SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE INTERVIEW WITH DEBBIE ALLEN

Debbie Allen has been involve with dancing her whole life, she was a dance teacher on Fame, she is also guest judge on “So You Think You Can Dance”, and is a choreographer as well.  She has created a new program called T2 Dance Crew, not only to raise awareness for a disease known as type 2 diabetes but as well to give advice to sufferers and those prone to acquiring this terrible illness, as to how to manage this disease through exercising in the form of dance and diet. 

 

Igarin Idarraga: First of all let me say that is an honor a pleasure to speak with you, I have admired your work since the days of Fame.

 

Debbie Allen: Oh thank you, it’s been quite a journey for me all the way from  Fame to now.

 

Igarin Idarraga: Ms. Allen, I have to ask, will you be in the finale of So You Think You Can Dance tonight?

 

Debbie Allen: Yes I am Igarin, I couldn’t do it this year because I have been directing, I directed Witches of East End and I just finished directing a new show Jane The Virgin and this is a great show for the Latin American community and it stars Gina Rodriguez and a lot of it is in subtitles, because a lot of it is in Spanish.

 

II: That is great, and what is T2 Dance Crew about?

 

DB: T2 Dance Crew is about people with diabetes in America and a condition that really can be managed, I mean once you have it, you have it, but it can be managed with diet and exercise. The idea behind T2 Dance Crew is for people with diabetes, or those challenged with the idea of it, if it is in the family’s gene pool to start exercising by dancing. The whole idea of T2 Dance Crew is to get people dancing as a form of exercise, dance is so popular nowadays, and it is much more fun than riding a bike, or go running by yourself is so much fun. The idea is to get people engaged in dancing with Janette Manrara and Fikshun who created some little routines that people can go online and learn and hopefully this will spark their interest and motivate them; this could start a whole trend.  I started a salsa class, I have about 12 couples and we dance and we sweat, it is so much fun and then we eat, but we eat healthy food such as salads and ceviche, you know light things, the whole thing is to create an energetic and healthy community.  Dance is life for me, it has saved me from many things, and there were so many challenges for me growing up in Texas. You know, my mother moved to Mexico that’s when I first started dancing, due to the racial divide made impossible for me to take classes at a certain level so my mother moved to Mexico and there were no barriers I went to Bellas Artes every Sunday, I trained with the ballet Nacional.  And so I know what dance can do for the world, it did a lot for me, but also what it does for my family.  My dad we lost much too early which really makes me want to call out loud for action and people need to pay attention and this is something that affects a large number of the Black and Hispanic American community, and hopefully the launch of this program will initiate a movement for a lot of our communities and households.

 

II: Yes I was reading on the illness and it is treatable through watching what you eat and exercise.

 

DB: Exactly and you know we have to look at that because we have a lot of traditional foods, and (laugh) I love fried chicken as much as the next person, but you can’t have that everyday, you can’t eat fried things every day it’s just not healthy. You certainly have to balance it out with your physical that you exude and dancing is the best salsa, hip-hop is the best.

 

II: Tango is one of the best dances in the world.

 

DB: Oh are you kidding, child please is the sexiest dance on the planet and you know what other dance is a lot of fun is Samba, I went down to Brasil, I was doing some work on television, but I was up until 3 in the morning every night at the Samba school dancing, those rhythms are so infectious and those drums I didn’t want to go home, so that is the goal if people can find that music that inspire them and just jump in there we could have a much healthier community all around.  Women specially are paying attention because we are the ones that design the activities for the family and what we put on the table and so they are paying attention.  You know obesity in our young people is at an all time high, you know the First Lady Michelle Obama has taken the time to address an issue that is of great importance to her in getting everyone to start working out, specially our young.

 

II: So Ms. Allen what is the actual website where people go to learn the routines that you and the dancers have created?

 

DB: Yes, you just have to go to www.t2dancecrew.com and you will see testimonials from me, from doctors, it is bilingual, it is in English and Spanish, you will the dances that Fikshun and Janet, but you just get a sense of how you gauge and get a sense that that one little step can make a difference for the rest of your life, I am encouraging everyone to take that first look.

