"DWTS: Juniors" Week 8 Recap: The Semifinals

Sky Brown and JT Church perform the tango (via @dancingabc on Instagram)

We're nearing the end of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" and we're more than a little sad about that. But as the end of the competition nears, the dancing has been taken to the next level. The technique is pretty close to perfect and the performance quality from these little dance darlings is equal to that of the pros! We'll admit we're not jealous of the judges as they score these dance prodigies. It was hard enough to pick one stand-out performance of the night. These kids are talented dancers and the winner is anyone's guess at this point!


Sky Brown and JT Church's Argentine tango really stood out this week. These pint-size performers were on fire as they performed this technically challenging dance. Sky's maturity and passion took front and center during this routine and we couldn't look away. She pays attention to the details and has the poise and passion of dancers twice her age. What I love most about watching this couple, though, is the fact that they make the traditional steps as exciting to watch as the lifts and trick steps. And that's the sign of a true dancer. Every week Sky improves by leaps and bounds, and at this rate, she'll be ready to join the pros on "DWTS" next season.

Sky & JT's Argentine Tango - DWTS Juniors www.youtube.com

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Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)

In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."

Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.

In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.

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Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

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