Dance News
Adam Rose/FOX

At the start of last night's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," 41 dancers remained. An hour later, we had a Top 20. And then there was a BIG FAT TWIST. (We'll get to that.)

The 41 still-standing Academy dancers showed up at the Dolby Theater in L.A. ready to tackle three rounds: contemporary choreography with seven-time Emmy nominee and one-time "SYTYCD" contestant Travis Wall; an "epic group routine" with jazz choreographer and La La Land she-ro Mandy Moore; and a last-chance solo showdown. Here's what happened.

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Dance News
Dancers tackling Nappytabs' intricate choreo at The Academy (Adam Rose/FOX)

After four speedy rounds of solo auditions, we've arrived at The Academy!

If you've been living in "So You Think You Can Dance" Land for a long time (shout-out to everyone who was alive and watching back when Nick Lazzarini won Season 1 in 2005), The Academy is the new Vegas Week, when the narrowed-down group of dancers who impressed the judges in NYC and L.A. get thrown to the wolves. (This year, as we found out in last night's ep, Academy sessions happened at the Dolby Theater in L.A.) They're put through grueling choreography rounds, where they're tasked with picking up choreo super fast, then performing it, then hoping not to get cut, and then moving onto the next style—learn, rehearse, repeat.

This week, the choreographers on deck were husband-and-wife dream team Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo and ballroom wizard Jean-Marc Généreux. But first, we kicked things off with a prelim in which the 70 Academy dancers did solos for Nigel, Mary, and Vanessa. Those performances determined whether or not they'd move on to the choreography rounds. And the judges weren't playing—Nigel said he was ready to "break a few hearts."

So, how'd the first Academy episode play out?

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Dance News
Andrew Avila and Melany Mercedez brought the FIRE. (Jef Neira/FOX)

We're back—back in the New York groove!

It's the last round of auditions before Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch send our "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 hopefuls off to The Academy. Who might we see there (location still undisclosed)? Here's a rundown of last night's highlights.

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Dance News
Jef Neira/FOX

Welcome to New York—it's been waiting for you! (Seriously, find a situation in which there isn't a perfectly applicable and relatable Taylor Swift quote.)

On last night's episode, "So You Think You Can Dance" hopefuls strutted their stuff for Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch in the Big Apple, home of Broadway, ballet, and Dance Spirit. Could NYC's talent rival that of its sunny west coast counterpart? Here's how the auditions shook out.

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Dance News
Adam Rose/FOX

How do you top Jay Jackson? We weren't sure it was possible—until it happened.

Last night, "So You Think You Can Dance" gave us part two of its L.A. audition journey. Along the way, we smiled, laughed, and definitely cried. We also learned that there won't be choreography rounds this year. (Sad! Who doesn't love it when Tabitha, Napoleon, Sonya, and Travis come in and whip everyone into shape?) So the stakes were even higher, because the dancers had only one chance to impress Nigel, Mary, Vanessa and tWitch. If the judges were feeling them, they went straight through to The Academy, exact location still undisclosed.

Here are last night's highlights.

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Dance News
We LIVED for this fiery ballroom trio. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's baaaaack!

"So You Think You Can Dance" kicked off its 15th season last night with auditions in L.A. (and a killer, developpé-filled opening montage set to "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman). Nigel, Mary, Vanessa (looking sparklier and chicer than ever), and Cat were all on hand—plus tWitch was in the house to help out with auditions.

So, who's poised to become the next Lex, Kida, Gaby, or Ricky? Here are the dancers that led the pack during the season premiere.

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Dance News
University of Minnesota Dance Team (courtesy University of Minnesota)

They say there's no "I" in "team"—and nowhere is that truer than the world of college dance teams, where precision reigns, uniformity is key, and a single misstep from any given "I" can cost a group a championship trophy. So it's unsurprising that securing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country is no easy feat.

Members of these highly athletic teams rehearse for hours every week—on top of academic classes and commitments—and perform at football and basketball games, annual concerts, and nationally televised competitions (hi, ESPN). And "no I" rule notwithstanding, each of these top teams is made up of highly trained, highly technical, highly hard-core individuals, who come together to create a ready-for-victory pack.

