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Review: Fanaticly Website and App for SYTYCD

About a month and a half ago I was approached to review a website and corresponding app for iPhone. Interesting proposition to be sure, but something I don’t usually do… I can be harsh with my reviews, blunt and to the point. I have no qualms in exposing what I do not like about something, but at the same time I will acknowledge when something is done right.

This is no different, there are some aspects of either the website or the app that I dislike, but there are also some aspects of the website or app that I truly liked…

So beyond the break I will provide my impressions in regards to the app and the website. After my impressions there will be a quick line or two for the positives, negatives and the bottom line for both the app and the website. At the end of this post will be my final thoughts and what I would love to see down the road… preferably sooner than later.
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July 13, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) “I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour.” and… 2) “Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much.” So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point… =)

Disney’s the Newsies Musical – Bloggers’ Impressions

When the official cast list for Disney’s Newsies the Musical came out, those of us that were fans of the original 1992 movie scoured the cast list for familiar names… and were we pleasantly surprised to find that four of our favorite dancers from various seasons of SYTYCD were part of the cast! Huge favorites like Evan Kasprzak and Alex Wong, as well as those that left too soon like Thayne Jasperson and Jess LeProtto were all listed!

So naturally we here at Pure So You Think You Can Dance went into a group email firestorm and tried to see if we could have a group outing / get together and meet up at the Great White Way to watch the Newsies together… And if by some twist of faith talk to some of the dancers.

In the end only Margaret and myself (Marianya) were able to make the semi-impromptu trip and we have so much to tell you about this gem of a show.

CHOREOGRAPHY
Marianya: OMG The choreography was AMAZING! Not only that but it really seemed to have challenged the dancers to their fullest potentials. The SYTYCD alumni all have special moments throughout the show, be it as a dancer, actor, or singer. The choreography wasn’t just on the stage itself, but all over the staging, elevated… it was thorough and I couldn’t help but tap along with the music. I would go again just to see the dancing. For more of my thoughts of Disney’s the Newsies musical please head on over to my personal blog.

Margaret: The show was choreographed within an inch of its life, and that’s a good thing! A lot of the dancers have said in interviews that Newsies was the first movie they saw for their generation that had guys dancing and singing but still being “dudes”. A lot of them said it helped them see that it was okay to be a guy and like to dance. Everything about the show is full out (it is Disney, after all) and the choreography, with a mix of contemporary but also time period-centric moves, fits beautifully.

THE DANCERS
Anyone that appreciates strong dancing can tell you that one person that will catch your attention and was not a SYTYCD alumni was Ryan Steele who played Specs (he wore glasses). In fact his center was so incredibly precise that the only SYTYCD alumni that could possibly compare was Danny Tidwell of runner up of SYTYCD Season 3 (he is SYTYCD Season 2 runner up Travis Wall’s brother). In fact we went so far to as to say that Ryan Steele would be a combination of Danny Tidwell and SYTYCD Season 7 hopeful Anthony Burrell. In a crazy serendipitous coincidence of SYTYCD connections, Ryan is close friends with Jakob Karr from Season 6! But you’re here for the dancers that were part of the So You Think You Can Dance family:

Alex Wong: Of course, anyone that has been keeping up with So You Think You Can Dance would know and love Alex Wong, and how he sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon that forced him out of the competition. After approximately a year of recuperation he was asked to come back as an All Star for SYTYCD Season 8 only for him to turn it down due to an injury to his other Achilles tendon. Well he has come back from both injuries to dance as if he was never injured to begin with (and mind you these were potential career ending injuries). He was as strong as ever and he looked like he was enjoying himself. His ballet training was evident but so was some of the growth from the time he was on the show. This is his Broadway debut & with such strong dancers throughout the ensemble (many with regional & Broadway credits) he could have easily gotten lost in the shuffle. However, he gets some nice shining moments & his talents are put to good use.

Evan Kasprzak: Dancing a style that he was known for during his season on SYTYCD, it’s amazing to think this is his Broadway debut as well. He is one of the holdovers from the production at Papermill Playhouse this past fall. To say that he has stretched as a performer is an understatement. He has a small bit part in the show and he has a couple of solos in the ensemble numbers. Plus he looks stronger than ever. He shines as a tapper during the rousing “Kings of New York” and gets a fun mini-duet with fellow alum Jess as well.

Thayne Jasperson: He also has a bit part in the second act of the show and he has improved leaps and bounds since his time on SYTYCD. You can tell that his dancing has strengthened quite a bit and his lines are smoother. According to his bio he was on the first national tour of West Side Story in the intervening time. Thayne wasn’t known as a “Broadway” dancer during season 4, but the performance where the judges said he really came alive was a Broadway number, dancing to “Cool” from West Side Story with Comfort. His time to shine is in the 2nd Act and he has some lines as well. He was always remembered as a very graceful dancer, which probably put him at a disadvantage during his season with big personalities like Twitch, Joshua & Mark. But he fits right in on the stage and his dancing has an “umph” and strength to it that wasn’t necessarily apparent when he was on the show.

Jess LeProtto: He’s been on Broadway a few times prior to his time on SYTYCD, and considering that he was just on the show last season there isn’t much to say except how we get a chance to see him in his element now and see his growth since his time on SYTYCD. And did he grow, Jess took a lot of flack during the season for being too much of a ham, and he seems to have reined that in. He and Evan are both “vertically challenged” but they dance as big as their smiles without trying to outdance some of the taller dancers.

After the show, we stood at the stage door in the hopes of getting to meet some of the guys. To our surprise, every one of the cast members came out and signed autographs. They were grateful, courteous to everyone and a pleasure to talk to. Marianya was able to talk to Alex for a bit about hopefully setting up an interview with some of the guys, and Margaret was able to talk to Thayne. They were both so happy to hear that SYTYCD fans were at the show and were definitely interested in sitting down with us, either over the phone or on Skype (gotta love modern technology!) We’ll see what we can set up as we head towards the beginning of season 9!

April 26, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) “I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour.” and… 2) “Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much.” So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point… =)

The Table Has It

This is a silly post I got the idea for last week (Sasha and Twitch made me think of it). It occurred to me that while routines with props can go either way, there are A LOT of routines choreographed around a table that seem to be highly memorable. So, I thought it’d be fun to look at some of those.

First, probably the most memorable table routine, the one that people generally think of when you say “the table routine” is from Season 3. Sabra and this week’s All-Star Neil dancing a Mandy Moore jazz routine.

Next memorable I’d say is the Travis Wall contemporary routine danced by Ellenore and Legacy in Season 6, the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” routine.

Then, there’s the super-hot crossbreed of samba and hip hop that Dmitry and Nappytabs choreographed for Season 5’s Top 16, which featured several tables (and water!).

I also couldn’t help thinking of this Tyce Diorio-choreographed jazz routine with Season 7’s Kent and All-Star Courtney featuring one of my favorite Amy Winehouse tunes, “Amy, Amy, Amy” Amy Amy Amy - Frank.

Season 7 also had a phenomenally memorable Top 6 group routine which featured a table. Choreographed by Mia Michaels, it should’ve shown off eventual winner (and this week’s All-Star) LoFro, who was injured, but instead All-Star Allison (then and last week) took her place.

Here’s a video of LoFro performing it on tour:

Which brings us to the inspiration for this post, last week’s “Misty Blue” Misty Blue - Misty Blue, choreographed by Christopher Scott and danced so fabulously by Season 8’s Sasha and All-Star (of all time) Twitch.

All of this “evidence” that tables make for great routines *almost* makes me wish that Caitlynn and Mitchell’s Stacey Tookey choreography to “Turning Tables” Turning Tables - 21 had had a table in it instead of two armchairs and lamps. Except, it’s just so memorable on its own. I’ll include it anyway.

Can y’all think of any other great table routines I’ve forgotten? Can you think of a bad table routine ever in SYTYCD history? And you’re not limited to the American version of the show. Go for it!

UPDATE:

Thanks for commenter Anne who reminded me about Wade Robson’s Season 6 Top 20 routine, “Comanche.” I miss Wade so much. This is such a good one, check it out:

July 26, 2011 I Written By

Introducing Your Season 8 All-Stars

Tonight’s Top 10 episode is going to rock, not least of which because it’s the first time we’ll see the Top 10 dance with the All-Stars.

First, we have Melody Lacayanga, the Season 1 runner-up. I chose her disco with SYTYCD Canada judge/choreographer Blake McGrath because I don’t normally go for disco and this Doriana Sanchez disco was fun. I didn’t watch Season 1, but looking back over the season, it seems like Melody’s partners tended to get eliminated a lot. I hope this doesn’t happen to her Season 8 partners!

Allison Holker from Season 2 was an All-Star last season and had some phenomenal routines. I’m going to resist my urge to find videos from last season and instead give you something from her original season. Here is her Alex da Silva Argentine tango with her original partner Ivan Koumaev.