 

II: Great Ms. Allen now talking about So You Think You Can Dance, who do you think is going to win?

 

DB: Now you know better that I know better than to predict (laugher) you can do it, you are not going to get it out of me all I can say is that we have two winners instead of one. It is down to the final four and any one of them is deserving of the title and it is just a matter of who is America’s favorite, because this is what this is, not always the best dancer that wins, is the favorite, the one you feel you want to invite to your home, the one you feel connected to, it is exciting we have two tap dancers and this speaks volumes of Nigel’s –Nigel Lythgoe producer and director on So You Think You Can Dance-, vision and the panel which always have encouraged tap dancers and dancers of all genres to come forward; I hope next year we have a Flamenco dancer, no one dances more beautiful than Flamenco. I think this show is amazing and I want to encourage everyone to tune in because we need big ratings because we want that network –Fox-, to keep this show on the air

 

II: The way I look at it, is who has the most fans that will tune in to vote.

 

DB: Yes we need to get people to vote instead of fussing and standing in the way, so I think So You Think You Can Dance is promoting democracy.

 

II: Ms Allen thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, I know you are busy lady, I wish the best of luck in everything you do and look forward to comments regarding this article. 

 

DB: Oh thank you for the interview and for everything you do and I will make sure to follow your blog. 

 

Thank you again Ms. Debbie Allen for taking the time to speak with me, and give us valuable information on a disease that plagues a large number of people in our country. 

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/so-you-think-you-can-dance-my-exclusive-interview-with-debbie-allen

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: THE SEMIFINALISTS GIVE IT THEIR ALL

Last night the first group of 12 semifinalists, including four wildcards each judge felt should be given a second chance; performed on Radio City Music Hall in the hopes that America will vote for them and send them to the next round and perhaps win the grand prize of 1 million dollars and headline an act in Las Vegas.

 

The first act was Heidi Klum’s wildcard Flight Crew Jump Rope, yes they were entertaining, but for them to headline an act just does not seem plausible.  Mara Justine was next and her singing was a bit shaky at first, however, got a hold of herself and concluded with a resounding voice that can move any audience at any time.  Next was Mel B’s wild Bad Boys Of Ballet, yes they were outstanding much better than before, there seems to be room for innovation so without doubt they could headline an act, based on last night’s fascinating performance.  Next performance was by Paul Iety and although he was fabulous during auditions and yes he looks like a very nice a person, as of late he has not measure up to the high standards this show is about and last night, he was not impressive, and thus it is unlikely that he will move on in the competition.

 

The next performer was Howie Mandel’s pick Mike Super, who took Howard’s advice and got rid of his invisible sidekick Desmond, and his act was one of the best illusionist performances seen in a very long time, outstanding and fascinating does not encompass the originality and mesmerizing feat Mike Super presented last night.  Andrey Moraru followed and this man balances on one hand and that is all that needs to be said, would people pay to watch an hour of this? Not likely.  Miguel Dakota was next and his singing was outstanding with renewed passion and stage presence to spare and without question raised up the ante on a night and a stage of the competition where those performing need to wow the judges even more than during the auditions; Miguel Dakota could without question take the grand prize.  Next Sons Of Serendip and the music was beautiful and peaceful with the front man singing in a soothing manner, this act is also outstanding and will without doubt be a contender for the ultimate prize. 

 

David and Leeman followed and they are two magicians that are hilarious as well and despite the act being elaborate, they were entertaining enough to hold everyone’s attention and not seem boring, awesome act that might be moving forward.  Dan Naturman was next and his quirky and sarcastic sense of humor is outstanding, not afraid to poke fun at him, he is hilarious and original.  Aerial Animation was next and it is an original act but last it was a bit too long with not enough wow factor, and Emily West was the last act last night and her singing as always was outstanding and the stage presence on the spot based on the top of music she performs with.  Recaps, episodes and contestants information can be found online at www.nbc.com/agt

 

 

“America’s Got Talent” runs on Tuesday at 9 p.m. and results are announced on Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/america-s-got-talent-the-semifinalists-give-it-their-all

MASTERCHEF: UNLIKELY PAIR WINS

Last night on “Masterchef” the remaining top seven cooks received letters from their beloved family members, which gave them one more push to continue on their way to achieving the grand prize.  And for the Mystery Box challenge they received apples and were told that their challenge was to create a dish that would wow the judges, but the dish could not be or have anything to do with dessert. 

 

The home cooks were inspired by the messages from home, but one message was resounding and uplifting, the words came from Willy’s grandmother; she wrote “Your attitude determines your altitude”, five simple words forming a profound and distinctive advice. And the cooking began with all cooks eager to win since they are only seven and they would receive an advantage for the elimination challenge, and once they were finished three were called forward and their dishes praised by the judges, Christian, Leslie, and Courtney. 

 

But there could only be one winner and once again Courtney took the accolade and she was directed to the pantry where she was instructed on her advantage, this time she would not choose what the others would prepare, instead she would decide on how the three teams of two would be paired up and as they all cooked the always fascinating, tasteful, and delicate Din Sum, and she would not be cooking either. 

 

She went ahead and paired them based on how they get along and how well their cooking styles differ from one another, Christian & Willy, Leslie & Jaimee, and Elizabeth & Cutter. They pretended to be happy with the choices, but in reality no one was comfortable with whom they would have to cook and not alongside but in a tag fashion.  And from the get go Leslie & Jaimee had a communication issue, with Leslie yelling and Jaimee appearing lost, Willy felt humiliated by Christian’s loud commands, and Elizabeth tried to advice Cutter, and this seem to be moving along well.  Leslie & Jaimee had the most trouble throughout the challenge and were the first to be called forward and present their final dish and to the surprise of all received praise on presentation and taste.  And the other two teams on the other were just tore up by the judges and scolded for presenting a sub par dish at this stage of the competition.  Leslie and Jaimee were thus the winners and Elizabeth and Cutter by a very small margin were saved, that meant that either Christian or Willy would be going home, and Willy who has been cooking fabulous dishes unfortunately was eliminated last night.  Recaps and episodes can be watched online at www.fox.com/mastechef

 

“Masterchef” runs on Monday at 8 p.m. EDT on Fox.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/masterchef-unlikely-pair-wins-and-beloved-cook-goes-home

RISING STAR: SEASON FINALE AND WINNER IS ANNOUNCED

Last night was the season finale of  “Rising Star” and the winner of this new reality show was pronounced.  This was a fascinating show, with a new format that puts viewers right in the action no waiting for judges to pick their favorites, or wait a week to see if a singer moves forward in the competition; no in “Rising Star” the results are there as the singer concludes his or her rendition. 

 

The four finalists were Jesse Kinch, Dana Williams, Audrey Kate Geiger, and Austin French, two singers would compete against each other and the one with the highest percentage would move on and compete with the winning singer from the second battle, and that winner will receive the ultimate prize: a record contract with Capitol Records. 

 

The first battle was between Amanda and Jesse, and although Amanda’s rendition of “At Last” was probably her best performance this season, she only received a 30 percent, and then it was Jesse’s turn and he would need to get better than 30 percent in order for the wall to rise and thus be there of this battle, he sang “Fortunate Son” and as always did not disappoint, rocked the house, and received a resounding 83 percent.  Then came Austin performing “In Love With A Girl”, his performance was good and received a 70 percent, and up next was Audrey singing “Love Me Like A Man” and her performance as usual left something to be desired and she received a 49 percent. 

 

The final battle was between Jesse and Austin and unlike before the percentage would not be seen by anyone until the both had performed and the winner was announced and by a flip of a coin that Austin won, he chose for Jesse to sing first and this sang “Love, Reign, O’er Me” and once again performed with true passion and his stage presence that rocks the house and had just about everyone on their feet, and then Austin performed “Bless The Broken Road” and he gave it his all and it was a great performance as well. 

