Friday, October 31, 2008


Last night was a nerve-wracker to say the least. Really felt like I had a better grasp on the foxtrot than what we puked out onto the dance floor last night. Had a real sense of flow in rehearsals and the timing wasn’t an issue at all. Just goes to show that it’s a very different beast when the cameras are rolling and the whole tv nation is watching. Think my nerves got the better of me and I rushed it. Mary was hissing at me “Slow Down” through a clenched smile and my heart was racing a mile a minute.
I’ll be honest it sucks not being at the top of the leader board anymore, but it’s a great motivation going forward. I really want to klap that Salsa silly now, even those painful pointy latin shoes wont put me off.
I’m an emotional guy at the best of times and this elimination bullcrap is really nailing me. I’ve developed a real soft spot for everyone involved in this competition and I know how hard we are all working on this thing, so when one of us falls by the wayside it really feels super kak. I have the greatest respect for Adil (his turnaround in attitude from episode 1 until now has been nothing short of phenomenal and a true indication of the guys character) and I was really sad to see him and his lovely partner Robyn biting the dust last night. Having said that, I do think Blogzilla (Gugu) pulled out all the stops. His performance was passionate and gritty and in the dance off you could see that this was a guy who rose to the occasion and was not going to go out without a fight. Mind you , he and Sarah are becoming old hands at this dance-off thing. Balls of steel I tell you. Balls of Steel. Both of them.
Mary was gutted with our performance, and I think she has a week of Salsa boot-camp hell planned in retribution for our shortcomings. I am ready and willing. My feet on the other hand seem to be going on some sort of strike. They wake me up each morning throbbing and that walk to the loo for the good old early morning constitutional is a hobble of pythonesque funny walk proportions. Still, I remain devoted to the cause and smell a Mary and Rob comeback on the air like one of Garths farts during a group rehearsal.
Well done to Cindy and Hlubi for showing the judges what-what with their stunning performances.
Also, what can one say about Grant and Tessa, except maybe to echo what the judges have already said; they are the couple to beat, and the standard that they are setting is making for a thrilling competition.
Bring it on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

thursdays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. the entire day spent inside the carlton hotel in the centre of johannesburg. the building is a shell - peeling wallpaper, holes everywhere, plug points and light fittings spewing forth from the wall in disrepair and decay. backstage, behind the ballroom floor where the show is shot - all sparkly, larny and magical, it feels more like the perfect set for a horror movie than Strictly Come Dancing. the lifts , in fact, definately seem possessed and have a tendency of taking you to the top floor and leaving you there regardless of what floor you pressed.
strange indeed.
tomorrow - thursday - foxtrot

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i feel a foxtrot coming on.

been working hard on the foxtrot for thursday. hard to follow up on the high energy and success of the and jive. in fact people may feel a little let down watching the foxtrot after the mania of the preceding episodes, but i am really enjoying it. Feel like i have a much better understanding of the pricniples of ballroom and the topline, head position, eyeline, rise and fall seem alot more natural now than it did 5 weeks ago when i was stumbling my way through the waltz. feel like i am actually dancing as opposed to just remembering steps. getting a better flow as well and i am loving the intricacy of the footwork and how when you click into it, it just kind of flows.
did a little of the samba today which was a bit frightening. it feels very different to everything we have done so far and there is more hip swinging going on than shakira at a drunken pyjama party. kind of feels like i'm doing twister across the dance floor.
dont expect fireworks this thursday instead look for a beautiful dance done well. I am really pushing for good technique and a bit of grace and flow. time will tell.

jive bra jive

Another week, another episode gone and holy cow was this one a cracker. Mary and I worked our muscles to messy painful pulpy blobs in preparation for the jive. I told you all it was going to be fast.

Apparently the jive was named after a dance Minnie and Mickey Mouse did in an early Disney cartoon from the 40’s. Originally it was called the ‘jitterbug jive’ and I must admit that at times I did feel somewhat like a deranged cartoon character going though some sort of spastic heeby-jeeby fit.

We were completely blown away by our scores, as we made a couple of mistakes in our routine and we both lay on the floor panting heavily at the end of the routine thinking that we had buggered it up. In retrospect , having watched the episode again this weekend I realize that it looked a hell of a lot better than we thought on the night and all our hard worked paid off.

We definitely did it better a couple of times in rehearsal, but the nature of honest hard work is that even if you don’t quite crack it to the standard you would like it on the night, all the work that one puts in before really lifts your general standard so that even a couple of mistakes here and there are not disastrous.

I have Anele to thank for some lessons I have learnt from her. Number 1; gooi with as much attitude as you can and Number 2; if you make a mistake, own it, and gooi even harder with even more attitude. So I did and we ended up with the highest score of the competition so far. How rad is that?

I’m sure Grant and Tessa must feel a little peeved that they didn’t outscore us as their routine really was flawless - I guess what helped us in the end was the attitude and the pace of the performance. We really did enjoy that dance and of all the dances the jive seems the wildest so I guess a few technical errors here and there are forgivable if you are giving it as much energy and goetspa as we were.

Respect and shoutouts go to Garth and Hayley, Hlubi and Khutso and Cindy and Jonathan for making great comebacks. They upped their games considerably and showed without a doubt that this competition is very far from over.

Garth, in particular really showed some character after the previous weeks debacle, with a classy performance peppered with a gusty never-say-die attitude. He didn’t even need to worry about dodging any bullets (which he did admirably last week with help of some ultra dedicated supporters - just goes to show how important viewers votes are on this competition - so please keep voting for us even if you think we don’t need them - I don’t want a Tamara Dey happening with Mary and I).

Gugu (or Blogzilla as I now call him because he is a monster from the blog) was looking a little sheepish on Thursday after all the drama in the preceding week over his blog. I have to say , in his defense, that I have rarely met a sweeter guy and know that he would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings (even though Tessa was hurt - understandably so - and she put him in his place quickly - good for her - but they also hugged and made up - good for everyone- yay.)

Just in case anyone wants to know, I have cleared my schedule as much as possible so that I can dance as much as possible so that I can kick as much ass as possible.

However I am doing a lot of writing as well on a film script of one of my plays that is being made into an animated movie (which is totally rad) and I've been doing some stand-up, as well as my one man show on Sundays. It was my last performance on Sunday and I would like to thank any of you who supported me during the run.

Grant and his wife were there on Sunday and they giggled like maniacs the whole way through which was great to see. Also my man Blogzilla was there for the second time and he brought some lovely friends for which I am eternally grateful. Thanks Gugz you rock.

That's all for now folks. Thanks for the support and the radness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

it's the day before the day we do the jive for real. this one is so fast, i'm not sure if the cameras will be able to keep up. one of the real problems we will have is how to speak to Ian or Sandy after the performance cos currently we just hyperventilate and lie on the floor in total and complete exhuastion. i swear for the rest of my life if i hear Tina Turner's Proud Mary, my legs will start twitching and kicking involuntarily.
right, time to train. koebaai for now!

Monday, October 20, 2008

the time she flies

the time flies when you are supposed to be updating your blog - but let me tell you, the time veritably crawls by when you are doing the jive. the min 30 secs we are kick-ball-changing, footflicking and basically leaping about like maniacs on happy gas is undoubtedly the longest min 30 secs in my life. if you thought the quickstep was fast, hold on to your underpants.

Friday, October 17, 2008


wow. last night was incredible - we had an absolute blast - and we scored a 9!!!! a flippen 9 people. a 9!!!!!!! man, what a feeling. respect to Grant and Tessa who shared the top spot with us, their routine was amazing, so slick, so classy, and they are the raddest people. Grant is a great help, always willing to give advice, which is greatly appreciated, cos the dude is a ballroom legend.
and then there was the 'titanic' quote from Tyrone about Hlubi and Khutso which i must say i thought was a bit harsh, i thought they were amazing, a really beautiful routine, and Hlubi is just a pure pro,, she works so hard and puts so much work in. I think she will make a comeback, that is one lady who will not take any kak lying down- she's a fighter- and expect her to come back hard.
i thought Adil really improved, he was Performing out there and loving it.
Really happy Garth made it through, cos they have also worked really hard as well, and they did their routine so much better during the rehearsals, -it was just too much pressure - and believe me the pressure is something else out there.
I am really going to miss ShugaSmax - the dude is a legend and was great fun to have around. And Seipati too, what a sweetheart - loved listening to her and Mary rattling away at each other backstage. Let me tell you, when those ladies talk, they talk fast.
I am preparing for my one man comedy show on Sunday at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Sandton - it's called Rob Van Vuuren is Ron Van Wuren and it's totally rad. If anyone is out there and would like to come and have a good laugh, please come and support - you can book on 011 8838606 - and if ou would like to find out more about the show join my facebook group - Rob Van Vuuren is Ron Van Wuren.
Thanks for all the support - keep voting - you guys rock!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


