View Full Version : Evan Lysacek on Dancing with the Stars

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04-28-2010, 07:15 AM
Evan on E Online: http://ca.eonline.com/uberblog/marc_malkin/b178349_dancings_evan_lysacek_we_all_miss_kate.htm l

Oh, and BigB08822, I agree with you!

04-29-2010, 05:24 PM
I recently asked a friend of mine, who was a professional dancer and a PhD in the History of Dance from the U. of Chicago to weigh in on Evan's performance of the Samba on an absolute basis as well as vs. that of Derek Hough's. Here's what he had to say.

"Well, you asked for a doctor’s opinion, so here you go…

First prefatory note: what is samba? At this point, most people associate this dance form with other Hispanic cultural traditions. This is true, but let’s specifically recognize that samba is from the Portuguese/Brazilian side of the Hispanic legacy. Samba is associated with Brazil and its celebration of carnival, but it is also an expression of its multicultural heritage. The samba—when danced as a ballroom duet—is certainly part of “our” shared Western tradition, of which ballet is certainly a part. Yet within the Brazilian cultural context, samba also demonstrates its African origins. Some scholars note that samba can be traced to various popular rhythms and dances that originated from the regional batuque, a type of music and associated dance form from Cape Verde. But “African” is a term that is not homogenous, and neither is samba. The multi-ethnic character of a polyglot “African culture” impacts the expressions of samba. Polyrhythmic structures (when dancers move different parts of their bodies to two or more different rhythms), a grounded stance, and a presentation that does not privilege the front of the body are all very basic visual clues that a certain dance form shares something in common with other forms having African origins. (To be sure, there are others). When sk9tingfan speaks earlier in this string of the “hip action” and upper-body rolls, this is an invocation of certain African characteristics of samba.

(This was the contents of my original email to him:
I was looking at Evan’s performance in the Samba There were three deficits that I could pick up:

• He was lacking hip action, not just sufficient hip action
• He was lacking in upper body flexibility and rotation in the Samba rolls
• He should have been on the balls of his feet and not his heels.

Look at how Derek Hough moved in the Samba and compare not just the hips but also the upper body on the Samba rolls as well as the quick staccato in his feet. I know that Derek is a pro, however, I feel that the direct comparison is more appropriate on a male to male basis. )

My second note, the samba is typically accompanied by music in 2/4 time signature. This need not be fast or slow, but from the aspect of musical construction, it permits layers of choruses and other elements to be placed on top of the music itself. These layers are often in syncopation with the main melody’s rhythm.

Why start with this two notes? Samba is about fusion, multiple layers, and many dimensions. With respect to Evan’s attempt to samba, well…he is about as monotone as can be.

Look at his arms first. When the first judge gave his critique, he mentioned that Evan has a lovely lyrical line. That lyrical line is something that the West appreciates when viewing dancing. Between 2:20 and 2:26 in the video, we see Evan presenting his body (his long arms in particular) and preparing for a pirouette…which was really well done to give him credit. But it did not look like samba. The audience, an American one, is Western in its tastes. They liked what they saw in Evan’s performance. They booed throughout the judges critiques. If we are going to be able to listen the judges’ point of view, we need to separate the performance from whether or not that dance he did with Anna was an invocation of samba. Let’s go back to the very first image they offer in their dance: an derrière shake, a lift of both dancers’ arms, a spin, and Evan’s caress of Anna’s leg. This is an image-driven dance, not something that is centered on movement to express its artistic content. With respect to my second starting note, Evan and Anna danced to a slower version of the Black Eyed Peas “Hey Mama.” It was slower to incorporate all the images and poses of their performance. The movement was all in-time with the music, and there was neither syncopation nor layering of motion on top of their musical accompaniment. Unlike the third judge, I won’t label Evan and Anna’s effort “balletic.” And while I could see that Evan did turn out his legs more often than not, many forms of modern dance also borrow this convention (including Japanese butoh that has its origins in German Ausdruckstanz). I will agree with all three of them that the effort was not “samba.” Evan and Anna did something “Western,” whatever it may have been.

With respect to the dance by Nicole and Derek, I think it is more “Latin” inspired, but was it samba? I thought I was looking at salsa. The performance was great, and the energy was high. But what exactly those two were aping in their performance, who knows. Nicole said in rehearsal that this was not a carnival. She may have been on to something that Derek missed altogether."

04-29-2010, 05:28 PM
I don't care much about Evan dancing or skating but I learned a lot about the samba from your post - thank you.

04-29-2010, 06:06 PM
Unfortunately, dancesport samba has pretty much nothing to do with Brazilian samba or its "African roots" (for that matter neither does tango, which goes back to certain African styles of movements.) There are basically two dominant teach schools, the UK and Eastern Europe/Russia. You want to start a fight, bring in Afro-Carib salsa/rhumba/son dancers and call what we do "rhumba." The thing is, it's pretty much irrelevant what the source cultures do as that's not what dancesport is.

Derek dances with what I'd call a fairly UK-Latin style. This is not surprising given who his teachers were. He has very fast, precise, feet, not a HUGE amount of hip action but the correct body stretch and direction through the core (and unlike most celebs, including very obviously Nicole, Derek uses a figure-eight action with most of his hip work. This is correct, and it stems from the hip action being generated from the feet up, not from just moving the hips NICOLE.) His shoulders and arms are relatively stable and his own styling leans more towards sharp than fluid. If you watch an Eastern European trained Latin dancer (Maks for example) you will see foot speed again, but more shoulder/arm fluidity and a different sort of core stretch. I can't really explain well as I'm not a teacher, but from my perspective as a follow who's had two pros, one from the UK and one from Eastern Europe, the UK-style lead is..firmer. I can feel his entire body weight moving me from the hips via the connection through the shoulders and arms. E. Europe, it's like the upper body is floating over the hips, which makes for some insanely fluid upper-body action but to me isn't as secure. I've experienced the difference with all the leads I've danced with from the two backgrounds which tells me it's about how they were taught and what they think it's supposed to look like.

Which is what it comes to-whatever samba, cha cha, rhumba, paso and jive's origins, the goal for the DWTS people is to learn these dances in their modern, Western/Northern contexts as competitive ballroom. You can't judge Evan against Afro-Carib-S. American ideas of what samba should be as that's not ballroom samba and most ballroom dances don't resemble their root dances. Rhumba doesn't look like son, cha cha's an offshoot of rhumba, jive is not what lindyhoppers would call swing, paso is not flamenco. The end product is not the same.

Evan's problems with samba were no bounce, which it needs to have (and he had an INCREDIBLY good piece of music for that), and as you note the heel--the issue there is one that boggled my mind as he appeared to be wearing ballroom shoes. There's a HUGE difference between mens' ballroom and men's latin, in every aspect of the shoe structure. Latin shoes with cuban heels are designed to allow extreme flexibilty and to allow the dancer to put his weight out on the very front of the ball. Standard shoes have lower, flatter heels and harder soles, as point/flex is not as critical as maintaining stability while turning on your heel.

A problem he did NOT have was turnout. Bruno was completely wrong there, which is not surprising as samba he knows from nothing. The only Latin dance that's danced on a straight foot is Paso. (Or as my pro put it, "Huh, heel leads, no hip action, upper body shaping like standard...I think we've found your Latin dance!" Except I'm almost incapable of stepping on a straight foot, which makes anything OTHER than Rhythm/Latin a pain.)

04-29-2010, 09:58 PM
Danceronice -- most informative. How would you have ranked/scored the celebrity dancers who did the samba last Monday?

04-30-2010, 10:17 AM
I would search high and low for clips of Joubert doing sexy dancing numbers. :grope:
Had any success? If so pls pls share clips with me!

05-03-2010, 11:48 PM
Many Evan clips are located here:


I've asked the poster to put anything new in this thread, but for now it's a good go-to thread.

05-04-2010, 02:35 PM
I don't get the judges reaction to Evan last night. I thought he looked awkward. He had a few "Tango" moments, but most of the dance was stiff and deer in the headlights. And that lift at the end - didn't I see Tanith and Ben do that same lift a few times? :D Of course, compared to Pam anderson, he was brilliant. I didn't see the first hour, only the last 3, were they all blah?

05-04-2010, 02:39 PM
Evan and Anna were terrific, I personally thought he was fierce (as was she).

I'll post this here also; interesting take on Evan vs Nicole for the win:


05-04-2010, 02:43 PM
I think this show is helping Evan a lot. IMO it sheds a brand new light on him and his personnality.

05-04-2010, 02:50 PM
Honestly, last week? I'd have given Nicole and Evan 8, Erin a 7 probably.

This week I thought Evan had a couply tiny issues (though what do I know, Argentine isn't a ballroom/dancesport dance) but they were mostly just that he is very long-legged compared to Anna so it takes him a little longer to sweep his leg around! (I'm also mildly boggled by their using a rumba, Bust Your Windows, for AT, but at least the band was vaguely in the vincinity of the right key and tempo.) So glad he got the first 30, not that whiney ringer Nicole.

05-04-2010, 02:55 PM
I love Evan and Anna but I wish he would show more personality and not just 'workaholic' during the clip packages. From his appearances on Bonnie Hunt and Letterman we know he can be pretty sarcastic and hilarious, but he comes across pretty dull in his clip packages. And his interview segments are very P.C. - his 'skater responses.' I love him (and them) but dude, show yourself!!

But I'm completely in love with Erin and Maks, their funny arguments and her imitations of him (with accent) and their Pulp Fiction number - I've watched it about 20 times.

05-04-2010, 03:06 PM
I don't get the judges reaction to Evan last night. I thought he looked awkward. He had a few "Tango" moments, but most of the dance was stiff and deer in the headlights. And that lift at the end - didn't I see Tanith and Ben do that same lift a few times? :D Of course, compared to Pam anderson, he was brilliant. I didn't see the first hour, only the last 3, were they all blah?

Totally agree. My reaction was, "Are you kidding me?" He looked awkward without the movements that I would have expected to see. This show is fixed. The judges are overly hard with Nicole Scherzinger.

05-04-2010, 03:22 PM
Totally agree. My reaction was, "Are you kidding me?" He looked awkward without the movements that I would have expected to see. This show is fixed. The judges are overly hard with Nicole Scherzinger.

Well, it is a "show". And Nicole is a dancer. I suppose that they don't want to make it look like they are supporting a ringer. :lol:

I realize that Evan is out of his comfort zone, but I did not expect him to be so stiff and so lacking in portraying a character/style. He is not one of the more theatrical skaters, but he certainly has more character presentation on the ice.

Screech - :lol: My daughter watched with me last night and I turned to her and said - don't his responses sound like USFS scripted them for him? No Nancy Kerrigan "Disney style" oops for Evan :lol:

05-04-2010, 03:49 PM

Aunt Joyce says it all. I couldn't have articulated my issues with the score that Evan got last evening on DWTS