Dance News

Cole Horibe and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp (aka "Cx2") have a lot in common: They were both on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9, they both dance with incredible technique and masculinity and they're both complete goofballs.

So it's no wonder these two developed an adorable friendship. If you want a cuteness overload, check out their video, Cx2 NinjaBallet, where they document their "NinjaBallet" training. (Chehon is supposed to be helping Cole with his technique while Cole teaches Chehon some ninja moves, but it basically dissolves into a debate about whether jedis or ninjas are cooler—love these guys.)

Cole (left) and Chehon (photos by Mathieu Young/FOX)

But we're not here today to talk about Cx2's goofy side. Instead, we want to talk about a Chehon's new video—which he directed and filmed himself—introducing us to Cole's Bruce Lee persona. This video is epic, guys. It shows off everything we love about Cole: His flashy martial arts tricks, his simultaneously graceful and powerful movement, his intensity, his technique...

Just watch—you won't regret it:

Huge kudos to Chehon for his cinematography skills—as if being a freakishly gorgeous ballet dancer wasn't enough talent for one guy!

(The off-Broadway production, Kung Fu, featuring Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee, runs until April 6, 2014, at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center in NYC. Get your tickets here!)

Dance News

Get ready for Cat Deeley’s fierce fashion, Lil' C’s fictional vocabulary, Mary Murphy’s high-pitched holler and, of course, some insanely talented dancers! That’s right, "So You Think You Can Dance" is back for a new season tonight. And Season 9—with a brand new one-night-only format—will certainly be an exciting one. DS chatted with our favorite judge and yours, Nigel Lythgoe, about what we can expect.

Dance Spirit: How do you feel about this season being aired one night per week instead of two?

Nigel Lythgoe: Putting the results in the same show as the performances means we’ve got to be very strong in our thoughts. We’ll have to take into account the routine from the week before, what America thinks and then the routine this week, which America can’t vote on. The judges will be more important than ever this year.

DS: And what about crowning two winners?

NL: It’s a major change, but it’s something we should have done years ago to be honest with you.

DS: What’s your favorite part of the season each year—the auditions, the top 20, the tour?

NL: Well if you ask me towards the end of the series, I would say the end of the series, because we just get so tired at that point. But at the beginning, I love the audition process. I’m inspired by it to be frank with you. Not all the kids that I think are fantastic get through, but seeing so many dancers put their hearts on their sleeves and have the guts to audition makes me very proud.

DS: What’s your least favorite part?

NL: You’re not going to believe me, but rejecting people.  This is a professional competition, so we’re looking for the very best. Sometimes when we tell people they’re not good enough, you can see that their hearts are broken. Even with the bad ones, I want to say, “Keep dancing!”

DS: How was the turnout at auditions this year?

NL: Very strong. The turnout was equal to other seasons, but the standard of dance goes up each year. People get used to what we’re looking for, so they train themselves. The contemporary kids are doing a lot more hip hop. And, by the looks of it, the hip hop kids are even taking a few ballroom lessons.

DS: There have been rumors that "SYTYCD" is on its way out, but what do you see for the future of the show? Will this new format stick around for a while?

NL: Well I’m certainly hoping so. I would like to think that FOX will continue to think of us as part of its schedule, but that depends on viewers. At the end of the day, it’s a business. If we lose viewers, they’re going to drop the program. It isn’t up to me or to the format, it’s all about whether people watch. Just as a dancer accepts rejection if they’re not what a choreographer is looking for, this is something that I accept as a part of this business.

If it were up to us, "SYTYCD" would be here to stay. We can’t wait to find out who will be crowned America’s favorite dancers, and put them on the cover of our October issue! For the first episode of the season, tune in tonight at 8/7c on FOX.

Dance News

For the past two days, DS managing editor Rachel Zar and I have been behind the scenes at the NYC auditions for Season 9 of "So You Think You Can Dance." If you thought the competition was tough last year, you'll be floored by the talent of the upcoming season. From contemporary to ballroom to hip hop—these dancers can do it all.

But being well-rounded doesn't mean a ticket to Vegas—especially with the judges (Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy and Tyce Diorio) cracking down on mediocre performances. Here's Rachel's quick recap of the judges' feedback to contestants:

1. Be a sponge. When the judges give you feedback, soak it all up, work on those things throughout the year and audition next season.

2. Use your face! If you don't connect with the judges, you're not going straight to Vegas.

3. If you're young and don't have a lot of emotional baggage, take an acting class so you can learn to convey emotion onstage.

4. A series of steps, poses and tricks is not dancing.

5. After you've auditioned, don't ask for one more chance to prove yourself. The audition is your chance—use it to show off every style that you have under your belt.

6. Don't audition with another dancer unless you've actually prepared something together. Just dancing side by side and competing for the judges' attention will only confuse them and get you sent home.

Now that you've taken those lessons to heart, take a behind-the-scenes look at the NYC auditions:

Dance News

I think we can all agree "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 was one of the best seasons yet. We couldn't get enough of Cyrus, Eliana, Chehon, Tiffany and the whole gang. So when we heard Ovation was going to be airing the entire season again starting January 4, we did a major happy dance!

The episodes will air every Friday night at 8pm E.T. Just think—you can invite your dance friends over, pop some popcorn and relive the best moments of Season 9. It's like a dream come true!

To tide you over until January, here's one of our favorite numbers from the season: Eliana and Alex's Stacy Tookey-choreographed contemporary piece, Bang Bang.

Will you re-watch Season 9? What was your favorite piece? Tell us in the comments below!

Your favorite "So You Think You Can Dance"-ers are coming to a theater near you! Season 9's Top 10—Audrey, Chehon, Cole, Cyrus, Eliana, George, Lindsay, Tiffany, Will and Witney—are about to embark on a 30-city tour featuring performances of this year's most popular routines. Where can you catch 'em? Here are the tour dates and locations:

Oct 23: San Diego, CA - San Diego Civic Theatre

Oct 25: Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre L.A.

Oct 26: Oakland, CA - Paramount Theatre

Oct 28: Phoenix, AZ - Comerica Theatre

Oct 30: Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

Nov 1: St. Louis, MO - Fabulous Fox Theatre

Nov 2: Milwaukee, WI - Milwaukee Theatre

Nov 3: Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre

Nov 5: Rosemont, IL - Akoo Theatre

Nov 7: Toronto, ON - Sony Centre for the Performing Arts

Nov 9: Buffalo, NY - Shea's Performing Arts Center

Nov 10: Windsor, ON - The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor

Nov 11: Cleveland, OH - State Theatre

Nov 13: New York, NY - Beacon Theatre

Nov 14: New York, NY - Beacon Theatre

Nov 16: Boston, MA - Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre

Nov 17: Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods/MGM Grand Theater

Nov 18: Syracuse, NY - Landmark Theatre

Nov 20: Albany, NY - Palace Theatre

Nov 21: Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center

Nov 23: Atlantic City, NJ - The Arena at Trump Taj Mahal

Nov 24: West Long Branch, NJ - The MAC at Monmouth University

Nov 25: Pittsburgh, PA - Benedum Center

Nov 27: Newark, NJ - New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Nov 28: Baltimore, MD - Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric

Nov 30: Columbia, SC - Township Auditorium

Dec 1: Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center

Dec 2: Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center

Dec 4: Tampa, FL - Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Dec 5: Hollywood, FL - Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Get your tickets here !

On a related note—we just saw the final version of our December cover, featuring winners Eliana and Chehon. And you guys: It's AMAZING. Get excited!

Ah, "So You Think You Can Dance"! How we've missed you! We've had two long, lonely weeks with only a smattering of Olympic rhythmic gymnasts to satisfy our dance-y television competition needs. Doesn't it seem like ages and ages ago that we crowned the Top 14?

