"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: And Then There Were 8
Before we get into this week's recap, let's all show some love for Travis Wall, who had a day yesterday. Just hours before "So You Think You Can Dance" was set to air, Wall was at Disneyland (with friend and "Modern Family" star and aspiring Shaping Sound member Jesse Tyler Ferguson, NBD), where he found himself at a bit of a standstill—literally. "Not gonna be able to make 'So You Think' tonight...because I'm stuck on Indiana Jones," Wall shared on Instagram yesterday afternoon.
But hooray! He eventually did get off the stalled ride, and was in the audience alongside Mandy Moore. We're glad you made it, Travis!
On to the show:
This week, the Top 9 performed solos and duets with their All Stars. You know the drill. As always, we'll skip the solos and get right to the good stuff. (Though the solos were, like last week, so good.) Here's how it all went down.
The opening number
This hip-hoppy-Afro-jazzy Luther Brown piece was...nice. It wasn't our favorite opening number, TBH, but anytime we get to see all these dancers onstage together is a good day. Standouts included Comfort, Lex, Jenna, and Gaby—so, Lex, basically—though it was admittedly hard to recognize some of the dancers under the flashy costumes and giant headpieces.
Logan & Allison
Choreographers: Emma Slater & Sasha Farber
This World War II-themed piece (in a sort of happy way, not a Pearl Harbor way) was so much fun. It's obviously ridiculous that Logan landed in the bottom three last week. That back flip! That kiss into the backward roll into the handstand! Look, we know Logan is fantastic. Maybe the audience wants to see him establish more of a connection with the camera, the judges, or Allison. Like many a virtuoso before him (Danny Tidwell, Jakob Karr, even Travis Wall), Logan has the technical chops to win this entire competition. He just needs viewers to fall in love—and pick up the phone.
The judges said: Mary said Logan had it all, and that it was boppy and fun and kicky (though, she said, the triple-step was a little too skippy). Nigel said he doesn't want to see Logan in the bottom three again, and that as long as he keeps dancing like he just did, he'll be safe. And Vanessa said it was "so so good" and that Logan was "such a rockstar up there." (Vanessa is the most joyful "SYTYCD" judge ever, right?)
Koine & Marko
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Oooooh, Koine got down as a pageant girl gone rogue, and it was good. The concept was cool on its own, but Koine's delivery took it to another level. She had the angsty thing down pat, and the stylized, lyrical hip-hop movement totally suited her. (Sorry, Marko. We love ya, but we didn't even look at you once during that routine, because Koine just smashed it.)
The judges said: Standing ovation! Nigel called Koine a "feral wild animal," and thanked Dave Scott for the choreo. Vanessa said it was amazing and incredible, and she liked that Koine got a little grimy. And Mary said these two, as always, have amazing chemistry, and she liked that Koine "got gangster on us."
Dassy & Fik-Shun
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
This routine was sexy, and these two were really fun to watch. You have to be such a superstar performer to stand out alongside Fik-Shun, but Dassy pulled it out (and in high-heeled, thigh-high boots, no less). These two always look like they're having a blast. Dassy never made this piece look like it was about the steps—she kept the focus on the performance.
The judges said: Vanessa said Dassy was sexy and that it was "so much fun," but she wanted more "rawwwwwr." Mary said there was quite a bit of "rawwwwwr," and said they definitely brought the funk. She also praised Dassy for her confidence, and said Fik-Shun's best decision ever was picking Dassy as a partner. And Nigel said it wasn't just sexy, it was "slightly naughty," and that he "won't sleep tonight." (Ew.)
Mark & Comfort
Choreographer: Talia Favia
Can we give it up for Talia Favia, please? This piece was beautiful, different, and emotional. There were moments of strength—like when Mark and Comfort basically played airplane—and moments of silence, like those paused hinges in perfect unison. The partnering was fantastic, and it was great seeing these two relaxing their groove a bit.
The judges said: Mary praised the rawness, realness, and passion of the performance. Nigel said Mark is willing to do anything and everything that's asked of him, and that he gives it his whole heart. And Vanessa agreed with everything they said. (But Nigel, again, a plea: Please spend less time praising the All Stars. We know you love them. We do too! We get it! But let's keep the focus on the contestants.)
The All-Star Group Routine
Travis! Not only did he heroically make it off the Indiana Jones ride (we don't know how it actually happened, but we like to imagine him leaping and turning his way outta Disneyland backed by a fully choreographed entourage), but he also choreographed this hauntingly beautiful piece for all 10 All Stars (welcome back, Jasmine!). When Marko dove over all the All Stars? Yeah. These dancers are magic. Also magic: the way they were suddenly in different outfits at the end. How?! Tell us your secrets, Travis!
Lex & Gaby
Choreographer: Warren Carlyle
While it's tempting to say this "isn't Lex's style," it kind of is: The well-rounded dude starred in and toured with Broadway's Billy Elliot back in the day. But this choreography was a little faster and a lot more energetic than what a pre-teen Lex did as Billy. (Though Lex sweetly told Gaby that this choreography reminded him of why he started dancing in the first place: "for the pure fun of it." Aw!) Lex was so smooth, and even though the piece was, indeed, quick, he didn't miss a beat, nailing that speedy triple pirouette into a massive battement. And the final tour en l'air? Awesome.
The judges said: Standing ovation! Nigel said he went to see Hello Dolly! this weekend. OK, Nigel! Vanessa said it was "so good" and "amazing." And Mary said they danced their patooties off, and that it was "one great moment after another after another," and then she welcomed them on board the Hot Tamale Train. Naturally.
Sydney & Paul
Style: Hip hop
Choreographer: Luther Brown
This routine was colorful and quirky, but it was also kind of forgettable. It wasn't quite hard-hitting enough, it wasn't quite groovy enough, and it just wasn't quite enough enough to stand out in this very competitive season. Was it enough for Sydney to prove her staying power after landing in the bottom last week? We weren't sure.
The judges said: Vanessa said, "Wow! Here you are with some hip hop, doin' ya thing! I like it!" She wanted more of a stank face, though, and said it could've been dirtier. Mary said words like "sick, frozen, lit, disgusting," and then said the ballroom duo did a "respectable job" tackling hip hop. And Nigel said it needed more stank, which is hard to do when you're "cute" and "beautiful."
The Top 9 Group Routine
Chris Baldock's high-energy routine was colorful and super fun, and Lex, Kaylee, Kiki, and Taylor (that développé!) definitely made the most of their screen time.
Kaylee & Cyrus
Choreographer: Spencer Liff
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Kaylee is amazing, and she's just not getting the fanfare we think she deserves. This piece was slick and stylized, with plenty of jazz hands thrown in. All those sharp, precise movements? Kaylee nailed 'em. And no one dropped a hat, which is always an applause-worthy feat when working with (and throwing around) tricky props.
The judges said: Mary loved watching them, but admitted parts of it looked labored. Nigel thought the quirky style worked for Kaylee, and he appreciated the Gwen Verdon-like moments. And Vanessa liked the control and tension.
Taylor & Robert
Choreographer: Jean Marc Genereux
These two! They are on it, no matter what style they get. Their chemistry is incredible, and Taylor just shines and sparkles in that spotlight. We loved this sultry samba, but...
The judges said: Nigel didn't feel a flirtatious spark between them. (What?!) Vanessa said it was very impressive, but she wanted more fire and anger. And Mary said it's not easy being at the top, and that this piece wasn't super technical. Agree to disagree, judges.
Kiki & Jenna
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
While Kiki is admittedly not the most flexible nor the most balletic—and the rehearsal footage indicated this piece could've been a disaster—he pulled it off. He connected with Jenna and tossed her around like it was NBD. There were times he looked a little too ballroom-y, and it would've been nice to see him let go a bit more, but Keeks, man, you did it. (Can we call you Keeks, BTW? We're gonna call you Keeks.)
The judges said: Travis Wall, Indiana Jones Ride Survivor, gave it a standing ovation. And so did the judges! Vanessa giggled and said it was amazing, then praised the couple's tangible chemistry. Mary cried, which made Jenna snuggle up to The Keekster (can we call you The Keekster?), and it was so cute. Nigel said he refuses to stop telling Jenna she's fabulous, and admitted he was still in shock from Kiki's incredible hip-hop performance last week.
After all those highs, Cat reminded us that this is, after all, a competition—which meant someone was getting sent home.
After last week's votes, the bottom three were Dassy, Sydney, and Mark.
The judges immediately saved Mark, and decided to send home...
(But don't worry: You'll see her and the rest of the Top 10 on tour!)
Next week we do it all over again. In the meantime, let us know who you're voting for!
In case you haven't heard, the classic musical My Fair Lady is back on Broadway in a 10-time Tony-nominated production—including a nod for Christopher Gattelli's critically-lauded choreography. (Fun fact: Also among the nominations is Gattelli's own choreography for SpongeBob SquarePants—he's so good that he's competing against himself! But I digress.)
The Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center is the 54,000 square foot home of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, one of the largest facilities dedicated to dance on a private university campus. Designed for their innovative new curriculum, that supports a range of dance styles, the school's staff designated Harlequin to provide wall-to-wall flooring for the large 3,500 square foot Performance Studio as well as five dance studios in their new state-of-the-art building.
When watching Megan Skalla dance, several things are immediately obvious. She has legs for days and the archy feet to match. Her core is rock-solid, and her sweet smile is contagious. But the longer you spend with her, the more something else becomes clear: Megan’s got sass. Whether it’s a sharp shoulder roll during a hip-hop class or an intense stare during a sky-high développé, there’s a certain something extra that makes this 16-year-old pop. And her steadfast devotion to dance means she’s only getting better.
Megan started dancing when she was 3 at a small ballet studio near her hometown of Draper, UT, and was hooked immediately. At 7, she switched to a new studio, Pulse 31, and started to compete, but she still wasn’t dancing as much as she wanted. Finally, she came to The Dance Club in Orem, where she currently trains. She takes ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical, and sometimes supplements her training with private ballet classes at nearby Barlow Arts Conservatory. “I’ve always loved ballet,” says Megan, who has attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship for the past two years. “It’s the foundation for everything, and it makes me a stronger dancer in other genres.”
Though she dances from morning until night, Megan admits to boogying through her kitchen when she gets home, and would still do more if she could. “There’s a dance company that’s a big deal at my high school, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do both,” she says. Devoting her time to The Dance Club, she says, is more conducive to her goal of dancing professionally. The studio is full of mega-talented dancers, and Megan shines among them. Her secret? “In class, some dancers will avoid going across the floor with someone they think is better than they are,” she says. “But I like to go across the floor with the best dancer in class. That way, I can push myself to come up to her level.”
Megan’s strategy is working. She won the Teen High Score Solo award at New York City Dance Alliance regionals and was a Top 10 Outstanding Dancer finalist at NYCDA Nationals. She has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was one of four Capezio NYCDA Model Search winners. As for the future, Megan knows one thing for sure: She’s going to keep dancing. “I want to go to college for dance, maybe to Brigham Young University, Marymount Manhattan or Juilliard,” she says. “But I still have a while to decide.” Until then, she’ll stick to her busy schedule. “It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says. “But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Birthday: March 6, 1996
Favorite food: Pasta
Most-played on her iPod: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
Dream dance role: “It would be really fun to be a Rockette. I want to do the Rockette summer intensive this year.”
Three words that describe her dancing: “Soft, passionate, aggressive”
Dream dance company: Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Favorite dance movie: Step Up
Who would play her in a movie: Nina Dobrev from “The Vampire Diaries”
First thing she does in the morning: “Hit the snooze button so I can sleep for 10 more minutes.”
Favorite dancers of all time: Travis Wall and Joey Dowling
Hidden talent: “I like to sing, but I’m only OK. I’d like to take voice lessons.”
Performer she’d die to work with: Celine Dion
Must-see TV shows: “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Lying Game”
Allison Thornton, Megan’s teacher at The Dance Club: “Megan has the body that every dancer dreams of: long legs, beautiful feet, great extension. But the best thing about Megan is that she knows how to use it all. She works really hard, and as good as she is in rehearsal, she’s even better onstage. Megan is very humble. She always has a smile on her face, she gets along with the other girls and she’s easy to work with. She’s a good person who has been blessed with great talent.”
Joanna Numata, street jazz instructor at Broadway Dance Center: “The first thing I noticed about Megan were her beautiful lines. She also had a really good, positive energy during class. She took direction and corrections well, which is so important.”
Stefanie Roper didn't take her first ballet class until she was 20. Despite her obvious facility, she encountered plenty of naysayers. "I remember one teacher telling me, 'Honey, you're just too old,' " she says. And she did have to overcome obstacles as she entered the ballet bubble. "People talked about how good my feet were, and I didn't understand what they meant for the first four months," Roper remembers, laughing. But she found a mentor at Utah Valley University, where she was a student, and persevered. Now, six years later, Roper's professional resumé includes a stint with BHdos, Ballet Hispanico's second company.
It seems like most professional ballet dancers started taking ballet classes before they were born, especially the women. For those who didn't discover ballet until after elementary school, it can feel impossible to catch up to dyed-in-the-wool students. But it's not. Late starters face plenty of hurdles, but good facility and hard work will take you far—even if it isn't into the ranks of a ballet company.
Dancing kween Jennifer Lopez is preparing us for the second season of "World of Dance" by dropping an insane World of Dance promo that has her slaying the dance floor like we've never seen before. If America wasn't on the edge of their seats for the May 29th premiere they are now—wondering how the contestants of "World of Dance" could possibly outdo such a performance—but there's no doubt they will. This season's roster of dancers really takes the show's name to heart cause it's out of this world, with each dancer as ferociously talented as the rest! (We don't envy J. Lo's job of having to pick just one.) We've rounded up 7 young dancers you won't want to miss.
DancerPalooza, America's Largest Dance Festival, is moving to sunny SAN DIEGO, California from July 24-29, 2018.
Check out all of the NEW Intensives DancerPalooza has to offer this year!
Considering we practically live in our dance clothes, there's really no such thing as having too many leotards, tights or leggings (no matter what our mom or friends say!). That's why we treat every sale as an opportunity to stock up. And thanks to the holiday weekend, you can shop all of your dancewear go-tos or try something totally new for as much as 50% less than the usual price.
Here are the eight sales we're most excited about—from online options to in-store retailers that will help you find the perfect fit. Happy Memorial Day (and shopping)!
Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!