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BIG NEWS(ies) scoop!

Happy Monday!! I hope you all had a wonderful President’s Day, and to those of you who got the day off ๐Ÿ˜› …only kidding!!

As our resident Broadway queen here at PureSYTYCD, I like to stay up on the latest goings-on in the land of the Great White Way. News pops up every so often that gets me excited about the latest shows opening, but one bit of news nearly gave me a heart attack I was so excited, and it involves some dancers very close to all of our hearts.

Disney’s Newsies the Musical is opening next month, jam packed with amazing choreography & tons of talent, and I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw 4 of the names in the ensemble: THAYNE JASPERSON, EVAN KASPRZAK, JESS LEPROTTO & ALEX (FREAKIN’) WONG!!! That’s right, Broadway is being invaded by SYTYCD!!!

Marianya & I were kidding around…how fun would it be to go to NYC & go see the show? The kidding around turned into…well, we COULD go see the show…so we’re going! We’ll be in NYC April 5-8 & we’re going to see Newsies!! I’m in the process of getting in contact with some people at Disney to see about getting an interview with one (or some of the guys) so if there are any questions you want us to ask them, post them here!! We’re so excited to see the amazing choreography of Newsies & especially to see how Thayne, Jess, Evan & Alex have grown as dancers since their time on SYTYCD.

Also, you guys should check out SMASH on NBC every Monday at 10pm, it’s about the makings of a Broadway show & Spencer Liff, Alex, Ellenore & Thayne have all been featured as dancers! Check it out!

(Spencer is lifting up the bench in the pic below)

February 20, 2012 I Written By

my favorite season 8 dances

whew! what a finale! while we’re all still relishing last night’s amazingness, thought I’d take a minute and post my favorite dances from the season. this was a great chance to look back for me, and, for as much grief as we had with things that we felt were wrong with season 8, it still produced some pretty awesome numbers.

These aren’t in order of preference, just week they were done, mostly b/c I’m cheating and using Wikipedia ๐Ÿ˜‰

Iveta’s intro (ballroom medley with Pasha)–while this wasn’t quite as steamy as last season’s intro of Cristina Santana w/ All-Stars Pasha and Anya, this was, by far, the best ballroom we had this season, mostly because it was Iveta in her style. Caitlynn and Pasha’s Argentine Tango that was replayed last night was soo beautiful and a fabulous showcase for her, but technically, this medley was just unbelievable.

Melanie and Marko’s “Turn to Stone”–on the night of the premiere, this was the only number that made me literally punch the air with excitement. I probably rewatched this number a dozen times over that week. For me, Melanie & Marko are the best pair the show has had since Katee & Joshua. They made each other better dancers, and emotionally they were just totally in sync. The slow cartwheel that Marko does over Melanie still gives me goosebumps.

Caitlynn & Mitchell’s “Turning Tables”–our first chance to see them as a couple and they did NOT disappoint. Stacey Tookey has a way of bringing emotions out of dancers that they may not have touched before. The chairs and lamps could have gotten in the way, but they really worked with them well, and the interplay between light and dark made the piece really interesting and powerful. For what Mitchell lacked in technical refinement, he made up for in pure emotion and drive, and I could tell he had a lot to prove after not being able to dance week 1. I loved this partnership.

Clarice & Jess’s “Fly Me to the Moon” foxtrot–as you all probably saw from my posts, I was NOT Jess’s biggest fan, I found in immature and annoying a lot. But NOT in this number, I loved this one. His broadway background lent itself really well to the jazzy bluesy feel of the song. Though there were quite a few points when they were in closed hold when the movements felt heavy, their musicality overshadowed that for me. It was THIS type of movement I was looking for in Ryan & Ricky’s broadway that they did a couple of weeks after this, when Jesse Tyler Ferguson said they were “hitting the ceiling” with their movements and not finishing them.

Tadd & Jordan’s “One Night Stand” hip hop–just so much fun. really great to see Tadd kind of in his element, and how NappyTabs were able to incorporate some of what Tadd does really well. I agree with the judges that it almost became too much about the story, but this was one that I just really enjoyed watching.

Caitlynn & Mitchell’s “To Love You More” contemporary–one of Mandy Moore’s best pieces this season (I’d put it just behind Neil & Melanie, but I’ll get to that later!) The trust they had in each other was innocent but so mature at the same time. They’re both so young, but they tapped into something really amazing.

