"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: The Top 7 Become the Top 6
While most of us spent the weekend saying sayonara to summer, the remaining "SYTYCD" contestants were working hard. Because for this week's live show, each member of the Top 7 performed SO MANY TIMES: a solo, a duet with an All Star, and a mini group routine—plus the opening number. Phew! Next week, there's a double elimination coming our way (with no help from the judges). But here's how last night played out.
The Opening Number
Fringe! Sequins! Big ol' wigs! Dapper white dress shirts and matching pants! Choreographed by Broadway boss Warren Carlyle, this routine had a little something for everyone. The choreography transitioned from hip hop to jazz to tap to ballroom to swing dancing, with a cabaret-style finale. There were lots of tricks and a bunch of big smiles—exactly what you want before things start to get emotional (which they did, for the next two hours).
Lex & Gaby
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
Lex is here to turn up. Between his stank face, Gaby's insane wig, Kendrick Lamar's kickin' soundtrack, and those magic carpet-looking jackets, this was super fun (and reminiscent of the time tWitch and Alex Wong killed that "Outta Your Mind" hip-hop routine back in 2011). At this point, everyone knows that Lex is fantastic. He does have personality, he can do every trick in the book, and he's already a working professional dancer (hi, Shaping Sound). At this point it's just a matter of giving him memorable routines that'll get people to pick up their phones and vote.
The judges said: Standing ovation! Mary praised Luther Brown for taking it to "a whole 'nother level" and said #LexNation destroyed it. Nigel loved it, too. And a Moana-channeling Vanessa said Lex can do it all.
Logan & Allison
Style: African jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
As "warriors in a hidden tribe in the jungle," Logan and Allison "need to be in Olympic marathon shape," Cheesman says of this routine. Sounds easy and chill enough, right? Nah. This piece was no. joke. There were acrobatics, lifts, a bridge-like prop, and some seriously impressive turns in second by Logan. Even though Allison is always amazing, Logan and his long legs were the focus this time around. But mostly, OMG, that looked so exhausting.
The judges said: Nigel said Logan hits the ball out of the park every week (a nod to Logan's story about quitting baseball in favor of dance). Vanessa said "wow!" A lot. And giggled. And Mary said it felt like a crazy rollercoaster ride, then granted Logan access to the Hot Tamale Train.
Kaylee & Cyrus
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio
This piece was about "the couple that has been through real disaster." It was dark and dirty—literally, like Kaylee and Cyrus were covered in grime. It wasn't a conventionally pretty contemporary piece, which was a nice change, especially for these two. There were hip-hop elements worked in throughout, plus loads of lifts and partner work. These two clearly adore each other and are a great team, which is lovely, but they aren't always the smoothest when it comes to lifts that should look easy.
The judges said: Vanessa loved it and said it showcased Kaylee's strength and ferocity. Mary told Kaylee she looked so dynamic and powerful out there. Nigel said it was the best routine Kaylee and Cyrus have ever done together. (Aww!) The best part, though, was the cut to Kaylee's parents in the audience. Have you ever seen a prouder papa or a more emotional mom? Too cute.
Kiki & Jenna
Choreographer: Warren Carlyle
"Dancing with props is a nightmare," Carlyle says—and then proceeded to give these two a whopping 10 canes to work with. But Kiki and Jenna were up to the challenge. The canes just kept getting tossed onstage by some mysterious force (or, you know, a "SYTYCD" prop coordinator), and Kiki and Jenna grabbed each one #flawlessly. The turns at the end were so fast, the red suits were so hot, and Cat Deeley (who rushed the stage the minute it was over) was so much more excited than anyone about it all.
The judges said: Standing ovation! Mary said the routine gave her "high anxiety," and that it took her out of her comfort zone for the first time all season. And that shriek? It meant she loved it. Nigel did, too, and said Kiki has become a brilliant all-around dancer. (Most Improved for sure.) Vanessa held her breath the entire time, said it was terrifying, and concluded that Kiki is a joy to watch. Agreed.
Koine & Marko
Choreographer: Dmitry Chaplin
Marko is a geek, Koine is a beauty—and together, they're a cute couple with a whole lotta fancy footwork. Honestly, it's crazy Koine has ever been in the Bottom 3. Not only is she super talented and versatile, but she also has incredible stage presence. She made those lifts look like a breeze (shoutout to Marko for his work on those, too—namely at the halfway point when she flipped him). The competition is super stiff this season, but Koine definitely deserves to be in there.
The judges said: Nigel acknowledged how scary some of those lifts can be, and said they crushed them. Vanessa praised Koine for her versatility (see? that's what we said!), and Mary said it was "just amazing."
Taylor & Robert
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
This was #flawless. We really don't have much additional commentary for it. Love these two together, love that yellow dress, and love the sincerity in their emotions.
The judges said: Vanessa said it was completely stunning and so gorgeous and "never frigid." Mary got very emotional and batted away tears and said it was astounding and ethereal. Then Nigel swooped in and said the simplicity of the music made the routine extra beautiful, but now he wants Taylor to dig even deeper—her technique is already superb, so it's time to find the extra special things.
Mark & Comfort
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Misha Gabriel
"No more love stories," Misha Gabriel said: He got Mark and Comfort fighting ninja-style! Did they pull it off? Well, they definitely got a workout in, that's for sure. This routine was super athletic and we were tired just watching it (on the couch, in pajamas, obviously). But if Mark and Comfort were tired, they didn't let it show, more power to them.
The judges said: Mary loved the concept and said it was clean, synchronized, and hard-hitting. Nigel said it made him smile, and praised Mark for always bringing so much personality to his routines. And Vanessa said she doesn't know if there's anything she loves more than a ninja. (Um, what about Troy Bolton, Vanessa? Did you love him more than a ninja?)
