"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: The One Before the Finale
Koine. Kiki. Lex. Taylor. Welcome to the fight to the finale!
On last night's show—the last one before the last one—the Top 4 performed roughly one million times, including an opening number, a group routine, a solo, an All Star duet (a favorite from earlier in the season), and a routine paired with a fellow contestant. And best of all: No one went home! (Yet.) Here's a rundown of all the good stuff.
The Opening Number
This art deco-meets-club dance routine got the show started with a let's-not-take-ourselves-too-seriously-tonight vibe, which was perfect. The Top 4 dancers were joined by the All Stars for the Nappytabs hip-hop piece, which got the whole live audience—light saber-wielding judges included—involved. It was fun, funky, and everything we love about Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo.
The Top 4 Group Routine
Choreographers: Travis Wall and Christopher Scott
Holy choreographic dream team, Batman! For this piece, the four dancers portrayed the four elements—Kiki as fire (accompanied by actual fire), Lex as water, Koine as earth, and Taylor as wind—and the concept made for a brilliant, beautiful piece. That Emmy you just won, Travis? We bet you and C-Scott are gonna nab another one for this piece.
Kiki and Taylor
Style: Cha cha
Choreographer: Anya Garnis
Kiki (in a shirt unbuttoned down to his belt, naturally) was on a mission to pull out Taylor's hidden sexy side—and it mostly worked. Kiki was totally in his element, and while Taylor wasn't in hers, she threw her ponytail around enough to convince the world she, too, can be do ballroom justice.
The judges said: Mary praised Taylor's comfort with the style and called her a hot tamale. Nigel commended Kiki for commanding the stage and being a generous partner, and said Taylor's confidence and leg action were great. And Vanessa said it was hot.
Koine and Lex
Choreographer: Al Blackstone
Lex loves pizza, and this routine was all about pizza! It was also about love. (And pizza is love, right?) Really, who can't relate to falling in love with the pizza delivery man when he arrives at your door? Between Lex's triple tours, Koine's lovely legs, and both dancers' awesome personalities, this piece was one we'd happily watch over and over. (#TBT to the first few weeks of the show when people tried to claim Lex didn't have enough personality. HAHAHA no.)
The judges said: Standing ovation! Nigel loved all the LOL-worthy moments—and pronounced Koine's name correctly, hooray! Vanessa laughed really hard and liked when they were in unison. And Mary said it had everything in it, and also said Koine the proper way. Wins all around!
Kiki and Jenna
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Kiki didn't even plan to audition for "So You Think You Can Dance," but now he's become beloved Daddy Kiki. (Sorry, still not totally on board with that nickname...) Rather than choosing to revisit a ballroom piece, Kiki opted for the contemporary routine that really put him on the map—and it was just as emotional and gorgeous as the first time.
The judges said: Vanessa blubbered. Mary blubbered. Jenna blubbered! Everyone was an emotional wreck. Vanessa said it was even better the second time around. ("Who woulda thunk it?!") Mary said Kiki's progress has been a beautiful thing. And Nigel praised Kiki and Jenna's chemistry (agreed).
Koine and Marko
Style: African Jazz
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
The giant headdress returns! Like the routine before it, this one may have been even better the second time around. Before taking the stage, Koine explained her own personal journey throughout the competition—how she went from being who she thought the show wanted her to be to figuring out who she really is.
The judges said: Mary said Koine keeps getting better and better, and that she wants to watch this routine over and over and over. Nigel appreciated Koine's diversity, going from "pizza girl" to "creepy crawly" girl. And Vanessa thought it was phenomenal and amazing. Duh.
Koine and Taylor
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Hello, girl power! This piece was fast, technical, and ran the risk of "looking like poo" if they didn't pull it off, Mandy warned. Koine and Taylor are totally different dancers, but since this a competition, it's hard not to compare them. And in this piece, Taylor's turns may have been a bit better, but Koine's stage presence felt more natural.
The judges said: Nigel said Mary and Vanessa will perform this piece next week on the finale (doubtful), and that it was fantastic and not poo-like at all. Vanessa said it was "literally the ultimate female empowerment routine I've ever seen." And Mary liked that it had "sophistication up the wazoo."
Kiki and Lex
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
When Kiki attempted hip hop during Academy week, he didn't fare so well. But it's been a few weeks since then, and last night Kiki and Lex were ready to get down with Luther Brown—and a whole lotta vinyl. Did anyone else feel like this routine was so short? Why did it end so fast?!
The judges said: "That was the ultimate bromance routine," Vanessa said. "Give it up for the bromances out there, cuz that was it." OK. Mary made the boys giddy when she predicted one of them could be rolling in the cash (aka winning) very soon. And Nigel praised Lex's ability to stay humble amidst all the constant praise—and cued a video flashback of Kiki's aforementioned hip-hop flop. Poor guy.
Taylor and Robert
Choreographer: Travis Wall
These two. This choreography. This performance. This was the piece that solidified Taylor and Robert as the early couple to beat, and seeing it again reinforced why they've maintained that status. (Did you cry? We cried.)
The judges said: Mary said this routine changed everything for her, and that it turned Taylor into a whole different artist. Then she cried. Nigel said it was better this time around because Taylor and Robert have grown together, and that Taylor's legs and quiet elegance evoke Cyd Charisse. NBD. And Vanessa said a woman's intuition knows best (aka no worries about putting college on hold for a bit, Taylor).
Lex and Gaby
Choreographer: Anthony Morigerato
Surprised by Lex's choice? So were we! But all those drop splits (and the big ol' back flip) made us remember why this piece was so great the first time around.
The judges said: Nigel loved it and, again, called them Fred and Ginger. Vanessa had the hiccups. And Mary said Lex's secret weapon is tap.
Kiki and Koine
Choreographer: Travis Wall
"This is a time lapse of a relationship," Travis explained: Everything starts out feeling fresh, but then it begins to disintegrate. Oof. Emotions! This one was heavy, but it was also beautiful. (And oooooh Joni Mitchell—yes, that was the heartbreaking song from Love Actually.) We would critique this piece, but it's hard to type through tears. Sorry.
The judges said: Standing ovation, obviously. Vanessa said it broke her heart and really affected her. (Zac Efron! Are you watching?!) Mary said both dancers peaked with that routine. And Nigel said Koine is a great dancer and actress, and asked Kiki if contemporary will help his ballroom performances. (This felt...strange?) But then he went on to say Kiki has helped the show by being brilliant.
Lex and Taylor
Choreographer: MIA MICHAELS
MAMA MIA RETURNS TO THE "SYTYCD" STAGE! To choreograph a piece for Lex and Taylor! OMG. "I want it to be about the type of love that takes your breath away sometimes," Mia explained to the duo. And OH MY GOD LEX AND TAYLOR ARE DATING!!!!!!!! AND THEY ARE IN LOVE. BAHHHHHH!!!!!!! This is the greatest thing ever. "SYTYCD" romances are the best. And this piece. This piece. They got to kiss so much. They got to glide across the stage together. They got to melt into each others' arms. Talk about #relationshipgoals. Cannot. Wipe. Smile. From. Face.
The judges said: Standing ovation! Giddy! Mary confessed to feeling "all kinds of strange emotions," both for Mia and the lovebirds. Nigel loved the "dive kiss" and said it was "just beautiful." And Vanessa said, "Ugh! Yes!" and said it inspired some kissing moves she wants to work on with her boyfriend. (#TBT to when her boyfriend was Zac Efron.)
OK fans, did you vote? Did you super vote? Let us know who you voted for, who you think will win—and who will grace the cover of Dance Spirit!
Some might say Charlize Glass' fame kicked off with a single three-letter word. In 2014, Beyoncé shared a video of the then–12-year-old dancer performing to "Yoncé" on Instagram, along with a simple caption: "WOW!"