Sasha & Alexander’s “That’s Life”–their best dance together, Alexander finally let it all go. He was so tight for so long, but in this one, he just felt free, and it lifted a weight from their partnership that had been there really since the beginning. This was also one of Tyce’s best pieces.

Sasha & Twitch’s “Misty Blue”–what can I say that hasn’t already been said?!

Neil & Melanie’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”–for me, Neil wins the award for most improved dancer since his season aired. He’s become a really fabulous technician as well as an even better partner. He breathes life into the moments between the movements in a way he didn’t used to when he was on the show. Melanie matched Neil step for step, and really shined in this piece. And the leap!! The trust she had in him was just amazing. This was a goose-bump inducing one for sure.

Caitlynn & Tadd’s “White Tie & Tails” foxtrot–was this the best technically? no. But there was such joy on both of their faces. Jonathan Roberts, a pro from DWTS, really does the classic ballroom dances incredibly well. He has a real sense of how to impart wisdom on the dancers in terms of how to embody the dance even if you don’t quite have everything technically sound. And stylistically, Caitlynn looked AMAZING, wow.

Kent & Sasha’s Wall contemporary–Kent is my runner-up in the “most improved since his season aired” award. The strength that he has gained, both physically and emotionally since last summer is absolutely astounding. He would NOT have been able to pull of that routine the way he did this season last summer. And his strength helped Sasha’s strength and vulnerability really emerge.

Tadd & Melanie’s “A Chorus Line/Black Swan”-esque broadway–though I really liked Chris & Ashley’s “Please Mr. Jailer,” THIS is the broadway I would have rather seen last night. I know why they didn’t repeat it, but this was the best broadway of the season, by far. Nothing felt out of place, from the music to the camera work to the lighting to the dancing. It was so sexy but so mean at the same time, I know that sounds weird. For me, this was Tadd’s best dance other than the vulture dance with Jordan.

Lauren & Marko’s contemporary from finale night–this was my favorite dance from the finale. It started with the music; the fact that the music didn’t have big sweeping crescendos allowed the dancing to be the most important thing on the stage. The dancers could just dance, the music wasn’t ruling the way they moved, THEY ruled the way they moved in their relationship on stage together. Loved it loved it loved it. Tessandra hit the ball out of the park with this one.

so there’s my list! what do you guys think? any that I missed?

August 13, 2011 I Written By

introducing the all-stars week 2

Happy Monday! Thought I’d put up some videos of our week 2 all-stars, since A. it’s fun to look back at some great routines and B. younger viewers of the show may not know about some of the all stars from seasons 2 and 3.

let’s go by season ๐Ÿ™‚

season 2: IVAN
Ivan and Allison were the youngest pair in the top 20, and they definitely sometimes acted like it. But when they did “Why”, choreographed by Tyce in week 3, they suddenly grew up. A hip hop dancer, Ivan’s skills were definitely unusual and really really cool, but what I think held him in the competition so long (until top 6) was his personality, he just seems like someone who would be a blast to hang out with, and he’s a fabulous partner.

here’s his contemporary w/ Allison

hip hop w/ Allison (choreographed by Shane Sparks)

season 3: LAUREN GOTTLIEB, NEIL HASKELL, JAIMIE GOODWIN, ANYA GARNIS, PASHA KOVALEV

These 5 actually have a number of routines they did together, so I’m going to combine a few b/c they are some fun numbers. Pasha and Anya are just such spectacular ballroom dancers, and Pasha especially had a lot of success outside of his genre, part of the reason he and Lauren Gottlieb made it to top 6. Also, he’s just so darn hot!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anya/Pasha’s audition season 3

Pasha and Lacey’s hip hop-he just oozes personality and his hip hop was pretty darn good too!

Anya and Danny’s foxtrot

Neil, obviously, was an All-Star last year, and his charisma, incredible talent, partnering skills and just all-around All-American hotness definitely carried him to the top 4 during season 3. He was part of some of the best routines from last season so I’m quite excited he’s back.

Neil and Sabra’s ’80s power lunch (emmy nomination came for Mandy Moore)

Neil and Lauren’s “Night of the Dancing Flame”

Lauren has been assisting for Tyce, even before she was on the show, as well as a lot afterwards. Quite excited to have her as an All-Star again. She partnered both Neil (her original partner) and Pasha on the show and was really strong in both.

