"SYTYCD" Season 7: Top 9 Performances
Nine contestants remain on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and this week each dancer was asked to perform a 30-second solo in addition to his or her all-star routine. For me, a 30 second solo is not enough to get a real feel for a dancer’s talent. There is no time to develop choreography and most dancers seem to just do as many tricks as possible to showcase their amazing abilities. I will admit that some of the tricks are cool, but I really wish the contestants had a chance to do more. Here’s a recap of the night’s performances.
As the show kicked off, the first thing that caught my attention was when Alex Wong revealed the all-star he was paired with. It was Stephen “twitch” Boss! I hope you were just as excited as I was; Alex later proved that it was something that we all should have anticipated.
The night’s performances began with Adéchiké Torbert, who was partnered with Lauren Gottlieb. Wearing nerdy outfits, the couple performed a fun-filled hip-hop routine by Dave Scott. The judges gave positive comments, Nigel even said that Adéchiké found his “natural swagger.”
Ashley Galvan and all-star Ade Obayomi were up next. Their contemporary piece, choreographed by Dee Caspary, focused on surrendering and the intertwining of two. The judges all agreed that they could see Ashley developing as a performer, commenting on the fluidity of her movement.
Billy Bell performed the first solo of the night. He jammed a lot of awesome tricks into just a few seconds, but I couldn’t get over the flexibility in his back during a twisted extension. What an amazing dancer!
Next, Robert Roldan partnered with all-star Courtney Galiano for a jazz routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh. I found it quite strange, but the judges loved it! Adam commented on Robert’s commitment to the “punctuation” of the movement.
Jose Ruiz performed the evening’s second solo. He stepped on stage, the music began, and within seconds he was inverted spinning on his head. His movement was exciting, but he truly won me over with his shoulder shake and great smile he wore as his time ran out.
Soon after, Melinda Sullivan partnered with Pasha Kovalev for a salsa routine choreographed by Fabian Sanchez. The biggest upset of the routine came when Melinda’s shoe got caught in her skirt. Luckily, she’s a pro and she was able to swiftly detach herself and finish the dance. Unfortunately, her coolness under pressure wasn’t enough to save her from the judges’ wrath. I believe it is safe to say that the judges hated it. Though they commended her on getting through her costume malfunction, the judges were kind of harsh otherwise. Mia even said that she believes she made a mistake letting Christina go, and Adam agreed. Ouch!
Kent Boyd and Alex Wong each performed their solos next. Both dancers have beautiful lines and know how to showcase their technique really well, so they were both a pleasure to watch.
Lauren Froderman and partner Neil Haskell performed a Broadway routine choreographed by Joey Dowling. Lauren’s performance was cute and flirtatious, but I didn’t completely buy her character. However, I have to agree with judges in that she is improving and applying their advice. Nigel was quick to describe her performance as “seduction and a half,” but I can’t help but wonder if that was at least in part because her costume strap broke—two wardrobe malfunctions in one night!
Ashley returned to the stage as a soloist. She has great lines and uses her limbs well, but sometimes I think her performance doesn’t go any deeper than that.
Billy and partner Kathryn McCormich followed dancing a contemporary piece choreographed by Stacey Tookey. The judges seem to admire Billy as a dancer, but when it comes to partnering he falls short. Nigel said he thinks Billy needs to be on a show titled “So You Think You Can Partner” (I am not sure if that is the best idea for a show, Nigel, but I get what you were trying to say).
Robert was up next with his solo. I liked his routine because, unlike so many others, it didn’t seem overstuffed with tricks. He may not be the most interesting contestant to watch, in general, but in this case, his performance fit the bill.
Jose returned to the stage with Anya Garnis to perform a samba choreographed by Dmitry Claplin. The style posed definite challenge for Jose, and in the end he really looked like a B-boy trying to samba. Mia said he “was clearly not a great dancer in different genres,” but the judges all admitted to loving him anyway. I think it’s the smile.
Melinda was up next with her tap solo. She is a wonderful tap dancer and her speed blows me away, but I was not to pleased with the way she interacted with her music. It seemed like she went in and out of being on beat, and I’m not sure her approach will read well for most mainstream viewers.
Kent and partner Allison Holker performed a jazz routine choreographed by Mandy Moore. Sadly, his performance left the judges questioning the reality of his emotions while dancing. Mia told him to focus more on the integrity and not the commercial end of the routine. We all love Kent, but I must agree with Adam he needs to “lose the hungry jazz face.”
Adéchiké’s solo followed. In comparison to some of the other solos, it had some development, which I believe worked well for him.
Lauren’s solo was next, and it fell flat because it was just all about hitting her lines.
I waited the entire show to see Alex and tWitch perform their hip-hop routine, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon Dumo. Yes, our ballet dancer was going to get down with hip-hop moves alongside tWitch! It was OUTSTANDING! I couldn’t believe he pulled that off as well as he did. What a great way to end the night!
Who do you think will go home tonight? Tell us here. Check in again tomorrow for our results show recap.
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Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
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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.
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In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
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She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
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