SYTYCD 7: The Injured Dancers – Alex and Ashley

There were two dancers who’s lifespans on SYTYCD’s stage were cut shot: Alex Wong and Ashley Galvan. Here I will take a look at their growth in the few weeks they were on the show, what is open to them in the near future and what to expect from them and vice versa should they choose to audition for Season 8.

Other posts in this series include: All-Stars, Kent Boyd, Lauren Froderman, Robert Roldan, Adechike Torbert, and Billy Bell.

Alex, Alex, Alex, it was far too early for him to leave. He had barely scraped the surface of what he could do, and all he wanted to do was learn other styles! Anyway, enough crying… here is a look into Alex’s short but prominent journey.

Las Vegas Week
Alex had an amazing solo at the start of Vegas Callbacks, but the judges pointed out that they are not seeing his passion of dance while he dances. While he’s incredibly proficient and extremely talented, you don’t really see “him” while he dances. Like he’s dancing for dancing and not dancing in the moment (gee sounds like a lot of other guys this season).

Meet the Top 11
– Wade Robson’s Jazz
I noticed him throughout the dance and he seemed a little stiff, then again this is Wade Robson and his movement is no where near ballet-style. One thing however, you could see “him” while he dances. He’s enjoying this, soaking up every moment of this journey. You know he wants this and wants this bad.

– Mia Michael’s Contemporary
I thought he was absolutely amazing. Yes, you see a hell of a whole lot of his classical dancing in this piece. Yes there wasn’t a lot of contemporary for Alex, but at the same time this piece was to showcase Alex at his best…

Week 1: Top 11 Performances
– Jazz w/ Allison Holker choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
O.M.G. Technically jazz a small step away from ballet, there is still some structure but not nearly the amount of that from ballet. Nevertheless, in Alex’s first official foray away from the barre he did not just well he was amazing. Granted having Allison there certainly helped a lot, but let’s face it, this is an All-Star in the making. He connected well with Allison but like other dancer he seemed to more of a moving art… in this case more like a tv show you just can’t keep your eyes off of.

Week 2: Top 10 Performances
– Broadway w/ Lauren Gottlieb choreographed by Tyce Diorio
When it comes to Broadway, Lauren seems to be the go-to girl for Tyce. A bit of Alex’s personality was shining through and I rather enjoyed the piece, but something was off… what I really don’t know, but something was definitely off.

Week 3: Top 9 Performances
– HipHop w/ Twitch choreographed by NappyTabs
How many people watched this piece multiple times raise your hand *raises hand*. Personality, characterization, chemistry, forget about dance ability that was in the bag and he adapted extraordinarily well… totally unexpected. Then again, if you’ve seen some of his behind the scenes dance videos I’m not terribly surprised. How do you top a dance like this?

After the Injury
The answer is: “You don’t”. Unfortunately Alex was injured and couldn’t continue on with the show. He had an amazing run in the short time that he was on and it is going to be very difficult for people to match that. What Alex has opened up to the ballet world is no different than what Melissa Sandvig did two seasons ago as a ballerina. Now THAT would be a pairing I’d like to see. Alex just did it a year later taking the path that Melissa laid out for him and crashed through the door screaming “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE’S ALEX!”

In any case, Alex’s healing time is several months, and it has only been about a month.. give or take a week. After that he will have long physical therapy sessions moving onward and working on that ankle to see how much strain he would be able to put on it again. One may say, “if he hadn’t joined the show this wouldn’t have happened.” Truth of that matter is, he’s a dancer, not just any dancer, a soloist from the Miami City Ballet group… as thus he’s putting his ankle through no more strain than he did during the show, so this injury could have happened at any time, it was just unfortunate it happened while on the show.

Looking towards Season 8
Knowing that his chances of being on the tour are slim, there seems to be an open invitation for him (should he choose to do so) to try out for the show next season. Alex seems to be the type of dancer that loves dancing but wants to grow and learn and develop further as a dancer and it seems that to him that would mean learning other styles of dance. Granted he could do that pretty much anywhere, but the show really immerses the dancer and connects them with choreographers and other dancers that one would be bound to cross paths with once again in their short life spans as dancers.

Alex, ankle permitting, would go for the show again. Knowing that he tried out once but was rejected due to a contract. Purposely decided not to renew the contract to try out on the show only to be injured, the third time’s gotta be a charm.

It’s going to be hard to predict the kind of dancer Alex would be the second time around. All that is going to depend on the healing of his ankle, but he’s a fighter so I wouldn’t be surprised if he not only matches the dancer he was before, but this time surpasses it…

*Sighs* and right after we all are trying to recover from the shock of losing Alex to injury a girl goes down too… This time it’s Ashley with something wrong with her ribs. Ashley’s injury, though not as potentially detrimental as Alex’s, would force her out of the competition, but fortunately would have healed in time for the tour which brings an interesting proposition. But let’s hold off on that and take a look at her short but longer than Alex’s journey.

Las Vegas Week
Not much was known about Ashley during Vegas week, in fact aside from Robert she didn’t get much air time until towards the end. So with so little information about her, there isn’t much to analyse here…

Meet the Top 11
– Wade Robson’s Jazz
Amongst the five ladies in the group she blended in rather well with the group. She didn’t stick out like Lauren, Cristina or Alexie (and not in good ways) but she didn’t really draw me in either… And with so many brunettes in the group it was really hard to search her out even if I wanted to.

– Sonya Tayeh’s Jazz
Poor planning by the producers I think. When you’re looking at a group shot the look of Courtney and Ashley are so similar you can’t really tell them apart. Plus with Courtney being my least favorite All Star she already stands at a level lower than the rest which means it would be easier for Ashley to reach to her level in my book.

Week 1: Top 11 Performances
– Contemporary w/ Neil Haskell choreographed by Tyce Diorio
So with all the talk of dancers not being able to connect with their partners, or connect with the audience Ashley was able to do both! Not only is she extremely talented, but she has already proven to be a step ahead of the pack. And considering the caliber of the other dancers is pretty difficult to do. Her chemistry with Neil was so good it made me and Emilie believe that there really WAS something there. Only to find out that she had a focal point for that dance, just not Neil. She danced in the moment which was a very good thing.

Week 2: Top 10 Performances
– Jazz w/ Mark Kanemura choreographed by Travis Wall
The problem I had about this dance wasn’t Ashley per see, but that there didn’t seem to be much of a change from the previous week. Like she plateaued a little bit for a week…

Week 3: Top 9 Performances
– Contemporary w/ Ade Obayomi choreographed by Dee Caspary
Another contemporary piece? Ashley needs to stretch her wings, not stick with dance styles that she could already master. Doesn’t matter though, because this piece requires a connection and trust in her partner so grand that despite it being contemporary Ashley went deeper into her vulnerable psyche and pulled out another piece to lay on the floor… in other words it brought out another piece of her not already seen from the previous weeks.

Week 4: Top 8 Performances
– HipHop w/ Dominic Sandoval choreographed by NappyTabs
Ashley did reasonably well in this routine, it wasn’t memorable, it wasn’t exciting, but it was passable. Her chemistry was good as was her dancing. I think I would have loved to have seen her do that window hiphop dance with Twitch though instead of Alexie… because I think that would have brought more out of her than this routine did.

– Quickstep w/ Robert Roldan choreographed by Jean-Marc Généreux & France Mousseau
The kiss of death, dun dun duuuuun. The most technically challenging piece she probably had to do all show… and she did a very good job. The steps were smooth, she didn’t “hop” as much as Robert did… she glided across the floor as was necessary, all in all a surprising job. Her chemistry was Robert was very strong, but her chemistry wasn’t something I was worried about at all…

After the Injury
Ashley’s injury isn’t as serious as Alex’s but nevertheless it forces her out of commission for a few weeks. Which means she would be ready for the tour if she decides to do the tour rather than audition/compete for a spot in Season 8. For a dancer that would be a safer route, but anyone that auditions for So You Think You Can Dance don’t necessarily audition because this is a career move, they typically want to audition because they want to learn, they want to grow or they want to be noticed.

Ashley is in that unique position, should she take the safe route and go on tour? Or should she complete the journey that she had to end prematurely early and audition for Season 8?…

Looking towards Season 8
The audience is split when it comes to Ashley. There is one arena that would love to see her on tour, and there is another arena that would love to see her on the show again.

I’m split as well, because it’s a matter of what does one want to do versus the practical thing to do. To me she’s still young, still has a lot of life in her… trying out for the show again isn’t a bad thing, but getting back on the show isn’t a guarantee either. And remember she didn’t get a lot of screen time in auditions or Vegas this time around…

As I mentioned earlier of all the dancers I felt that Ashley was already one step ahead of the curve in that she was able to create and maintain a level of chemistry with most every partner thus far. While as the other dancers had the most trouble in that arena. The same goes with connecting with the audience and the piece… granted Ashley was able to draw on personal experience to turn those dances into her own which probably helped her case… it would have been interesting to see a dance between her and Lauren.. alas that was not to be.

In Conclusion
In either case, even though I that we could see both of the above two dancers auditioning for Season 8 and it would be a joy to see them… I say we shouldn’t be surprised to see Ashley on the tour.

As for Alex going on to Season 8 the only worry I have is that it’s not a guarantee that Alex would get on the show (Brandon Dumlao anyone?).

Nevertheless these two were very strong dancers and I feel like they will up their game if either of them chose to try again for Season 8… What do you think?