Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - Highlights

Reality TV shows are in no danger of disappearing, and Australia has no shortage of them. Thankfully they aren't all as cringe-inducing as Hell's Kitchen or as insipid as The Hills - reality? fiction? who cares?

Dance. Scores of Australians thought they could, and battled it out in couples, singles, groups and constantly changing pairs every week - sometimes with more than one routine to show off per episode. If a dancer found themselves at the bottom of the list, they had to perform what the judges called "Dance for your Life," which was always nerve-racking and sometimes surprising. Without a "Simon" type judge I liked this show a lot more than American Idol. The blonde host is singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Alive; Someday Soon). I'm a little behind in posting this, but I wanted to highlight a few of the best routines of the two-hour finale. The Final Fours' performances are embedded from YouTube, with the judges' thoughts and favourite clips of each dancer's progression throughout the show.

All I can say is, Go Talia! The 18 year old ballerina shone every week, proving she could do much more than pliƩ when she put her mind to it. That girl worked it, and she came out the winner.

Her duet with Loredo, to Taylor Swift's "Love Story," had viewers clamouring for more - it was voted "favourite moment." Here she is with her final performance.

Another standout was the "suitcase routine" done by Top 3 contender Amy and her partner Damien. And I must mention how much I want her outfit...

The group routine inspired by the movie Kill Bill was awesome. So much is going on, but every dancer breathes purpose into their role, without taking away from the ensemble piece.

In the end, the Final 4 became the Final Two, and just behind Talia was Charlie. Charlie was always a character, and you could tell how much he loved dancing and entertaining the crowd. In this number, Single Ladies, he teams up with Penny from the Top 20 - and you can see how she's a frame for his incredibly charismatic performance.

And finally, Ben - who now thinks he'll go on to be a choreographer. Ben nearly sold himself short in the auditions, but fortunately the judges sensed there were things he could do that he hadn't shown them in his audition piece - and, just like that, he got a ticket to Top 100 week. I didn't really like his final performance, so here's his duet to Beyonce's "Diva" with Talia instead.

There was also a guest spot that left me breathless: New York dance company Pilobolus' (shortened) duo routine known as "Symbiosis." It showcases strength, grace, and awe-inspiring trust. Disclaimer: Pilobolus often performs in little or no clothing, so any content on their website - or YouTube for that matter - may be unsafe for work or a home office with curious small people nearby. This clip is work-safe.

Wow. That was a lot of good dancing. Hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fashion Essentials for Sydney in the Fall

It's fall here in Sydney. People have been asking about the weather and how I'm acclimatising, so I thought I'd break it down for you.

Fashion Essentials for Sydney in the Fall

Add tights or leggings to your skirts and dresses. Super-shiny "liquid" leggings are very popular.

Wear boots or ballet flats instead of thongs. But if it's not raining, go ahead and wear your thongs.

Carry a pashmina if you go someplace nice in the evening.

I imagine it will soon be cold enough in the evening for an actual jacket - right now I'm getting away with blazers most of the time. Some ladies are wearing short leather jackets and light trenchcoats.

For daytime casual chic, all you need are jeans, shoe-boots, a long-sleeved shirt, a light jumper (sweater) and a cute scarf. These items are perfect for days when it's really chilly, like 15 or 16 degrees C.

Pictured: a pashmina shawl, and a shoe-boot, or "shoot."