It was time for results and the percentages were 76 percent to 61 percent and the winner is; Jesse Kinch, and the entire place erupted with joy, he has been on top since the show began, with renditions of songs that left everyone mesmerized and a stage presence that seems as though he has been performing for years; congratulations Jesse and wish him a long and prosperous career, and as far as “Rising Star” is concerned there can only be hope that another season is the works and once again viewers will have their say in who stays and who goes.  Recaps, episodes, and information on this show is available at www.abc.com/risingstar

 

“Rising Star” runs on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on ABC.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/rising-star-season-finale-and-winner-is-announced

MY NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE

On the morning of January 29, 1986 as I drove from Los Angeles, CA to San Diego, CA, I fell sleep, my car overturned and rolled across five lanes resting on the right emergency lane of of the 5 freeway.

I was in a comma for two weeks and two weeks semi-conscious, upon waking up I was required to learn everything that is common to us all on a daily basis, walking was my biggest challenge.

I learned from that experience that we all have control over ourselves and that the decisions we make will dictate the path that must be followed. Nothing, nor anyone was involved in my insistence on driving for 3 hours on a daily basis, disregarding the need for rest and insistence that I knew better and that nothing could happen to me. I, therefore, suffered the consequences of my actions, and I alone had to endure long hours of therapy and the frustration that at 22, I was not able to function as I had before.

But if I were to go back would I do anything different? No, I would not because that would make me someone else then who I am and that could be even worse. Because then I would need to rewrite my entire history and how can I redo something when I am the one who made the decisions that ultimately brought me to writing this and assuming responsibility over my own existence.

I started writing at 28 and ever since that novel I began has been my primary objective. I have written many drafts, several points of view have been used, and characters have come and gone. Now, I am working on what will be the final draft, I realized the point of view had been all along the primary challenge.

RED BAND SOCIETY

This is a new drama starting on September 17 on Fox, and for 100 hours the pilot of “Red Band Society” is available online at http://www.fox.com/redbandsociety. This is a show worth mentioning even before it premieres because of its originality, its intelligent writing, and the characters, which are real and believable.

These kids with different backgrounds and differing illnesses come together in a hospital because they share something; they all suffer from a life threatening illness. The story is told by Charlie –Griffin Gluck- a 12 year old boy in a coma, and despite the vegetative state can still hear and smell everything which leaves room for hilarious comments he makes on those visiting his room. Leo –Charlie Rowe- is the undeclared leader of this group and his insightful comments and strong belief that despite an illness that might kill him, he believes life must be enjoyed and no matter how broken his body might be his soul will always remain intact. Dash –Astro- yes, indeed Astro from The X Factor, suffers from cystic fibrosis but refuses to accept defeat and goes through life inhaling every breath with gusto and making sure to enjoy every minute of life. Emma –Ciara Bravo-, a beautiful and intelligent girl whose eating disorder keeps her from being as successful as she could be seems to be in love with Leo and this still confused about what that would mean pretends to dislike her by making fun of her foibles. There are some new arrivals one is Jordi –Nolan Sotillo- who despite not having an appointment seeks treatment from the only doctor that can save him, a shy uncertain boy of 16 that can only be liked, and then Kara –Zoe Levin-, a cheerleader that feels the world belongs to her and everyone else is just visiting suddenly learns that her heart is failing and she realizes her own vulnerability.

The adults supervising this group of extraordinary kids are Nurse Jackson –Octavia Spencer- a lovable character who gives tough love to all and everyone, but in truth has a heart of gold and no one can help but love her and feel for her as she watches this kids fight for their lives, but at the same time must keep them in control and not give in to all their reckless behavior. Dr. McAndrew –Dave Annable- is an outstanding pediatrician who along with Nurse Jackson tries to save this kids lives and understand their fears and coming of age nuances. And then there is Nurse Dobler –Rdebecca Rittenhouse- just stared working in the hospital and must learn the ways of these brilliant kids who try to bend and break the rules every chance they get.

“Red Band Society” is without doubt one of the best shows that will be on television this fall, the characters are great and the storyline is fascinating and yes, indeed a tear jerker that will require viewers to have a box Kleenex nearby. Pilot and information on the show can be found at http://www.fox.com/redbandsociety

“Red Band Society” premieres on September 17 on Fox.

http://www.examiner.com/article/red-band-society-poignant-and-heartfelt-new-drama

PROJECT RUNWAY

Last night the 12 designers were given the challenge of creating a red carpet dress for none other than Heidi Klum; Amanda who was the winner last week would have immunity, but still that is every designer’s dream: to dress a celebrity.

They all receive a dozier of dresses Heidi has worn to various events and although she is not particular about a specific form or style, still she wants something that’s chic, fashion forward, and innovative. The get to sketch, visit Mood and then to the workplace to start putting their dresses together and Tim and Heidi visits them, and they all receive bad initial reviews and told to make it work, because so far none of them seem to have a winning look. Sandhya is told her outfit looks more like what they use to wear in the show Dynasty back in the 80’s, Korrina’ s design made of a dark green material referred to as boring and told to remove the snake trimming around the waist, Mitchell also isn’t praised but pretty much told to scratch the entire idea and start all over again.

Heidi and Tim return to the workroom and, she expresses her concern for all the outfits that are just not up to par and yet the designers have no more material to work with, so they are given the chance of going back to Mood if they so wish and a $100 to shop for what they need and they are only given 20 minutes. And several of those who before were desperate and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the additional shopping time and money did nothing to resolve their trepidation.

And then it was runway time and first designer was Char and her design was beautiful and elegant without question a red carpet look that would wow everyone; Emily was next and the top of the dress looks elegant; however, it is too short and not fashionable; Mitchell followed and the bottom of the dress seems to tight and it shows by the short steps the model takes while walking; Korrina came next and her dress looked boring and unpolished.

Next up was Fade and his dress flows beautifully and his point of view is clear while being innovative; Alexander followed with a dress that looked wrinkled in the front and once the model turned the skirt was so short that it left very little to the imagination; Sandhya who took a second trip to Mood and got money from those who chose not to go, created a dress that was original as she has done throughout the competition, but also elegant and worthy of being on the red carpet; Samantha was next and her creation was indeed elegant and original and it just looked well tailored.

The next designer was Kristine and her dress looked horrible on the front with the model’s breasts an inch away from busting out and the rest just not well tailored, it looked rushed and unpolished; Kini who always finishes before everyone and has time to spare created a look that was elegant and sophisticated but perhaps a bit too dark for Heidi’s taste; Sean was next with a bright blue color that was elegant and well tailored, but it brought to mind the roaring 20’s; and then there was Amanda who had immunity and her dress was without question Amanda’s, her point of view well in sight, it looked elegant and well tailored.

And then it was time for the judges to pass judgment, but first Alexander, Sandhya, Fade, Char, Samantha, and Emily, and they were told that their scores had qualified them to move onto the next round, and that meant that those six designers remaining had the best and worse looks. Kini was praised for an impeccable design that hugged the models body perfectly and was just flawless. Amanda was also praised, but Zac Posen did tell her that “the trimming gave it a curtain look”, but overall her design received high marks. Kristine was told her creation was not impressive showing too much breast, but the paneling on the skirt was given high marks. Mitchell was told that the entire outfit looked bad, as far as the slit down the skirt and the sewing in the back looked rushed as well as the zipper. Sean was praised for the originality of the fringe in the dress and the exquisiteness of the color. Korrina was told that her dress looked old fashioned with a long train that need not be there, and the dress altogether looked like a cliché.

And the winner of the challenge was Sean, who by the way was almost eliminated last week, also saved were Amanda and Kini, and in a surprise turn Heidi announced that one or more could be out and first one out was Mitchell and then Kristine as well was sent home, and Korrina was told that she was barely safe. Recaps, episodes, and information on the show are available at http://www.lifetime.com/projectrunway

“Project Runway” runs on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. on Lifetime.

http://www.examiner.com/article/project-runway-heidi-klum-is-the-client