This video does a spotlight on Laura, and then shifts its focus to Sarah and Patrick. I like that they focused on Laura a little bit, since she was cut from the tour. She is a sweet girl. It was also nice for Sarah and Patrick to have a bit done on them, since they weren’t selected for the duet piece. Toward the end, Sarah talks about how she was happy for David and Joni, and I felt like that showed how close all these people were. It would have been easy to be bitter about it, but I didn’t get that impression at all from Sarah.
This was such an emotional clip! It’s truly amazing how much a life can be changed in only a month. I loved watching these dancers reflect on their experiences and how it has affected their future. The dancers in this company are good people, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them over the past month. I’m disappointed that the SYTYCD tour won’t be coming anywhere near where I live.
Well, the finale is finally here. That didn’t take long, did it? There’s been a few teasers that something “shocking” will happen, so I was excited/nervous to see what that was. I was thinking some of the dancers weren’t going to be able to dance in the gala (that would have been terrible). Luckily, that wasn’t it.
Overall, I thought the gala performance was beautiful. It was such an interesting combination of different dance styles, and all of the dancers really blended together well. Here is the full performance from tonight’s episode:
I was happy to see that Eldon was doing better from last week’s episode. His fate seemed up in the air, but he definitely did a great job.Here is one of his greatest moments:
And here is another one of my favorite clips from last night. This is David’s solo from the night, and I thought it was incredible.
Overall, this has been a great journey. Can you believe they put together this performance in just a month? I sure can’t. When I was in high school, I was in a show choir, and it took us a month to learn simple steps (then again…we definitely weren’t professional dancers — I’d never really danced until I was in it!) I felt so bad for Tanisha though, but she held it together so well. Not a lot of people would have been able to keep their emotions in, and pull it off some graciously.
I loved seeing everyone in the dressing room, the energy in there was so high. I’m sure they were all going on adrenaline. It was obvious that all of the dancers had grown close throughout this whole experience.
So the big shocker was revealed toward the end of the episode. Only eight of the twelve dancers would be in the opening act for the SYTYCD tour. I’m still trying to figure out why that is. You could see the hearts breaking of the dancers — both those that stayed and those that got let go. I think Laura’s was the saddest to watch. She looked so sad, and understandably so.
In the end, the ones that wouldn’t be going on the tour were Laura, Michelle, Jen, and Courtney.
This will be one of the last posts on a Chance to Dance I’ll be doing, and I have to say, I’m a little bit sad. I’ve grown attached to these dancers, and have looked forward to watching the show. I think this stroke of genius from Nigel Lythgoe has changed the lives for everyone that was on the show, whether or not they made it to the gala. Here are some final thoughts from the Ballet Boyz:
It’s down to the final few days before the Gala, and the final 12 left Jacob’s Pillow for New York in episode six.
Even though the stress of even making the company is passed, the dancers face a new sort of competition this week: Who will perform the coveted duet.
Before I get into that, I have to say, I’m so glad David Dorfman is coming back. I truly think he adds so much…spirit to the company. He takes them out of their comfort zone and introduces them to new styles. Michelle (I believe) talked about how he was having them do things she never did before, but how she liked them. It causes them to grow. And I think that is so important as well.
It was interesting how David pointed out that he usually has months (years, even) to work with companies, which once again emphasized the unique premise of this show. If you think about it, it’s incredible. These dancers have been together for less than a month. Yes, they probably won’t have the most polished, perfect performance, but really
And on Patrick — yes, I was a little surprised that he made it to the final. However, I decided that I like him. He seems so genuine. Another thing I like about this show is that it gave some people an opportunity they may not have had otherwise. I mean, look at Shepherd. I doubt he would have ever done some of the things he did at Jacob’s Pillow elsewhere. And I feel like with some of the dancers who did make the final company, such as Patrick, this was something that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. This doesn’t have to do with tonight’s episode, but I loved it. Patrick cuts his long hair:
Okay, enough my random musings. On to the duets. I’m going to post each of them, in case you missed it, and throw in my commentary. Two of my favorite female dancers, Sarah and Joni, were up for the spot, so I was excited about that.
