Because "if there's one thing the Detention Kids can do, it's dance." A look at what each couple's dancing reveals about them.
1. Waltz: LaRhette and Rock
It's a slow dance, a graceful one, a romantic one, and when LaRhette first sees people waltzing on T.V., she thinks that she's never seen anything more beautiful in her life. She dances at clubs whenever she has time, rolling her hips to heavy metal and remembering how gentle the girls in the program look, how sweet, how happy. And LaRhette knows she will never be one of them.
It's a refined dance, an elegant dance, a sophisticated dance. When Rock hears the word "waltz" he thinks money, time, and people who don't have to go home to a drunk father every day. He doesn't dance anyway, preferring the court to the clubs, and if that makes him an outcast among the outcasts, so be it. He swishes the ball through the hoop and pushes away thoughts of clean-cut gentlemen, because he knows that he will never be one of them.
When LaRhette hears that she's doing the waltz with Rock and Mr. Dulaine talks to her about trust, she feels like screaming, because she's never been able to trust anyone in her life, and by association Rock has her brother's blood on his hands. But as the days go by, she realizes his hands are strong and his steps—though wrong at first—are firm. He holds her like something that might break, which means at first that he holds her at a distance, but later that he holds her with the utmost gentleness.
When Rock realizes he can dance the waltz, he's more surprised than anyone else. He steps forward with LaRhette in his arms and feels her weight shift as he gently guides her into a turn, and realizes that she's not fighting him. It's a rush, to realize that she trusts him not to drop her or make the wrong move, and it's the memory of that feeling that makes him show up at the competition despite being dressed in nothing more than a dirty coat and shorts.
Apart, LaRhette is too jaded, too broken to waltz, and Rock is too rough. But when she is in his arms and his hands hold her firmly to him, they move like one body and make the waltz something all their own.
2. Salsa: Egypt and Eddie
Egypt loves the salsa because it's so sassy and yet so lighthearted, because it's always moving and yet there are moments of quiet where her aching muscles can rest. He just feels the rhythm in his hips and Egypt's smile on his lips and doesn't register time until detention is over and he realizes that he's been doing the salsa for hours.
Egypt's life is hectic; she balances schoolwork, community service, and ballroom dancing all while keeping up her social life and taking care of the apartment. The beat of the salsa is relentless, just like her lifestyle, and she moves almost instinctively as the music flirts with her body. There's a sauciness to the music too—and Egypt remembers with a grin the frustration on her teacher's faces when she ends up in detention week after week, month after month. They don't realize the clever game she plays so she can have a place to stay after school and still have a clean enough record to get into college.
Eddie loves to laugh, and he moves like he doesn't have a care in the world. Mr. Dulaine coaches him in the steps but as soon as Eddie catches the beat he's moving in a style that's all his own. Egypt is in and out of his arms teasingly, and Eddie takes the opportunity to flirt with the girl he's always admired—albeit from afar.
Apart, Egypt would spin herself into pieces and Eddie wouldn't take the dance seriously enough, but together they are a constantly shifting banter of touches and steps, a flirtation that makes the Salsa theirs alone.
3. Tango: Ramos, Danjou, and Sasha
They're among the younger members of the group, and by far the most passionate. While Ramos flaunts his emotional fire, Danjou lets it simmer behind dark eyes, and Sasha leaks sensuality like sparking coals. The tango speaks to them, allows them to revel in their fever as they move.
Ramos is tempered, his blatant, and often blunt, sexuality refined and channeled into the hand that grips Sasha's arm and back. He dips her low, eyes never leaving hers, and his hand does not travel but rather provides support as he slowly draws her back to her feet.
Danjou is empowered, his usual quiet self gone as he buries his face in Sasha's neck and presses her close as they spin. She goes pliant in his arms and he is confidently strong as he spins her out. The fire that has always stayed behind large dark eyes is brought to the surface, promising things that make Sasha shiver as they move to the music.
Sasha is matured, her exasperation and shaky control over her own sensuality gone as she wraps her arms around herself proudly, powerfully. She knows who she is and is confident in her own beauty, and she pushes Danjou away even as she brushes off Ramos' arm and spins on her own. (But she always returns, because without them her confidence wavers and she is mere coals again.)
