"So You Think You Can Dance" Recap: Vanessa Sees Ducks!
This week, we're in the Big Apple: home of Broadway, New York City Ballet, and Dance Spirit HQ! They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. So who made it to The Academy this week? Pretty much everyone—with lots of amazing Vanessa Hudgens one-liners along the way. (We love you, Vanessa!)
Let's give it up for the night's standout performers—because they're all going to The Academy!
Kaylee "Impavido" Millis
She says Impavido is "Italian for 'to fear less," and that's what she stands for as a dancer. Kaylee has always wanted to be a dancer, and when she was young her parents were like, "Nah, you can pay for that hobby yourself." So, at 12, she got a job working at her mom's deli, and used the money to travel and dance. (If Kaylee looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen her as a PULSE Elite Protégé.)
The judges say: Nigel praised Kaylee's individuality and her "neat style" and "great face where you know you're pleasing people." He also liked her funk. Mary "absolutely loved it."
Vanessa says: "So beautiful! You are such a beautiful dancer! So much precision. Your groove is amazing. Beautiful, beautiful dancer."
The 4'11" ballroom dancer tells Cat Deeley in her pre-performance interview that she "wants to get on the Hot Tamale Train." Spoiler: She does. (Also, can we puh-lease get some more Cat Deeley up in here?) Ana and her partner (who isn't technically auditioning because he's "too old") perform a Colombian salsa, which, they explain, is faster and has more flavor and passion than a regular salsa. (Sounds like some salsa shade-throwing, amirite?) The lifts were great, but Ana seemed more focused on the steps than on having fun with them.
The judges say: Mary screamed really loud, then praised Ana for her stamina and called her a "little hot tamale." Nigel liked the lifts and said he "can't wait to practice some of those lifts with Vanessa." 😬
Vanessa says: "YAS QUEEN! Good things do come in small packages! That was so fun! The way you're like WOO when you're dancing!"
The Japanese-born dancer—whose parents are both sushi chefs—says dance "helps her communicate in a way that language can't." That is so beautiful, and so was her performance. Lots of deep second pliés, loads of emotion, and one very bendy back.
The judges say: Standing ovation! Nigel said she had power, strength, and tremendous technique, and that her performance was very professional. Mary appreciated the layers to her performance, as well as her beauty and strength.
Vanessa says: "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. I got chills when you hit your last pose. Your control! Your precision! You showed so much. When you smiled, I literally said awwww and it just made me so happy."
Joseph "Klassic" Carella and Huwer "Havoc" Marchet
Their style is called "flexing," and you can read more about it (and see it!) here. It's a genre that originated in Brooklyn, and it involves "connecting, punchlines, grooving, gliding," and other elements. It's weird and different, and we would've liked to see them go to the choreography round, but...
The judges say: ...straight to The Academy! Nigel says it was very artistic, and he thinks Havoc is a genius. Mary says it was "sick."
Vanessa says: "You like, told a story. And there was like, some comedy." (Bless your happy heart, Vanessa.)
This guy! He's a professional Broadway dancer who toured with both CATS and Newsies, so there's that. He's also on faculty at Broadway Dance Center. As if this tapper's not going to get through. His sounds are clean, he's super classy, and he pirouetted for long enough that the cameras eventually cut away to Vanessa screaming "YAS!"
The judges say: Standing ovation! Mary says Chaz was the first tapper to get her teary-eyed, and Nigel says Chaz was one of the best tappers he's seen in years.
Vanessa says: "You are so good! So so good! I felt you through your dance. There was a certain yumminess to your dancing."
He's a quirky guy who has his own quirky contemporary style, and we love him. He says his style "sometimes confuses people" (foreshadowing), but it's nice to see some totally original work. He danced to "Time of My Life"—that Dirty Dancing classic—and took it in a totally unexpected direction.
The judges say: They didn't so much say words as they did just kinda fumble around looking for the right way to describe what they'd just seen—but they knew they liked it.
Vanessa says: "Your routine was really confusing to me. I saw a duck..."
That's all for this week! There's more to come from NYC, so we'll see you back here next time!
Last May, we told you about a special exhibition of the Mark Ryden artwork that sparked Alexei Ratmansky's sweet-treat of a ballet, Whipped Cream. Well, hold on to your tiaras, bunheads, because there's a brand-new exhibit featuring actual costumes from this megahit production. The Nutcracker's Land of Sweets has some serious competition!
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.
Turnout—a combination of rotational flexibility and the strength to properly hold that rotation—is the foundation of ballet. But it's also a source of frustration for many dancers. After all, not everyone (actually, hardly anyone) is born with 180-degree rotation. “When I first started dancing, my hip flexors were strong, but I was forcing my turnout without using the right muscles," remembers Amanda Cobb, a former dancer with The Washington Ballet.
The good news is that it's possible to both improve your turnout and to dance beautifully with less-than-perfect rotation. But there's a lot of misinformation out there about how turnout works and why it's important. To help separate fact from fiction, DS asked the experts to disprove six turnout myths.
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.
Picture this: You've scored tickets to Ellen DeGeneres' hit show, "Ellen." The day has come, the show is as hysterical as ever, Ellen is debating the biggest hot-button issue since the blue/black or white/gold dress, "Laurel vs. Yanny" (side note: it's LAUREL, people), and tWitch is killing it over at the DJ booth, as always. Ellen decides it's the perfect time to single out an audience member and, lo and behold, that person is "SYTYCD" champ ( and December 2017 cover star!) Lex Ishimoto.
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.
If diamonds are a girl's best friend, it's safe to say that faux-diamond earrings are a dancer's best friend. A fixture onstage at just about every competition weekend, these blinged-out baubles are also the surest sign that recital season is upon us again. And what better way to get into the sparkly spirit than by drooling over these 5 diamonds in the rough? (Sorry not sorry!)
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!
You could say that a perk of dancing with Los Angeles Ballet is its proximity to Hollywood. It's no wonder, then, that when actor and comedian Kevin Hart was looking for someone to teach ballet lessons for his new "What the Fit" YouTube show, he reached out to the nearby company. The series follows Hart and his celebrity friends as they try different forms of exercise (such as sumo wrestling and goat yoga), with hilarious results. For his ballet episode, Hart brings along Hangover star Ken Jeong—and the dancers do their best to keep these madcap comedians under control.