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.