But hey, way to come back with a BANG, guys: After being MIA, the show went all-Mia (nyuk nyuk!) last night, with an episode paying tribute to the glory that is Mia Michaels. (I made sure to have my box of tissues handy.)

In theory, tribute shows like this are kind of a great idea. Not only are we guaranteed an awesome two hours of dance—no dud pieces to worry about here!—but they also level the playing field for the contestants. If every dancer is doing choreography that we already know is great (and sometimes Emmy-winning!), that means no unlucky dancer is handicapped by weird/unflattering choreo. And since these are some of the best pieces by one of the show's best choreographers, we can hope they're bringing out the best in the dancers, too.

That said, the dancers last night were also dealing with the specters of the ones who came before. As Nigel said, it's hard to disassociate these routines from their original casts, especially since Mia tends to choreograph for specific people—she tailors her dances to her dancers. And that's a lot of pressure. In the end, the tribute show was a bit of a double-edged sword for our Top 14.

It's almost unfair to pick out five highlights from a show that was, essentially, already a selection of highlights. But I'll do my darndest:

1. Cyrus and Eliana doing "The Door Routine." (Sidenote: Cyrus is roommates with Bryan Gaynor?? My mind was just blown. Moving on.) While the awkward lip close-ups from their rehearsal footage didn't bode well for this pair, once onstage, they had some serious chemistry. And Cyrus' little popping additions to that body roll backwards? Awesome.

2. George and Tiffany doing "Hometown Glory." I. Love. These. Two. After their performance last night, they're my hands-down favorites to make it to the very end this season. Katee and Josh who??

3. Janelle and Dareian doing "The Bed Routine." Here's the thing about the new "SYTYCD" format: Before the show even begins, the judges know who might be going home. And that drives me CRAZY. Because while I'm sure they're trying to be objective, I think their prior knowledge of the bottom six colors their judging. This routine was a prime example: While I thought it was pretty fantastic, frankly—talk about intensity!—the judges focused narrowly on Dareian's feet (really? was this a foot-centric piece?) and Janelle's "distracting" hairography (which was part of the choreography!). And hey, guess what? Both Janelle and Dareian were in the bottom six. Ugh.

4. Witney and Chehon doing "The Bench Routine." Oh man, do I ever love this piece, and I'm guessing everyone who was weaned on "SYTYCD" (so, all of you?) agrees with me. Witney and Chehon totally kicked butt, more than stacking up to the memory of Travis and Heidi. And The Ballet Boyz loooooove Chehon! All is right with the world.

5. Lindsay and Cole doing "The Addiction Piece." (Sidenote #2: OF COURSE Cole is friends with Mark Kanemura! Everything makes so much more sense now.) Cole definitely put his own spin on this role: While Kupono was a seducer, Cole was more abstract, a strangely magnetic robot. I didn't feel the dance as keenly as I did the first time around, but I think that's just because I knew what to expect this time.

The "So You Think you Can Whaaat?!" Moment of the Night: I'm sorry, time out: Guest judges The Ballet Boyz have never seen these iconic Mia pieces before? They're "unfamiliar" with Mia's work? I...but...really? Is there no YouTube in London? Yes, OK, it was interesting to have two judges on the panel who were totally new to these works (and yes, OK, their Nigel-produced show, "A Chance to Dance," premieres tomorrow), but come on, guys!

In the end, despite all that awesomeness, four—four!—somebodies had to go, and those somebodies were Amelia, Janelle, Dareian and Matthew (*sob!*). We'll miss you guys, but hey, if you've gotta go, at least go out on a Mia high. Snaps to everyone.

Congrats to the Top 10! Who do you think will be paired with which All Star? Let us know in the comments—and be sure to tune in next week, same time, same place, for our recap!

Dance News

After a grueling Vegas Week filled with tears, lectures and heartache, the final group of dancers (an insanely talented bunch!) headed to Hollywood to walk the famed Green Mile and learn whether they would snag a spot in the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 Top 20. Like always, the announcements were brimming with drama and suspense. And the judges were up to all of their old tricks: The pitting-best-friends-against-each-other trick (but, surprise! They took them both!), the you-really-weren't-good-enough-but-we'll-take you-anyway trick and, of course, the no-explanation (Kaitlynn Edgar, whaaat?!) dismissal.

So without further ado, meet your Season 9 Top 20!

Alexa Anderson, 19, Contemporary

Amber Jackson, 21, Contemporary

Amelia Lowe, 18, Contemporary

Audrey Case, 18, Jazz

Brandon Mitchell, 27, Stepping

Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp, 23, Ballet

Cole Horibe, 26, Martial Arts Fusion

Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer, 22, Animation

Daniel Baker, 24, Ballet

Dareian "Dare" Kujawa, 20, Contemporary

Eliana Girard, 21, Contemporary Ballet & aerialist

George Lawrence II, 19, Contemporary

Janaya French, 20, Lyrical Contemporary

Janelle Issis, 24, Belly Dancing

Lindsay Arnold, 18, Latin Ballroom

Matthew Kazmierczak, 21, Contemporary

Nick Bloxsom-Carter, 20, Ballroom

Tiffany Maher, 19, Jazz

Will Thomas, 19, Contemporary

Witney Carson, 18, Latin Ballroom

Now onto the best part of the night—the performances. Here are our Top 5 moments:

5. Eliana, Daniel and Cheyon's contemporary ballet piece. We couldn't have been happier to have a contemporary ballet number kicking off the season. Complexions Contemporary Ballet artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson choreographed an edgy, technical piece and the boys absolutely killed. While Eliana definitely gave a valiant effort, she had a few technical issues. But we have to give her credit, we can't imagine dancing in pointe shoes on that stage. [Side note: We swear Eliana and Lauren Gottlieb could be twins. They look so similar.]

4. Travis Wall's Top 10 girls routine. While we absolutely adore Travis, this wasn't our favorite piece he's ever done (the idea felt a bit unoriginal). That said, the performance was jaw-dropping. The girls were technically flawless and their precision and timing was perfect. Each girl was 100 percent full-out and dancing for her life. It. Was. Awesome.

3. Sonya Tayeh's Top 10 boys routine. We can't say we were as impressed with the boys as a whole as we were with the girls, but holy cow, Sonya—you rocked our world last night! The male-male partnering and strong masculine choreography were stunning. It was a bit underrehearsed and those maternity pants (as Nigel called them) were heinous, but that didn't stop us from loving the choreography.

2. Mia Michaels' Top 20 routine. Oh Mia, we've missed you! She more than made up for her absence last season with this brilliant routine. We can't wait for more.

1. Tiffany and Audrey's Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. These two tiny powerhouses stole the show! We were nervous when we learned Janelle was sick and would be sitting out, but after watching Tiffany and Audrey perform, we never would have guessed it was choreographed as a trio. They were technical and captivating and gave the best performance of the night. We want to see more from these two.

The "So You Think You Can Whaaaat??" moment of the night: Zooey Deschanel. The "New Girl" star joined Nigel and Mary on the judges' panel and it was just painful. Poor Cat kept trying to feed her lines and help her out, but it never got any better. We're all for guest judges—we just ask they have a teeny tiny bit of dance experience?

Now it's your turn. What did you think of the show? Do you have any early favorites? Tell  us in the comment section below!

Be sure to tune in next time on Wednesday, July 11!

 

Dance News

For the past couple of months, "So You Think You Can Dance" judge and producer Nigel Lythgoe has been dropping major hints that Season 9 was going to bring some big changes to the show. Here are a few new things you can expect.

 

  • No more results shows.
  • Contestants will be "dancing for their lives" in every routine.
  • No more long-winded Lil' C commentary. “He’ll have to make up shorter words,” says Lythgoe.
  • We'll crown male and female winners!

To read more details, click here.

How do you feel about these changes? Do you think crowning two winners will hurt the show? We want to know!

 

 

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