So first off, Sarah and Patrick. Obviously they are at a disadvantage because they haven’t had as much experience dancing together. And I think that does show in their tryout. And I feel bad for Sarah, because it is hard to all the sudden not have the partner that you’ve grown to be comfortable with. But I think that emphasizes what Billy and Michael have been saying all along — they wanted dancers that can adapt, and work well with others. And in the end, I think they did a good job. In all honesty, I think I enjoyed it more than the other, but maybe that’s because I felt bad for Sarah.
David and Joni were absolutely flawless. They mesh together extremely well, and it was beautiful to watch. I think that everyone watching was in awe as well.
And last, but not least, the most heart wrenching part of the whole show (at least, I think it was). To see Eldon hurt so badly, after he has worked so hard to get where he is….Wow. Just re-watching this clip makes me tear up. I hope there is a way he can be the performance, but mostly, I hope this doesn’t ruin his career.
So next week is the season finale. It should be a pretty good episode (but aren’t all of them?) I can’t wait to see what the “big shocker” is. It sounds like it is supposed to be disappointing for everyone…maybe the gala was cancelled? Who knows. Don’t forget to tune in!
One of the contestants on A Chance to Dance has some famous family members.
Some of you might remember Kelli Baker from Season Four of So You Think You Can Dance. If you keep up with Emmy winners, the name Bonnie Story might ring a bell.
Well, Bayli Baker is the sister of Kelli and daughter of Bonnie. This family obviously has a lot of talent. Both Kelli and Bayli were dancers in High School Musical. And Bonnie? Well, she won an Emmy for her choreography in High School Musical’s 1, 2, and 3.
Bonnie Story is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and five children. While she is best-known for the incredible dance scenes in the High School Musicals, she has a very impressive resume. In 2002, she was a co-choreographer for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City’s opening and closing ceremonies. I remember being absolutely mesmerized by those performances — my roommate from my freshman year of college was actually in them.
She started out as a dancer before taking on choreography — in fact, she started dancing when she was five years old! She often put together performances at her house and would invite everyone in the whole neighborhood. She definitely started out her career early on in life.
As I mentioned, her most well-known work was done with High School Musicals. Bonnie had worked with Kenny Ortega, the director, during the Olympics, and that’s where they first became acquainted. After that, he asked her to help with the choreography, and it took off from there.
In addition, Bonnie has also done choreography for a variety of television shows, movies, and commercials. She is the Associate Artistic Director of Odyssey Dance Theatre, which is also where Eldon Johnson is an instructor.
In an interview, Bonnie relays how it felt to win an Emmy:
Receiving an Emmy nomination and then actually going home with one was very surreal. It was amazing! I feel honored to have received one. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of the commitment that was given from everyone. There is never a project where you do it on your own. The concepts, music, direction, art direction, the whole crew (I could go on and on) — without their contribution, the Emmy wouldn’t be there. I am grateful for being able to work on a project that made a huge impact on a lot of kids and adults.
I was excited to learn more about Bonnie, seeing as I was a huge fan of the High School Musical trilogy — in fact, I remember when there was a special on the Disney Channel where they taught how to dance to some of the songs. Even though I was in high school, I totally dance a long (though, I’m glad that it was never recorded).
I’m sure it was an added plus to be able to have both her daughters on set during High School Musical. That must have been a lot of fun, and I’m sure the girls were thrilled to be able to be in that project.
Bayli was unfortunately eliminated from A Chance to Dance. I found that to be a shame, because I really thought she was pretty talented. Even though she didn’t make it here, I won’t be surprised if she becomes a successful dancer. Who knows, maybe she will follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a choreographer. Either way, this family sure is full of talent — and there are three more children in it. I wonder if we’ll see them on any dance shows in the future?
A Chance to Dance’s YouTube page is full of all sorts of great videos this week! I loved the two web exclusive clips that were put up this week.
