"SYTYCD" Season 15 Recap: Meet Your Top 5 Guys (Finally!)
Yesterday's episode was the all-important final step before the live TV episodes begin. Last Monday night, Vanessa, Mary, and Nigel cut half of the remaining ladies after seeing them perform a duet outside their style with a male All-Star. And last night, it was (finally!) the men's turn. Here's what went down.
The ballroom dancer (and Harry Connick Jr. doppelgänger, just saying) was paired with Jaimie Goodwin for a gorgeous partnering-filled contemporary routine choreographed by Travis Wall. The judges basically awarded Cole the unofficial "Most Improved" award, with Nigel commenting, "There have been occasions when I thought you were a bit disingenuous. I did not feel that in this routine." Mary added that she's never seen a trajectory of improvement like the one he's had on the show thus far. Cole's reward? A spot in the Top 5!
Jay Jay Dixonbey
Cha-cha-Chelsie [Hightower] for Jay Jay! The contemporary dancer rose to the challenge of Elena Samodanova's explosively musical choreo, conquering it with his strong hits and body rolls for days. Vanessa gushed, "Your performance was so captivating. You're such a powerhouse! I love watching you dance." Nigel was less convinced, pointing out that Jay Jay consistently breaks the line of his arms. In the end, though, Jay Jay got a chance to prove himself to America with a slot in the Top 5.
Slavik, obviously an incredibly talented hip-hopper, faces a bit of an uphill climb in a competition like "SYTYCD." In his own words, "Choreography is still not my strong point." Luckily, Slavik ran with this week's assignment—in a big way. Paired with Allison Holker for a jazz number choreographed by Tyce Diorio, his intense presence made Mary squeal, "It was SO DARN BELIEVABLE! You're blowing my mind a little bit right now." Last night's eliminations took every performance from The Academy into account, but Slavik was able to tip the scales in his favor, netting a place in the Top 5.
Justin, please join our pham any time! This contemporary pham-omenon (nope, still not sorry) was endearingly energetic and articulate throughout his hip-hop number with Comfort Fedoke, but the judges wanted him to bring more weight into his dancing. Sadly, Justin went home this week, with Nigel saying that "What we'd all like to see is for you to be a little more grounded."
Peyton struggled somewhat with contemporary—his own style—previously in The Academy, not meeting the judges' high expectations from the judges. But he had a chance to redeem himself last night in a cha-cha with Chelsie Hightower. As Nigel noted, "All the things I expected you to be good at you were perfect at," but Mary thought that the chemistry wasn't there, and that Peyton wasn't dancing his best overall. At the end of the night, Peyton went home with the suggestion to work on personality before auditioning next season.
Kyle Bennett Jr.
Kyle must've been feeling some serious déjà vu: Last year, he was cut right before the live shows started. Dancing Travis Wall choreo with past winner Lauren Froderman, Kyle drew mixed reactions from the panel. Mary said, "What you lack in training you give with your heart." (Wait, is that a compliment or—?) And after Kyle left the stage, Nigel cryptically said "He's on my list." WHAT LIST, NIGEL? In the end-of-ep eliminations, it was Slavik vs. Kyle—and Slavik's outstanding performance earned him the spot. But we're rooting for you in Season 16, Kyle!
Another contestant who struggled in the ballroom round, Evan proved why he made it all the way to the Green Mile last season with his Brian Friedman-created contemporary routine alongside Allison Holker. Nigel acknowledged how he'd stepped up to the plate in a big way, and Mary "felt like I went through something with you. You gave it everything you could." What this tap dancer didn't realize until the end of the night is that he also gave himself a place in the Top 5!
This one broke our hearts—and Nigel's, too, surprising as that may sound. Though the animator turned in a stunning contemporary performance with Jaimie Goodwin, and Mary told him "You just went up another rung on the ladder for me," it wasn't quite enough. Though Dustin was encouraged to return next year, he was unclear on what went wrong: "I'm not sure what happened. I guess I'm just not what they're looking for at this particular time." Please come back next season, Dustin!
Tasked with Brian Friedman's piping-hot jazz choreography and paired with Lauren Froderman, Allen certainly had his moments last night, but it wasn't consistent enough for Mary, who noticed that "some of your dancing came from a really honest, organic place and some of it didn't." At the end of the night, Allen went home, with Nigel citing how Allen "started losing it around the jive," though he'd stunned during the first couple of days in the Academy.
Talk about a dramatic comeback! Both Darius and the judges noted that every solo he'd performed on the show was, well, sad. Last night, choreographer Luther Brown let another side of this contemporary dancer shine in a playfully comedic hip-hop routine with Comfort Fedoke. The effect on the judges was immediate: All three were literally dancing in their seats. Darius's breakthrough was (duh) rewarded with a spot in the Top 5.
Next week: The first live show of Season 15—and the first time the Top 10 get to dance with each other! Let the real games begin.
It's almost 2019 and the ballroom dance scene is positively booming! From prestigious world championships to TV shows, kids are at the core of all this hip-shaking action—and we're so here for it. These eight up-and-comers in particular are shaping the field. They're the next generation of superstars to make the leap from technically exquisite ballroom-ites to bona fide celebrities.
Well, we knew on an abstract level that Broadway's-golden-age guru Warren Carlyle would produce incredible choreo for the upcoming Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate! We just didn't know it would be THIS incredible.
At age 23, Djouliet Amara is a successful professional dancer signed with a talent agency in NYC. She's studied at The Ailey School and even danced in "Memoria" with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Having performed at City Center and appeared in numerous commercial campaigns for brands like Forever 21, Refinery29, and Danskin, it would appear that Amara is living a life most dancers only dream of. But as glamorous and successful as her career has been, Amara's journey to this point has not been an easy one. Her biggest challenge was her battle with an eating disorder that nearly cost Amara her career. Find out how this dancer found body acceptance and, in so doing, uncovered a dream she never knew she had. —Katherine Beard
Warning: This story may be triggering for those who have suffered or are suffering from disordered eating.
"Lame duck." It sounds like nothing else in the classical ballet vocabulary, right? Also known as step-up turns or step-over turns—or, more technically, as piqués en dehors—these tricky pirouettes show up all over the classical ballet repertoire, perhaps most famously in Odette's Act II variation in Swan Lake. Here's how to keep your lame ducks from looking, well, lame.
When most of us think of The Nutcracker, we imagine a growing Christmas tree, dancing mice, and a little girl named Clara (or Marie) traveling to the Land of Sweets. But companies around the world have been reinventing the holiday classic, changing the storyline or adding their own spectacular sets and characters. To get in the Nutcracker spirit this season, check out these out-of-the-box productions.
Every year, our friends over at Dance Magazine select 25 standout dancers, choreographers, and companies for their "25 to Watch" feature. The list is always overflowing with talent, but this year's iteration was especially exciting—four of the featured dancers have graced the pages of DS at one point or another: former cover star Aran Bell, DS Cover Model Search semi-finalist Sophie Miklosovic, