“SYTYCD” Season 9: Salt Lake City Auditions Recap
Last night the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 auditions made their final stop in Salt Lake City. With "SYTYCD" judging veteran Adam Shankman joining Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy at the judges table, we knew we were in for a great night. A well-known dance hotspot, SLC has been the audition city for at least a couple of dancers each season since it was added to the audition tour in Season 4. Needless to say, expectations were high—and the dancers didn't disappoint! From smokin' hot ballroom dancers to breathtaking contemporary, it was a great night loaded with promising talent.
Here are the top 5 moments from last night's audition:
1. Adrian Lee: First, can we say how HORRIBLE those Season 7 home visits were? Worst. Idea. Ever. If someone isn't going to make the top 20, please don't punish them more. Back to Adrian Lee, this guy is absolutely stellar and by far the best dancer we've seen on the audition tour. Although the judges weren't crazy about his choreography (We thought it was great), they still praised his technique and performance. We can't wait to see him in the top 20! (Fingers crossed!)
2. Leroy Martinez. He runs an after-school program for kids, he works at a doggy daycare and he can seriously bust a move! He's a big dude, but that didn't stop him from wowing everyone with back handsprings, stalls, head stands and more. He was completely unexpected and amazing! We think they should have sent him to Vegas.
3. Gene Lonardo. This dude showed up dressed (complete with glitter face paint!) as a preying mantis ready to show us a routine based on the life cycle of the male insect. You know, the birth, search for mate, mating and finally decapitation—what?! We thought this was for sure going to be a "So You Think You Can What?!" moment, but boy were we wrong! His movement was totally quirky and bizarre, yet surprisingly technical. If we didn't know better we'd have thought a blonde Mark Kanemura was dancing—and you all know how we adore Mark. And we agree with Nigel, Sonya would love him.
4. Deanna "Dee" Tomasetta. Her solo was absolutely gorgeous and the kind of dancing we've come to expect from the show. Her exquisite technique, finesse and dynamic performance quality could just be enough to propel her to the top 20.
5. Whitney Carson. This ballroom dancer is smokin'! Don't let that innocent face fool you, she knows how to work the camera and the judges. With her rockin' bod and stellar technique, there's no doubt she has a real shot at the top 20. Plus, she got the first hot tamale train scream of the season!
The “So You Think You Can What?!” Moment of the Night: Like last week, it was too hard to choose just one.
Second Runner Up: Adam Shankman's bad cold/allergies, which led us to believe that he was crying after every single performance.
First Runner Up: Johnny Ahn the dating machine. With the faces he was pulling during his routine, we're not sure he's going on a date any time soon.
And the Winner Is: Lynn Gravatt. The alien-possessed dancer extraordinaire. She was terrifying and awesome all at the same time. And we absolutely adored her glitter hairspray.
Check back next Thursday morning for the recap of VEGAS WEEK! And don’t forget to let us know if you’re loving this season as much as we are!
Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers
P!nk, known for her high-flying, acrobatic awards show sets, has literally raised the bar for pop stars everywhere. For her performance at last night's American Music Awards, P!nk decided to break out some flips and tricks ON THE SIDE OF A BUILDING. WHILE FLAWLESSLY SINGING HER FACE OFF. You know, just casually, like you do when you're a full-on goddess.
When you think of a dancer, a double leg amputee may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But Eric Graise, who's one of the stars of the upcoming "Step Up: High Water" YouTube Red series, hopes to change that. Graise, whose legs were amputated as a child due to missing fibula bones, will play a character named King in the new dance series, set to debut early next year.
We all suffer from Nutcracker fatigue sometimes. After a zillion performances, it's hard not to. But there's nothing to restore your little-kid sense of Nutcracker wonder like a look at the sheer scale of a world-class Nut.
New York City Ballet's iconic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens on Friday, and for the past week, the company has been Tweeting out some seriously eye-popping #NutcrackerNumbers. The stats cover everything from the number of jingle bells used on each Candy Cane costume (that'd be 144) to the watts of light used in the show's grand finale (ONE. MILLION. WATTS.).
Oh hey there, Hallmark Channel! The producer of all those sweet, homey movies best watched in your PJs with your mom has a super dance-y film on its holiday lineup this season: A Nutcracker Christmas. And the casting is—to use a very Hallmark-y pun—perfectly on pointe.
A Nutcracker Christmas tells the story of a talented professional dancer, Lilly, whose supportive sister dies just as Lilly is about to perform the role of Clara in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet. (Nit-picky fact-checking: In New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she's known as Marie and danced by a child, but OK.) Lilly's boyfriend and dance partner, Mark, keeps her from performing in the show, which makes Lilly declare she'll never dance again. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Lilly's niece, Sadie, is about to dance Clara in a different company's Nutcracker—a company run by, of all people, Mark. And tons of drama ensues.
Yes, it's a whole lot of plot to wrap your head around. But the real story here is that Sadie is played by none other than the phenomenal Sophia Lucia, and the ever-dashing Sascha Radetsky is also involved in the project. (Radetsky's exact role is unclear from the press material, but he seems like a pretty natural fit for Mark, no?) The odds seem good that we'll get the gift of some very high-quality dancing. Merry Christmas to us!
Sophia Lucia showing off those banana feet (via @sophialucia5678)
You can catch A Nutcracker Christmas on December 10 at 8 pm. Get your slippers and hot cocoa ready.
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
One of the most beautiful things social media has brought us is the ability to feel like we're up close and personal behind-the-scenes with all our favorite dancers. And one of our favorite stars to Insta-stalk are actually two casts of 36 scintillatingly synchronized precision dancers. I'm talking, of course, about my mild obsession with the legendary Radio City Rockettes.
Have we mentioned lately how much we love dance dads? Especially ones who show up to their daughter's ballet class sporting a tutu, like Thanh Tran.
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?