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Academy Episode One: Solos & Hip Hop

Tonight we were treated to a great opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore. I actually loved that they did this, it made the introduction to the Academy more exciting. Anyone else notice that part of the choreography was use in the initial audition rounds. Tonight’s episode was jammed packed full of information and I know I didn’t get all the names for the teams but I’ll hopefully fill them in next week.

Round One: The dancers must impress the panel of All Stars with their solo or duet(ballroom). If they get the majority of the vote, they will move on to the next round. I always enjoy watching the All Stars reaction to the all-stars. There were several that did impress and I wasn’t surprised either. Kristina and Vasily for me stood out. They danced so beautifully, but we didn’t see them much throughout the rest of the episode. However, I did spot them at the end of the episode when they were previewing the rest of the Academy. 71 dancers moved on the next round.

Round Two: Hip Hop with NappyTabs, who are everywhere these days. The contestants have an hour to learn the routine and then have to perform it for the All Stars. So it’s either sink or swim, and from what I saw there was everything from amazing to awful. I do wish the show will show the viewing audience what the dance actually looks like. After all the dancers have performed one of three outcomes will happen. 1) Picked to be on an All Stars’s team 2) Move on to the next round or 3) Sent home. If more than one All Star want them on their team the contestant gets to choose whose team he or she wants to be on.

Kevin Davis Jr: A Krumper that had five All Stars wanting him on his team. Allison, FikShun, Cyrus, Jasmine, and Comfort all explained why they wanted him on their team. In the end he wanted to choose the person who he would benefit the most from, so he picked Allison.

Dassy Lee: Not surprised she had both of the Hip Hop boys wanting her on their team. Dassy chose FikShun over Cyrus. I’m thinking FikShun has an edge over Cyrus since he has won the show and mentored last years winner.

Logan Hernandez: Robert, Allison, and Jenna were all wanting him. Jenna even made a bold statement of the night by saying he would be her partner on the show. She basically said he would be in the top 10 if he chose her. Logan chose Allison…chances are he might not have believed Jenna.

Robert seemed to have a tough time convincing someone to be on his team. After tonight’s episode he is the only All Star that doesn’t have anyone on his team yet.

At the end of tonight 13 of the 40 spots were filled, and next week the dancers face contemporary with Travis and ballroom with Dmitry. I am going to try to get a who is on each All Star’s team up.

 

July 17, 2017 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

New York Auditions: Part 2

I case you didn’t notice last weeks episode was a repeat, I’m guessing due to the fourth of July the network didn’t want to air a new episode. So tonight we get to see the rest of the auditions in New York, and it also concludes the initial auditions before the Academy. There was plenty of talent tonight from the amazing to the not so great (which always makes me wonder if they watch the show).

Magda & Kiki: They have an interesting dynamic but they a just dance partners, and Magda does all the talking. What I liked about their audition is that it wasn’t too over the top with the tricks, and I was a little surprised they didn’t do any lifts. It was just a straight forward cha-cha that got them their ticket to the Academy.

Claudia & George, Jaryd Farcon, and Allen Genkin…just a few more ballroom dancers to make it straight to the Academy

Zachary Downer: He auditioned for season 12 and made it to the green mile. Can’t say I rememberer him but it is very clear after watch him dance again why he made it as far as he did. Love the infusion of the african movement with the contemporary.

Ramita Ravi: I have to admit I was excited to watch her dance the moment she sat down to talk to Cat. I do enjoy watch the Bollywood style of dancing. I was somewhat surprised the judges didn’t send her to the academy right away. I think that they just wanted to see more of what she can do. Thankfully she made it through the choreography round.

Peter Mangione: I must have missed the part when he said he had only be dancing for six months, but when he mispronounced Ballet, I pretty much knew this would be a not so good audition.

Arielle Disciascio: I was on the fence about Arielle, yes she is a fantastic dancer with precision and control. However, I wanted to see her let go and really just dance from the heart. So like Nigel I wanted to see her do the choreography.

Some more familiar faces of past seasons are back to try again and the are all hip hop dancers. Chris Andrews, Chase “CTut” Lindsey (the finger tutting) and Jason Kidd. One last familiar face for tonight was Romainson Romain, provided the most moving audition of the night, the judges knew he had a lot weighing him down and I loved that they lifted him up. He also didn’t do too bad in the choreography round and he made it to the academy.

Marc “Full out” Royale: Um dancing professionally for two years…yeah I don’t think so but I see why he goes by full-out.

Claire Rathbun: I love how ballet dancers especially those that do pointe make it look so easy and effortless. I also love how she wants to prove that you can have a big personality and still do ballet. Based on her personality I wonder how well she will do in the hip hop genre.

Lex Ishimoto: He took a big risk by doing an improve for his audition, but man did it pay off. It was the best audition of the night. Plus at the time of his audition he was performing with Travis Wall’s (and Nick, Teddy, & Kyle) company Shaping Sound. I can’t wait to see what All Star get him on their team. It’s a bold prediction from me but Lex will be in the top 10.

So 100 dancers total for the LA and New York Auditions made to the academy. They will be tested by Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Dmitry Chaplin, and NappyTabs. Looking forward to next week.

July 10, 2017 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Next Generation Live Show 2: Thoughts

Before I could watch tonight’s show, I to catch up on last weeks episode that I missed while I was out-of-town. I have to say I’m impressed not only by the talent but also the work ethic of these kids. Twitch stepped in as a judge since Jason out-of-town. After that fabulous opening number, we learn that each of the dancers were paired up and would perform two dances together, not to mention a small duet with their all-star.

I loved the small duets with the all-stars. I do think Jake and Jenna had the best and quite possibly the cutest one. Kida and Fikshun were a close second. Something I noticed in the last episode and tonight’s that the all-stars (with the exception of the ballroom) seem to pick their mini me’s.

Jordan & Ruby: Afro Jazz and Contemporary
I thought both dances were great. Their contemporary was my favorite of the two dances. I did enjoy Jordan’s reaction when the judges mentioned that the afro jazz was a difficult routine.

JT & Emma: Hip Hop and Broadway
These two made a cute pairing. It was fun to see them working with NappyTabs and I like the candy theme. I think JT just needs a little bit of tweaking when it comes to hip hop.

Tahani & Jake: Contemporary and Jive
I’m glad that they were able to capture the emotion of the choreography they were given. They both seemed genuinely moved by it. Then there was that Jive, that was high energy and so much fun. It allowed them to show off their personalities. Fingers crossed will see more choreography from Emma and Sasha.

Tate & Kida: Hip Hop and Jazz
There isn’t much to say about these two other than they are my top two of the night. Also, Nappy Tabs may have created my new favorite routine of theirs with great props.

Sheaden & Daniela: Cha-Cha and Broadway
I thought they had a good night and that we got to see Daniela shine a little bit more this week than last week. I enjoyed their broadway routine and Fosse is a hard style to learn. Unfortunately, they were also the bottom two dancers.
The judges decided that they would keep Sheaden. It’s a tough decision to make but I will say this about the judges, I think they handle the critiques and letting these kids down easily very well.

July 18, 2016 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

The Academy: Day 3 and 4

It’s the final rounds of the Academy and by the end of the episode the top 10 will be revealed. I’ve said it before but I am so glad I don’t have to make the decision that the All-Stars do.

A NappyTabs hip hop was up next and they had an hour to learn this very fun choreography. Not sure why hip hop got an hour and the other style got an hour and a half rehearsal time. Tabitha and Napoleon were impressed by the talent of the next generation. Most of the kids were impressive, I thought. Comfort was having a difficult time with this round of cuts, so she has Phoenix and Logan dance for their lives.

Contemporary with Travis Wall was next and an hour and a half to learn it. Travis didn’t hold back and the kids went for it. I thought that the All-Stars got their chance to show why they were chosen to mentor these kids. I thought they all gave great advice, especially Joshua in telling his team to use their hip hop experience in the contemporary round. I thought all of the contestants were impressive and the All-Stars were moved, Jenna seemed the most emotional. This was the round the struggle of making the decision was really starting to show on the All-Stars faces.

Before the All-Stars made their final decision on who would be joining them in the top 10, they had a one on one talk with each of their final two contestants. This is when I decided to play the guessing game of who I thought they’d pick. 5 out of 10 I guess correctly. So here is your top 10.

Kathryn and Tate
Sasha and Jordan
Fik-Shun and Kida
Jenna and Jake
Joshua and Sheaden
Robert and JT
Paul and Ruby
Gaby and Emma
Jonathan and Daniela
Comfort and Tahani

Since it will be two weeks till the live shows, I post my thoughts on the top 10 next week. Also a post with the National Dance Day routine.

June 27, 2016 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

The Academy: Day Two

Day two of the Academy and it’s time to learn a tough Broadway routine from Tony Award winning choreographer Warren Carlyle. The dancer have 90 minutes to learn the routine before having to perform it for the All-Stars. While they are learning the choreography the All-Stars and Maddie are there to help them and give them advice.

They pair off the dancer in groups of two and perform. Then comes the hard part, having to eliminate on of dancers from each team. I can’t help but think that Nigel, Paula, and Jason are happy that they don’t have to do this part. There were a few standouts that I saw in the montage that we saw. Also, love how supportive the All-Stars are and cheering the dancers on. In end we had to say goodbye to, Enoch, Diana, Pullany, Lera, Parker, Ava, Kai, and Jaryan. Didn’t catch who was eliminated from Kathryn and Comfort’s team.

It was the end of the Episode that both broke my heart and warmed it at the same time. Jaryan was unfortunately cut from Fik-Shun’s team and he broke down in tears and proceeded to say he has been bullied. I have to say Fik-Shun handled that so well by tell Jaryan that “we don’t bully in dance”, the rest of the contestants surrounded him and proceeded to lift his spirits. If there is one thing I know bullying is not OK and the theatre and dance community is the most accepting groups of people out there.

Next week is hip hop with NappyTabs and contemporary with Travis Wall.

June 20, 2016 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 20 Thoughts

The first live show of Season 12 was a nice introduction to the dancers and what they can do. This week only each team each team performed in their own style, which is always nice to see them in their comfort zone.

Last nights show kicked off with a great group number by Chris Scott and Jessica Kellar. It didn’t take me long to spot Asaf Goren, the replacement to the top 20 dancer that had to withdraw. Unfortunately, Alain “Hurrikane” injured his knee and due to the conditions it was a better idea to heal properly than to cause a reoccurring injury.

We also got a glimpse of what the live shows will be like this season. We will see duos, trios, and quartets of dancers. Starting next week stage and street will have to dance together and probably will expose some weaknesses. So for this episode I’m just going to give my thoughts on the dances and my best guess of who might be in the bottom three next week.

Team Stage
1) Stacey Tookey: Contemporary; Gaby, Derek, & Moises
Stacey once again creates a beautiful routine and the dancers knocked it out of the park. This was my favorite dance from the stage team. I think that all three dancers will be safe.

2) Brian Friedman: Jazz; Marissa, Hailee, & Alexia
So great to have Brian back on the show and he didn’t hold back with the choreography. The highlight was seeing him breakout his stilettos and show the girls if he can do it, so can they. Overall, I enjoyed this jazz number. I do have to agree with the judges when the dance and costumes are sexy, you don’t need to oversell the sexiness.

3) Swan: Ballet; Darion & Jim
From what I’ve seen online everyone loved the dance and the dancer but they did not love the costumes. I agree the costumes just did not work for me.

4) Travis Wall: Contemporary; Edson & Kate
Okay so don’t know what the judges had a problem with this dance and neither did Travis. I really hope these two stick around next week.

Team Street

1) Dave Scott: Megz, Neptune, & Jessica (JJ)
Seemed to have a mixed review from the judges but nothing really negative. There is a part of me that wants to say maybe nerves were a factor.

2) Chris Scott: Jaja, Lily, Burim & Asaf
This dance was a great example of why I love Chris. He likes to show off the dancers strengths. Also was one of the few times that I did not like the camera work because I could not see everything that was happening. I also hope the B-boys continue to work hard to pick up the choreography.

3) Pharside and Pheonix: Virgil, Ariana, & Yorellis
This was a fun routine with a clear theme and a well known song. Virgil will be an audience favorite. Yorellis will be one to watch since she does have training in some of the stage styles.

I honestly thought both teams had there winning moments and there okay moments. Who will be in the bottom is tough to say but based just on a gut feeling here’s who I think might be in trouble. Stage: Hailee, Alexia, and Darion. Street: Megz, Neptune, and Ariana.

