A Look Inside SYTYCD Canada Season 3 Toronto Auditions

In Toronto this weekend many dancers lined up at dawn in order to ensure their chance to dance for SYTYCD judges and try to dance their way into the Top 20 for season 3 SYTYCD Canada.

CTV reports:

It’s a chilly morning outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and dancers huddle under blankets and sleeping bags, wearing layers of clothes to keep them warm. But not even the mid-November chill will keep these dancers from doing what they love and up and down the sidewalk there are impromptu dance circles, beat boxing and split jumps.

“I’m always looking for bigger and better each season!” judge and choreographer Blake McGrath says, surveying the lineup. “I’m looking forward to seeing the dancers who were too young to audition last year and see what they have to offer. I can’t wait to see all of the new talent.”

He said last year that they could have cast five Top 20s with the dancers at Finals Week and hopes to see many of the same dancers return this year. “I really want them to be persistent and see many of them back again.”

Lot’s of returning dancers along with new dancers who were under trained, too young or just not quite there previously.

CTV calls some of these dancers “Three-peats”

These are dancers back for the third time in 3 seasons… dancers like hip-hopper Shavar Blackwood, 24.

“I am back because I need to be here. Canada needs to see my face!” this Torontonian says enthusiastically. Last season, Blackwood made it to the Top 40, but the judges wanted to see him diversify his dancing. “Ballroom was my biggest problem. It totally threw me for a loop. When you dance hip-hop, it’s easy to just dance for yourself and if I mess up, I can just contain it and work with it, but when you’re dancing with another person, it’s a lot trickier,” he explains.

So he got himself into the studio and has focused on becoming a better-rounded dancer. “I’ve been taking a lot more contemporary and have been taking some tango and salsa too,” he says.

Blackwood is in line with Calgarian, Breanne Wasylenko, 21, who says, “third time’s a charm!” She auditioned in Saint John, N.B., last year and inspired judge Melissa Williams to liken her to Season 1’s Top 8 dancer, Arassay Reyes.

“I need to be here. I want to be here. I’m going to make Top 20 this year, it’s my goal,” she says and she and Blackwood high five.

“I’m a lot more comfortable with myself — who I am as a person and as a dancer,” Wasylenko says. “Last year, I made it to Top 40, but the judges wanted me to come out of my shell a bit more and be more confident and outgoing.”

When Wasylenko auditioned last season, the winner, Tara-Jean, was just two people behind her in line. “It was a really crazy experience to be with her basically from the beginning and see her go all the way. I definitely have learned from her about having that performance quality and embracing every single character on stage.”

Like Breanne and Shavar we will be seeing some other returning dancers from past seasons auditions. CTV calls this group “Round two”.

It’s round two for Rodrigo Basurto, 24, who is originally from Mexico City but now makes his home in Toronto. He too, made it to Top 40 last season. “I’m more excited than ever! And I’m more prepared,” he says.

Though contemporary dancer Sarah Vance, 22, from Waterloo, Ont., didn’t audition last year, she was first in line during Season 1’s Montreal audition stop and was there with Top 4 dancer Everett Smith.

“It was so inspiring to see how far he went this year. I was so proud of him. I hope this year it’s my turn,” Vance says, noting that her last name rhymes with ‘dance.’

She arrived just after 5 a.m. this morning and says she’s glad to be near the front so she’ll be able to dance early on in the day. “I think the waiting around is the hardest part because then you just watch other people and start to compare yourself,” she says.

And, in true Canadian tradition, many dancers have something different to offer

Elke Schroeder, 27, originally from Kendal, Ont., is a modern dancer who specializes in floor work, a contemporary technique that focuses on diving, rolling, tumbling and using the floor gracefully.

“A lot of contemporary dance is very high,” she says, demonstrating with a vertical upper body, “but this is way more into the floor and it definitely looks different than other forms of contemporary,” she explains. “I’m really excited to show the judges that part of my solo.”

Where Schroeder spends most of her time getting into the floor, urban street dancer Tristan Fisher, 20, from Peterborough, Ont., spends a lot of his time in the air. He’s not just good at jumping, he’s also studying to be a pilot. “Whenever the weather’s bad, I go over to the dance studio,” he explains.

He auditioned last year and says he was disappointed with his performance. Even still, he is able to find the silver lining: “Even though the final result wasn’t what I wanted, I met so many people at the auditions last year and have been dancing with a lot of them.”

He trained as hard as he could this last year and feels much more prepared with a solo he defines as ‘mellow.’

“It has a very unique beat,” he explains. “I pop, I lock, I wave and I hit the beat hard. I’m hoping it’ll really impress the judges!”

Lastly, we have what CTV calls the “First year and final year”

Toronto’s Tessa Vintar, 18, is thrilled she’s finally reached the age of majority and is able to audition for Season 3. “I promised myself years ago that I would audition as soon as I was old enough, and here I am!” she says.

She’s got a pink suitcase packed full of everything she thinks she might need — blankets, scarves, sweatpants, t-shirts, shorts, and tons of makeup.

Though Sarah-Beth Desormeaux is on the other end of the age spectrum, at 30 years old, she is just as prepared. “I packed everything in tool boxes on wheels!” she says, showing off the stacked yellow and black boxes.

This mother of two opens it up to reveal…everything! “I’ve got toiletries, chocolate bars, clothes, hip-hop shoes,” she lists off.

And though she’has prepared as much as possible, she knows the pressure is on. “This is my last year. This is it!” she says. “It’s now or never!”

I love that we are getting this inside look at the Toronto Auditions and look forward to some more from other auditioning cities over the next weeks.

I am moving December 1st, but hope to pop down to auditions in Vancouver December 5 to chat with some dancers and see what I can see 😉