Jaimie was another of the very strong group of top 5 girls from season 3 (Lacey, Sabra, Lauren, Sara, Jaimie, not bad!!). She’s a stunning contemporary dancer, and spent a lot of time as Travis Wall’s dance partner bc her dance teacher was Travis’s mom. Just a personal opinion, I think she got dealt kind of a rough hand on the show, being partnered with Hok, who is unbelievable in his style but struggled somewhat in other styles. With the Hummingbird & the Flower (embedded below), though, Wade was able to meld their 2 styles into an Emmy-winning routine.

season 5: ADE
another returning All-Star, fans were pretty bummed not to see the supremely talented Ade in the season 5 finale (though I’m thinking that if Jess keeps in the competition, we might see Evan at some point). Ade is just so strong and consistent, he and Melissa (a partnership I think was one of the best ever made by the show) were so good at everything!! I’m embedding their first routine on the show, “Right Here Waiting” choreographed by Mandy Moore because I think it’s a great representation of the trust they had in each other and Ade’s incredible strength and gentleness as a partner.

season 7: LOFRO
Our first All-Star former winner!! Maybe poor Jess will actually get a partner closer to his height!! I’m really excited to see her back, Lauren really grew over the course of the season. Thinking back to her week 1 dance w/ Ade, it was pretty terrible and I totally thought she was going to get cut early. She really grew on me, especially because of the commitment she put into each of her routines. Though I was personally rooting for Robert in the finale, it was nice to see another girl win!

Lauren and Dominic’s lyrical hip hop (week 2)
a week after falling apart in her dance with Ade, Lauren redeemed herself in a BIG way with this number. She was totally committed and present, and she and Dom had a fabulous partnership (good thing now, since they’re dating!) It’s an emotional number done incredibly well.

July 25, 2011 I Written By

*It’s Almost Time to Reveal the All-Stars!!*

Hi everyone and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday! As we get into Top 12 week, I thought I’d whip up a speculation post about the All-Stars! Unlike last season where Nigel gradually introduced who would be the All-Stars via Twitter, my thought is that they’re going to be introduced during the week between the Top 12 elimination (which is going to be so hard!) and the Top 10 performance show. Though, he might also just wait and introduce all of them on the Top 10 show. I’ve been wracking my brain (and watching way too much YouTube) to figure out who some of the All-Stars might be. If I had complete show control, these are some of the dancers I’d bring back:

#1 Robert Roldan: with the amount of time he’s spent on screen this season as an assistant as well as filling in for Mitchell during week 1 (he almost had to fill in on the most recent show, Mitchell’s foot was super swollen. Robert had his costume on and everything but Mitchell stepped up to the plate and delivered a fabulous performance with Caitlynn), I’d be SHOCKED if Robert wasn’t an All-Star this season. Not only is he an amazing dancer, but the public has really embraced him, even more than last year I think. Plus, he’s pretty easy on the eyes which might help dancers like Jordan and Ryan who seem to be having trouble getting the audience to vote for them.

Robert and Kathryn’s contemporary (top 6 week)-Stacey Tookey. I think this is the best he looked the whole season, and his partnership with Kathryn was absolutely amazing, the best partnership of the whole season. You can see through the whole piece how much he gives of himself to his partner, part of the reason he’d make a perfect All-Star. (sorry for the poor video quality, it was the only one I could find where embedding was allowed)

Katee Shean: I’m not sure if people remember that she actually stepped in as an All-Star last season when Allison Holker injured her ribs. She danced a Spencer Liff broadway number with Billy and the judges say it was the best they had ever seen Billy dance. Seeing her on the SYTYCD stage again made me remember what an incredible dancer she is. I’m embedding her “Imagine” number with Will from S4, a number I think should rank in the top 3 of the best dances in the history of the series. What the two of them did in that number is nothing short of extraordinary.

I would also be overjoyed to see Will as an All-Star, he’s an incredible dancer and it would be great to see how much he’s grown in 4 years since the show.

*your All-Star choices*
Kayla Radomski (S5) In the history of SYTYCD, Kayla has to be in the top 3 of the most physically talented girls ever to be on the show. For me, technique-wise, she’s tops. Kayla’s problem during her season was that she didn’t have much of a personality. She wasn’t boring, she just wasn’t very expressive and had trouble connecting to the audience. She began to break barrier near the end of the season, her jive with Evan during the finale was the most fun I saw her have on stage since her incredible week 1 samba with Max. Her partnership with Kupono was unexpectedly great and definitely kept her going in the competition.

