One of the things that’s kept “Dancing With the Stars” a hit after 10 years is its embrace of dance beyond the original ballroom waltzes and fox trots to include hip-hop, the show’s Melissa Rycroft said Tuesday night when a live tour of the show came to Hartman Arena.
In Park City.
The location turned out to be a theme throughout the performances by about 10 dancers, most of them the professional halves of the pro-celebrity teams that compete each Monday night during the show’s season on ABC.
Rycroft, the “Dancing With the Stars: All Stars” winner, was host of the heavily narrated show at Hartman and sensed that something wasn’t right when she and last year’s mirrorball winner Val Chmerkovskiy greeted the crowd – estimated at 3,000 – as being in Park City. Rycroft picked up some snickers.
“I said it right,” she declared.
Said Chmerkovskiy: “I didn’t know I was in a different city. I landed in Wichita.”
It took a couple of numbers before Rycroft got to the bottom of the geography.
“How many are from Park City?” she asked the audience, receiving only a smattering of yells and a lot of knowing laughter. “For Val’s sake: Wichita?” Many people yelled.
“Apparently you all traveled with us,” Rycroft said. She then tried to keep the cast on the same page by addressing the crowd as “Kansas.”
The athletic dances done on a spare stage of two sets of stairs and a catwalk ranged from an opening “Land of a Thousand Dances” – that includes the watusi – by Peta Murgatroyd and Chmerkovskiy to a hip-hop number by Chmerkovskiy and Witney Carson that probably got the biggest ovation and showed that Rycroft was right in giving credit to beyond-ballroom dancing.
Park City/Wichita country music fans even got to yell their approval before the company strutted to “Somethin’ Bad.” A Wichita woman in a long dress and platform shoes was the audience member chosen to fall into the arms of Keo Motsepe and Artem Chigvintsev – and to get very close and personal.
Not all the dancing was modern. Chigvintsev was back on stage for the first time after being injured, and he and Carson – she wearing a flowing gown – floated across the stage to the season-appropriate “Summer Wind.”
Being in Kansas enchanted Brit Emma Slater, who said she knew the state from “The Wizard of Oz.”
“My mom’s really jealous” of her daughter being in Kansas, Slater said, and then turned her back to the crowd and took a selfie with the audience for Mom.
By the end of the show, the cast thanked Wichita for coming out.