11 Dancers Move Forward for “A Chance to Dance” From Salt Lake City Auditions

Tonight was the premiere of the new dancing “docu-series” we’ve been talking about: A Chance To Dance. 

Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and judge on SYTYCD, decided he wanted to create a company of 12 talented dancers from around the country and have them premiere at the Dizzy Feet Foundation gala in New York City. Easy, right? Maybe not — he wanted it done in 28 days. So he contacted the creators of the Ballet Boyz Dance Company, Billy Trevitt and Michael Nunn, to go to different cities to visit dance studios and then hold an open audition in hopes of finding talented, classically trained, dancers to make the final cut.

On the premiere tonight, Billy and Michael landed in Salt Lake City and were picked up by their host, Allison Holker, from season 2 of the SYTYCD, and were welcome by wonderful Utah traffic (which I know far too well) on the way to different dance studios in the surrounding area. At the first one, two girls automatically were given passes to the next stage because they impressed Billy and Michael so much, and everyone else was invited to attend the open audition the next day. They visited a few more studios before calling it a day.

But enough of the re-capping. If you’re reading this, you must have watched the show. So now I’ll just give my thoughts.

The show started off strong. We got right into the audition/scouting stage, which I liked. Most of these dancers were serious about what they were doing, and there weren’t any “spoof” auditions that we often see on dancing and singing shows. It also become obvious very early on that Billy and Michael meant business. I mean, someone left without saying anything, and you could tell it bothered them. I loved the speech they gave at that point — I would have been scared to even attempt to leave! They also didn’t waste time cutting people, which was unfortunate for those that didn’t have much a of a chance to show what they had, but it kept the show moving.

Here is a video from tonight’s episode that has Billy “showing how it’s done”:

Billy and Michael had three fears going into the open audition:

  1. Nobody would show up
  2. Those that showed up wouldn’t be any good
  3. How could they know if someone was really as talented as they appeared after one day

There was definitely a huge turnout of a variety of people — a dance student at BYU, an organic gardner, and a guy in his mid-thirties.

Jaecey, more commonly referred to as the hoola hoop girl, stood out to me right away because of her less-dance like attire, and, of course, her hoola hoops. Unfortunately, turning the first part of the audition, she stood out…but not really in a good way. I commented right away that I felt like she didn’t seem to be picking it up very well, and my thoughts were quickly voiced by Billy and Michael. I definitely agreed with that cut.

I did wonder why they kept around A.J. He definitely had a very cocky persona from the beginning, and he just didn’t seem to be that talented. He blamed it on the nerves, but I think he just wasn’t really wanting to listen. I was relieved when he was cut in the end, especially after he made the comment about saving the girls in his trio toward the end.

The group pieces were pretty cool. I think my favorite was Jen and Jessica, who performed second. They seemed very connected and fluid, and it was a beautiful piece to watch. Another stand out performance was Sarah and Eldon, who went first. I think these two could make it to the end. Here’s the clip of their performance:

In the end, I agreed with most of their choices. I noticed that they focused Sarah quite a bit throughout the entire episode. She had several interviews throughout the episode, and it seemed like Billy and Michael singled her out quite a bit. I wonder if that’s a hint at the future — will she make the final cut? She was a bit emotional, so if she can keep that under control, I think she has a good chance.

They are leaving Salt Lake with 11 dancers, however, only two of those were men. Hopefully D.C. and Austin will prove to have more talented male performers. I didn’t catch all the names of those moving on, but among those 11 are  Sarah, Jen, Jessica, Sydney, Joni, Megan, Chase, Eldon, and Savannah. In the individual pieces earlier on in the episode, I really liked Joni’s performance. Beyond her, Sarah, Jen, Jessica, and Eldon stuck out to me.

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday until September 28th to see more auditions and who makes the final 12. Plus, if you don’t have Ovation TV, remember that you can stream A Chance to Dance online. This is a competition like none other I’ve seen before. I’m excited for the upcoming episodes and to follow the journey of these dancers, and to see who makes it to the final performance. I love that there is more than one winner, and this is giving dancers an opportunity they may not have otherwise had. Just so you want to come back next week, here’s episode 2’s promo: