Don't let the title mislead you. When we decided to go in this direction for this week's blog, we figured that some of you might think we're gossiping, speculating, or stretching the truth to suit our own purposes. Not so fast, Ladies and Gentleman. This has nothing to do with the real world at all, nor does it have anything to do with gossip, speculating, or stretching anything. To be perfectly honest, we had no idea what we could write about until we saw Tristan and Kym dance together again last week, and then it hit us. Their performances parallel the progression of an evolving love story, so we figured we would interpret the performances the way that the story might be told. They have given us many magical performances on Dancing With the Stars so it was almost impossible to know where to begin. But never fear, we rarely run out of things to say, and this time was no different. We thought about it and thought about it and decided that the Tristan/Kym dance floor magic is so believable that they could create their own little version of a fairy tale. Sure it’s fiction and has nothing to do with real life so don’t even think about suggesting that we are spreading rumors because nothing is further from the truth. Of course it’s acting and theatre, but the chemistry makes this story and the plot development possible. When these two pros step onto the dance floor, they create passionate characters, the characters come to life, the story unfolds, and we feel as though we have known them forever. So in our own strange little way, we are going to tell you exactly what we think of the Tristan MacManus/Kym Johnson pro dances, what themes we think those dances convey, and how the defining moments make themselves felt in the most unexpected ways.
Like we said, it’s not real life. It’s fantasy, but isn’t that what dance is all about? It is an escape from reality and a form of creative and artistic expression. Ah, if only everyone could be as good as Tristan and Kym at telling a story.
When you see Tristan and Kym dance, you believe them. You're not just sitting there enjoying a performance, and you certainly never head off to the kitchen for snacks because you’re bored; you feel like you have a front row seat as they so beautifully get into character. Their chemistry is so solid that for a moment you forget that you are watching a carefully scripted play disguised as a choreographed performance via dance. It has all the elements of an unfolding drama – the introduction, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the conclusion. These kind of candid interludes could make the observer uncomfortable, but Tristan and Kym seem to beckon us with their natural warmth and invite us to witness their remarkable story from our front row seat.
Just one thing: It took us a while to think of all of the amazing dances that Tristan and Kym have performed in the past, so we enlisted a little help from the administrator of Kym’s twitter fan page (@KymJohnsonSite) and the Facebook community fan page. Be sure and follow her! She was a great help and our “unexpected research assistant.” Find her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Unofficial-Kym-Johnson-Community/168249579904459?fref=ts
I don’t think any of us will ever forget the introduction to our own version of Prince Charming from Season 12's inaugural DWTS troupe. From the edgy prince in Dance to the Music to the charm the ladies prince in O Mio Babbino Caro we knew he was a regal gent. But it was in the summer of 2011 when many of us began to really stand up and take notice of the magical chemistry between Tristan and Kym when he traveled with her to perform at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh (July, 2011). With 2 very different dances – an edgy Cha Cha to Club Can’t Handle Me by Flo Rida and an extremely sensuous Rumba to Fallen by Lauren Hill - we saw Tristan demonstrate the recurring qualities of charm, chivalry, and the ability to win over an audience – okay, to win over hoards of women. It was Kym’s performance, and Tristan made sure she received the accolades, but we think all of us knew exactly who her partner was, and all of us knew the story they told. Tristan didn’t fade into the background; he, in fact, took over the dance without taking the attention away from Kym. A very telling beginning, we would say. In essence, this was the introduction to our story's plot – the beginning stages of the relationship, the building of trust, the stages of budding passion that set the tone for all future performances.
And on to Season 13 and beyond.
When Tristan became a pro, we knew it would be special, and what an introduction we had! In his first pro dance of Season 13, we found ourselves on the Edge of Glory. For real. It was jaw-droppingly hot. [yes, we made up the word ‘jaw-droppingly’ but nothing else seemed to fit]. From the silhouette at the top of the stairs until they stepped onto the ballroom floor, Tristan and Kym caught our eye (and not just because he’s our favorite pro and she’s stunning). It’s because they connect when they dance – as two great dancers and performers will do. In many cases, we see pros paired up to dance and yeah, they dance, and they dance brilliantly from a technical standpoint, but they very frequently don’t dance together in any believable sense. More often than not, there isn’t a spark of chemistry. Not in this case, however. This dance was a teaser of what was to come. It was one of the elements of the story’s rising action – the building up of events that lead to the turning point in the story (more about that later).
Later in Season 13, we saw what we had been missing when Kelly Clarkson belted out Mr. Know It All. Kelly wasn't kidding with her comments - talk about some real “Hell-llo…” This was our first big primetime glimpse into the chemical dancing powerhouse that is Tristan and Kym. It was also the first time that we got to see them get some serious solo time in the performance show arena. Of course let us not forget that Tristan really does seem to know it all. He knows how to seduce, how to captivate, and he knows how to sweep a woman off of her feet. We loved the passion, we loved the closeness, and we really loved those clinches. Yes, in this dance we feel that the Irish Mr. Know It All won the struggle, but it was an absolutely captivating struggle. Kelly said it best when she called the performance “distracting.” Wetpaint picked up on it immediately and titled their post “Kelly Clarkson Outshined By Tristan MacManus & Kym Johnson's Hot DWTS Dance”. We don’t know if Kelly was outshined because she has some powerful pipes and is a superb performer, but let’s just say that the chemistry between Tristan and Kym came close to causing a little spontaneous combustion. As Gina Carbone said, “Kelly Clarkson showed why the first American Idol is still number one, belting out two songs on the Dancing With the Stars Season 13, Week 5 Results Show. But even she was distracted by the hotness of pros Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus dancing to her new single “Mr. Know It All." To channel DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba, they were on "fiyahhhhh!" ‘
This was just another stage in the relationship – the storyline continued to build and grow, and the fictional romance continued to blossom.