Mia Michaels won a very well-deserved emmy for “Addiction” but it wouldn’t have been the same without Kayla and Kupono’s electric chemistry and partnership.

Janette Manrara (S5) Personality-wise, Janette is a great choice right off the bat. She’s also really good at multiple styles which is definitely a plus. If they’re doing a “pool” of all-stars, I want Janette in it because the ballroom, particularly the latin ballroom, this season has been pretty mediocre (this is me still being annoyed that Iveta and Nick were knocked out too early). For me, season 5 is a really underrated season, Jeanine, Kayla, Melissa, and Janette as the top 4 girls that season, that’s a pretty stacked group!

here’s Janette and Brandon’s Wade Robson “Ruby Blue” jazz number, my favorite of theirs from season 5, this also makes me miss the old stage and the stairs!

Ashleigh and Ryan DiLello (S6)
Ballroom is a tough category for All-Stars, since our best (Lacey, Dmitry, Chelsie) are all under contract with DWTS. I LOVED having Pasha and Anya back last season, and because of the lack of available ballroom All-Stars my best guess is that it will either be Pasha and Anya again or Ryan and Ashleigh. They’ve also been seen on camera helping out Jason Gilkison.

here’s their jive from the finale

and each with another partner doing ballroom
ryan and kathryn’s cha cha

ashleigh and jakob’s cha cha

Sara von Gillern (S3)
the idea of sara and tadd working together right now is making me giddy!! she is the only b-girl ever to be on the show, but sara’s adaptability was outstanding. I’m not really sure they could legitimately making breaking a category because it is so much about strength and practice, and we didn’t really see her do hip hop, but I would love to see her as an all-star.

I’m embedded one of the best performances in all 8 seasons, sara and pasha’s West Coast Swing ๐Ÿ™‚

Legacy (S6)
I miss Legacy! I’m not sure any of us thought, at the top 20 announcement for S6, that he was going to go as far as he did. For as much flack as the producers got for having a fall season, the fact that 3 couples (Ashleigh & Jakob, Ryan & Ellenore, Legacy & Kathryn) were 6 of the final 8 speaks to the fact that they picked people who America loved! Personality and stage presence makes Legacy an excellent choice for an All-Star

here’s his “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” number with Ellenore (another good all-star choice!)

…this is a list in progress. hit me up in the comments with your All-Star picks and I’ll add them + videos if I can find them to our big master list!

July 11, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD rumblings

What a great show last night!! I sprinkled my thoughts here and there on other posts but overall I was really impressed. I thought I’d bring you all a smattering of SYTYCD news that I’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. Much of it comes from our friends at Entertainment Weekly

*added 6/24
I haven’t had the chance to read some of your comments about the results last night, but Kate Ward, a writer at EW.com has written an article aptly titled, “SYTYCD results make fans angry. you won’t like them when they’re angry”

I have to admit, I was pretty annoyed to see them keep Ryan after her abysmal “dance for your life”. I was watching the live feed online and it shorted out so I missed Missy’s and Iveta’s but from what I’ve heard Iveta’s was better. I saw all the guys and I thought Ricky really made his case to stay, his solo was great. Frankly, it’s not his fault Ryan seems to rather look at the camera and mug than connect with him. One of the posters recommended that they should have let all three girls and one of the boys go and kept Nick and Ricky or Nick and Wadi. I agree that Nick had a great personality and I would have loved to have seen him do contemporary with his long limbs to really see what he can do.

thoughts on this? I think it’s pretty interesting…

————

They’ve recently released their list of the 25 greatest SYTYCD performances of the past 7 seasons.

25. Kathryn and Ryan’s cha-cha (Season 6)
24. Pasha and Sara’s “Rockafella Skank” (Season 3)
23. Lauren and Twitch’s “My Chick Bad” (Season 7)
22. Lacey and Kameron Week 1 (Season 3)
21. Jakob and Ashleigh’s “Hit Me With a Hot Note” (Season 6)
20. Tranji’s “Gyrate” (Season 2)
19. Melody and Nick’s “All That Jazz”
18. Ellenore and Jakob’s “Tore My Heart”
17. Jeanine and Jason “If It Kills Me”
16. Brandon and Jeanette’s Disco
15. Katee and Joshua’s Bollywood
14. Jaimie and Hok’s “Hummingbird and the Flower”
13. Robert and Allison’s “Fix You”
12. Brandon and Jeanette’s “Ruby Blue”
11. Chelsie and Mark’s “Bleeding Love”
10. Ade and Billy’s “Mad World”
9. Danny and Lacey’s “Hip Hip Chin Chin”
8. Allison and Ivan’s “Why”
7. Kayla and Kupono’s “Addiction (Gravity)”
6. Heidi and Benji’s “Black Mambo”
5. Allison and Alex’s “Hallelujah”
4. Neil and Sabra’s “80’s Power Lunch (the table dance)”
3. Travis and Heidi’s “The Bench”
2. Katee and Joshua’s “No Air”
1. Alex and Twitch’s “Outta Your Mind”

This is a pretty stellar list, I must say, but there are a few glaring omissions. Where is Will and Katee’s spectacular pas de deux from season 4? Or Kayla and Max’s incredible WEEK 1 samba from season 5? I know this doesn’t include solos, but I don’t think anyone has topped Blake’s amazing solo from top 6 week in season 1, I’ve rewound it 100 times at least and still can’t figure out how he switches directions in his back handspring!

any other routines that didn’t make the cut?
Read more..

June 23, 2011 I Written By

Week 2 Twitter Roundup

happy performance day! thought I’d take a look around Twitter and see what everyone’s saying on what promises to be a great performance show.

if you’re looking to follow any of the SYTYCD Season 8 dancers, just search “D8(their first name)” ie. D8Tadd or D8Ryan. it’s pretty simple!

Ryan Ramirez

Tadd Gadduang

Alexander Fost

Chris Koehl

Jess LeProtto

Marko Germar

Mitchell Kelly

Nick Young

Ricky Jaime

Robert Taylor, Jr.

Wadi Jones

Ashley Rich

Caitlynn Lawson

Clarice Ordaz

Iveta Lukosiute

Jordan Casanova

Melanie Moore

Missy Morelli

Sasha Mallory

these are the Twitters for the S8 contestants. Most of them today are just thanking people for their support. I’ll update this as the weeks go on and the All-Stars begin to get announced.

One other thing, according to S6 Jakob’s Twitter, his 21st birthday was 2 days ago! If you have a Twitter or a FB, go on over and wish him a happy belated birthday!!

have a great time watching the show tonight everyone!

June 22, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD Top 20 Performance Show Thoughts!!

Hi All!! First, apologies for how late this is getting posted. I just graduated from college this past week so I’ve had no time to catch up on all things SYTYCD. I’ve just gotten home for a little 6 week vacation before I start my new job so my sleeping schedule is all out of whack. Anyway, I’ve just finished watching the Top 20 performance episode and all I can say is WOW! There were highs and lows, so let’s get to it!

LOVING the new stage! Eons better than the past 2 seasons, and the background looks a bit like the old stage! Progress!

Jordan and Tadd: Anyone who has read my comments since I started blogging on here knows how much I LOVE Sean Cheesman and his afro jazz. This one, however, I didn’t love so much. All the steps were there, but there was a groundedness in their feet that I just didn’t feel. If you want to see what I mean, check out this video from SYTYCD Canada season 1.

It features a hip hop dancer (Miles) and a ballerina (Allie) who actually both ended up in the top 4. They’re sitting in the movements, whereas I felt like Jordan and Tadd were very high on their feet, a little too light. They both kept up with the steps really well and seemed to enjoy themselves, but I felt like something was missing.

Sasha and Alexander: I kind of disagreed with the judges on this one, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t my favorite (I’ll get to that later) but I thought they were both very strong and dynamic dancers. For me, Sasha outdanced Alexander, but it kind of worked for me because she was supposed to be his conscience coming back to haunt him so I liked that image. I agreed with the judges that I wasn’t feeling the connection as much, but I have high hopes for them.

Clarice and Jess: Ugh, I WANTED to like this, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m kind of our resident broadway geek, but this one just wasn’t my favorite. I thought Jess killed it, but his skill really made Clarice look overmatched. It reminded me somewhat of Benji and Donyelle’s 2nd broadway number from their season, “Le Jazz Hot” where all the steps were there, but something just felt really fake. I didn’t buy their chemistry, and I really wanted to because they are both so talented.

Ryan and Ricky: gosh they danced so beautifully together! technically, it was my favorite of the first hour, but the storyline had me a bit confused. Why was Ryan so smiley?! Anyway, I think they’re both going to go a long way, but I don’t want them to lose the story, it’s such a crucial part of connecting with the audience, both in the studio and at home.

Caitlynn and Mitchell (and Robert): I so wanted to see Caitlynn and Mitchell dance this together, because it seemed like they were getting on really well. I wasn’t as taken with her as the judges were, but I thought she and Robert danced really really well together. He helped steady her nerves, I think.

Miranda and Robert: I almost didn’t recognize Miranda without her curls!! To be thrown a ballroom piece week 1 when neither of the partners has a ballroom background is pretty rare, but with so many contemporary girls (and no pure hip hop girls) this season somebody had to draw the short straw. I’m not a technical expert in ballroom, so I’ll just say it was fun to watch. They kept up the energy and the jive bounce really well, though I hope Robert loses the Steve Urkel glasses soon, his schtick is gonna get old.

Missy and Wadi: From this point, for the most part, the performances were pretty spectacular. This piece was definitely interesting and very powerful and very different from anything Sean’s done in jazz on the show. Their connection was great and the use of the stage, though at some times it all felt a little disjointed. Nigel said this was his favorite piece Sean’s done on the show, I’d have to say mine was Russell and Noelle’s frog dance from Season 6, nobody’s quite matched that one yet.

Melanie and Marko: Wow. No words. So exquisite and simple and pure. I could feel the emotion emanating from every pour of their bodies. Their chemistry was off the charts and their technique was incredible. I would almost put this one in “If It Kills Me” territory of amazingness. My favorite of Travis’s is still “Fix You” from last season, but gosh this was so good. I had been waiting for one that would make me rewind it and punch the air as I watched, and this one was it. Marko’s legs as he did that slow cartwheel, holy cow! It’s a dance like this that makes me so happy they’ve gone back to the Top 20 format, we get to watch this partnership grow and develop over the next 5 weeks, and this is one I’m really really excited about.

Ashley and Chris: This is one where I think the music and the choreography got in each other’s way. Dual cheaters (or the subject of cheating in general) could be really entertaining or really serious (a la Ashleigh and Jakob from S6). With this one, it just kind of felt like they were getting fake mad at each other. I wanted more.

Iveta and Nick: I LOVE these two! They both have personality and are oozing with talent. To watch Nick pull of so effortlessly what has been named the dance of death on SYTYCD was such a joy. He went fullout into the piece, which is where so much of the trouble has happened in the past, dancers not going full out in the ballroom pieces. He got super lucky with a partner like Iveta, he was able to follow her lead but still had the confidence to be the leading man on the dance floor. Was his technique always there? I can’t say. But they got the pimp spot in the order and definitely were memorable.

The performances definitely got better in the 2nd half of the show, but overall it was a pretty great night! So now I hand it over to you! Thoughts? Predictions for the first two who will be leaving us?

June 16, 2011 I Written By

Broadway + SYTYCD = Amazing!

Hi everybody! I haven’t posted in a while, school has been crazy, but something caught my eye today that I wanted to share with you. As many of you know, I’m the resident broadway geek here at PureSYTYCD, and I was on www.broadway.com this morning when I came across a post about SYTYCD! Actually, it was SYTYCD Canada. Mia Michaels has been doing a lot of choreographing for their 3rd season, which as we all know from Mandy’s awesome recaps is down to their final 4 (I’ll miss you Mackenzie!!). Well, back at the end of September, Mia choreographed a group number for the top 10 to the song Will I? (Lose My Dignity) from the iconic musical, RENT.

I know we’ve been pretty critical of Mia as a judge on our site, but this piece just reinforced to me what an incredible choreographer she is. She took a piece of music that is really only known to a select audience (the broadway community/fans) and made it contemporary and relatable. It’s a powerful and moving number, one that most certainly would get Emmy consideration had it been here in the states. It also benefitted from another thing we don’t have anymore, the old stage!! Seeing the emotional commitment of the dancing just took the piece to another level. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!

October 21, 2010 I Written By

Season 7: A Look at the Highs (and Lows)

Hi all!! I can’t believe we’re just a few hours away from the last performance show of the season!! I’m here to add my thoughts on the highs and lows of Season 7 SYTYCD. I was reading Entertainment Weekly online last night and they have a post up now, “So You Think You Can Dance: 10 Ways to Improve It”. I’m gonna play off that, plus add some of my highlights and lowlights from the season.