This first one features Sydney and Shepherd, who both were eliminated last week. They talk about having no regrets from the experience, and plans for the future. I love their upbeat attitudes, because I’m sure they were disappointed not to make it to the final 12.
Everyone has rituals, right? The next video has one of the girls teaching the group a ritual that she used to do with her dance troupe back home.
And finally, a recap of last weeks episode, in case you missed it (or just want to relive it).
A majority of the time, A Chance to Dance has taken place at a place called Jacob’s Pillow. For anyone involved or interested in dance, this may be a familiar place. However, for some viewers of the show (myself included), have probably not heard of it before. So I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the place where the magic is happening on A Chance to Dance.
Jacob’s Pillow is located in Becket, Massachusetts. It is a dance school and performance center. As we’ve heard on A Chance to Dance, to be able to dance at Jacob’s Pillow is something many dancers aspire to do. It has a deep history, starting back in 1790 when the Carter family settled there. Behind their farmhouse was a boulder that was shaped liked a pillow. There was a road that was at the bottom of a hill near the farm that looked like a ladder, so it was called Jacob’s ladder. The farm was eventually called “Jacob’s Pillow” “as a combination of the story of Jacob from the Book of Genesis, which tells of Jacob laying his head upon a rock and dreaming of a ladder to heaven and the farm’s proximity to the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ road,” according to Wikipedia (read more about the history of the farm at that link)
Over the years, many monumental “dance moments” occurred at Jacob’s Pillow, and in 2003 was a declared a national historical landmark by the federal government.
Jacob’s Pillow hosts many events throughout the year, including over 200 free events and over 80,000 visitors are cited as visiting each year. There are three main stages where performances take place.
There is also a dance school at Jacob’s Pillow, and include the following programs in the curriculum: Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary Traditions, Jazz and Musical Theater, and Choreographers’ Lab. The faculty members are also very well known.
It is a place with rich history and a bright future. As I read more about it, I can now see why the dancers were so excited to perform here. As Mikhail Baryshnikov, a Russian American dancer and actor, said, “There is no place quite like Jacob’s Pillow.”
Another episode has come and gone, and the gala for the Dizzy Feet Foundation draws closer. In this episode, the reigns were handed over to David Dorfman, a famous dancer and choreographer, and Allison Holker, a mock/last chance performance was put on, and in the end, the final 12 dancers were selected for the company.
I think the visit from David was well-needed. I can only imagine the amount of stress these dancers must have been feeling at this point. In a moments time, any of them could be sent home, and their dream of joining this company would be over. He really helped loosen them up. Who wouldn’t be loosened up after doing a “silly pelvic walk,” and being accompanied by an accordion?!
Michael and Billy headed to New York City for the day and left the reigns to David and Allison — and with that, left them the ability to send home those felt were not up to par. The Ballet Boyz must really trust these two. I mean, what if they sent home a favorite of theirs?
The duets that David was in charge of were very fun to watch. I think it was nice for some of the dancers to be able to do a little more contemporary style. Shepherd seemed to take to this type of a dance a little better than in the past.
In the end, Allison sent home Kaitlin home, and David sent Chase. When I saw David’s bottom four, I had a feeling it was going to be chase. I’ve always liked him, but I felt like maybe he wasn’t right for the company. Kaitlin seemed pretty disappointed, which is understandable. I think it was hard for some of the girls to really stand out, just because there were so many girls! Here are their exit videos (they always make me sad! I could never be a judge.)
And, as usual, a portion of the show focused on Shepherd. Part of me thinks the show should have been called “Shepherd’s Chance to Dance.” In this next clip, it shows his “midnight practice.” To be honest, I think Shepherd has gone above and beyond. He has obviously had to work very hard to try and compare to the other dancers, because his style is so different from most of the others.
I loved watching the performance toward the end. It’s incredible — especially since the dancers haven’t been practicing together for years…or even months. I’m betting that Billy and Michael weren’t wanting to cut anyone at this point, especially because everyone seemed to work so well together.
In the end, we said good bye to Bayli, Kelly, Chelsea, Sydney, and . . . Shepherd. His time finally came to an end. I had a feeling it was going to, but it was sad to see him go.
Next week will be interesting, now that the stress of eliminations is over. However, with the gala only days away, the dancers are going to be feeling a new kind of stress.
I mentioned the partner act in last weeks episode, and how much I enjoyed it. Here is another clip from that part of the episode, describing how it was an “intimate experience.” For any of these dancers that haven’t done a lot of partner work, I’m sure this wasn’t the most comfortable experience, but obviously, they had to get over that quickly.
Last week was an important week for the dancers — to prove they had what it takes to perform in this company. I loved this clip. The dancers (most, at least) really put their best foot forward.
Emotions were high at Jacob’s Pillow last week. Laura about lost it in this video, as she confessed to the audience that she thought everyone else was better than her. If it’s any consolation to her, she dances better than I ever could!
And here’s another preview for tomorrow night’s episode. I can hardly wait!
In this episode, the inevietable cuts started. It was an instant theme from the very beginning of the episode. Eldon was worried about his boyfriend, Chase. The girls discussed how it didn’t really seem fair to send people home yet (well…what do you expect when there’s only 30 days?). Oh the drama.
Michael and Billy decided to take a step back and instead of choreograph, just observe. Allison stepped in to help the dancers, which gave the boys a chance to take a closer look at the 24 dancers still here. I thought this was smart, because you can’t really concentrate as well on the small things that make a big difference, when you are trying to teach a group of people.
The partner exercise was very showing. Obviously, the dancers who make it to the final 12 have to be able to work with others well. It was painful to watch tonight, at times. Well, to watch Shepherd. He’s been one of my very favorites from the beginning, but I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he isn’t quite cut out for this type of company. Others shined though, especially Eldon and Sarah. If they both make it, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were contenders for the duet portion of the performance.
Here is a clip about Shepherd during the duet exercise. As I mentioned, he had a hard time. But he really does try hard, you can see it in how he acts. I think he is one of the most genuine people on the show, and that’s why it was so hard for me to watch him do poorly.
I really enjoyed the “last chance performance.” It was very solid, and I think that a lot of the dancers really shined in it.
The later half of the show dealt with the eliminations. In my mind, I had a few people I thought would be go home, and a few that would definitely stay. It was interesting to me how Billy and Michael brought them in individually to talk with them. For some, they cut straight to the point and either sent them home or kept them. But for others, I think they weren’t entirely sure when the dancer walked in what their fate would be . I must admit though, it was a bit shocking to me that Sarah almost went home. She really isn’t my favorite dancer, but I feel like she does a good job. Joni is probably my favorite, and we found out, she is also the favorite of Billy and Michael. I’m glad she is succeeding so much.
It was a bit of a shock to see Shepherd stay. I’m not sure exactly what Michael and Billy are thinking, but they must see something in him that would be valuable to the company. When he came out with the news, I wonder how everyone felt. I mean, there were probably some dancers that were more talented, technically, than he was, that got sent home. We will see what happens next time though.
In the end, these were the five that got sent home:
Chase Wise: Obviously, this was a heartbreaking decision for him, for more reason that one. He loves to dance, but he also would be going home, without his partner, Eldon
Cooper Neely: He was starting to get on my nerves,
Marissa Wong: I thought it was kind of sad that her elimination was super short, and wasn’t even included in the main portion of the show — it was in between a couple of commercials!
Sadly, Savannah and Jessica never really stood out to me, so I have a hard time commenting about them leaving. Hopefully they will find success in the future.
It was definitely a bittersweet episode, for the viewers, and obviously for the dancers. I think it was particularly hard for Eldon and Chase, since they now are going to be seperated. Here is a little clip that was from the end of the show where Eldon talks about Chase leaving:
And as always, here is the promo for next week:
Don’t forget to tune in every Friday this month for more excitement.
And I’m wondering how everyone feels about Shepherd…feel free to post your thoughts as a comment, or cast a vote in this poll: