The roster of “stars” (I put the quotes around the word because I think the word stars is a little too strong in describing this group of people) for the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars was announced just recently. Names like comedic actor Andy Dick, country singer Wynonna Judd, actor/stand-up comedian D.L. Hughley, NFL wide receiver Jacoby Jones, and Olympic athlete/figure skater Dorothy Hamill joined the likes of Lisa Rinna, Tatum O’Neal, George Hamilton, Jerry Rice, Jerry Springer, and Mario Lopez as people who have competed on the show.
While we all might fight over which of the people from this list really are actual stars and not just B-listers or maybe even lower, what I find interesting is that very few of the contestants over the course of the 15 previous seasons have actually been the stars we would like to see competing in this show. Or who would be natural choices. Other than stars like Mel B of the Spice Girls, Joey Fatone of N’Sync, Sabrina Bryan of The Cheetah Girls, and Lil’ Kim very few of the people doing this have ever danced before. Now, for some of you that might be the point of the show turning non-dancers into kinda dancers but for me I want to see good dancers perform in styles involved in ballroom that we have not seen them do before.
I got to thinking about that and making a list in my mind of the ten stars I would really like to see compete on Dancing With the Stars. Here is what I came up with (in no particular order):
1) Madonna: Throughout her career Madonna has been all about the dance. Her music is just a means to an end and that end is dancing. We have seen her dance in her videos like “Music”, “Hung Up” and “4 Minutes”. Her live performances are all about dance/performance. The woman is serious about choreography and timing. After graduating from high school Madonna earned a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan where she thought she would become a ballet dancer. After dropping out she moved to New York City where she performed in several modern dance troupes. Over the course of her career she has mastered many different styles of dancing. She has kept herself flexible and toned. With her combination of dance training and perfectionism it would make for an interesting watch to see her tackle things like the fox trot, rumba and samba and bringing her own personal flair to them.
2) Justin Timberlake: In terms of modern pop singers who also dance Justin Timberlake is near the top of that list. His smooth dance moves have been a part of many of his music videos and have been copied many times over. From his time with the boy band N’Sync to his solo career dancing has always been a part of what he does. He has a sense of showmanship you don’t often see. Would be interesting to see if his talents in hip hop can translate to the more structured ballroom dancing arena.
3) Janet Jackson: Janet and her brother Michael were two of the best dancers in the music world. Who did not steal some moves from the “Rhythm Nation” video? Not many of us could even approach what she did in “The Pleasure Principle” video. She has mastered the hip hop style but can also soften it up for a change of pace and has even done some belly dancing in one of her videos. There is beauty and power in what she does so I think that makes her a natural for ballroom dancing.
4) Paula Abdul: She is a trained dancer and choreographer. Abdul is the woman behind the Janet Jackson moves from the 1980s. She started out as a cheerleader with the Los Angeles Lakers. At an early age she trained in ballet, jazz and Tap. With her flamboyant personality and all that dance background she is an obvious choice.
5) Jennifer Lopez: Another former American Idol judge? She began taking dance lessons at the age of 5. After dropping out of college she began to work on stage in musicals as either a dancer or choreographer. She then worked as a back-up on a live tour with the New Kids on the Block then became one of the female dancers known as the Fly Girls on the television show, In Living Color. Lopez was then hired to be a back-up dancer in 1993 for the Janet Live tour but backed out saying she wanted to do her own thing. As she has become a music and acting star dance has remained a part of who she is. Almost all her videos include her dancing and one of her films, Shall We Dance, involved her being a ball room dance instructor.
6) Beyonce: Though she is not a trained dancer her natural abilities shine through. Some of her signature moves have been copied time and time again. The way the woman can shake her hips is second to none so that would make her a natural for the Latin ballroom dances like the samba or rumba.
7) Channing Tatum: This free-style street dancer caught our eye when he was cast in the film Step Up. His director on the film said that Tatum moves like water. Even though he is not trained he is considered to be a natural. In the late 90s in order to pay the bills Channing Tatum worked as a dancer in a strip club so ya know he can shake that money maker.
8) Usher: Another musical act that has incorporated dance into everything he does. From his very first videos he showed that he is a great dancer. He is skilled plus he has good showmanship. There is a lot of Michael Jackson in his moves and he is very entertaining to watch. Has the ability to make the simplest move look great.
9) Charlize Theron: At this year’s Oscar ceremony she reminded people in her dance number along with Channing Tatum that she started off as a dancer. After coming to the United States as a teenager to do some modeling, she also trained with the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Theron performed in productions of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. This continued until she suffered a knee injury. Theron is 5’10”so with her height and classical lines she really would have an advantage at the waltz, tango and Paso Doble.
10) John Travolta: All throughout his career he has shown that he is a good dancer. In films like Grease, Hairspray, Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction he showed off his superior dance skills. A smooth mover you can tell he is a good dancer even by the way he walks. At a young age he won a dance competition by doing the twist and then went on to take dance lessons. He even took Tap lessons and was taught by Gene Kelly’s brother. During his teen years he enrolled in a New York drama school and continued his dance training. Once he won the lead role in Saturday Night Fever he embarked on nine months of dance training.