Who's excited for the first episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 tonight? (Nigel, for one!)
On Monday, we let you know that the show will crown both a male and a female winner this season. I kind of love the idea. First, of course, two winners are better than one. But also, I've been thinking back on past seasons and realizing just how many more awesome dancers would've been honored if the two-winner system had been in place from the beginning. Check it out:
Season 1 winners would have been Nick Lazzarini...and Melody Lacayanga.
Season 2 would have honored both Benji Schwimmer...and Donyelle Jones. (LOVE her!)
Season 3 would have given us Sabra Johnson...and Danny Tidwell (in my opinion, the best dancer ever to grace the show).
Season 4's winners would have been Joshua Allen...and Katee Shean.
Season 5 champs would have been Jeanine Mason...and Brandon Bryant.
Season 6 winners would've been Russell Ferguson...and Kathryn McCormick.
Season 7? Lauren Froderman...and Kent Boyd. (I'm guessing a lot of teenage girls would've been ecstatic about that.)
And Season 8 would've honored both Melanie Moore...and Marko Germar.
It's interesting to note that the second winner wouldn't always have been the first runner-up. (In Season 2, for example, Travis Wall came in second; Donyelle was third.) Not sure how those unlucky second-place dancers might've felt about being passed over. But I think I'm still on board with the new format. Two great dancers on the November cover of DS? Yes please!
All photos courtesy FOX.
Melody and Nick Lazzarini on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 1.
Melody Lacayanga is tiny and powerful, and she’s taking the commercial dance world by storm. The feisty, California-born dancer grew up dancing with Chris Jacobsen’s Dance Company of San Francisco (with this month’s cover girl, Chantel Aguirre!), but it was her successful turn on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 1 that made Melody famous.
During the show’s first season, ballet-trained Melody dominated each style that was thrown her way, from the jive to the paso doble. She snagged the runner-up title, coming in second to Nick Lazzarini. Since “SYTYCD,” Melody has continued dancing professionally, performing with Sonya Tayeh Dance Company and Mark Meismer’s Evolution. She has danced on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Idol Gives Back” and “Glee,” and has performed at the MTV European Music Awards. Most recently, Melody was a dancer on Miley Cyrus’ Gypsy Heart world tour and was an All-Star on “SYTYCD” Season 8. Read on for The Dirt!
What did you want to be when you were a teen?
A sports medicine doctor or a psychologist. Dance was never in my plan as an “ideal career.”
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Robin Thicke or The Script
If you could work with any performer, past or present, who would it be?
Otis Redding. I love him!
Most-played song on your iPod:
“No One Gonna Love You,” by Jennifer Hudson. It’s soooo good—I wanna cry right now as I hear it in my head!
Must-see TV show:
“Top Chef.” I am obsessed!
Who would play you in a movie?
Hmm…Brenda Song? Haha. Or Vanessa Hudgens.
Who is your dance crush?
I don’t have dance crushes, I have chef crushes!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people put their luggage in the overhead bins incorrectly.
Biggest guilty pleasure:
Shoes. I love all types, from sneakers to heels, flats to boots, TOMS, everything. I’m also a sucker for red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.
One thing most people don’t know about you:
I used to sing when I was younger. I sang more than I danced, but one day I just stopped singing. I wish I hadn’t…
If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
Probably a chef. I’m actually considering going to culinary school in the future, when I’m ready to hang up my booty shorts.
Favorite city in the world:
Rio de Janeiro
Favorite dancer of all time:
I have such a long list! Sylvie Guillem , Peter Chu and Lindsay Blaufarb are way up there.
Summer intensives are a great way to boost technique and make new friends. They’re also just what the name suggests: intense. For most dancers, summer study means leaving home for the first time, dancing many more hours a day than they’re used to and trying out different dance styles. But challenging as they are, summer programs are often the most memorable and productive periods in a dancer’s training. Check out these tips from 10 notable summer program alums on how to make the most of your experience.
On Thriving in the Classroom
Jason Luks: dancer in White Christmas on Broadway; attended the Slide tap intensive
“When you’re learning so much in every class, it’s hard to remember everything by the end of the day. Take a minute during lunch to write down combinations and corrections from the morning, and another minute to write notes after the day’s classes are over.”
Shawn Ahern: Pilobolus Dance Theater; attended American Dance Festival summer course
“Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your teachers. The connections you make at summer programs can open doors later in your career. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way!”
Lia Cirio: principal with Boston Ballet; attended Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program
“We all know competition exists at summer programs, and it’s hard to ignore. It can feel discouraging when other dancers get more attention than you or a better part than you. But if you watch carefully, you can learn from what they’re doing right—and even from what they’re not doing so perfectly.”
On Staying Happy and Healthy
Carly Anderson: commercial dancer; attended Pacific Coast Dance Fest
“Stick to your bedtime. Staying up late with friends is fun, but you don’t want to be sleepy in class the next day.”
Melody Lacayanga: commercial dancer; attended Pacific Coast Dance Fest
“Warm up properly every morning. If you know that your body needs something that isn’t in the class warm-up, take a few extra minutes to work out the kinks.”
Christiana Bennett: principal with Ballet West; attended Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Course
“I was homesick almost every summer, and the thing that really helped me was getting involved in different activities. Go on every field trip that interests you. And don’t be afraid to call your parents and tell them how you feel. It will get easier!”
Jeanette Delgado: principal with Miami City Ballet; attended Miami City Ballet Summer Program
“Many programs have physical therapists, and it’s great to talk with them even if you don’t have a serious injury. Injuries often stem from weaknesses; the therapist can assess your weak spots and give you some preventative strengthening exercises to do.”
On Trying New Styles
Julia Erickson: principal with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; attended Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Course
“To grow as dancers we have to force ourselves outside our comfort zones. My dad calls it ‘repotting’: Once you move a plant to a bigger pot, it flourishes in a way it couldn’t in the smaller pot. Trying new styles at a summer program—aka the ‘bigger pot’—can be scary, but it’s also how we improve.”
James Whiteside: principal with Boston Ballet; attended Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program
“Watch your teachers very carefully and take in all the details that you can. Each of the many instructors at a summer program has her own style, and the ability to pick up different styles is valuable in today’s companies.”
Tara Dunleavy: Radio City Rockette; attended the Rockette Summer Intensive
“Don’t be discouraged if a movement feels awkward on your body at first. It takes a little while to adjust to a new way of moving.”