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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Observer

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‘Dancing with the Stars Live’ glitters on its 2024 national tour

Tonight, for one night only, we gather to relish in the glory that is “Dancing with the Stars Live” replete with the requisite Latin hips, perfect frame and sparkles.

It’s a Friday night, and the MGM Casino at the National Harbor is packed. I am there with my mom and sister. Tonight, for one night only, we gather to relish in the glory that is “Dancing with the Stars Live” replete with the requisite Latin hips, perfect frame and sparkles. After Xochitl Gomez took home the mirrorball trophy at the end of season 32 of “Dancing with the Stars,” the troupe has gone on tour once again to bring the ballroom to audiences nationwide. I saw one of the earlier stops on the tour, and along with the regular troupe, Gomez, her partner Val Chmerkovski and his wife, professional dancer Jenna Johnson, joined the show as special guests.

The show can only be described as fun. The dancing was fantastic, there were funny bits between numbers, several of the numbers had interesting concepts and everything (and I mean everything) glittered. The energy in the audience stayed high for the entire show with so many of the women (and some of the men) shouting for their favorite dancer. Every seat in the house was packed.

Standout numbers include a passionate paso doble between Chmerkovskiy and Johnson and Gomez’s and Chmerkovskiy’s waltz to “La Vie en Rose” from the semifinals of the show. From beginning to end, the paso doble was flawless and absolutely enrapturing, a slightly softer, more intimate take on a usually more aggressive dance. The waltz was stunning, smooth, elegant and a classic example of the style. I adore the red gown Gomez wore for the dance as well; it fit the mood perfectly and moved with her beautifully. For someone who had just learned to ballroom dance a few months ago, she did a fantastic job keeping up with the professionals all night.

The costumes in general were on point, working — as they should — to accentuate the movements of each dance and dancer. Eye-catching and, of course, sparkly, they did a great job conveying the mood or theme of each individual dance.

The show itself did not have a story so much as it was composed of a number of individually themed dances or groups of dances with bits of humor thrown in between. The set of dances that came closest to telling a story were at the end of act 1 where the entire cast dressed as scientists in a dance lab asking the question “What makes a perfect dance?” and conducting experiments to find the answer. Gomez, as the only non-professional dancer of the bunch, became the test subject. When they arrived at the answer, they put on a show within the show, turning the stage into a Golden Age of Hollywood bar and casting each dancer as an archetype (the bartender, the cigarette girl, the femme fatal, the aristocrat, the nerd…) to frame a set of dances that explored the relationship between these different characters, including forbidden love, lust and rivalry. It was very creative and made for a memorable part of the show. Other memorable bits include cha cha movers (two of the male dancers in mover suits rearranging set pieces to a cha cha between numbers) and “A Chance for a Dance,” a gameshow segment where a female audience member got to do a blind interview with three of the male cast members for a chance to dance with one of them a la a blind date gameshow. It was hilarious.

Beyond the clever theming and fancy costumes was a cast of incredibly talented dancers. Every dance, from the rumbas to the foxtrots, was technically perfect and amazing to watch. The show enraptured me for its two hour run time.

To me, at its core, “Dancing with the Stars Live” is a show with a talented cast who love dance for an audience who loves dance just as much. Light, funny and thoroughly enjoyable, it made for a perfect Friday night out.