"So You Think You Can Dance" Season 11 Recap: Atlanta Auditions
Last night marked the fourth and final round of auditions for "SYTYCD" Season 11, and Atlanta was hearin' it for the boys. So far, this season has been a little girl-heavy—not that I'm complaining. (Let's go, ladies!) But I was starting to get a bit nervous that all the Top 20 partnerships would be lopsided without some manpower to back them up. Let's just say, we've got the power.
Another major highlight of this episode? More dance pros at the judges table. Night one of the Atlanta auditions featured the prolific Lil Buck. (I mean, seriously, this guy is everywhere!) I'm wondering whether the show's producers anticipated the level of hip-hop talent that would be flooding the Atlanta auditions. It is the home of "SYT" fave Dragon House Crew, after all. Night two featured the lovely Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who's certainly had her experience in the world of commercial dance. (Anyone else wish she'd brought Channing along?)
Sure, the evening had its not-so-hot moments (temper tantrums onstage are not cute, OK, Sideshow?). But all in all, the trend of celebrating incredibly—and sometimes surprisingly—amazing dancers continued. Here are my Top 5 moments from last night's show.
1. Tapper-turned-hip-hopper Erik "Silky" Williams did his homework. OK, this guy was a total surprise. He's auditioned for the show twice before as a tapper, and a couple years later, he decides to come back as a hip-hop dancer? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But man, was I wrong! Silky really showed his versatility in his audition. His hip hop was on point, but he also demonstrated some technical potential. Sure, his pirouette, rond de jambe to the floor wasn't perfect, but he had the right idea! I don't know guys, I think Silky may have the potential to follow in Russell and Fik-Shun's footsteps.
Nigel's first comment? "I like you." There's certainly something appealing about Silky's slice of crazy.
2. Christopher Griffin, a.k.a. Mr. Strange, a.k.a. Freak Show, represented for Dragon House Crew. First of all, I'm loving this guy's style: Cosby sweaters and hipster glasses are kind of my weaknesses. There was something so calm about the way he animated. It was like he didn't have to hide behind quick movement, because his isolations were that clear and precise. Oh, and did I mention he was a founding member of the crew? You couldn't help but feel warm inside when Nigel thanked him for that. I'm so glad his dancing lived up to the Dragon House rep, and that we'll be seeing him at California callbacks.
Not quite sure what he's doing with his legs...but I guess that's why they call him Mr. Strange. (?)
3. Contemporary Dancer Ricky Ubeda went from Future Star to future Top 4. I'm calling it right now, guys: I want Ricky in the finale. We've been following this young dancer on the comp circuit since 2013—and he's been following "SYTYCD" since Season 1. Now that he's 18, it's his turn. Not only is his technique #flawless, but he danced with a great deal of maturity. I was never nervous when watching him; I just enjoyed the whole thing. That maturity coupled with his mamma's-boy personality makes him 100 percent lovable. Plus, he "dabbles" in ballroom! (Right, Mary?)
4. Contemporary dancer Christina Moya-Palacios REPRESENTED for the ladies. OK, so it may have been wrong to say this show was all about the boys, especially when you've got a dancer like this in the mix. Christina began by pulling our heart strings with the sweet story of her brother, who was in and out of the hospital for 10 years. Dance was her escape from that heartache. Gah, this girl got to me. Yes, she has legs for days. But it was her port de bras that really carried the performance. She swam through the movement so fluidly—it was absolutely breathtaking.
Get it, girl.
5. Colby brought the cute factor. The final contestant of the night may not have won over the judges, but his adorable 4-year old son sure did. Nigel woke him up from his nap to perform on the stage, and kid's got some moves. See you on Season 25, Colby!
Who were your favorites of the night? Discuss in the comments, and check back here next week for a rundown of all the dramz that go down at California callbacks.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.
There are zillions of things to think about when choosing a summer program, but here's one you might not have considered: using an intensive as an opportunity to focus on a new style. Maybe you're a tap dancer who's ready to see where else your rhythm and quick feet can serve you, or a contemporary dancer curious about the more traditional roots of your genre. A summer program can be the perfect place to broaden your horizons, giving you the opportunity to make technical and artistic changes that stick throughout the year.
Happy birthday, George Balanchine! The great choreographer and founder of New York City Ballet would have been 114 years old today. Balanchine revolutionized ballet, especially American ballet—and he also had quite a way with words. To celebrate Mr. B's birthday, we rounded up some of our favorite iconic Balanchine quotes.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.