FOX

"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: The Last One Before The Academy

Is it just us or does it feel like the audition rounds have been going on for a really long time this season? (They haven't. In fact, this season only visited two cities—L.A. and NYC—and now we're already headed to The Academy. But for some reason, it's felt long.) This week, we wrapped things up in NYC and met—and re-met—a few stellar dancers along the way. Here are the names you'll need to know this season.


Magda & Kiki



This ballroom couple has been dancing together for eight years, and they perform a cha-cha to "Move Your Body" by Sia. (Sadly sans a Maddie Ziegler cameo.) "It's a very cheeky, fun dance," Magda says, before telling the world that they are dance soulmates. Kiki has killer legs and is super sexy; together they're technical, talented, and totally in sync. Is the routine on par with Danny and Lacey's epic Season 3 samba? Nah. But is it good enough to earn them tickets to The Academy? Yup!

The judges say: Nothing, actually. They just held up three Academy tickets.

Zachary Downer



If Zachary looks familiar, that's because he auditioned for the show two years ago during Season 12. He made it all the way to the Green Mile (aka that pressure-mounting walk down the memory-filled hallways onto the stage where the judges or All-Stars reveal your fate, NBD) before being cut. But did he let disappointment get him down? Nope: Zachary's back, motivated, inspired, and shirtless! He calls his piece "animalistic," and it's so strong and leggy and powerful and Ailey-esque. Clearly, he's going to the Top 10.

The judges say: Standing ovation! Mary says it was amazing and that Zachary gets to board the Hot Tamale Train. "I just cannot see you not making it this time," she tells him.
Vanessa says: "Oh my gosh, I'm dying. You were so frickin' fierce. You're like a bird. Almost."

Ramita Ravi



A mix of classical Indian dance and contemporary? Who says you can't teach a 14-seasons-old show new tricks? Ramita is trained in classical Indian dance but also "jazz, ballet, tap, all of that stuff," she says. She wanted to make all dance more accessible to her Indian parents, and it seems to be working.

The judges say: "I found that really interesting," Nigel says. Mary says it was "mesmerizing and joyful" and that she "could watch it all day long." Ramita's through to choreography and, ultimately, The Academy.
Vanessa says: "I love your hands! I want them!"

Arielle Disciascio



Arielle has been dancing since she was 4, and she has a very sad story about her mom being diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. But now she's in remission, thankfully! A competition dancer from Florida, Arielle comes equipped with a striking presence and gorgeous legs and feet. She's very bendy, very strong, and very much Top 10 material. (That sultry eyebrow raise!)

The judges say: "You have all the moves. So spot on," Mary says.
Vanessa says: "At one point you smiled, and it made me smile."

Romainson Romain



Romainson, who wins the Best Name prize, has auditioned for the show several times before. Now he's 29, which means this is his last shot, because 29 is very old in "SYTYCD" Land. He, too, has a very sad story: His cousin died in a factory accident, and Romainson is (understandably) very upset about it. So he dances it out.

The judges say: "I'm seeing that sadness inside you," Nigel says. "I want to see this move off your shoulders." Mary praises his perseverance and cries. It's very emotional.
Vanessa says: "I feel like you have so much inside of you that I want to see more of."

Claire Rathbun



This perky, Larsen Thompson-y, bubbly babe is a ballerina! "You can have a big personality while being a ballet dancer," she says. Gotta love that. As for the performance? We're suckers for ballet being mainstream. Is Claire the best ballerina ever? Nah. But she has nice feet and is very talented, and it's likely she's proficient in other styles, too, which we hope to see more of.

The judges say: Mary praises her grace, elegance, presence, control, and core. Nigel says, "that too."
Vanessa says: "I was dizzy just watching you!" (Someone teach Vanessa how to spot, STAT!)

Lex Ishimoto



So we're saving the best for last, huh? If you're fluent in contemporary or Broadway, Lex Ishimoto is already a familiar face and name. Not only was the hip-hop–trained dancer part of the Billy Elliot national tour, he's also a member of Shaping Sound. So basically, he can do it all, and we predict he will—as a part of the show's Top 10. He takes a risk by doing an improv routine for his audition, and it's a standing-O–worthy hit.

The judges say: Nigel says Lex is "gonna be a star," and we're over here like, "HE ALREADY IS, HE'S A MEMBER OF SHAPING SOUND, DUH." Mary likes his "double swipe," which interestingly is not a Tinder reference. She says he's in the "tenth dimension," which is also on board the Hot Tamale Train.
Vanessa says: "At one point, you jumped up and get so high off the ground and you kicked up your leg and the other leg came and you came down and it looked impossible!"

And that'll do it for the official audition rounds. Next week, we finally make our way to The Academy, where we'll be graced with choreography superstars including Nappytabs, Travis Wall, and Sonya Tayeh—plus this season's All Stars!

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search