Inside the Making of Fox TV's "So You Think You Can Dance"
Chances are, you’ve been watching “So You Think You Can Dance” since its premiere July 20 on Fox, but DS has the inside scoop on what it really took for these dancers to make it to Hollywood. Producers saw more than 2,000 hopefuls in eight U.S. cities, and invited dancers to callbacks in NYC, L.A. and Chicago, where open auditions were also held.
In NYC, DS sat in on a Broadway Dance Center private audition, where students performed solos in their chosen dance form. Only 150 dancers out of about a thousand, both from the BDC audition and the NYC open call, were asked to return to the callback.
According to dancer Amy Ryerson, who performed a contemporary/modern solo, the callback lasted for 16 grueling hours, during which judges whittled the group to 20 finalists. Dancers had to freestyle to hip-hop music for the first cut. Because Ryerson heard that judges weren’t impressed by high kicks and leaps in the freestyle round, she danced like she was in a club. “It was funny, because I had a lyrical costume on,” she says. “Somehow, I stayed to the next round.”
Next, dancers performed prepared solos and were interviewed. They didn’t begin learning choreography until nearly 10 pm (the day began at 8:30 am), at which point they learned one salsa dance and one hip-hop routine, Ryerson says. She was put on a “short list” of about 20 potential finalists, pending results of L.A. auditions. Only eight dancers from the NYC short list (Ryerson was not one of them) were eventually selected to join winners from L.A. and Chicago to comprise the 50-person cast.
Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe, who also produces “American Idol,” explains that the final 50 were not simply the best dancers in the country. “They [were] cast so that [we had] breakers, hip-hop dancers, ballet dancers, lyrical jazz dancers, Irish dancers and tap dancers,” he says. “It’s a question of, so you think you can dance? Well, let’s try you out with other styles.”
The original 50 split into groups of 10 to work with each of the five choreographers/judges—Brian Friedman, Dan Karaty, Alex Da Silva, Mary Murphy and Mia Michaels. Former DS cover boy Friedman doled out a sampling of his most intricate choreography. “I’m a very demanding teacher,” he says. “I like everything to be clean, precise and detail-oriented. If [a dancer’s] eyebrow is supposed to be up, it better be up.”Friedman was impressed with the diversity and talent on the show: He plans to hire some of the dancers for future projects, but declined to name names.
For the finale slated to air September 28, the final four dancers (two boys and two girls) must perform alone, with each other and as a group, in addition to improvising. Lythgoe is looking for “America’s most versatile dancer, with personality” to receive the grand prize of $100,000 and an apartment in NYC for one year, though it’s not up to him. The decision ultimately lies with the viewers, whose only chance to vote is on the final episode.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽
Guys, we all knew this was coming—"World of Dance" was eventually going to eliminate someone. But man, is it brutal to watch these talented dancers give their all, only to be sent home. It's the name of the game, though, and after last night's episode, only two dancers per division remain. (At least Misty Copeland guest-judging was a silver lining!) Here's what went down last night:
They've impressed the judges, now it's time for the Top 100 dancers to enroll at The Academy—and to impress the All-Stars. Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance Academy!
The 100 dancers who made it through auditions in NYC or L.A. are now at The Academy, which is basically a beautiful building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The show opens with that Mandy Moore-choreographed Academy routine which, even after watching it 12 times and trying to learn all the choreography at home, is still delightful.
This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)
Merritt Moore is a ballerina who just so happens to be graduating from Oxford University with a PhD in quantum physics. Is she even human? The jury is still out on that - but the 29-year-old, who earned her undergrad degree from Harvard, has actually found dance to be a powerful tool that assists her in her studies.
Happy #WorldEmojiDay, dance friends! 🎉 👯 🎉 👯
Because it's just the cutest, we thought we'd share the emoji challenge the Royal Opera House is currently hosting on Twitter. They've retold a series of ballets (and operas, for that crowd) in emoji form. If you correctly guess the name of a ballet, you'll be entered for a chance to win two tickets to a ROH production.