Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars • March 8, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed and Photographed by Miriam Wasden

The area in Salt Lake City where the Eccles Theater is reminds me of New York City. The buildings are not as big in SLC but the design of the streets change quickly, store type reflects the pattern of the roads, and there is more parking and transportation available. Walking down the streets were cold as the buildings created a wind tunnel but it was all worth it to see the colorful differences in comparison to other venues in SLC.

To start off the show, “Dancing With the Stars LIVE” was projected on the red curtains draped from the ceiling onto the stage floor. The voice over when Emma Slater and Harry Jowsey were not hosting was the same voice that is featured on the show. After the first song or two of the performance, we were introduced to each cast member as a spotlight shone on them while they took a few seconds to dance before turning as a transition to the next member. The pros who performed at the Salt Lake City Show were: Emma Slater, Alan Bersten, Britt Stewart, Brandon Armstrong, Danielle Karagach, Gleb Savechenko, Pasha Pashkov, and Rylee Arnold.

About the fourth dance of the matinee, there was a balance slip for Gleb. It may not have been a legitimate slip but to me and a few others around me, it looked as though he lost his balance during the final dip in the routine, his right hand slapped the stage to catch his own weight and make sure his partner didn’t slip as well. Grinning ear to ear the whole show is an understatement. Not only was I in awe by the casts timing, flow, skill, and technique but Harry Jowsey was a great comedic addition to the show. His costume changes were glistening under the spotlights while he explained the backstories to each outfit he rocked with no justification.

During one transition break of the show, he popped up in a sparkly tree onesie and got each member of the audience to raise their hands up to the sky and sway back and forth like “trees in the wind”.

In the most recent season of Dancing with the stars, Harry Jowsey led a team dance to the song “gangdam style” resulting in a win for his team. Harry is very proud of this win in his career on the show. During this matinee, he displayed four variations through different styles of dance including rumba and cha cha, later followed by the whole cast participating alongside Harry and his partner on the show, Rylee Arnold. Any time that Harry joined the rest of the dancers, he was partnered with Rylee. The friendship that they developed on the show is not only present through the tour, but you can tell it eases both of them in a different way than being confident in your partner. You can tell when the dancers felt safe or trusted their partner, but their connection is something different that changes the light in their eyes.

In one of the balconies on the left hand side of the theater there was an American Sign Language interpreter lit by a warm yellow light. I didn’t notice a camera filming her so I am assuming she worked both shows or another interpreter was present for the later show. This shocked me because I have never seen an interpreter at a theater in Utah, but I am glad that this is something Eccles was able to provide to their viewers.

During any show that I attend, there are little moments where I am distracted from the main event because of some core memory that is being created for someone else in the audience. This show brought many dancers from the area to expand their dreams and desires with their creative drive. There were a couple little girls within eyesight who were dancing, not in their seats, going all out in the aisle or in their booth. The girl closest to me looked like she could have been around six or seven years old, with the perfect outfit that you can tell she was very excited about as she strutted down the aisle from top to where her mother was multiple times.

Not only did she show her confidence, but within a few feet of where her mother sat, she was up watching the dancers and creating her own routine as well. The way she lit up as individuals clapped their hands or cheered quietly for her was beautiful. In these moments, you cannot help but smile.

After the group did a dance to a cover of a Taylor Swift song, Emma started a discussion about what makes a dance memorable or in a simpler sense, good. Shortly into the skit, the dancers leave the stage and come back in white rhinestone accessorized lab coats, glasses, and clipboards. They all became doctors of dance, much like the beginning, they were each introduced with their specialty – emotion, technique, sexy, to name a few. Once the pros had concluded what made a dance good, doctor Emma laid the scene of a 20s themed dance where each character arrived at the bar interested in another character.

Some of these included the busboy, the aristocrat, the gambler, the bartender, the flapper, the nerd, and others. Before the dance, the audience was told who was interested in who, and throughout the dance we were reassured by little or large efforts made by each character. We witnessed a story being created. 

Not long after the intermission, our hosts — Harry and Emma Slater started talking about their dating history, specifically Harry due to his previous appearance on the show “Too Hot to Handle”. They had the other female cast members survey the audience and choose someone to anonymously ask three male dancers (Brandon, Alan, and Gleb) three questions to decide who she would dance with for a minute or so.

When teaching a rumba how do you start?
If we had a chance to dance, what style would you choose and why?
You’re sweaty and I’m slipping through your fingers, what do you do? 

Our bachelorette, Justine, was separated from the three men by a panel to make sure that she could not tell who was answering her questions. Once she chose who she wanted to share a dance with (Gleb), the panel was removed and the two shared a dance on the stage. 

I was seated on the right side of the theater next to the aisle of the middle section. While I was watching the performance, the peripherals caught my eye even more. On the sides of the stage there were large panels that ended up showcasing the shadows of the dancers while they commenced. During the more contemporary routines, these shadows were more prevalent and reminded me of the movie Anastasia when all of the people appear and disappear with their own timing.

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