Pasha Kovalev was also an All-Star from last season and I am NOT going to show you the phenomenal tango he did with winner Lauren Froderman. No, I am NOT. I’m going to stick with first seasons and show you him “out of his element,” dancing Mandy Moore jazz with Sara von Gillem.

Yet another All-Star from last season, Twitch Boss was originally the runner-up from Season 4. Chelsie Hightower, who was also from Season 4, was scooped up by DWTS along with Lacey Schwimmer, danced this fun Nappytabs hip hop with Twitch during their season.

Comfort Fedoke, also from Season 4 and also an All-Star last season, also danced with Twitch. Instead of showing you that video, I’m going to show you dancing with Mark Kanemura, Chelsie’s partner for most of the season, in another awesome Nappytabs hip hop.

Brandon Bryant was the runner-up of Season 5. I so want to show you his Wade Robson jazz with Janette, but Margaret showed that video in her All-Star post (same reason I didn’t show Pasha & Sara’s West Coast Swing). So instead, I’ll show you their Dave Scott hip hop, where they were both “out of their comfort zones.”

As an All-Star last season, Kathryn McCormick danced so much with Robert that I could just give you one video for both of them. However, let me show you Kathryn in her Season 6 glory (she came in 3rd), especially since her season didn’t get their own tour. So here she is, with runner-up Jakob Carr in a contemporary routine choreographed by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden.

Season 7’s Robert Roldan (3rd in his season) has already danced once in Season 8, with Caitlynn Lawson, so he was already an All-Star as far as I was concerned. Because the All-Stars started at Top 20 last season, most of his dances are with Kathryn or another All-Star. I wanted to show you his Dee Caspary contemporary with winner Lauren Froderman, but it wouldn’t embed. Instead, I’ll show you their Dmitri Chaplin (Season 2 and DWTS) samba because it’s fun and they were both out of their element.

Chelsie’s only going to be an All-Star for tonight’s episode and it sounds like they may switch up the All-Stars from week to week. It’ll be interesting to see who else they bring on board and all of the great routines that result. Also, I haven’t ever seen it confirmed, but Allison and Twitch may be dating and it’ll be interesting to see them together as All-Stars again. Also, I’m dying to see our Georgia peaches, Kathryn and Season 8’s Melanie Moore dance together. You know what else I’d love to see? I’d love to see a current contestant dancing with an All-Star and choreographed by another SYTYCD alumni. That would be awesome. 🙂

Are they any Season 8 contestant/All-Star pairings you’re dying to see?

July 20, 2011 I Written By

“Burn the Floor” heats up Chicago during the SNOWPOCALYPSE

As they say in the performing arts world: “The Show Must Go On” The Show Must Go On - Queen: Greatest Hits I & II

There were predictions hitting towards two feet of snow in parts of Chicagoland but a call to Broadway in Chicago confirmed what most businesses, stores and restaurants would not do in downtown Chicago… the show was open and was going to go on as scheduled. Granted, considering how quickly the temperature rose during the first number of the show “Ballroom Beat” (YouTube clip) this came as little surprise to those in attendance. When the first beats of the African rhythm filled the auditorium, you knew it was going to be hot. Dancers appeared throughout the auditorium, in the balcony, in the aisles… dancing and shaking to the rhythms before jumping onto the stage for an amazing opening number.

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February 2, 2011 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) “I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour.” and… 2) “Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much.” So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point… =)

Drop Dead Diva Features SYTYCD Dancers/Choreographer

Our reader Dennis wrote us about this clip from Drop Dead Diva that features quite a bit of Tyce Diorio dancing, as well as Katee Shean (S4) and Kayla Radomski (S5), though not enough of the latter to suit John. 🙂

Thanks, Dennis and everybody enjoy!

August 15, 2010 I Written By

Jeanine Mason In “Understudy” Film

SYTYCDism posted the news that Jeanine Mason will be working on a film the next couple weeks called, “Understudy.” Here’s a short description and picture from the Understudy website:

UNDERSTUDY is a University of Southern California graduate thesis film about an understudy dancer fighting to be number one in a hit Los Angeles dance show.

Jeanine also offered this really fun tweet:
“I’m very excited to be acting anddd dancing in the film. Back in heels and trying to keep up w the insane ballroom & salsa dancers!!”

Jeanine’s tweets are just like she was in person. Totally real. We’ll be looking forward to the video when it comes out Jeanine. Enjoy your summer vacation!

June 8, 2010 I Written By

Just call me Charlie…but where are my angels?

