"SYTYCD" Season 9: The Top 4 Perform
This is it! It's the performance finale and it's time for Eliana, Cyrus, Tiffany and Chehon to show America why they each deserve to be named America's Favorite Dancer (plus the top guy and girl land a spot on the December cover of Dance Spirit!).
With such awesomely talented dancers—and heavy hitter Rob Marshall sitting on the judges' panel—it's hard to nail down just five moments that made us flash our jazz hands at the TV screen. So is it OK if we do something a little different? How about a quick rundown of all the evening's routines, described in Twitter-style 140 characters or fewer? Cool, glad you're on board.
Cyrus and Eliana, Paso Doble: Eliana is technical & gorgeous. Cyrus dragged her around the floor & it looked so fun. Cyrus wore a dress. Mary said "You delivered." Yes!
Tiffany & Will Wingfield, Jazz: Dislike: Tiffany's garter. Like: Tiffany's commitment. Love: Will. Not super exciting, but well executed. Cat said "That was joyful." Agree!
Eliana & Chehon, Ballet: OMG a legit classical ballet routine!!! Pointe shoes! A tiara! Pink tights! Love love love. Fantastic. Standing O from the jidges!
Tiffany & Cyrus, Lyrical Hip Hop: Now THAT'S full-out! T&C killed that Tessandra Chavez choreo! Mary called Tiffany a "little beast" & Rob complimented their "abandon."
Top 4, Group Routine: Each in his/her own style, which is cool. A bit disconnected as a group, but lots of lovely little solo moments. Not outstanding, but cute.
Eliana Solo: This girl is a star. You know that by now, right? Great partner, exceptional soloist, fantastic technique & genuine personality.
Chehon & Allison Holker, Contemporary: It's so hard not to watch Allison, but man oh man, Chehon is worth your attention. And that kiss at the end! tWitch, don't be mad!
Interruption: Mary just said Stacey Tookey was "Nemmy Ominated." She means Emmy Nominated, right? Right. (And well-deserved. Tookster, if we can call you that, you're the best. One-handed lifts? Seriously? Well played, S-Tooks, well played. Now just let me know which nickname you'd like to go ahead with. K good choreography, love you, bye.)
Eliana & Tiffany, Burlesque to Broadway Or Something: Love the girl power. Adore both these ladies. Not sure we needed the pole dancing. Nigel loved it. Naturally. Oh goodness.
Cyrus Solo: Is he the BEST male dancer still on the show? Nope. But does America love this guy? Clearly. And in his element, he's unstoppable.
Tiffany Solo: This girl is a fighter. She's strong, full-out & so invested in every routine. Also, she's stinkin' adorable. Want to put her in my pocket!
Cyrus & Chehon, Jazz?: Love dude duets! So much strength. Nigel said Cyrus is his "favorite person on the show" & Chehon is his "favorite dancer on the show."
Jean Sok, Guest Performance: He only has one full leg. Crazy impressive. Crazy awesome. Crazy inspiring. Jean, I bow down to you.
Chehon Solo: Danny Tidwell 2.0. But a little more charismatic & with the highest jumps EVER. Stellar performer, great technician, truly stunning.
Eliana & Alex Wong, Contemporary: Dream Team reunited! This was AWESOME. Just...awesome. These two together are un-stinkin-stoppable. Wow. Nigel's fave of the night!
OK, Nigel just said Eliana is his favorite of all-time on this series. That's a compliment if I've ever heard one!
Sorry sorry sorry, back to 140 characters.
Tiffany & Chehon, Rumba: Sexy time! The curtains! The white dress! It was so sweet & innocent. These two nailed it.
Cyrus & tWitch, Animation: Madd Chadd cameo!!! Didn't love this one as much as I'd expected to. Oh well. Still love them both!
So basically, last night's episode just made us love every member of the Top 4 even more. What a strong, deserving group. We hope you voted, America—and we'll proudly feature your top guy and top girl on our December cover.
Fess up: Who'd you pick up the phone for last night? Chehon? Cyrus? Eliana? Tiffany?
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.