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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


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“All Good Things Have To Come to An End”: “Dancing With The Stars” Pays Tribute to Len Goodman

“Dancing With The Stars” professional dancers pay tribute to beloved judge Len Goodman
“Dancing With The Stars” judge Len Goodman grins widely at his iconic center seat at the judges table

As James Van Der Beek once said on an episode of “Dancing With The Stars”: “When words fail, you sing. When there are no words, you dance.” The tribute dance for Len Goodman was truly the embodiment of this quote.

On October 24, the professional dancers on “Dancing With The Stars” performed a piece that moved millions around the world. Earlier this year in April, beloved “Dancing With The Stars” judge and professional ballroom dancer Len Goodman passed away after a hard-fought battle with bone cancer. To honor his lasting impact not only on the show, but on the ballroom-dance world as a whole, dancers Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy choreographed a beautiful tribute dance. Past professional dancers on the show, including Mark Ballas and Kym Herjavec to name a few, returned and danced in the number to honor their mentor.

Siblings Julianne and Derek Hough twirl across the ballroom floor in the tribute dance (@dancingwiththestars)

In 2004 Goodman became the head judge on the British dance reality television show “Strictly Come Dancing.” From 2006 to 2014 he continued to judge on the show, and in 2005 he joined “Dancing With The Stars” as a host for their first season. For 31 seasons of “Dancing With The Stars” Goodman served as the stricter judge who was not afraid to tell you his true thoughts about your dance. If Goodman felt that your dance contradicted standard ballroom technique, he was going to correct you. If there were too many props in your number that didn’t have clear purposes, you were going to be reprimanded. Yet, despite his seemingly harsh nature, Goodman was a loveable grandparental figure to all of the pros and contestants as well as devoted fans everywhere. The pros and contestants knew that when it came to scoring if they received a “10 from Len” it was well-earned.  

One of Goodman’s defining characteristics was his love for a traditional, simple waltz. During his time as a judge he would often make remarks such as “a little bit too much razzle dazzle” and “you floated across that floor like butter on a crumpet.” In the package shown before the tribute dance, past pro Tony Dovolani described the piece as “a clean, simple waltz.”

The “Dancing With The Stars” pros gesture to the judges table where a single light shines on Goodman’s former seat (@dancingwiththestars)

The female pros donned elegant white dresses while the men wore classic tuxedos with tails. They selected one of Goodman’s favorite songs “Moon River” to be their canvas. The piece began with a top hat placed in a cloud of fog at the center of the ballroom. The dancers glided across the floor, almost appearing as if they were floating. If you weren’t already moved by the simplistic beauty of the piece, the last moment will undoubtedly evoke tears. As the lights dimmed and the music subsided, the dancers stood in place and motioned to the judges table. A single light shone on the empty seat where Goodman used to sit, and his voice, filling the ballroom, said “all good things have to come to an end.” One by one the camera panned to the faces of the dancers as the emotions started to hit them. For a brief moment there was no applause, only a solemn silence.

The winners of the current season of “Dancing With The Stars” will not only earn the coveted title, but they will also take home the newly-named Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy. Above all else, the tribute dance and the trophy serve as a reassurance to fans everywhere that though he may be gone, Goodman’s spirit and impact will live on forever.

To watch the dance click here!

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About the Contributor
Katie Koslow
Katie Koslow, Pop Culture Editor
Katie is a senior who started writing for Neirad in the fall of 2021. She loves writing about the arts, particularly theater. Along with being a writer, Katie is the President of Theatre 308. When she’s not writing, she can be found taking dance classes, on stage in musical productions, and spending time with friends and family.

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