"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: Vanessa Says "YAS"
It's the second episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 14, and tbh, so far we're yawning more than we're yay-ing. We want to see more performances and hear less talking—and we're dying for more Cat Deeley.
During Los Angeles Auditions Part II, there were some highs (ballroom babe Jensen's outfit), some lows (uh, triple-jointing), and plenty of shrieks and screams from one Mary Murphy. (Noticeably absent, however, were Hot Tamale Train tickets, of which Mary distributed zero throughout the hour-long episode.)
Let us get you caught up on the names you need to know...
Tristen and Jensen
We say: These ballroom partners from Provo, UT, seem destined to do well on this show. First, because dancers from Utah always do well on this show (see, for example, Allison Holker, Mollee Gray, Witney Carson, Alexia Meyer, Hailee Payne, Jenna Johnson—shall we continue?), and second because being on "SYT" is in Jensen's blood. If she looks familiar, it's because she pretty much is: Jensen is Lindsay Arnold's little sis! Tristen and Jensen (no, they're not dating, they assured Nigel) perform a Samba, and Jensen's neon fringe outfit is amazing.
The judges say: Nigel said it "woke him up." Mary said "YASSSS" a lot.
Vanessa Hudgens says: "GURL U R A STAR!"
The verdict: They're through to The Academy.
Sade Keinu Austin
We say: This Brooklyn-native started at 2, and credits her parents—a Nappytabs-esque duo who choreographed for the likes of Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson—as her inspiration. Her whacking-style routine wasn't our favorite of the night, but it was good and full-out.
The judges say: Nigel called her "a little ball of dynamite" and said she was "tremendous." Mary said she was "on fire."
Vanessa says: "YASSSSSS!"
The verdict: Through to The Academy
We say: The 18-year-old from Louisiana has been dancing since he was 2, even though his #TBT-style video seemed to indicate that he seriously hated dancing. But, he explains, once he turned 12, he quite literally found his groove. He performs a lovely contemporary piece that's heavy on the tricks and flips. He's elegant and can jump ridiculously high, but his feet could use some work.
The judges say: Nigel called it "one of the most outstanding routines of the day," but said he "wants to feel something. "Mary called it "mind-blowing" and said Matthew makes dancing "seem easy." Meanwhile...
Vanessa says: "Amazing! Wow! Man, are you a good dancer!"
The verdict: Academy-bound
Inyoung "Dassey" Lee
We say: Dassey moved to the United States from South Korea because of "So You Think You Can Dance." No, seriously. (Even Cat Deeley was all "whaaaaa?" when she heard this.) Dassey popped and locked her heart out to a remix of the classic song "Big Spender," and she tore. it. up. As for how she'll fare when faced with, say, a Travis Wall contemporary routine? TBD. But we'd like to see her try, because she's good-looking and so refined.
The judges say: Mary said "wow!" and "holy moly!" and "You went bam on us! You just hit us!"
Vanessa says: "YASSSSSS! Loved it! It was amazing! It was feminine, but also masculine."
The verdict: "Academy, you go girl!" —Vanessa Hudgens
We say: Blessin wants to bring steppin to the masses. She's a member of a step squad, and she's got rhythm, she's got music. She also has a killer attitude, great stage presence, and a very dramatic death drop.
The judges say: "I thought stepping was just for guys," Nigel said, while Mary told Blessin she has "fire" and "passion" and "dominates," while acknowledging the show will be tough for her because it requires dancers to become proficient in so many technical styles.
Vanessa says: "I feel, like, empowered to be a lady right now!"
The verdict: Blessin is through to the choreography round, but is later cut when she can't quite keep up with Mandy Moore's choreography.
We say: We love him. Fave of the night. Dustin rolls up with a fancy hat, a bowtie, and confidence, and it's immediately clear that this street performer is smooth. He floated and glided across the stage like he was wearing ice skates (but really cool ones), and evoked a Lil' Buck-ish vibe with his jookin' moves.
The judges say: "I don't know how you don't have serious knee problems," Mary exclaimed before screaming so loudly it caught Nigel off-guard.
Vanessa says: "That finger thing was insane!"
The verdict: Academy
Next week, we're off to NYC for auditions in the Big Apple. Here's hoping for more of a wow factor in the city that never sleeps!
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.
Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."
Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.
There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.
The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.