um, so i know this is supposed to be a daily blog, but i have slacked off somewhat of late and for that i apologise. At least i havent slacked off the dancing. The knee she is starting to hate me at the moment - but there is no time for whingeing - this is elimination time.
our quickstep is looking awesome. Mary's long time dance partner/champion/boyfriend came in today to give us some tips and finer detail direction. He is great and i know Mary appreciates having an experienced, trusted and respected outside eye to look with a critical eye - and ask the question - 'what will the judges think?'
he helped with the pivots and eye focus in particular. the pivots were taking too broad a base and therefore taking too long to revolve - also i was bending my knees a little too much, creating unneccessary bounce and rock on the swivel. the eyes give the dance direction and intention and it's easy to go internal - look but not actually see - so we gave the eyes a bit of focus and it's amazing how much more purpose it gives to the routine. he is very happy with the footwork and was stoked with how i took his notes on the heel turn and tracking (tracking = when your leg passes the base leg it should glide past and lightly brush each other).
He also loved the fact that i have learnt the Tswana word for 'again' - which Mary and i repeat to each other ad nuaseum. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Are we ready for tommorrow? I believe so. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

sorry its been so long

This has been a rollercoaster of epic proportions. The ups (sleeping) and downs (foot cramp, back spasm, knee pain, stinky body odor, the blind terror of having to dance in front of millions of people, Achilles tendonitis and the rest of the muscle group fatigue fandango) have sped by in a flash. And we are only just passed the second episode. There is still a long way to go, and this coming Thursday we literally have to dance for our place on the show. And to be completely honest I dont want to give it up for anything. Despite all my whining and moaning about my aching body, I really am having the time of my life. On a slightly masochistic level, hard work just feels good, I guess, but it’s more than that. Lets face it, dancing is rad.
Having said that, when you are trying to get something right and your brains are screaming out; “Feet! Feet! This is the brain calling the feet. Come in feet!” and your brains are tuning;
“Nooit my bru, I can hear you but I actually don’t give a damn anymore.”
Your silver lining does begin to bruise a little and thunderclouds loom on the horizon of your rapidly evaporating rad mood. Luckily the good days have been outnumbering the bad quite significantly so my radness is still intact.
The second episode has come and gone and the mambo is but a memory. That’s one of the weird things about this experience, you invest all this emotion and time into learning a certain choreography to a certain type of dancing style and then just as you start to get the hang of it, you have to say goodbye to it (discarding it like a half eaten pie) and move on to the next choreography to the next style of dancing. It’s weird. I miss the mambo already. It was kiff.
The show was eventful (not in a Chinese curse kind of ‘may you live in interesting times’ kind of eventful. A more positive, good tv, kind of eventful The judges were very complimentary to Mary and myself, SugaSmax made a great comeback and the ladies made an impressive statement of intent (I thought they all totally rocked – with the Anele show bringing down the house with raw attitude and spunk).
Since then it’s been quickstep, quickstep and more quickstep, with a bit of jive thrown in for good measure.
Loving the quickstep and looking forward to leaping on to that floor on Thursday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

standing by

5 minutes till we need to be downstairs to start the final dress rehearsal before we go live tonight. went blank again in the first couple of rehearsals ( i really hope this doesnt become a habit) but pulled it tight in the afternoon session. even got to do a little of the quickstep, just to get a feel of it on the floor before next week. but right about now its all about the mambo. the girls are certainly feeling the pressure today, but the vibe backstage is good - everyone upbeat, lots of jokes and radness.
lets see what the evening holds.
see you on the box.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ja, today was better.
things, that didnt yesterday, somehow started to make sense today. like the andtoe1 -2and3and4 -extend/dont rise toe first flat foot- 5 heel toe, and6and7 look dip8.
this is how my brain is starting to speak. in numbers, and body postions to the howling yawp of amy winehouse. valerie.

did very little mambo today. we should be solid there though. we've put in the work and it should be a bit more fun than the waltz, what with the whole men sweating it out to mambo number five in latin tights and pointy liewe heksie shoes thing going on.

Im more worried about next week. episode 3. elimination.

holy pyjamas

'this the brain calling the feet - come in feet!'

yesterday was a bit of a battle with the quickstep. ok, maybe more of a skirmish than a battle , but there were definately some wounds inflicted. the body just didnt want to obey the signals that my brain was sending it. it's impossible to avoid this overwhelming sense of too much too fast, because thats exactly what it is. learn eleven dances in as many weeks and perform them on live television to millions of people. um, okay. the trick i guess is to stay positive even when you are not feeling it and trust that something is going in (even if it is only the strength to push through the tough times) and that the following day will be a bit better.
i am at the studio getting ready for today's session. let's see if it gets better today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

group daze

the last two days have been all about the mambo and the quickstep. spent sunday primarily on the quickstep, trying out different things to wow the audience with and step up a notch from the waltz. we are almost done with the routine and then it's just repetition repetition repetition.
yesterday was the guys last group rehearsal with Brendan the choreographer. the group rehearsal days are really exhausting, cos we have so little time together with the choreographer (only 2 days) so one has to concentrate flippen hard and make the most of the time. i think it's looking pretty good - if we can just get our circle right. it really is a fun dance and i have been enjoying playing it up.
saw hlubi in the gym yesterday and she was working like a trojan with her partner khutso (who in my opinion is one of the most incredible dancers i have ever seen - the man's got skills) so expect something big from the ladies on thursday. the pressure is certainly on the female celebs this week but that does not mean we are slacking off. nope, there was a veritable flood of sweat in our rehearsal yesterday.
myself and mary are treating every dance like the final, so we will be giving it horns on thursday. count on it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

one down only nine to go

holy potato.
what a way to start. top marks. madness.
at this stage the marks don't mean anything, but our intention was to go out there and set a standard we could be proud of and then work our bums off to raise that standard every week.
and so the day after the first insanely stressful and mind blowingly exhilarating episode we hit the studio hard for 4 hours of mambo mayhem.
we were booked in for a two hour session today but i awoke to a blissful sms from Mary saying that we had worked hard enough for now and had earned a well deserved day off. i played it cool but my aching and swollen feet wept with grateful joyous abandon.
the show itself went by in a dizzying haze of nervous delirium. i cannot describe the fear and anxiety backstage. it is palpable. like a thick fog swirling about our heads. everyone, even the old pro's (mary) can hardly contain themselves. if you could bottle the adrenaline pumping through the ether in that backstage area, it would be illegal at the Olympics.
i tried every trick in my book, the breathing exercises , the visualisation, the stretching - you name it - but when i stepped out to do the waltz all i could think was "What!!?? WHAT!!?!!? Wait , i'm not ready, i'm not ready, i''m not READYYYYY!!!! - oh my holy hecking heck i'm dancing, i'm dancing the waltz, what the hell am i doing?? What's my next step?? Seriously , what's my next step?????!!!"
i went completely blank about three times - the first two times thankfully only for a split second before the reflex motor action kicked in and my feet instinctively went to the right place - but the third time was the killer - i swept passed my posse sitting in the front row in the last quarter of the routine and one of my friends yelled out "you're hot!!!" (thanks Bev) and so of course i burst out laughing and then to my utter shock and dismay, so did my feet - mary (bless her forever) gripped me so hard i could hear her knuckles cracking and we weathered the rapid and took that waltzing dinghy to the calmer waters downstream.
in the interview with the judges all i wanted to do was cry. seriously, the relief - the excitement , everything - it just made me want to tjank like a lighty who dropped his ice-cream.
and then we went and sat backstage - endorphins oozing out of us like the slime on Bill Murray in Ghostbusters- and watched everyone else kakking off. It was worst on the girls who had to wait through the entire first half and the hour break (for Muvhango and the News) before they could shake their stuff. and boy did they. they did look like a bunch of zombies during that break though, the waiting and the nervous tension had just about wiped them out. I am not looking forward to that wait on Thursday. I am, however, keen on the whole safety in numbers vibe. bring it on.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

crunch time

it's thursday morning. i'm sitting back stage at the carlton waiting for it all to start happening. yesterday was intense, we came in and didcmera rehearsals on the floor and basically went through the whole show. i can safely say i don't think i have ever been more nervous for anything in my life before. i stepped out onto the ballroom floor and my mouth went dry, my eyes started watering and i went completely blank. our first couple of run throughs was terrible. got better eventually but man nowhere near what we were doing on the rehearsal floor. oh well, it's the first one. i cannot believe it.
gotta go.
first run through of the first day.
wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the heat is on

as they say in all good 80's movies. Or maybe it was just that one. the one with Eddie Murphy. the red jacket. the laugh.
either way, the heat is definately on. tomorrow we go to the carlton for the first time to rehearse for cameras and do costume fittings and hear the band and everything - before the big day. holy polony.
all we did today in rehearsals was the waltz. over. and over again. it's a tough nut to crack that whole ballroom vibe let me tell you. so held, so poised, so controlled and yet when done properly the waltz just floats. at the moment i feel like i am wading more than floating. but hey at least i'm not drowning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

the jive is monstrous. a dance for people whose feet move quicker than their brain. we started putting together a sequence for it today and it made me feel dizzy and inadequate. really frustrating. it got better eventualy though, the feet started to find the pattern and i got into the vibe. when i finally do get it properly i'm going to gooi it so hard the floor is going to have bruises.
we also recapped the group mambo (lots of fun - seems easier than the other dances and feel like i can hang loose and be kiff without having to try so hard) and the quickstep (which is also a lot of fun - similar principles to the waltz - but when it goes, it really flies and seems to happen without too much thought).
the day ended with lock-off's, which basically means we filmed the waltz so that the director can plot shots to the choreography for the live broadcast on thursday night. it's close now, and i felt my first butterfly's today in anticipation for the real deal. the dance feels good (in fact i really feel like i stepped up a couple of notches today after Mary's note to attack the dance - found that it gave me more confidence specifically going into turns and that our contact was on point throughout as a result) but i must admit that the idea of doing it finally in front of a ball room full of people (let alone the entire tv nation) gives me a bit of a skrik.
above all though, i am amped to get into the competition for real and get the first episode behind me. i feel like i can lift the bar a couple more notches over the next two days waltz-wise as well so that's what i'm going to do.
watch the tv on thursday and vote vote vote.

Friday, September 26, 2008

thank god its friday

this has been by far the toughest week of training so far. we have earned a well deserved day off tomorrow and i will spend a good deal of it applying arnica to my aching body.
the old knee is feeling a bit wobbly after a week of intensity.
too tired cant think, just want to bath.
thursday looms in a haze of chiffon and lycra on the horizon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

fatigue is a biyatch.
this show is not supposed to be easy. it's designed to test you to your limits, both physically and emotionally and then at the end of all of that they dress you up like a toilet roll doily cover and put you on national television live just to see how you cope.
and that's fine, that's cool. i signed up for the thing, so hey, who am i to complain? and i'm not. i'm just saying. what the hell!?

one week to go before we go live. our waltz is looking good, still working on the frame, and we started doing the quickstep together today which was fun. i get taught the steps over a period of time, dancing alongside mary (pretending that i am actually holding her) until she feels like its time to join hands and do the thing together. today was such a time for the quickstep, which we are doing to mark ronson and amy winehouse's 'valerie' (what a rocking track) and despite a couple of knee collisions and toe stomps it all went pretty swimmingly. the quickstep is quick. quicker than you imagine. or dream. or believe. but not quite as quick as the jive.
the quickstep is quick, but the jive is deranged.

will get some pictures up soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


the true horror of the shoes of death can only really be appreciated the day after.
that is all i am saying on this subject.

today, Mary's boyfriend/longtime champion dance partner Kagiso came in today to check out my waltz. he said the footwork is looking good and helped out with framing of my arms in the hold. also knee tips, posture and chest vibes. the help was invaluable and reminded me of how unique this opportunity is. if somewhat strange. i mean, how else would i be given two to three months of five hour a day private tutelage in ballroom and latin dancing with some of the countries best dancers and teachers? it's totally flippen amazing. and weird. and rad.
mary rocks. both as teacher and partner. i dig her determination and work ethic.

enough for tonight. i hurt. all over.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

shoes of death

today was our first group rehearsal. basically all the male 'shelebs' and their partners got together to learn the mambo. there we were, five okes, nervously stretching before embarking on a five hour mambo odyssey in shoes that look like they've been stolen from Liewe Heksie's cupboard.
The costume lady asked me not to say bad things about the shoes that have been so kindly sponsored, and hey - thats super rad of them, i mean i wouldnt want to have to buy these shoes, but let me be quite clear when i say that Latin American dance shoes are right up there with those ridiculous Japanese shoes for ladies which make their feet into square planks of painful pain. The only difference is that with these shoes you dont end up walking like a concubine in an Ang Lee movie. oh no. it's more like Jesus, the greesy ten pin ball licking bowling alley psycho from the Big Lebowski. That's what i feel like at least.
My only consolation was that Suga Smax from Skwattakamp ( i hope i spelled that right , i'm not so hot with hip-hop spelling) had never worn his shoes before. Yup, he was a virgin. We all made it very clear what he was in for though. all the pain and the suffering we had experienced in breaking our feet in swept through the studio in a short outburst of nervous banter.
Ha ha, you gonna kak off bru
What? His first time? Shame.
Just wait till you really wear them in and the heel starts going. Yoh.
Shame man.
And then to the dancing.
The before lunch session was pretty chaotic, we were all pretty kak, and i'm sure i saw fleeting panicked looks sashay across the choreographers face at regular intervals.
It was cool to hang with the other couples a while, get a sense of who you think your main competition is, and also just get to know them a little bit and see how they are coping with this strange circus we have thrust ourselves into.
Post lunch we seemed to get the hang of things a little more and actually nearly pulled off some almost half decent group mambo vibes. The fact that we have world class proffessional dance partners does help in this regard. They are very good at hiding how kak we are.
A highlight of the afternoon was the post pizza symphony of creative digestion that Garth (Granite from Gladiators) launched into with unabashed gusto in a quarantined back section of the studio. I gladly provided some of my own accompanyment. I mean what were they thinking? Pizza, mambo and toit pant just don't mix.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The beginning

A very good place to start.
So this is the vibe; i am competing in Strictly Come Dancing Season 5. Yes, that's right, i am going to be cha-cha-cha-ing up a storm on national television in all my spandex, sequined, puffy sleeved glory. So that's the vibe.
My partner is none other than the glorious Mary Martin who has represented SA as a dancer and who has also appeared in three previous season of Strictly. I think we rock together. She has a great sense of humour, a great work ethic and and even greater whip which she has no problem cracking when i slack off.
We have been rehearsing between three to five hours a day, six days a week for about four weeks now(on and off) and my belly has shrunk while my feet have swollen and bled. Seriously, i had no idea what i was getting myself into. The pain, oh my word the pain. But i can safely say with a great deal of pride that i can almost waltz now. How rad is that? Oh and i've seen people jive. On a video. Madness.
I am going to be documenting my rehearslas and the whole crazy process on this blog and keep you all updated.
Apparently it doesnt matter how well you dance if you dont have the votes so here i am saying vote for me. No really. Vote for meeeeee!!!! Tell everyone and tell them to vote as well. The show airs on Thursday Oct 2nd. So soon and so much dancing to come. So hold on tight cos i am bringing the cheese and the glitter. Cheesy glitter. Awesome.