So, what does fusion – ‘foo-jen’ – mean to you?
To me it is a metal bending company in Birmingham.
It is also a term used by Uncle Ken in his Chinese cookery books:
When East Meets West.
I am told that in music it is when two genres come together, a bit like Bonny & Clyde, sausage and mash, rock and roll, country and western, R & B. In the world of dance it is when styles collide, when they merge from particularly beautiful dances into hybrids that sometimes work and that sometimes don’t. You may have heard of the Bachatango, a mix of Bachata (Domincan Republic) and Tango. Or the Pachanga, that’d be the merengue and the conga, heaven forbid, what a picture. And what of Swaltsa, my own invention? Salsa and the Waltz.
So when we were told that the remaining cupples were to venture forwards into this dubble world it was with a smidgen of trepidation that I hid behind the sofa, watching through my fingers like I do when Dr Who is on the telly. As a traditionalist – crickit and tennis in white, Yorksher pudding as a starter, red telephone boxes – I was edgy.
It was a bizarre option from the producers. Give the dancers two dances, one piece of music, some with two styles they have done before, others with a totally new discipline to learn. By any stretch of logic this doesn’t work. Surely those dancing two dances that they knew had an edge from the outset? And yet there are others they haven’t done. And still the audience are restricted to just nine minutes of dancing amidst a 65 minute programme. That’s barely 14% of the show.
First upp was Denise and James giving ‘Reet Petite’ the treatment with a mix of Jive, Quick Step, Jive, Quick Step and more Jive, totally fuzing. In week 2 Denise scored 32 in her Jive, a great exponent, so there were no worries in that department. She has fast legs, great retraction, super sharp flicks, she is light and pacey. In her red and gold she looked a million dollars; James in his yellow shirt with red collar and cuffs, and black tie, a tenner.
But whilst the Jive fizzed the Quick Step was like lemonade rather than champagne, lacking finesse, subtlety amiss, a tad gappy and obviously a new dance to her. It didn’t smack of habit and in comparison to the Jive it didn’t cut it in spite of super-fast pivots, scatter chassées by the dozen and a little bit of syncopation. It was ambitious with a lift, a wardrobe malfunction when her leg got caught, a cartwheel each and a leap frog jump from him over her. She hardly bent down. It was impressive, 35 points, but it still landed her in the dance-off with the lad from that boy band.
That was a shock, no, not the lad from that boy band having another go, but Denise’s debut venture towards the lights of doom. They must have blinded her because she and James missed the finish again, just as they had earlier. James chucked her out into some chenées turns but when he reached for her hand to lead the dip it wasn’t there. Twice.
Lisa is used to dancing hybrid dances, indeed she invented ‘The Lisa’, and lo and behold, there it was again as the Tango and the Cha collided under the blue lighting rendering her blue frock and, indeed her, almost invisible. At least you could see Robin’s black and white shoes.
The routine started with the Tango section, the steps basic, the tempo fine, the mood cool. Everything was going ok . . . and then came the Cha. As ‘Voulez-Vous’ hit an accentuation Robin reached around Lisa to find the end of her frock. Eventually he found it and he de-robed her unleashing a white skirt underneath that left the outfit similar to Donald Duck’s. Donald might have got more from the Cha too because it was devoid of content, the legs the main issue, either just bending or not bending, never straightening. The arms went awry too, her tongue out to acknowledge the slip.
It scraped thirty points, Lord Len offering honesty in a seven. As the final looms one can only hope that the GBP select talent rather than fun. She has had a good run but the clock ticks really for Riley.
The final is just a short time away and who better than to represent the little people than two little people, Dani and her wee fella. Fuzing the Quick Step and the Charleston to ‘Happy Feet’ from the ‘King of Jazz’, not Dreamworks, Dani had the perfect combination.
Both dances began in the 1920s, fast and frivolous. The tempo of them gel sweetly so morphing the two is not hard. And Dani had already scored four 9s for her Quick Step in week 7. Neither had done a Charleston on Strictly before.
Dani wore a short skirt as part of her flapper’s outfit and this exposed her legs and feet. Her tattoos had gone but her feet were visible to all and whilst we all marvelled at her technique and delivery, and the mastery of her partner’s choreography, Vincent managing to add a hop step again, at least one a week, a keen eyed juddge watched the heels of her shoes to see when they would be used. It was picky but right on the money.
A score of 38 tells you just how good Dani has become and should she make the final she really does have a chance. The way she kept to the rhythm was fabulous. How she hardly needed a lead was terrific. Her balance and style were top hole.
Seven tens were awarded during this show, more frequent than buses, which, to be fair, in the village where juddge Hills lives, isn’t difficult. Forty years ago there were seventeen each way per day. Now there are just two.
Moving on . . .
One ten came in the U2 driven foo-shen of ‘With or Without You’, the Tango and Rumba mix by Louis and Flavia that tallied 37 in total, Rumba new to the flying gymnast. If I were to be picky, and I will be, ten should be awarded for perfection, or as near as damnit as possible, and there were too many little things in this routine for it to be classed as incredible. It was very good but there is always a place for precision.
His very first step was pigeon toed. Arms extend from the middle of the back not the shoulder. On extending fingers shouldn’t be splayed, the thumb and middle finger should be shaped like trying to pick up a golden chocolate, like Rudolf if you prefer, the reindeer not Hess, he nearly tippled over during the pivots and his hand was occasionally banana shaped in the Tango. Apart from that I didn’t believe the heat of his Rumba. Was there any? Did he really want to rip her clothes off with his teeth? Please form a queue.
But apart from that, it was pretty damned fine. When Louis lifted Flav off the floor at the start of the Tango section he went in to four spins that were faster than a tornado. When Flav came down she shook herself to remember where she was and then they launched into a fast and furious routine, where he nearly tippled.
Juddges Aggie and Apeth had a bit of a premonition on Saturday. Kimberley has been brilliant, 34s all over the place. ‘All she needs,’ they announced, ‘was the dance to tip the scales. A moment of cataclysmic quality.’ Okay, I made up the cataclysmic bit.
Kimberley started her campaign with a respectable 28 for the Cha in week 1. Her Tango got two nines and two eights a few weeks ago so both dances were no strangers. Add in ‘Raining Men’, the blue lights again, this time off-set by her red culottes-style skirt and silver tassels, and we were away.
When the music finished and the blood pressure had returned to normal you could only marvel at the funn of the Cha, the accentuation of the Tango, a dance that had so much give in it. She performed for her which meant that she performed for the audience. There was no doubt in her mind about delivery or technique, or when and how to shake her booty. The transition from one dance to the other was never ever con-fuzing. It was a delight, it rocked the place and it scored a full house. This is now the girl to beat.
Apart from Blimey Riley there was only one other person really in danger of leaving the show this week, and true to form, off Nicky danced into the ether, Saturday noight’s will not be the same again without this foighter, this troyer from Oyerland. 27 pointed him towards the exit.
So go on, who chose the music? Olly Murs is a talented singer but his latest release in the hit parade, ‘Trubble Maker,’ is no record to dance the Samba to, or the Fox Trot Smooth. And who chose the Samba for the poor lad? Death by Samba again. Maybe if he’d done his own stats and analysis he would have known this routine would be doomed?
Dressed in a three piece suit with a long sleeved shirt Nicky could have been mistaken for auditioning for the snooker at The Crucible. Hottie, on the other hand, wore a white blouse, effortlessly, her black skirt splayed ready for a stint at Burlesque. She would have carried that out with aplomb. She sure knows how to vamp.
The dance itself was worthy of more points but Ebenezer was back with the five paddle. What a prarse! Sorry, the foo-shen is getting to me. Okay, baboonitis returned, the knees bent in ballroom, a bit Max Wall with a bad back, but the Samba was okay in spite of the atrocious choice of music, and the use of a chair in the middle of the floor worked well except for the knee slide. As Nicky’s knees hit the ground Hottie moved the chair like a matador. Personally I’d have left it there. Apart from that his bounce was good, the moves fine but how the heck do you get Rio from that? Someone owes him an apology. Where does the Smooth come in? Someone else owes him.At least he hit the finish perfectly.
So, the semi-final is next and one cupple will leave before the big day leaving four to foight for the roight to hoist the glitterball. In a final anything can happen in any competition. One hopes that the right four have the chance to champion the art of dancing and that the best cupple will be victorious. No one wants a plastic champion. The dance world is praying for a real dancer to win.
Blimey, I might even have to voat!
December 14th 2012