Technique for different dances exists to create different atmospheres, express different emotions, tell different stories, put the spotlight on different aspects of life. I believe we should try to master it to express the richness of life, not just for sheer athletic display, although that has a place too. Here, technique was used exactly how I love it, to express life, love, care, difficulty, pain, anger and so much more.

When the couple starts into the Waltz step, Rose owns the direction, speed and length of her strides perfectly. And then, when in hold, she eats the space and is so physically in control of every step and turn. It looks effortless, when of course a huge amount of practise goes into that.

Where does physical expression come from? How do you express emotions in dance?

I often write about committing to movement and here, it was more evident than ever to me. Imagine any movement such as getting rid of Giovanni’s grip was done without meaning, it would’ve looked naf. But it didn’t. Every single movement was meant and felt. Every grip, push, embrace and pull was necessary.

Expression went through Rose’s entire body, as you can tell extremely well in her back movements with the gorgeous backline of her dress. Emotion came from the very centre of her body, both from her core muscles physically and her heart emotionally. And it electrified her entire being, all the way into the crown of her head, into her shoulders, finger tips and toes.

In conjunction with Rose’s incredible musicality, which you can see throughout and also in the very last shaking off of Giovanni’s grip, it was magical, sublime. It’s as if the music was written to underline her actions.

You can tell the impact the performance had by the judges’ emotional reactions and someone shouting at the end “that’s it, girl!”. I was just speechless and in awe. It was the kind of dance performance that reminds me why I’m in this business, what is the meaning of dance and why it’s so important as an art and craft. It’s a Tango from Rose and Giovanni next week. I’ve got the highest expectations and can’t wait!!!

Watch week six on BBC One on Saturday 31st October 2021, at 7.10pm.

Disclaimer: I am no expert on the technical side of things with the Viennese Waltz. All I know is what I learnt from years of watching Strictly 🙂


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