Highlight: The Opening Number
Wade Robson, tragically absent this season, created a visual and aesthetic masterpiece. We were able to see glimpses of the incredible array of dancers and their talents. It was difficult to distinguish who was who at some points, there were 23 dancers on the stage, but it was quite a sight to see.

Lowlight: First three eliminated–all girls
One of the things I was looking forward to the most when I heard about the All-Stars was seeing Twitch, Neil, Ade, Mark, Dom, and Pasha dancing again. Fast forward three weeks, and the likelihood of that happened had drastically dropped when the numbers were 6 male contestants and 2 girls. Alexie, Cristina, and Melinda were beautiful dancers, but they didn’t connect with the audience. I think poor Alexie was done in by less than stellar choreography, and I think the judges may have reached a little putting Cristina and Melinda in the top 11. Nevertheless, it was troubling to see three girls get knocked off so fast.

from EW.com:
PUT THE POWER BACK INTO THE VIEWERS’ HANDS

As host Cat Deeley regularly reminds us, SYTYCD is the search for ”America’s favorite dancer.” So why was America’s voice stifled for so long during season 7? SYTYCD’s old format actually worked perfectly: The judges exerted their control for the first five weeks of competition โ€” ensuring that dancers who deserved a second chance outlasted those unable to measure up โ€” then left the rest up to the audience. But this season, viewers had their hands tied until top four. The judges already have plenty of time to have their say (see: previous slide), so let us have ours againโ€ฆearlier!

Highlight: Alex and Twitch’s hip hop
File this under the category of WOW. When I heard Alex was gonna be doing hip hop with Twitch, I was nervous for him. We didn’t see him do it in Vegas (I don’t think) so I had no idea what was going to happen. Needless to say, I had to surgically remove my jaw from the floor after watching that routine. Who knew that Alex would have a break out moment doing hip hop?!

Lowlight: Injuries, Injuries, Injuries!
It’s amazing that we’ve gone 7 seasons WITHOUT having a serious injury. Granted, Jessica from S4 did have to leave, but she was able to tour with her season when her rib healed. I felt so sad for Alex, because he was just started to scratch the surface on the show. Our thoughts are with him as he recovers.

From EW.com (I sort of agree with this one, not 100%)
GIVE US, YES, FEWER DANCES

With such a talented crop of contestants every year, it seems crazy to ask for fewer dance numbers on SYTYCD. But if season 7 proved anything, it’s that stellar choreographers often lose their touch when faced with the feat of creating a countless number of routines for the contestants. (Can you remember more than one Sonya dance?) And that hectic schedule is not only tough on choreographers, but the dancers as well โ€” executing nearly four routines per week left many season 7 contestants sidelined with injuries. So let’s give them a (non-injury-induced) break, shall we? After all, the show is called So You Think You Can Dance, not So You Thought You Could Dance Before You Got Injured on a Reality Show.

Highlight: Cat standing up for the dancers
As you guys have probably read, I wasn’t AdeChike’s biggest fan, but I certainly liked him as a dancer and he seemed like a really nice guy. He didn’t deserve a lot of the bashing he took this season. Granted, some of it was necessary (Adam’s comments about him needing a looser center for African Jazz, I totally understood that), but some of it wasn’t (Mia: “I’m missing Alex Wong now. Hard). I was so happy to see Cat stand up for him after that Bollywood number, she really shows how invested she is in these dancers, how much she loves them.

from EW.com
SHORTER JUDGE CRITIQUES

Hey, I’ll concede that it’s tough to put on a two-hour show. But it’s also tough to maintain interest in said two-hour program when the majority of the airtime is dedicated to the judges’ critiques. (Especially when the contestants are only on stage for short, two-minute routines.) The dancers are the stars of the series โ€” not a panel of judges more focused on thanking the choreographers than praising the contestants. You know the phrase: Keep it simple!

Highlight: Allison and Kathryn
These 2 girls took on an incredible number of routines this season. They danced almost every week, sometimes twice in one week with different partners. The best thing about them was that you could tell they were always there for their partners, 100%. Even when Allison was dancing with Josรฉ, who, let’s face, she danced circles around, we could look into her eyes and see her commitment to him. I’m not taking anything away from the other All-Stars, they’re all amazing at what they do and a major asset to SYTYCD, but these two girls are my MVPs.

Lowlight: The judging
What can I say? I fastforwarded through a lot of the comments this year b/c they either didn’t make sense or they just went on FOREVER. Mia’s a great choreographer, but I kinda can’t stand her as a judge. Her noises and made up words made her sound uneducated, like that’s the best you can come up with while praising (or critiquing) someone’s dancing. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…bring back Mary!!

From EW.com
BRING BACK MARY

With all due respect to Mia, the panel already has two industry vets who can wax poetic about technique. What was missing on the panel during season 7 was a healthy dose of crazy. (And what was missing on the stage this year was some Mia Michaels choreography.) Sure, Mary Murphy has all but ensured that SYTYCD fans will give the hearing aid industry a boost in 20 years, but we’ve missed being able to board the hot tamale train. Or crazy train, whatever.

Highlight/Lowlight: Getting reintroduced to the All-Stars via Classic Routines/Not getting to see everyone dance routines
This could have been amazing, and it kind of was. Getting to see “The Garden” “Forever” “Night of the Dancing Flame” and Anya/Pasha’s audition number was fantastic. Not only did we get to see these classic routines again, but we got to see how much these dancers have improved since their seasons. After those routines were over, the dances stopped! What about Ade, Kathryn, Dominic and Allison?! Four incredibly talented dancers who have memorable dances of their own. Why not show the routines on the big screen, then have the dancer do a solo on stage. That way, we could have seen the routines (most likely, “This Woman’s Work” “Fear” or “At this Moment” “Make it Work” and “Why”) but also gotten to see the dancers do a solo.

Highlight: “Boogie Shoes”/”Mad World”
Finally, Billy Bell got a breakout routine!! This was one of my favorite routines of the season and I’m excited to see it on tour. We finally got to see Billy loosen up and have some fun. He got the groove of the dance. With Mad World, everything just came together. Stacey Tookey has really elevated herself into that elite group of choreographers on the show with this number. Billy was fantastic.

Highlight: Robert’s Week 8
My pick for the win, he had an incredible week. Both dances were top notch, and everything just worked. I was so happy to see him make the finale, because his growth over the season is really starting to culminate at the right time.

Lowlight: the stage, again
Getting rid of the annoying screen from last season definitely helped, but not totally. When the camera hit the lights at certain angles, it sometimes washed out the dancers. The solution that really needs to happen…

From EW.com:
RETURN TO A SMALLER STAGE

In 2009, SYTYCD announced two big changes: The series would boast a new fall season โ€” which would take place on a much larger stage. Unfortunately, both ideas flopped. Though the producers wisely ditched a fall season after it proved to be unpopular, the expansive, impersonal stage remains, frustrating viewers who prefer an intimate dance experience. Remember, Nigel & Co.: Bigger isn’t always better!

Here are a couple of other ideas from EW.com that I really like:
HAVE THE DANCERS PERFORM CLASSIC ROUTINES
For every ”The Bench” routine on SYTYCD, there’s a ghastly disco dance. So instead of reaching in order to showcase new choreography, why not allow one contestant a week to perform a classic, well-known dance number? Sure, they’ll never measure up to the legends that made the routines famous. Still, after seeing Kent ace a Spencer Liff Broadway routine this season, who wouldn’t want to see what he could do with, say, Singin’ in the Rain’s ”Make ‘Em Laugh”? gusty, but could be fabulous

TAKE A PAGE FROM IDOL โ€” RECRUIT SOME GUEST MENTORS!
Sure, great choreographers like Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michaels, and Wade Robson (who’s been tragically MIA during season 7) already act as mentors by default for the SYTYCD contestants. But the show could use a new jolt of star power. Not only would contestants welcome the weekly guidance of some legendary dancers, like, say, Alvin Ailey’s Judith Jamison (pictured) or American Ballet Theater’s Ethan Stiefel, but any dance fan would also be fascinated to hear icons share their tricks of the trade. And think of the results-show guest performances we all saw how excited AdeChike was to be dancing for Dwight and Desmond, this could be really cool. Plus, Ethan Stiefel is better known as Cooper Nielsen from the dance movie Center Stage, and I, for one, would LOVE to see him on SYTYCD!

okay guys, these are my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Fire away!!

August 11, 2010 I Written By