Official site | Toni Redpath, ballroom dance champion and choreographer

2013 U.S. Dance Championships, Rising Star Smooth

The final of the R.S. Smooth last night was so dramatic. I’m thrilled for Sergei & Ania who won (all dances). Ania has so much charisma and love of dance that you just get enthralled by her performance (plus she has the technique to back it up!). I felt like she connected to Sergei physically and emotionally in last night’s performance, which made him look stronger than ever. This made them the complete package and worthy winners.

I’m immensely proud of all the other finalists. They all brought something special to the competition and I feel excited for the future of Smooth with seeing all the upcoming talent we have in the field.

Special congrats though to Mariusz and Steph for placing 2nd in all dances in a very tough field. They are finding a new dynamic range and maturity in their dancing and I felt this was one of their best performances.

Shout out to Leonid and Maria. I know they would have been very disappointed with their 4th place finish, but they should be proud of how they danced. I think they have one of the best Tangos you’ll see… fantastic choreography!

Also, I’m so happy for 6th place Kyle and Allie. They are really starting to find themselves in this style. After a very successful amateur career, they are discovering now what it takes to make a push in the pro field. This is a couple to watch out for over the next 12 months.

I have to address the major drama of the night, which was Michael Eric and Chelsea not making the final; this couple had been in every major R.S. final since 2011 and were one of the favorites to win the title last night. They should be crushed by being left out of last night’s final, but knowing the fortitude and resilience of this beautiful couple, I know they will recover from this setback and return as a mighty, fighting force to be reckoned with. We love you guys and LOVE your style on (and off) the floor!!

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DTWS Season 16 Week 7

Jacoby: He has such an innate feel for the Latin dances. He has so much natural rhythm in his body that it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Small word of advice: when you are pigeon-toed it’s best not to wear shiny gold tips on those toes!

Ingo: I appreciate his effort in doing very recognizable rumba syllabus steps. He actually did quite nice technique on the sliding doors. This was one of his better dances.

Kellie: Samba is actually one of her better dances. This week she seems to have found a balance between gorgeous toned legs and feet and a lovely relaxed body action. I always felt that she was a little tense in her upper body; this week was a big improvement. Loved the slow motion promenade runs and the stationary samba walks near the end of the routine were a thing of beauty!

Andy: Technically speaking it was clunky and awkward, BUT I loved how entertaining the routine was. Great story line!

Alexandra: Wow! This girl has amazing leg and core strength, as well as being beautifully flexible. I loved how she got to really show that off in this routine. She looked like she was having a blast dancing this fun but challenging choreography, so bonus points for that! Best routine of the season so far for her.

Sean: In his Rumba, unfortunately, all I saw was his butt stuck out and really bad foot and leg lines, especially the leg line that Peta said was so important in their pre-dance clip; his right toe was completely bent in the wrong direction! Sean needs high-energy dances to excel in this competition.

Zendaya: Her Paso persona was excellent; she must have been channeling Catherine Zeta Jones from Zorro! I don’t know if she practiced much in that full skirt because it looked like it was knocking her off balance at times. She is so slight in her frame and the weight at the bottom of that skirt would have been difficult to handle. She has by far the best footwork of any of the celebrities dancing in this competition (except when she wore the sneakers in the dance off jive!).

The whole dance off was a fun concept. It was interesting seeing the competitors in direct comparison to each other.

On a side note, I tweeted out last night that I’ve just launched my ballroom dance quick-start DVD, for those that want to learn how to dance Waltz, Tango, Salsa or Swing; the DVD includes all four dances! You can buy it through this link, and thanks for all your tweets and comments!

DWTS Season 16 Week 6

Zendaya: Loved the dress but because of its short length, it did show off some funny lines in her legs. She’s so beautiful and willowy that it’s hard for her to find the crispness of the Cha Cha… (like trying to make seaweed in the ocean look sharp and toned). That’s me being picky though, because she’s absolutely stunning and she’s so good I critique her like she’s a professional!

Andy: Looked surprisingly limber in this number, however, he had the most appalling footwork I’ve ever seen in a Samba! NO heel leads please!

Sean: Wow! Way to get into the Samba bounce action (it’s normally meant to be a little more isolated in the body; you’re not meant to look like a jack in the box). The super turned-in right toe was the only thing that distracted me from the over the top bounciness going on upstairs.

Ingo: Kim’s dress was so elegant and classy (loved it!) it must have been so hard to get into the feel of the tango with such upbeat music. It just clashed. Watching Ingo trying to perform this dramatic and passionate dance while winking and smiling was a bit jarring on the senses.

Kellie: She looks so competent in the Latin dances and then so weak in the standard dances. Her frame is back-weighted and awkward and her ballet straight legs make her movement across the floor look uncomfortable. She’s a great performer though and that covers up a lot. She is like Zendaya: she started the competition so strong and it makes me critique her like she’s a professional.

Victor: The Rumba is not a good dance for him. He made lots of errors so he couldn’t show off his strength, which is brute force, and he kept tucking his right arm behind his body like he didn’t know what to do with it. Hopefully next week he gets a Tango or Cha Cha or some other dance where power is required.

Jacoby: I’m always blown away by him. How can someone who’s so big and strong look so nimble and light. He did a great job with all the tricky and fast footwork and made it look like he was just having a blast. I know his frame is hunched, but he should have scored higher.

Side note… Randall did an outrageously wonderful job with all the costumes tonight. He gets a 10 from me. I don’t know how he gets it all done in a week.

I love watching Anya Trebunskaya dance; I wish she was on the show all the time!

If you have any comments or thoughts on my feedback, feel free to let me know on my twitter: @toniredpath

DWTS Season 16, Amateurs and Pros

Can’t believe someone thought it was a good idea putting amateurs side-by-side with pros, but here we go…

Ingo looked like his limbs were transplanted onto him and he hadn’t figured out how to use them yet.

Jacoby looked pigeon-toed, knocked kneed and had flexed ankles every time his feet should have had nice pointed toes. The routine was brilliant though and I love watching his limber and flexible moves!

Victor looked hunched as ever and even though Tristan’s Smooth Ballroom is not world-class level, it still highlighted how jerky Victor’s movement is across the floor.

Alexandra also looked knock-kneed and pigeon toed (especially her left toe!).

Sean’s frame looked terrible next to Tristan: super bunched up in the shoulders, his chin was tucked and tipped on the wrong angle, his focus was too low and his right hand looked like a claw on Peta’s back. Blech!

Kellie looked locked up and rigid next to Anya. Her right arm was held too straight in closed position and her movement across the floor really suffered because her feet picked up (instead of tracking on the floor) and her knees were not flexed.

D.L.: Everything that could go wrong in a man’s topline (frame and head position) does. However, kudos for some decent footwork at times.

Zendaya: No one should have to dance next to Anya. Zendaya held her own, however, I feel the intimate Argentine Tango frame really highlighted her and Val’s height difference and made her looked uncomfortable in her shoulders. Must point out that there was absolutely stunning and brilliant choreography in this number.

Andy: Way to go closing the show (with zip lines, capes, rescues it was quite epic). Unfortunately he looks like he just got off his horse every time he walked forward.

Sorry if I seemed a bit negative this week, but I try to call it like I see it! If you have any comments, hit me up on @toniredpath on twitter.

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