But by that point, the hip-hop mini had already performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and won first runner-up with her crew, 8 Flavahz, on "America's Best Dance Crew." And her Queen Bey Insta shout-out wasn't even the pinnacle of her tween career: She earned a spot on The PULSE On Tour as an Elite Protégé for the 2014–2015 season, and performed with Missy Elliott at the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show in 2015.
These days, the 16-year-old spends her time touring the country as Brian Friedman's assistant at Radix Dance Convention and blowing up YouTube and Instagram with her class-video cameos. And while the Char Char we fell in love with was a hip-hop cutie pie, the more mature artist we see today is sure to rock the dance world for years to come.
For some it's a holiday tradition, for others its an iconic spectacle, but no matter the reason, more than 1 million people will watch the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year. And though the production has been around since 1933, much of what goes on behind those velvety curtains and intricate sets remains a mystery. To curb our curiosity and find out what ensues when these leggy ladies aren't doling out their sky-high kicks, we got a backstage tour from the legends themselves.
From hair and makeup, to warm-up exercises, and costume quick changes (the fastest quick change in the show is a #mindblowing 75 seconds, by the way) we got a glimpse into the glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) world of the Rockettes.
If you follow ballet darling Juliet Doherty on Instagram—which you probably do—you already know that the two-time Youth America Grand Prix gold medalist is a self-proclaimed "plant-powered ballerina." Doherty has followed a vegan diet for four years now, and though she never forces her lifestyle on her followers or IRL friends, she does love sharing her daily eats and the plant-based meals and snacks that help her perform at her best. Curious as to what that entails? Here's a day in the life of Juliet's meat-and-dairy-free diet.
In the summer of 2006, Heidi Groskreutz and Travis Wall performed a showstopping Mia Michaels routine on “So You Think You Can Dance" Season 2, a piece now remembered simply as “The Bench Dance." It was arguably the first time this particular dance style had been shown on live TV—a style both graceful and quirky, driven by storytelling and deeply felt emotion.
It was, in other words, the mainstream world's introduction to contemporary. And it earned “SYTYCD" one of its first Outstanding Choreography Emmy Awards.
Contemporary dance has come a long way (baby). While the style has been around for decades, as of late it seems to be everywhere. Today you can see contemporary choreography on concert stages (Shaping Sound's tour has been a massive hit), on TV (it's the favored style on “SYT" and pops up regularly on “Dancing with the Stars"), in films (remember Kathryn McCormick's character in Step Up Revolution?), in music videos (including Sia's viral films starring Maddie Ziegler) and even on Broadway (Michaels took her talents to the Great White Way for Finding Neverland).
The possibilities for contemporary dance seem to be endless. But how should the style keep evolving, and what has it outgrown? To find out, we talked to some of the contemporary world's most influential names.
As a tap dancer, you're a student of history—whether you know it or not. Tap technique today is intimately connected to the great hoofers of the past. "Tap is incredibly personal, because all of these individuals have added to the public domain, the pool of steps you draw from," says Brian Seibert, dance critic for The New York Times and author of What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing. "You're constantly giving shout-outs to dancers who came before you."
It's also important to recognize tap's pioneers because they repeatedly broke down barriers, making tap accessible to everyone. "You don't have to overcome something to be here," says Tony Waag, artistic executive director of the American Tap Dance Foundation. "You're not the first black person or woman, you don't have to carry a certain card or have a particular lineage to succeed at tap. Gregory Hines used to say, 'If you have the shoes, you're in.' "
Come meet the artists who've shaped tap history. Because if you're a tap dancer, they're your family, too.
What's better than a good dance joke? They're corny, they're punny, and they're exactly what you need to get you through long Nutcracker days. These 10 jokes are guaranteed to put a smile on your face—no matter how much your feet are hurting.
"So you Think You Can Dance" Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.
Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.
Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.
Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise: