SYTYCD Season 8 Revisited: Outstanding Choreographer Nominations

With the Emmy nominations out… I decided to scour the internet to find the routines from Season 8 that the choreographers created that earned them the Emmy nominations. Based on the the routines you see below… there is a poll at the bottom where you can choose the choreographer that you’d like to see win the Emmys this year. Keep in mind that Smash also earned an Emmy nomination but since it is not SYTYCD related… I did not include them in this list.

Interesting enough we have representation for:
– Contemporary (Travis Wall / Stacey Tookey)
– Hip Hop (Christopher Scott)
– Broadway (Spencer Liff / NBC’s Smash)

No love for ballroom? Awww… =( But I digress…

First I am going to start with the homegrown SYTYCD alumni:
TRAVIS WALL: Dancing with the Stars
Episode: Season 14 – Top 8 Results Show (24 April 2012)
Style: Contemporary
Other Choreographer: Teddy Forance

Thoughts: Travis has yet to create a “mediocre” routine, then again what can be considered as a “mediocre” routine for Travis would be strong routine for other choreographers. He has really grown into his own with developing his skill set and moving outside of the box, going from choreographing partners on SYTYCD and smaller groups to the larger scale routines as show on DWTS last season. Adding in the fly system so that one of the dancers is floating on air just adds more to the routine as opposed to being a gimmick.

Also, it is always nice to sift through the dancers and play “are they from So You Think You Can Dance”? For example I saw Nick Lazzarini, Jaimie Goodwin, Melanie Moore, Ryan Ramirez… the list goes on. If he keeps this up I will be very interested to see what he brings onto the plate in the Off-Broadway production of Bare that he is tapped as choreographer. Not to mention the reality based television series on cable that is rumored to revolve around his new dance company.

STACEY TOOKEY: So You Think You Can Dance
Dancers: Melanie Moore, Ricky Jaime, Miranda Maleski & Sasha Mallory
Style: Contemporary
Episode: Meet the Top 20
Song: The Irrepressibles – In This Shirt

Thoughts: When I saw this routine I was mesmerized at the sheer amount of control that each of the dancers had to exhibit throughout the dance. With lots of levels and tempo changes, Stacey did a very good job in highlighting the talents of each dancer and the dancers in turn did a very good job in working together as a unit when needed. The standouts in this routine were undoubtedly Melanie and Sasha with Ricky coming in close behind.

Dancers: Caitlynn Lawson & Mitchell Kelly
Style: Contemporary
Episode: Top 20 Perform (Again) aka Week 2 of Competition
Song: Adele – Turning Tables

Thoughts: Having Mitchell in the background and Caitlynn in the foreground gave a strange sense of foreboding in how this piece was going to go. The partnering was spot on and the story could be felt throughout. For an early routine this was a couple that were able to connect emotionally to not only the piece but with one another. With Caitlynn trying to move on and Mitchell pulling her back, seeing that bit of a push and pull I believe most couples could relate on some level. Seeing Caitlynn leap onto the chair and then leaping into Mitchell’s arms was a highlight of the moment, while the piece in and of itself was a highlight in general.

Dancers: Melanie Moore & Sasha Mallory
Style: Contemporary
Episode: Top 4 Perform aka Week 9 of Competition
Song: Ahn Trio – Heart Asks Pleasure First

Thoughts: It is of no surprise that in most Top 4 performance shows of So You Think You Can Dance the female/female routines always seem to be lacking in one way or another. No case this time around, with a Desperate Housewives inspired routine, this dance really embodied a lot of the growth that both of the female dancers have shown throughout the season. One of the issues with having a female/female partnering is that for some reason a lot of the fire and passion you’d see in the male/male or male/female partnerships tend to disappear… but with two dancers that are more than strong individually that fire didn’t die out. As in with the routine “In This Shirt”, Stacey chose to choreograph a routine that not only included a lot of partnering between the girls but a lot of control in their movements.

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT: So You Think You Can Dance
Dancers: Sasha Mallory feat Stephen “tWitch” Boss
Style: Hip Hop
Episode: Top 10 Perform aka Week 6 of Competition
Song: Dorothy Moore – Misty Blue

Thoughts: Who doesn’t like a male/female relationship drive routine? Christopher Scott did not disappoint with this routine about a couple that have grown used to the every day mundane and have lost the spark of love/attraction. Sasha starts up the spark again and eventually gets tWitch to react and next thing you know fireworks started to happen. Yeowza! I am sure there are quite a few couples out there that can relate but what I am growing to love about Christopher’s choreography is his ability to create not only a phenomenal dance with tricks and bells and whistles but also weave a story into it that the audience can grasp and hold onto. Granted having two dancers like Sasha and tWitch who can embody those characters and emote helps a lot.

Dancers: Top 20 Guys
Style: Hip Hop / Contemporary
Episode: Meet the Top 20
Song: Nathan Lanier – Velocity

Thoughts: And this is Christopher Scott’s other side of the spectrum, with no real storyline for the audience to latch onto, Chris’ genius is to create a routine for ten very different dancers and have them work as a cohesive unit. Giving everyone a chance to shine either individually or as a group. No matter their background they all had their moment and the routine itself was exciting and uptempo. What’s not to love?

SPENCER LIFF: So You Think You Can Dance
Dancers: Sasha Mallory & Marko Germar
Style: Broadway
Episode: Top 4 Perform aka Week 9 of Competition
Song: Ella Fitzgerald – Whatever Lola Wants

Thoughts: Broadway routines, for me, need to do several things: 1) have storyline that the audience could latch onto, 2) characterizations and emotions that the audience could relate to, 3) strong choreography that allows the dancers to not only shine in moments but also as a pairing and 4) have immense stage presense. Granted a lot of the pieces above isn’t entirely up the choreographer, the dancers also play a significant role in the pieces, but it all starts with the choreographers. This is one of those routines that truly did shine in all aspects that makes Broadway so exciting.

Dancers: Ashley Rich & Chris Koehl
Style: Broadway
Episode: Top 20 Perform (Again) aka Week 2 of Competition
Song: Rachel Sweet – Please, Mr Jailer

Thoughts: Want to break out of jail? Make sure you have a hot looking girl friend come in, dance a number or two to distract the guards and bail you out. Of all the routines that have furniture, set pieces, etc used as a basis for the dancers to dance around, using prison bars is probably one of the more ingenious ones to date (for me anyway). Watching as both dancers not only danced next to, by and through the bars, they also danced with the prison bars… as if the prison bars were a third dancer in the piece. Take Ashley’s elegance with Chris’ diamond in the rough styles and they mesh together extremely well… their emotion was lacking at moments with Chris seemingly emoting more than Ashley, but for the most part they were strong together and in this routine.

Dancers: Melanie Moore & Tadd Gadduang
Style: Broadway
Episode: Top 6 Perform aka Week 8 of Competition
Song: Shirley Bassey – (Where Do I Begin) Love Story [Away Team Remix]

Thoughts: This was an emotionally touching routine, a dancer that is falling for her choreographer/director while he (aware of her interest) uses it to his advantage to mold her into an even better dancer. Even though in a lot of ways this would come across as primarily a character piece, full of emotions and characterization… this was also a technically strong piece between a contemporary dancer and break dancer. You can’t help but be pulled into the story and its sudden ending when his full intentions become clear.