Strictly Come Dancing 2018 reached its semi-final last weekend where Stacey Dooley and her professional partner Kevin Clifton performed an authentic 1920s Charleston routine. This is the stand out Charleston for the series for so many reasons.
Let’s start with the music, this is the first tune of the year which is actually a proper Charleston track. The piece of music chosen was ‘Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue’ (one of my favourite jazz standards) originally released in 1925 so the music really complimented the routine in capturing the Hot Jazz vibe.
Moving onto the choreography, the storyline is of an on old couple reminiscing of when they used to go out dancing back in the Roaring 20s and we see a flashback to them in their heyday.
From 21 seconds we see heaps of Charleston content: Flapper Walks, Tick Tock, Swivel Walks, Birdie Flaps, Cake Walks and Charleston Kicks all before their first lift.
After the lift, Stacey performs a series of heel flicks on the off-beat, bunny hops and and two Charlestons. Although I love the sequence, her eyes and faces does drop for just one moment and I feel you can really see her concentrating but it’s just a split second.
After their second lift, they come into hold and do a series of kicks and skips which break into Truckin’ and the Spank the Baby move (Not sure why Darcy called it Smack the Pony… or Donkey for that matter) followed by another set of Charlestons and Pushes.
At 1 mins 8 they break into Kick Charlestons and a series of low kicks, followed by a hhimmy and a lift sequence. As soon as they come out of the lifts they perform a set of Suzy Qs and Helicopters (and they have their knees together!).
After their final lift, they run back to the armchairs and we come back to the present day.
This routine really worked for me on so many levels as it really captured a 1920's flapper-style Charleston. It has also been the only routine of the whole series to use only classic 1920s steps. Although Faye and Giovanni had a great routine too, the traveling moves where not authentic whilst this routine was jam packed from start to finish.
I also love Stacey and Kevin’s partnership and that he threw so much into the routine (I believe we choreographed this one). He is a great teacher who really brings out the best in Stacey. She is a complete dance novice and her spirit really shines in this number. The pair of them together have great stage presence and bring plenty of entertainment to the show.
If they had a bit more time to work on the routine, I would only say that Stacey needs to keep her eyes up and relax her shoulders a little but natural slightly ungainly style fits this routine. However, She smashes the syncopation which is really hard for a beginners and trained dancers. She is also brilliant at doing the swivel which again is very hard to master as a novice.
Shirley: "What an absolutely superb way to open the show – I am absolutely speechless. Is there anything you can't do? Absolutely phenomenal." (Score: 10)
Bruno: "Come on! Talk about giving it welly! She burst into action like a sparkling firecracker. It was 100% authentic 1920's flapper-style Charleston." (Score: 10)
Craig: "Well, your left foot didn't do one little swivel. But I loved it, it was quirky and eccentric." (Score: 9)
Darcey: "Stacey you epitomise the naughty flapper. It was fabulous." (Score: 10)
Our Score: 10