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Flashback: SYTYCD Canada (and U.S.) Season 2 – Tara-Jean & Everett

Typically, I don’t have time to watch So You Think You Can Dance Canada where the primary judges were: Jean-Marc GΓ©nΓ©reux and TrΓ© Armstrong. So once in a while a friend of mine would send me a video of another routine from another part of the world that would pique my interest some and then that was all.

So when a friend (and fellow PureSYTYCD blogger) of mine posted a video on my Facebook Timeline I wasn’t entirely too anxious to want to go and see it right away, instead I waited til I had a little bit of time before I decided to look at it.

She sent the video with the following comment:

It’s been so long since we had a really good memorable Broadway number (maybe neil & kent baseball from season 7 or robert & kathryn west side story, but I don’t have any memorable ones from last year!), I’d love to see more numbers with this kind of energy!!

Another friend commented:

I miss the old stage. And as long as Tyce is not directing, I tend to like the broadway, but not love.

So, upon reading the comments I decided to watch the video, and boy… my friend was right… it has been a long time since I have seen a Broadway routine with this much energy.

The theatre routine in question was choreographed by Sean Cheesman who just in the first two weeks of competition for SYTYCD Season 9 choreographed two routines that for some reasons the audience may not have connected well to from the get go. Now that’s interesting… Anyway when I say a “long time” I definitely mean a long time… like Season 2’s Benji Schwimmer and Donyelle Jones:

Ironically both were the second seasons of their respective series and both involve “power couples”. So that got me thinking, I already created a Dance Style Breakdown for SYTYCD U.S. edition, so how did the dancers breakdown of dance style fare in Canada? So I decided to take a look… Below is a quick dance style breakdown over the course of the four seasons that the show was on the air:

Contemporary 20 24
Hip Hop 9 5
Ballroom / Latin / Salsa 8 8
Ballet 2 2
Tap 1 0
Jazz 1 2
Break Dancing 1 0
Krump 0 1

Granted, this is still a bit lopsided with Contemporary dancers building the bulk of the group… however, when looking at the individual seasons, two of them (Season 2 and 4) were rather decently balanced. While the other two seasons had an insane number of Contemporary dancers in comparison to everyone else.

The two dancers from SYTYCD Canada Season 2 were tap and contemporary and they did a rather good job of it. At the same time I found it kind of odd that Sean Cheesman would create such a technically challenging and high octane theatre / broadway routine. Yes, for SYTYCD U.S. Sean has only created Jazz related routines… what gives? Sure, Tyce is a decent choreographer and Spencer Liff just got an Emmy nomination for his Broadway routines… but if the above routine is any indication I would love to see him try his hand on Broadway as well. If only because it forces the high octane / technically challenging routines to also depends on characterizations for the dancers.

What do you think?

July 21, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

Attending a Live Taping of SYTYCD Canada!

Hey guys! I JUST got back after a great mission venturing down to Showline, Harbourside Studios, Toronto, ON, where they filmed So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 2. I attended the most recent performance episode taping, for the Top 6 remaining dancers (Everett, Vincent, Emanuel, Jayme Rae, Melanie, & Tara-Jean). Let me just start by saying – this is an experience that I will never forget! It was definitely memorable and something I’m thankful for on this lovely Thanksgiving day! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

I posted up some photos on my Facebook, I’ll give you a link to the album: CLICK! These are just photos I got to take with the Top 6 after the show. I have SO much to talk about, but it is past midnight right now and my writing skills are obviously worse than ever before, but I will try my best! Here goes…

The day started getting off at Pape Station, in Toronto, at around 3 30PM. We reached 915 Lake Shore Boulevard East (kind of hard to find but we managed with some luck) at around 3 50. The line up was relatively long but we were already moving as soon as we got there (we as in my friend, Joyce, and I — Hi Joyce! :P) We were then checked for any cameras, sharp objects, or dangerous objects that could pose a threat. Heading to the Will Call Desk, I started to get quite anxious.

We signed in and met up with some others and got into Studio 7K, where the audience was held before the taping started. In the room, there was a corner full of chairs and two TV’s where they aired none other than SYTYCDC 2! In that corner, we witnessed previously designed posters for the contestants on the show and there was also a “poster making station” underneath all the posters, where children and their parents crowded around. To the side, there was the Joe Fresh wall where audiences members could show off their own moves. On TV, we are to see this before a commercial break, however, this was all filmed before anything else, as they gathered a group of courageous people to the corner to dance. They got some soloists to come out and do their thing, and then people ended up getting into a conga line. Off to the other corner, was the coat check. Everybody was required to check in ALL their belongings, including coats, purses, bags, drinks, cell phones, and of course cameras. The volunteers (paid or not, I was not too sure) were quite friendly and helpful. All in all, I felt like the entire thing made the audience their priority which was extraordinary for me, because tickets to the taping are FREE! Yes, did you know that?! πŸ™‚

We had to wait for another 30 – 40 minutes because of all the dress rehearsals they had to run through and because of that, we were a tad behind schedule. When it was finally 6PM or so, everybody rushed to line up where we all were to proceed single file to fill the taping studio! To my surprise, my first reaction was that it seemed much smaller than I had anticipated! TV magic! The lights did not seem to be over shining or too annoying. The sound was actually not as loud as I had expected (I thought it was going to be like a rock concert, but I was…obviously off). Unfortunately, we did not get to stand at the front, but we were in the Moshpit/Standing area in the middle. Fair enough. Behind us were actually seats and people who had “yellow tickets” had assigned seating. Now, I am not sure as to where these people got these special tickets from and whether or not they had to buy them, but some of them seemed like VIPs. Melanie Mah’s boyfriend was there, that I know! The whole studio, seemed like an IMAX theatre, in a way! There was a starry covering of the ceiling made up of LED lights. There were the arches in the background, which, to my surprise again, were separated and not stuck together as one big piece. Off to the sides were the walls with the screens on them. Then, above the walls was the runway which connected the towers. People stood on the runways and the dancers and Leah Miller (who was constantly referred to as Leah Miller-Green…much more about Leah on the way…) stood at the towers where they delivered their lines or smiled for the camera. On the left runways, we saw a group of ladies who each had a letter that spelled out E-V-E-R-E-T-T, obviously rooting for Melanie. I mean Everett. Off to the side a little, were Austin Di Iulio and Cody Bonnell!!! I was so ecstatic to see them and I just wanted to meet them. However, they were too far away and I could not catch them in the audience holding room (studio 7K) afterwards neither!

What was interesting was the personnel. I must start off with the lighting mechanics. They were up on top of the lighting sets near the ceiling the whole way through! They got up with a roped ladder and it seemed like a job I never wanted to do, ever, in my whole life. There was also a very talkative, energetic, and somewhat flamboyant-seeming “time-filler guy” who worked with the stage manager, named Josh. Josh was such a personality. He mentioned that he went to med school but now he is in broadcasting. I love him! He was hilarious. He would invite people up to the stage to dance (like Jayme Rae’s younger brother Jordan, who may be on the show in a few seasons, and his friends Mike and Jonathan [I believe those were the names];Jordan and Mike do hip hop, Jonathan does contemporary). Whomever danced (or made a fool out of themselves) got to earn themselves a t-shirt and what Josh called “gold stars”! He would also pick out individuals from the crowd who laughed at him. What a guy he was! The stage manager lady’s funniest moment was when she mentioned Jean-Marc Genereux touched her unexpectedly! The whole crowd was laughing. She held her own with leadership and making the audience a priority also. They really drilled it to us to have energy by reinforcing positivity. Also, they would allow us to sit every once in a while between dances or “hiccups” (cleaning up the stage ridding of props) so that the judges and Leah could have their make-up and hair freshened up.

Now what was interesting was that the show was filmed in somewhat of a random order. The order and timing between each filming period was not consistent. We started off with the Top 3 girls’ Contemporary piece choreographer by Mia Michaels. I am to keep things confidential so that’s about all the detail I can give you about the dance and I do not think I can tell you about the judges’ comments? All I can say is that sometimes they had to film the comments (one of two lines) twice for grammatical errors or random hiccups. We were then told to film something at the tower which took long because of technical difficulties. Afterwards, we applauded for the packages and sponsors. We were filmed some audience shots all in one take. What else was interesting is that the signs people made, were not the signs the same people held later, as they were collected, and then distributed randomly. So we filmed that with much enthusiasm! I was happy to know that the dances themselves were not filmed in segments and that it was all one take. I thought they were going to edit the dance and pick the best edits to combine into one in order to show on TV. This was not the case as they had about 10 cameras for many angles, but they all filmed at once. After a couple of Top 6 performances and solos and the filming of their “TO VOTE FOR MELANIE, DIAL #”, they filmed the opening sequence where Leah would introduce the dancers remaining (always starting with Tara-Jean, I still wonder why). I am not sure what else I can tell you, but here are the groupings: Tara-Jean was partnered with Vincent again because she had partnered with everyone else before, Melanie with Everett (who were amazing!), and last but not least, Jayme Rae with Emanuel (who were also stars that night!)

They filmed the judges coming out separately and in the middle of the whole experience. It was quite odd because they had to act as if they had just come out when they had already seen about 2-3 dances. The two guest judges were Rex Harrington (who was HILARIOUS and FABULOUS as always), and Mary Murphy (who managed to put in a couple of screams here and there!) Their comments were actually shorter than I thought (not 10 minutes in length each). Tre was actually less arrogant and prissy than I thought she would’ve been! Her hair was also very nice! Oh, and I was delighted to know that the choreographers were actually present and quite close to where I was standing when they are shown and acknowledged after every dance.

Let’s talk about Mrs. Leah Miller-Green! Our lovely host seems to have such a difficult job, especially with 32 million people watching her right? I’d love to be in her place. One, her wardrobe is always extravagant and she always wears flashy 6-inch heels to accentuate her actual height. Two, she seemed quite lost and almost drunk to me. Three, she specifically told the audience that she did not have much to do. And finally, she reads directly from a teleprompter. I do not think she memorizes any scripts at all. She seems to get placed on stage and her sole duty is just to look good standing on stage, hugging the contestants, and assuring that she reads with her twitchy head movements and fake high-pitched voice, with lines delivered from a teleprompter. What’s worse is that she sometimes has to do her lines over again! How hard can it be…? I also believe she happened to tell the audience that if we were hungry or thirsty, we could just call her, and she would give us water or food, and especially her own fruits! Now, if she was joking or not, I was not sure, but I’m going to stop criticising her because I do not know how much goes on behind THE “behind the scenes”!

I’d have to say that seeing things live for yourselves is different than seeing the “same” thing on TV. When it comes to dancing, it is different. You get different perspectives, and skewed ones at that too. My favourite male dancer is now Vincent, by far. Everett has a great personality (he is not boring, sorry about that!), and I can totally see him in the finale with Vincent. Vincent has such a charm and natural talent to him. When he dances, you cannot keep your eyes off of him. I also feel like he’s so relate-able and I am sure everybody would love to dance with him! As for Emanuel, he is hilarious (and he has great abs), but I don’t think he will go any further. As for the girls, it is such a tough decision. I truly want Jayme Rae and Melanie to be in the finale (and I think it will be between them two). My perceptions for the girls did not change much, but my respect for Tara-Jean did increase just a tad. She seems very friendly and also has great technique.

Finally, after the show we were told that we could line up for an autograph session with the Top 6. Obviously I rushed there after receiving my cell phone (with a camera) and everything else back from the coat check. We were given free Aquafina+ water, yay! Blackberry grape tastes strange, euk. Yeah. We also received free 8.5×11″ posters of SYTYCDC 6 Top 6. Vincent signed mine first and he seemed happy after I said “Bonjour!” to him. We took a photo together even though the volunteers told us it was “not encouraged”. Next up was Tara-Jean with her jazzy hat. Then, we got up to Everett, who has nice eyes. Ha! We then scooted over to Melanie who told me she RECOGNIZED ME in the audience (“who else could that Asian kid be?!”) and from her studio! The best part was that she told me I was a good dancer. I was thrilled, truly! We took a photo together and moved on to Emanuel after wishing her the best of luck. Emanuel said something funny, I don’t quite remember what. He has a nice signature (and abs – ha!) Last was Jayme Rae, who spoke French to an elderly woman (possibly her grandmother?) She seemed nice too but she did not say much, only asking us how the show went. After all that, we were just so ecstatic and wanted to fly home after a great, great night. My friend did some goofy things that I shall not speak of. You know what Joyce! πŸ˜‰ By the time we got home, it was 12AM Thanksgiving Monday.

Now it is almost 2AM, and I must leave everything at that. Today was one of the best days this year, to be honest. I am thankful for this and just for all those who have supported me in my endeavours (including this blog). Most importantly, I am thankful for my family and friends. Without them, I would never have lived to see this day! I am stripped of all my vigour so I must recharge now. I cannot think of anything else that is probably of much importance right now, but I hope this post enlightened viewers in some way. Until next time, goodnight and I hope you all enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving Day too!

October 11, 2009 I Written By

So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 2 Top 18

Hey! This is AJ here again. Tonight, I will be blogging about the Top 18 episode that just aired. Once again, the video playlist will be up as soon as possible in a separate post. Last week, we said goodbye to Taylor πŸ™ and Tatiana. Without further ado, I will share some of my opinions and hopefully you can leave yours below in the comments!


1 877 9 SPIN 0#s – Here are the So You Think You Can Dance Canada voting phone numbers once more. Results are on Wednesday, September 2nd at 7:30PM EST on CTV.

* Melanie M & Cody – Krump – 1 877 9 SPIN 01
* Tara-Jean & Everett – Salsa – 1 877 9 SPIN 02
* Kim & Emanuel – Theatre – 1 877 9 SPIN 03
* Amy & Vincent – Contemporary – 1 877 9 SPIN 04
* Jayme Rae & Daniel – Dancehall – 1 877 9 SPIN 05
* Corynne & Anthony – Paso Doble – 1 877 9 SPIN 06
* Jenna Lynn & Nicolas – Hip Hop – 1 877 9 SPIN 07
* Natalie & Danny – Jazz – 1 877 9 SPIN 08
* Melanie B & Austin – Smooth Waltz – 1 877 9 SPIN 09

My favourite dance of the night was the ever so memorable Contemporary piece performed by Amy & Vincent. Having worked with Blake McGrath before, I feel that the two dancers executed the dance to perfection. It had the star quality and technique all lined up for us to see. What is most important is not only getting the moves right or hitting them hard enough, but it is the emotion. The emotion that these two conveyed during the piece was absolutely breathtaking. I was literally on the edge of my seat trying to hold my excitement because I knew that this piece was going to be amazing. When it was over, I just wanted more. Amy was so in touch with her character that you just get mesmerized while watching her dance. She seems to be the best female contemporary dancer in the Top 20 for me this year. Vincent – a pure surprise. Listen – last week I underestimated him and I really thought he deserved to go home. He proved me wrong this week. I believe his charisma and good-boy charm worked well for tonight. It created much contrast especially with the character he was given. Kudos to him for portraying his character well and taking on such a huge role. As a hip-hop dancer, I know how difficult it is to switch from one genre of dance to another. With Blake, it’s another level. Vincent is one to watch out for!

Melanie M & Cody have excelled once more, this time beyond my expectations. This is why they are now officially my favourite couple. They seem to be getting the most praise and they do seem to be quite popular amongst the viewers who watch the show from YouTube or Myspace and even some of my friends on Facebook (although that might be because I keep telling people to vote for them! :P) In my honest opinion, I thought Melanie out danced Cody in this number. Despite being a hip hop dancer, he did not krump as aggressively as I would have liked him to. They are still so adorable! I cannot believe Taylor was eliminated last week! I really do not like the new Melanie B & Austin pairing. It doesn’t seem like something exciting or unique. To me, I just see two Italians forced to dance with each other. πŸ™ Sorry, that’s just me!

Time to talk a bit more of my favourite dancers who are Melanie M, Jenna Lynn, Jayme Rae and Natalie. As you may or may not have noticed, I have replaced Daniel with Jayme Rae. To me, she keeps the couple out of danger and is the Red Bull of the two. I thought Jenna Lynn did great tonight. The judges said that Nicolas was better than her but I actually had to disagree. Jenna Lynn was superb, especially for coming from a contemporary/jazz background. She’s hilarious and cute too! Jayme Rae just stole the show for doing the dutty wine head spin and the creeping and just getting down and dirrrty! And can I just say that I’m glad to be Canadian?! WE’VE GOT DANCEHALL ON OUR SHOW! Hell yeah! And now back to Jayme Rae. Usually the girls don’t stand out as much as the guys but this season has definitely brought out the best girls from the country. I love when timid or technically strong dancers have to hit it hard and just get that raw street flavour coming through their dancing. It truly shows how much a dancer can learn and grow. Jayme Rae gets better each time I see her. Natalie Lyons – what can I say? Jazz for a hip hop dancer is quite a big leap. She gets extra points for getting into character and having such an intriguing chemistry with Danny. It is intriguing, wouldn’t you agree?

Last week, I was extremely surprised that none of my bottom 3 couple predictions came true. However, the ones that were in the bottom were definitely my next 3 and I was on the fence with some of my predictions. This week I foresee these 3 couples in the danger zone: Kim & Emanuel, Corynne & Anthony, and Melanie B & Austin. Unfortunately, Corynne & Anthony are just plain boring to me. I don’t see why both of them made it into the Top 20, quite frankly. Corynne is not the best contemporary dancer and I can see that she is trying but the competition is getting tough, and I just don’t see either of them winning. Emanuel, despite his popularity, does not seem to be as likable as the other contestants. I know I said this last week and he was safe, but I think this week will be it. If he is not in the bottom 3 guys, I don’t know who else deserves to be there! Kim is lovely but I don’t see her winning or getting very far either. She is far from seeming like a hip hop dancer, which makes her special, but I can’t seem to remember what it is about her dancing that sets her apart from the other girls or what is so good about her dancing. Melanie B, criticized by the judges quite harshly. I did not feel that she gave it her all. She lets her partners down, in my opinion. I think that’s the reason why she deserves to be in the bottom 3. I think Canada is smart enough to agree too. I also believe she should have been eliminated last week instead of Tatiana. Austin seems too much of a solo star for me. I don’t think he needs a partner. I’m not sure how far he will go .. but the girls sure do love him! So who knows?

Personally, I voted for Melanie Mah & Cody more times than any other couple tonight. Their line seemed to be especially busy. I believe we will not be seeing them in the bottom 3 couples tomorrow! πŸ™‚ Cya then!

September 1, 2009 I Written By