SYTYCD 7: Dancer Analysis – Robert Roldan

Another twelve hours, another post. In this case it’s the “dark horse” in the competition. This is the dancer that’s been to the Bottom Three the most of the Top Four, but he has been growing slowly then plateauing and then growing again. He desperately needed a week like last week in order to remain in the competition and he did.

Previous posts in this series: All-Stars, Kent Boyd and Lauren Froderman

Like in the last few posts there is a poll at the bottom asking which of Robert’s dances is your favorite.

Las Vegas Callbacks
Almost nothing was mentioned about Robert during the Vegas episodes. I know I don’t remember him. In the past when almost nothing was mentioned about a dancer, it usually means that the producers believe that the dancer’s dance ability would speak to itself and their personality would shine through the screen on it’s own without television’s aid in editing… let’s see how that works.

Meet the Top 11:
– Wade Robson’s Jazz
Now for some reason Robert did not stand out for me in this piece, which is not a bad thing, but not a good thing either.

– Sonya Tayeh Jazz
In this piece Robert didn’t stick out to me in dance ability as much as his look, but then again all three guys have varying looks to them… but because he didn’t really wow me in this piece and with minimal information about him during Vegas it’s very difficult for me to get a handle on this guy.

Week 1: Top 11 Performances:
– African Jazz w/ Courtney choreographed by Sean Cheesman
Honestly I don’t remember this piece, I had to watch it again to remember it, and even then I still am pretty ambivalent towards the piece. The most I could remember thinking is that Robert is very technically proficient and can connect with his partners, but he seems to be more like a moving work of art instead of connecting with the audience.

Week 2: Top 10 Performances:
– Argentine Tango w/ Anya choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux
This dance was insanely technically proficient, but what set me off was that it seemed to show on Robert’s face just how stressful the dance was. He did the dance well, but it didn’t show and that didn’t help his dancing in the end. If Robert would just relax and live in the dance this would have been so much better. So despite a strong routine I think Robert’s face pulled him to the Bottom 3 this week.

Week 3: Top 9 Performances:
– Jazz w/ Courtney choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
This is the second time that Robert does a Jazz routine by Sonya Tayeh with Courtney as a partner (well if you count the Meet the Top 11 dance). This wasn’t a particular memorable routine for me and apparently the audience as he was in the Bottom 3 this week as well.

Week 4: Top 8 Performances:
– Jazz w/ Kathryn choreographed by Sean Cheesman
Ah yes the Bob and Kathie (Ken and Barbie) routine. I really liked the routine. The transformation from plastic to movement and back to plastic was perfect. He connected with his partner really well and it was fun.

– Quickstep w/ Ashley choreographed by Jean Marc Genereux
Ah yes, the kiss of death. There’s a reason (ok many reasons) why the quickstep is the dance that people would dread. It is the most technically strenuous dance for anyone. Robert wasn’t a very strong lead for Ashley, but she wasn’t back-leading either… so that’s a credit to Robert.

All in all this was a high/low week for Robert. I think the main reason that he didn’t hit the Bottom 3 this week was by the charisma of the first routine. Which was really really good as opposed to the quickstep bringing him down…

Week 5: Top 7 Performances:
– Contemporary w/ Allison choreographed by Travis Wall
He knocked this one out of the park. There is no doubt about that. But it was probably very easy to get into the emotional element of the piece because he was able to relate to it. There’s really nothing to be said about the technical side of it since Robert is very proficient in it.

– Disco w/ Kathryn choreographed by Doriana Sanchez
It’s about time the show got wise and put in an All-Star to replace an injured dancer… anyway. He looked like he had a lot of fun, granted he had a lot of chemistry with Kathryn so that might have helped.

Do he grow? It’s hard to say, I believe he is learning to enjoy dancing rather than just simply dancing and not showing it. The audience responds more to someone that shows that they are enjoying what they are doing. So I guess in that regards, yeah, he’s growing in that capacity.

Week 6: Top 6 Performances (Round One):
– Jazz w/ Lauren Gottlieb choreographed by Tyce Diorio
Considering this is Robert’s third time doing a Jazz routine… well Robert is doing well and growing in presense and chemistry which is finally beginning to happen. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him dance with some level of abandon rather than being really controlled.

– Samba w/ Lauren Froderman choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin
Did he drink Dmitry’s blood or something? Because I agree that he reminded me a lot of Dmitry. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up in the air, but I think for the current purpose it’s a good thing. He picked up the choreography pretty well and he had fun doing it.

If there is anything that Robert grew in this week it’s being able to dance with abandon, or rather getting lost in the dance. By doing that he’s allowing himself to enjoy and live in the moment and he really needed it here.

Week 7: Top 6 Performances (Round Two):
– Contemporary w/ Kathryn McCormick choreographed by Stacey Tookey
O.M.G. Totally a “breakout” performance for Robert in this piece. Everything that he was lacking early in the season he had in abundance in this dance and it showed. It moved me more than his contemporary piece with Allison and it had more abandon and looseness than the previous week.

– Bollywood w/ Billy Bell choreography by Nakul Dev Mahajan
Wow, and Robert’s technique and precision strikes a home run again. Between Billy and Robert, Robert definitely fit the dance better. Being healthy helps to, but somehow Robert just seemed to have shined in this piece for me.

I don’t know what to say really except that after how many stellar weeks Robert really needed a week like this one to keep himself out of the Bottom Three. I think it is almost guaranteed that had he found himself in the Bottom Three this week he would definitely be going home… If ever there was a “breakout” week, this one is it.

How to Grow
Honestly, I don’t know. Robert snuck up on me so subtly that I wasn’t expecting it to be like this. Before the last week I had pegged Robert as to be the one going home with Jose, but now I don’t know. To put it very simply, Robert did not become memorable to me until the last three routines… and that’s saying something.

Robert isn’t strong in every dance style, plus he has managed to avoid HipHop, so let’s start with there. Robert needs to get HipHop preferably with Twitch and he needs to nail it. Once he nails that then he needs to get ballroom like a Viennese Waltz or Argentine Tango or Paso Doble and nail that…

In Conclusion
Robert’s the “dark horse” in this competition. Of the top four Robert has been to the Bottom Three the most, but with several stellar performances and a week like this past week he has every chance to over take the top threesome… moreso now that Lauren has slipped and hit Bottom Three for the first time. As long as he keeps it up, he should be ok, again should be.