These six teams aren't one-off success stories—they're consistently strong, and earn the top spots at major competitions like UDA and NDA nearly every year. Up for the challenge? Here's what to know before you go to auditions.

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Dancer to Dancer
Ruby Castro with All-Star partner Paul Karmiryan on "So You Think You Can Dance" (Adam Rose/FOX)

When Ruby Castro became a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, she was a fresh, feisty new face to most at-home viewers. But in the dance world—particularly on the ballroom circuit—Ruby was already a household name. Miami-based Ruby grew up as a belle of the ballroom: Her parents, Manny and Lory Castro, are veritable superstars of the scene. They're the owners of Dance Town, an ultra-competitive studio in Doral, FL, and raised Ruby to follow in their furiously fast footsteps. Before she graced the "SYT" stage, Ruby had already been named a U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom, and competed on "America's Got Talent"—twice!

So, we know she's talented, we know she's versatile, we know she's stunning, and we know she can dance. But here's what you may not know about Ruby.

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Dancer to Dancer
Courtesy Camryn Bridges

When Camryn Bridges burst onto the "Dance Moms" scene in 2016, she made immediate waves. Sure, there was the inevitable reality TV drama that's bound to happen whenever a new cast member joins the crew—but then there was the fact that Camryn was good. Between her explosive jumps, her total commitment to each routine, and her ability to wring herself out every time she hit the stage, Camryn quickly became a force to be reckoned with.

Though "Dance Moms" has since closed up shop, Camryn is still crushing the dance scene, the convention scene, and her Instagram game. (A quarter million followers can't be wrong!) Here's what else you should know about the St. Louis, MO, native.

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Dancer to Dancer
Drew Herman/FOX

When "So You Think You Can Dance" decided to shake up its format during its 13th season, featuring dancers under 18, reactions were mixed. But even the most skeptical viewers couldn't help but fall in love with tiny tapper Emma Hellenkamp, who ended up shuffling her way to the finale, ultimately nabbing the third runner-up spot. Emma, who was paired with former "SYT" winner and fellow tapper Gaby Diaz, wowed fans every single week with her furiously fast feet, larger-than-life smile, and sweeter-than-candy personality. Here's a little peek at a few of this versatile comp kid's favorite things.

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Dancer to Dancer
Courtesy 24 Seven Dance Convention

It's hard not to gush about choreographer Lauren Adams. The always-smiling 24 Seven faculty member has a heart of gold, and the moves to match: She's a contemporary queen who can also hold her own in the ballroom and at the ballet barre. Add the fact that she's a total knockout, and it's safe to say Lauren is equal parts #goals and #girlcrush. So how does she stay so happy, healthy, fit, and fabulous? Here are her secrets.

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Dancer to Dancer
Via @maudiepooh on Instagram

Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.

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Dancer to Dancer
Lex and Taylor in Mia Michaels' "You Matter To Me" (photo by Adam Rose, courtesy Fox)

"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.

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Dancer to Dancer
Via @chantelaguirre on Instagram

Chantel Aguirre is a member of Shaping Sound, a newlywed, and a former Dance Spirit cover girl. And if you happen to follow her on Instagram (which you obviously do, right?), you know that the ballerina-turned-contemporary-dancer seems to permanently rock the dreamy, ethereal glow of a well-rested goddess. How does she take care of herself, even while touring the country in Shaping Sound's newest show, After the Curtain? "My overall goal every day is finding balance," Aguirre says. "I try to fuel myself with all things pure—in foods, in the people I surround myself with, and in my overall mindset." Here are 11 more ways Aguirre keeps her mind and body at peace on the road.

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Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Joe Toreno

Food: Ramen

Movies: The Magnificent Seven and Inception

TV Show: "The Office"

Sneaker brands: Nike and Adidas

Fellow Top 10 contestant: "They were all fantastic, but I bonded the most with Kiki Nyemchek. We both love shoes and the same type of music."

Season 14 performance: The Anthony Morigerato–choreographed tap number with Gaby, from the first live show. "It was the only tap number of the whole season! And it was a good way to show that I can tap, too. I wanted to prove my versatility."


Want to hear more from the sensational "SYTYCD" winner? Click here!

Dance News
Photo by Joe Toreno

Find out what Lex thought of the "SYTYCD" judges and who teased him the most on set.

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