Alone, Ramos would burn himself out, Danjou would remain forever quenched, and Sasha would stay a teenage girl without control over her blossoming body. But together, they move, fight, and struggle through the tango—and endless, steamy battle that has no winner.
4. Jive: Kurd and Big Girl
The Jive is a half-mocking comedy of expression and laughter, and at first Big Girl is bitter, because what more fitting pair than a black girl fifty pounds overweight and a white boy half her size? But when the music starts, she finds she cannot stop the smile that creeps on to her face, nor can she keep her whole body from playfully throwing itself into the spirit of the dance.
Kurd finds it harder to jive, because he's been forcing himself into (what he thinks is) a mature persona all his life, and he's terrified of losing any respect that he might have earned. But when Big Girl twirls him around and smiles at him with all her body, Kurd finds that he's willing to risk looking stupid for the sake of the dance.
They are a comical pair, she pulling Kurd through her legs instead of the other way around, he straining his arms to hold her against him as they kick to the side. But they laugh, and have fun, and gradually forget that he's supposed to go for the underweight beauty queen and she's hated close contact with boys since Danny Ferro made fun of her weight in third grade.
By themselves, they're too self-conscious to dance, but together they can lose their unhealthy self-images in the music and just skip their feet to the beat.
5. Foxtrot: Caitlin and Monster
She's too clumsy and he's too big, but somehow when they dance together, they fit. They walk, and Monster easily catches Caitlin's stumbles, while she whispers the count to him. The Foxtrot is really just walks and turns, and Caitlin soon learns that Monster, while possessing extremely large feet, is by no means a klutz.
They don't have LaRhette and Rock's long history, they don't flirt as they dance, and they don't battle for dominance as the Tango group does—but Caitlin steps backwards in Monster's arms and thinks that she likes this kind of dancing best anyway.
Monster tries not to show it, but when he dances with Caitlin he's terrified. She's just so small and he knows he could crush her if he presses too hard. But the look in her eyes when she smiles at him is pure trust and he gradually realizes that if she can trust him to take care of her, why can't he trust himself?
Separate, Caitlin is just a stumbling girl with no one to catch her, and Monster is too-big man-boy that no one gives a chance. But together, they are Caitlin and Monster, and they may not be the most passionate, fun, or skillful dancers, but they are the sweetest.
6. Cha Cha Cha: Pierre and Tina
He's been dancing for years—almost decades. He's seen and taught more dancers than he can remember, and one consequence of that is that the moment he sees a person—man or woman—he assigns them as a dancer, or not one. He's not always right, but he's pretty darn good.
So it surprises him that he's so surprised when Tina asks him to dance at the competition. Later, laying in his bed, he pictures Tina in his mind—the image is suspiciously easy to pull up—and wonders why he never saw her as a dancer before. It would be obvious to almost anyone—her long, elegant legs, strong core, and graceful step make it obvious that she has some training, and there has to be a reason that Morgan—who snubs all who cannot dance—respects her.
He remembers what Caitlin said all those weeks ago. She likes you.
The next morning, he wakes up early and goes to the dance studio to find Tina already there, setting up and swaying as music plays in the background. He stops for a moment—when did she get so beautiful—and she turns and smiles at him. "You're here early today."
"Yes, well." He's embarrassed, and he doesn't know why. "I just wanted to check up on you. Are you always here this early?" Some part of him is screaming that he's not making sense, and the other part—which sounds suspiciously like Eddie—is laughing.
Tina doesn't seem to mind. She nods, and goes on to explain something about airing out the place, but Pierre suddenly realizes the music playing and interrupts. "Is that, Cha Cha Cha?" he asked, and this time it's Tina's turn to flush. "Yes," she replies, "It's my favorite dance."
Pierre doesn't know quite what he's doing, but Tina looks so lovely in the pale sunlight with her hair unruly and her eyes still smudged from yesterday night. He steps forward, and takes her in his arms as he's done so many times to others. "What a coincidence," he says, and smiles, "It's my favorite too."