Tune in next Monday night to find who stays and who goes.

July 14, 2015 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Vegas Week Part Two

Part two of the Vegas week call backs begins with the always interesting group round. Much to my surprise, there weren’t too many train wrecks. Perhaps the dancers are learning what to expect when they get to this round and have made the right decisions when working together. Only a few were cut after groups.

Choreography Round 3

Team Stage gets to learn a jazz routine from Sonya Tayeh. While Team Street get to work with NappyTabs. What I really loved was watch Tabitha showing the contestants what their choreography is supposed to look like. I’m not sure if they have done that in the past but it is nice to see what the choreography is supposed to look like.

Cat took notice that Travis was starting to get competitive, and he replied with how he lost the show the first time around. The same is true about Twitch. Both mentors were the runner-up on their season, so it’s safe to say that both would like a member from their team to win.

Now the moment we have been waiting for, the green mile and the reveal of the Top 20 dancers for Season 12. I correctly predicted 9 of the 20 dancers, it would have been 10 had Denys not dropped out. Still not sure why he really decided to drop out but at least he can still say he won the Canadian version of SYTYCD. Also, one of the top 20 has been injured and will no longer be able to compete but of course we won’t find out what happened till next week.

Here is your Top 20

Team Stage: Merissa Milele, Edson Juarez, Moises Parra, Kate Harpootlian, Hailee Payne, Jim Nowakowski, Alexia Meyer, Derek Piquette, Darion Flores, and Gaby Diaz

Team Street: Alain Hurrikane, Jessica Jrabone, Yorelis Apolinario, Lily Frias, Ariana Crowder, Virgil Godson, Eddie Eskridge, Megz Alfonso, Burim Jusufi, and Jaja Vankova

July 6, 2015 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Los Angeles Auditions

So tonight’s episode we are given a little more information for Vegas week. Team Stage will face choreography from Sonya, Josh Vergas, and Travis Wall. Team Street will face choreography from Dave Scott, Jamal Sims, and Nappy Tabs.

So Nigel stated last week that the LA auditions were some of the best auditions ever…well for this season at least. He wasn’t wrong the show started off strong but sort of lost steam for me. This episode was heavy on Team Street side of the auditions that we got to see. We did get to see some of team stage but most were lost in the montages. Seriously, wish the producers would show an equal amount from each team.

So I started to write down my standout but I decided I just wanted to enjoy the show. I love seeing SYTYCD Alumni at the auditions. Also love seeing familiar faces return for another chance, in particular, Jaja. If she isn’t in the top 20 this year, I may throw something at my tv. So moving on to Vegas were 29 Stage dancers and 24 Street dancers.

 

Team Stage: 84 Team Street: 84

June 15, 2015 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 4 Power Rankings

Last night was another great night of dancing by the Top 4 and the All Stars. I have to congratulate the Top 4 for surviving last nights show, they showed great stamina to dance five times in the span of two hours. Paula Abdul was a guest judge for a second time this season and honestly I want more of her on the show. Gabby Douglas also was a guest judge, I felt like she was there simply cause she is a fan of the show. The gold medal references got old fast. Anyways, by the end of the season sometimes it’s hard to know who will exactly be America’s favorite dancer.

Each dancer, danced a solo, danced with the other top 4, and the style of their with an all star. The best dances of the night for each finalist were the dance style of their choice. The top 4 have all been great this season and they all have impressed me over the season. So here is how I would rank the top 4 based on last night’s performances.

Girls

Amy: Amy had the better night of the two girls. Her ballroom dance was better than Jasmine’s. She really does remind me of Melanie Moore, in the fact that she is a little powerhouse and she has been an early favorite for the fans and the judges. Ranking her dances of the night contemporary with Robert gets the top spot. The two Jazz numbers were about even for me, but I’m really beginning to question what planet Mark is really from. I did enjoy the Tango/Paso fusion but I just felt like it would have been dance better if it were danced with an all star.

Jasmine: Anyone else surprised to learn that it was Cat Deely that fought hard to make sure that Jasmine was a part of the top 20. So a big thank you goes to Cat for fighting so hard and hopefully she will win the Emmy this time.  Back to Jasmine, I can’t say I was surprise that she chose hip-hop for her style of choice. She and Comfort hit a homerun with that dance. The only time she seemed to struggle last night was in the Samba. I know that her skirt not wanting to come off threw her and Aaron. Other than that I’m not sure why it just didn’t seem to work for them.

Guys

Aaron: Finally we get to see another tap dance. I really think Aaron and Melinda have very similar tap style, not to mention insane technique, which is why this pairing worked so well. I didn’t expect the song choice they chose for the dance. This was my absolute favorite of the night from the telling of the story to the crisp clear sounds of their taps. Paula was right in saying that Aaron is a very generous partner, is the sense he doesn’t try to out dance them. He too struggled with the Samba but in the long run I don’t think that will affect him.

FikShun: I’m sure he isn’t alone in thinking to dance with Twitch will make your life awesome. I loved these two together. They both have fun personalities that came to life in this hip-hop. The other thing that I like about FikShun is the fact that he has risen to every challenge that’s been given to him. Sure he may still need some refining but partnering skills are there, and he proved that last night. I was a bit nervous if he could partner Jasmine, but he seemed to do it with ease.

 

So who is your favorite Guy and Girl dancer? Truthfully I would be happy no matter which girl wins. As for the guys Aaron is my pick to win, what can I say I love tap dancers.

 

 

September 4, 2013 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.

Top 6 Now Top 4 Thoughts

Since there was no voting last night, I figured that I would save power rankings for next week and just do a thoughts post instead. I love having Jesse Tyler Ferguson as a guest judge, too cute watching him blush over admitting he has a crush on Aaron. Each of the dancers had three dances each; a solo, paired with an all star, and paired with each other.

Solos

Amy: She is just a little powerhouse and has been an early favorite from the beginning. Her solo was probably my favorite out of the girls.

Jasmine: Still love that song choice. I like the fact that yes, her legs are her best feature but I like that she doesn’t always remind us in her solos.

Hayley: I wanted a bit more from her solo.

FikShun: The fact that he was moving about as fast as the lyrics of that song was impressive.

Paul: Ballroom solos are always a bit hard to watch. I would have like to seen him do a more serious solo.

Aaron: I love tap solos cause it’s really the only time we get to see it during the show. I would think they could pull one of the other tappers that have been on the show to dance with him…it would be nice.

All Stars

Paul & Kathryn: the thing I like about Paul is that he tends to have chemistry with everyone who he is paired with on the show. There may have been a fight concept but for me they both seemed to be on an even level.

Hayley & Joshua: Who else thought of Katy Perry when they saw the stage set up? This was a major improvement from her last hip-hop. She really did seem like she was fighting to stay in the competition

Aaron & Melanie: I so wanted to know what they were yelling at each other during this piece, which made it entertaining to watch. Granted yes he sort of dropped her but thankfully it went with the theme of the dance. Also, Melanie being as good as she is caught herself.

FikShun & Witney: A ballroom dancer he is not but he sure did try. I agree with Mary that his close hold position was nice and probably with a little more time he could really do the fox trot justice.

Jasmine & Neil: I knew this was going to be good just from the rehearsal footage. Tyce created a beautiful number for these two. This was my favorite of the all-star pairings.

Amy & Alex: So happy Alex was able to do Bollywood and not hurt himself. Amy’s personality just suits Bollywood. It takes a lot of energy to tackle those dances.

Paired together

Hayley & Paul: I loved this version of the song and love watching these two dance together. Sad to see them both go but I had a feeling that they would be the ones that left.

Amy & FikShun: Happy that Dave Scott didn’t make this a cutesy hip-hop. They really do bring out the best in each other.

Jasmine & Aaron: This was my favorite out of the last three dances. I loved the concept of this dance and I did notice that Aaron took the judges note from earlier in the night and corrected it for this dance. Jasmine must be double jointed, how else would her legs be able to move like they do.

So our top 4 are Jasmine, Amy, Aaron, and FikShun. Who will you be pulling for next week? I’ll be pulling for Aaron mainly, as for the girl I’ll be happy with who ever wins out of the two of them.

August 28, 2013 I Written By

Dance is one of my biggest passions. I grew up dancing at Augusta West Dance Studio (the same studio that Kathryn McCormick). I have a BFA in theatre/dance from Valdosta State University. Tap is my favorite style of dance.