Group Routine #1: Kaylee, Logan, & Lex
Choreographers: Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson
YES, Dwight and Desmond! It's always a treat having this dynamic duo on the show. They served up another prop-y routine — but instead of canes or bridges, they used simple wooden stools. Unsurprisingly, this piece was incredible. Between Lex and Logan's gorgeous classical training and Kaylee's powerful presence, this was a winning routine. Plus, it was just nice to mix things up a bit with a small group number. (Kaylee, we love ya, but can we request a dance-off between Logan and Lex, please?)
The judges said: Nigel said he loves Kaylee because she's unique, and that she stood out brilliantly next to Logan and Lex. He praised Logan's lines and strength and said Lex just amazes him (shout-out to the triple tour en l'air he did in his solo earlier in the night). Vanessa said it made her heart explode and was stunning and stupendous. And Mary said it was out of this world.
Group Routine #2: Mark, Kiki, Taylor, & Koine
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Cheesman created a piece about people from all different races coming together, and can't we all use more of that kind of idea right now? It was a beautiful and powerful way to end the show—both the dancing and Maya Angelou's message. (Bonus points for all the tricky lifts.)
The judges said: Standing ovation! Vanessa said it was out of control and brilliant. Mary thanked Cheesman and the dancers. And Nigel said diversity is so important.
So after all that—and, more precisely, after last week's votes—the dancers in the bottom three were Kaylee, Mark, and Kiki. (The audience's audible gasps after hearing Mark's name, and the even louder gasps upon hearing Kiki's, were equal parts LOL-inducing and super sad.)
And the dancer taking the Top 7 to a Top 6 is:
Whaaat?! Were you shocked? We were shocked. Kaylee was definitely shocked. But that's how America voted, so consider this your reminder to vote vote vote for the dancer you want to see in the finale! Next week, the Top 6 face a double elimination, which will be very sad, but will ultimately introduce the Top 4 headed for the finale. Wahhhhh, but also yay! We are feeling so many feelings!
Some might say Charlize Glass' fame kicked off with a single three-letter word. In 2014, Beyoncé shared a video of the then–12-year-old dancer performing to "Yoncé" on Instagram, along with a simple caption: "WOW!"
But by that point, the hip-hop mini had already performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and won first runner-up with her crew, 8 Flavahz, on "America's Best Dance Crew." And her Queen Bey Insta shout-out wasn't even the pinnacle of her tween career: She earned a spot on The PULSE On Tour as an Elite Protégé for the 2014–2015 season, and performed with Missy Elliott at the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show in 2015.
These days, the 16-year-old spends her time touring the country as Brian Friedman's assistant at Radix Dance Convention and blowing up YouTube and Instagram with her class-video cameos. And while the Char Char we fell in love with was a hip-hop cutie pie, the more mature artist we see today is sure to rock the dance world for years to come.
For some it's a holiday tradition, for others its an iconic spectacle, but no matter the reason, more than 1 million people will watch the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year. And though the production has been around since 1933, much of what goes on behind those velvety curtains and intricate sets remains a mystery. To curb our curiosity and find out what ensues when these leggy ladies aren't doling out their sky-high kicks, we got a backstage tour from the legends themselves.
From hair and makeup, to warm-up exercises, and costume quick changes (the fastest quick change in the show is a #mindblowing 75 seconds, by the way) we got a glimpse into the glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) world of the Rockettes.
In the summer of 2006, Heidi Groskreutz and Travis Wall performed a showstopping Mia Michaels routine on “So You Think You Can Dance" Season 2, a piece now remembered simply as “The Bench Dance." It was arguably the first time this particular dance style had been shown on live TV—a style both graceful and quirky, driven by storytelling and deeply felt emotion.
It was, in other words, the mainstream world's introduction to contemporary. And it earned “SYTYCD" one of its first Outstanding Choreography Emmy Awards.
Contemporary dance has come a long way (baby). While the style has been around for decades, as of late it seems to be everywhere. Today you can see contemporary choreography on concert stages (Shaping Sound's tour has been a massive hit), on TV (it's the favored style on “SYT" and pops up regularly on “Dancing with the Stars"), in films (remember Kathryn McCormick's character in Step Up Revolution?), in music videos (including Sia's viral films starring Maddie Ziegler) and even on Broadway (Michaels took her talents to the Great White Way for Finding Neverland).
The possibilities for contemporary dance seem to be endless. But how should the style keep evolving, and what has it outgrown? To find out, we talked to some of the contemporary world's most influential names.
There are zillions of makeup goodies out there, and just as many ways to wear them. Rather than spending the rest of your life trying to find that perfect black eyeliner pen, take a cue from these pros, who have streamlined their prep routines to get the job done night after night.
As a tap dancer, you're a student of history—whether you know it or not. Tap technique today is intimately connected to the great hoofers of the past. "Tap is incredibly personal, because all of these individuals have added to the public domain, the pool of steps you draw from," says Brian Seibert, dance critic for The New York Times and author of What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. "You're constantly giving shout-outs to dancers who came before you."
It's also important to recognize tap's pioneers because they repeatedly broke down barriers, making tap accessible to everyone. "You don't have to overcome something to be here," says Tony Waag, artistic executive director of the American Tap Dance Foundation. "You're not the first black person or woman, you don't have to carry a certain card or have a particular lineage to succeed at tap. Gregory Hines used to say, 'If you have the shoes, you're in.' "
Come meet the artists who've shaped tap history. Because if you're a tap dancer, they're your family, too.
What's better than a good dance joke? They're corny, they're punny, and they're exactly what you need to get you through long Nutcracker days. These 10 jokes are guaranteed to put a smile on your face—no matter how much your feet are hurting.
"So you Think You Can Dance" Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.
Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.
Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.
Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise: