Friday, 3 March 2017

Return to Old Hollywood

The Judges' Choice

Huddled on living room sofa; shhhhh. No more talking. Come quickly now, Strictly is about to begin. We catch a glimpse of the three contenders in 'make-up', but generally scant attention is given to other contestants...only have eyes for our team. 

This is the last show of the season and the last time we will see them dance {gulp} in the Strictly ballroom before a studio audience, but also right here in our own living room. Mostly though we accompanied them to all sorts of places: Old Vienna, a Spanish bullring, to Church, to an East End Pool Hall, to the Argentinean Pampas; an early supper at the Ritz with a gorgeous waiter who amazingly wants to dance! Then on to a West End Musical. We took a trip to the Amazon Jungle and, finally, we went for a walk by a bridge on a Misty Blue evening.

How will we survive the separation and loss? It was simply unimaginable...unbearable. Our hearts will break; you see we have fallen head over heels in love with this amazing duo: team spectacular.

And here they are to reprise the Quickstep - the Judges' Choice - reminiscent of Old Hollywood and Fred Astaire. 

Unfortunately, on leaving his conductor's podium, Danny stumbles and misses the timing. He is so enamoured with this favourite dance and is having such a good time, he is completely oblivious to the fault. In fact he is puzzled when it is pointed out to him. So are we! The judges are slating. It is the Final after all they exclaim.

Danny Mac's face says it all. That mistake cost our team dearly. At this stage with a total score of 36, they are bottom of the leader board. Is this the manifestation of the second Strictly curse: the favourite never wins? 

No time to deliberate, cogitate or ruminate. We have to draw a line and move on.

When Courage & Determination Triumphs over Self-Doubt The showdance will portray Danny's travails and triumps during his Strictly sojourn.  As Oti said: with the first dance you have three weeks to prepare; people didn’t see that he came in going "I can’t do this".  'Danny this is about how you accept who you are and begin to see the worth in you'.

A keen supporter of Danny penned a personal tribute: 
Denise Guyett: "What happens when you take a talented shy young man, teach him some dance routines and throw him in front of a live studio/television audience? Well just ask Danny Mac.

In the lead up to his first dance, the Cha Cha, Danny was so anxious and feeling so ill, he almost gave up. Thankfully for us and for himself, he fought through his extreme anxiety and self doubt and gave us one of the most memorable Strictly (2016) seasons that we have ever seen. He showed courage to continue when he thought he wasn't good enough. He showed humility and strength of character.

This talented and shy young man who we learnt has an amazing and powerful singing voice also showed us, and himself, that he can dance. Week after week Danny worked his butt off in training. He gave it everything he had. He put heart and soul into learning the routines and came out every single week with determination, courage and heart and gave it his all. And at the end of each week we were treated to that beautiful warm smile that would melt even the coldest of hearts.

He was the most amazing, the most talented and the most incredible person to ever be on that show. And you, Danny Mac, ARE THAT GOOD".
At this point in their collaboration, Oti had tapped into Danny's inner dancer. She, that inner impulse, because the feminine principle exists in every man just as the masculine resides in every woman, had been squished into a box and shoved into the attic; forgotten for all times until Oti came to the rescue. Mabuse recognised the fire, drama, passion and intensity of Danny's inner dancer and challenged him to bring her out to be integrated with the masculine. 

We watched and loved the manifestation of that over many heartwarming and exhilerating weeks. Actually what we saw was Oti using the power of dance to transform her partner. Life for him will never be the same again.

Now is an appropriate time for us to revisit Mystic Meg's....sorry, we mean Mystic Maz's prediction. In Part I of this Tribute she told us:
"...a demanding Leo and dreaming Piscean were paired up...Leo's strength of personality can be intimidating for a Piscean. It is a complex affair...but Leo/Piscean compatibility can be as wondrous as a fairy tale. Pisceans can be overwhelmed by feeling and struggles. A potential mis-match, this pairing requires a lot of work and commitment. Elementally this is a fire and water match".                        

It is certainly true that we glimpsed, and Danny spoke of, the level of anxiety that threatened to overwhelm him on occasion. The struggle with his feelings, again openly acknowledged, were revealed in Argentine Tango week.  Danny regularly paid tribute to Oti, especially for her belief in him. Her strength, and commitment to enabling him to be the best that he could be, helped Danny to come on stage and be the class act he was capable of being.

Newly minted soothsayer Mystic Maz also mused on the fact that Danny had turned down Strictly's invitation on four previous occasions and had finally accepted, coincidentally, after Oti's arrival. 

In Danny Mac's words: 'this girl believed she could teach this guy to dance'. Relatively new to the Show, this being her second season, Mabuse is sufficiently experienced and confident to take the anxiety-ridden Danny in hand, calm his nerves, coach and guide him all the way through to the Final. An extraordinary but well deserved achievement for both of them. Perhaps they were gifted to each other.

Well, what can we say Mystic Maz. You were spot on!                                        

And what did our team choose as the backdrop to their Showdance, and chiming with the elemental aspects of personality in the partnership? None other than Adele's: 
Set Fire to the Rain

I let it fall, my heart
And as it fell you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over

Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

My hands, they're strong
But my knees were far too weak
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

But there's a side to you
That I never knew, never knew
All the things you'd say
They were never true, never true
And the games you play
You would always win, always win

But I set fire to the rain
Watched it pour as I touched your face
Well, it burned while I cried
'Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
'Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time!

We don't believe it! Have they been eavesdropping on our conversations?  Or perhaps they have been reading our late-night-to nearly-dawn twitter feed where they have been trending for months. Or,  is this by way of some kind of Divine design? 

And the last verse of Set Fire to the Rain is particularly poignant because it reminds us, if we needed it, that this was indeed the last time that this very special couple would combine their individual artistry and grace our screens with their magic.
Setting fire... the rain
We will explore in greater depth in a while the symbolism of the Showdance and how it depicts the story of Danny's 'journey' to become that delicious and extraordinary dancer we saw on the Live Tours. We are excited about this Showdance. It is going to be world class.




[1] Acknowledgement for source material: BBC & Linda Kent
[2] Related Posts: a)  & Editors: Amari Blaize, Maria Connolly, Mai-Britt Rodway, Denise Guyett


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