The Best SYTYCD Episode Ever?

Interesting updates on Twitter. Hmmm. From S2’s (and choreographer extraordinarie) Travis and S5’s Janette:

TRAVIS WALL travISova

Well… That was the best sytycd episode Ive ever sat thru! Congrats to the new contestants and allstars for an amazing show they put on! 34 minutes ago via Twitterrific

Janette Manrara JManrara

Wow!!! Amazing 1st show tonight @ SYTYCD!! Congrats to the new members of the SYTYCD family & the All Stars!! America is in for a show!!! 6 minutes ago via SimplyTweet

Courtney Galiano courtneyg612

RT @d_TRIX: WOW… SUCH A GREAT FIRST SHOW!!.. who’s gonna watch So you think you can dance this week?… you’re (cont) http://tl.gd/1o3rll about 3 hours ago via UberTwitter

Now waaaaaiiiiiiiiiiit a minute here! I thought they were broadcasting live this season? Isn’t every episode live? So, what episode is this “best episode ever”? Hmmm, do you think it might be a Top 10/All-Star Showcase, perchance?

I’ll leave you with this:

Stephen tWitch Boss official_tWitch

Words cannot begin to express how absolutely thankful and inspired i am to be a part of season 7 of sytycd. The talent is BANANAS! GET READY about 2 hours ago via web

P.S. Aha! Sleuthing on Twitter, I have hit paydirt (I lurrrrve you, Nappytabs!):

Napoleon and Tabitha NAPPYTABS

Meet the top 10 choreographers on set today. Gonna be a good season. http://twitpic.com/1uw14e about 5 hours ago via Twitpic

And the picture? Check it out:

Anybody just so excited? That they just can’t hide it? Lol Seriously? The only way that picture (and the showcase episode is promises) is if Wade were in it. Just sayin…

June 7, 2010 I Written By

SYTYCD Dance Comparison

Now that we know all the All-Stars that are going to participate in Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance, I thought it was be fun to look at some dances that – interestingly enough – used the same music in various seasons of the show. Though all dancers are going to be alumni, not all are to be a part of the All-Star pool. However, it’s always fun to reminisce.

Below are two videos that uses the song Right Here Waiting Richard Marx - Richard Marx: Greatest Hits - Right Here Waiting performed by Richard Marx.

The first is from Season 1 Week 4, a lyrical routine performed by Ashlé Dawson and Blake McGrath. Choreography by Tovaris Wilson.

The second video is from Season 5 Week 1, a contemporary routine performed by Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi. Choreography by Mandy Moore.

So who do you think danced it better? Which choreography do you prefer more?

April 23, 2010 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) “I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour.” and… 2) “Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much.” So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point… =)

Odd and Random SYTYCD 4/21/10

First, I just read an MTV.com article that claims Adam Shankman is being considered to direct a “Wizard of Oz” prequel tentatively titled “Oz, The Great and Powerful” and starring Robert Downey, Jr.

Also, in odd and random (and interesting) SYTYCD news, entertainment betting lines are already open for SYTYCD Season 7. Seriously. Though I’m not being a gambler (but one of my roommates was a professional poker player), I find this fascinating. You can check out the betting odds here. Apparently, the odds were Male -150 and Female +110 as of the 14th, though they change every week (no new numbers yet, as far as I can tell).

Washington Post staff writer Sarah Kaufman, who won the 2010 criticism Pulitzer Prize wrote a SYTYCD article last year, which was one of the pieces submitted for Pulitzer consideration. It’s a great read, as proved by this little snippet:

Melissa had the nano-dress, the spiked heels, the hiccupping rhythm. Even so, something was wrong with her cha-cha.

The judges on “So You Think You Can Dance” knew where the fault lay. Melissa is, by training, a ballet dancer, and those polite hips and her tea-at-the-Ritz posture had gotten in her way. No amount of sequins or daringly exposed skin could make up for the fact that her cha-cha needed a mojito. More heft, more hips, more Havana.

Check out this section from the question-and-answer Sarah Kaufman did after winning:

Kensington, MD: I am a big fan. I loved your article on “So You Think You Can Dance,” one of my favorite shows. My husband and I used to subscribe to the Kennedy Center Ballet, and I would check out your review before every show. Thanks so much for your great work!

Sarah Kaufman: Mwah!! Big hug. Thank you. I loved writing that piece. I only hope there will be a spillover from TV dance to live theater dance. Glad to know you’re helping the cause!

What do you think of all these odd STYCYD-related items?

April 21, 2010 I Written By