And then there was the dark, edgy You Make Me Feel performance (along with Sonny and Sharna). That was mysterious, cutting-edge, a little intense (okay, a whole lot intense), and still sexy as sin. But it wasn’t sexy for the sake of being sexy; it was believable, and it was all about the action and reaction involved in real life drama. When Tristan and Kym dance, it is real, much as when you see two proficient actors on a stage. If those actors are good, you believe the story. Oh we believed, all right, and even the costumes played a big part in convincing us.
It’s funny how Kym is always costumed up in fringe, while in this dance Tristan gets to be the consummate bad boy, but the bad boy with a heart. Much as the costumes were a blend of contrasts, this dance was a mesh of all kinds of different dance styles. We'll just call it the HipHopFunkHipFunkHopContempGirateSambaJive (that’s because we don’t know any better). Maybe that's why the dance was so spectacular. Or perhaps it is because we got to see two dance purists (Tristan and Kym) really break out of their mold and do something completely unexpected. Sure this wasn’t their original choreography (we have Sharna to thank for that), but the right pros were chosen to dance to this super catchy song, and they did not disappoint. Tristan and Kym took a fast, modern, sexy dance, and still managed to inject their intimate chemistry into the mix. The result was a dance that the MacManiacs are still talking about and probably will be for a long time.
How does this dance play a role in our storybook romance? Easy. It showed the conflict, the drama, the action and reaction (this can't be stressed too many times!), the push and the pull – all of the things that make a story real. After all, what is a good story without conflict? It’s bland, boring, tedious, and sleep-inducing. Not with these two. The drama took over in this performance, and the darkness and the edginess of the performance stirred things up and left us wanting more from the work of two brilliant screenwriters (or two brilliant performers).
To our disappointment, we didn’t see Tristan and Kym dance together much in Season 14, but there was part of that season ending pro dance where he began with Anna and danced not nearly enough with Kym in It’s all About Tonight. Too bad because what we saw was electric! Maybe there was a hiatus in this storybook romance. Yep, it imitates real life.
May, 2012 gave us a special treat when we saw Tristan and Kym dancing and choreographing for the new DWTS online game, “Keep Dancing.” Those two can even make the different and the unusual feel exciting, and while they laughed in the shooting breaks, once they danced, we were enveloped by their connection and became part of that dance too. It’s the beginning of Part 2 of the story.
On to the summer of 2012 – from the New York Red Cross Ball where Tristan and Kym danced the Viennese Waltz to the stirring lyrics of A Thousand Years by Christina Perri – “Hearts beat fast, colors and promises…..” Then the Rumba which took us back to Pittsburgh (Fallen by Lauren Wood) and finally the Paso Doble to Beyonce’s End of Time (a completely different result than when Tristan danced a Samba to the same music with Chelsie Hightower in Design A Dance in Season 14). They repeated those same dances a few days later in Florida, but one thing is clear – each time they dance together we are fully aware of their connection, their intensity, and their sensuality. Each dance became a progression in the developing story, and each was more passionate than the previous one.
And then we got to Season 15, and all we could think of to say was, “They’re baaaaack!” In that sexy, smoldering, sensual opening sequence to I Want To Dance With Somebody, Tristan and Kym not only set the mood for the dance, they became the focus of the dance. Magic? You bet. They were charming, believable, and, uh, erotic. Yes, we said it. The underlying emotion was pretty clear. They did exactly what they were supposed to do; they drew in the audience and captivated each and every one of us. From beginning to end, we fell a little more in love with this special dance team. And they are still building the story and enhancing the storyline.
We saved the best for last. They just keep getting better and better, and that was obvious in the dance on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 during the Week 4 (Season 15) Results Show of Dancing With the Stars. As they danced to This Is the Moment we knew that they would always be force to be reckoned with. The LA Times said it best: “Tristan MacManus and Kym Johnson played the part of star-crossed lovers on the dance floor.”
Playing the role is what Kym and Tristan do best, and they play it convincingly. From start to finish, no matter what the music or the song, they weave their own magical spell over us and take dance performance to a new level. Well done, Tristan and Kym. We can’t wait for the next installment, because they haven’t even reached the pinnacle of this developing plot. By keeping us wanting more and never quite finishing the story, we may never have the falling action or a conclusion. It just keeps building and building and building and getting better and better….just like any great story.
In case you missed any of these great performances? Here you go.
Consol energy center Flo Rida featuring David Guetta “Club Can’t Handle Me”
Lauren Wood "Fallen" Rumba
“Edge of Glory”
‘You Make Me Feel”
DWTS online game “Keep Dancing” footage
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-cDZmwEfD4&feature=plcp&list=PLED2D85023E59D307 New York Red Cross Ball
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”
"This Is the Moment"