“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!
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!
Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.
If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.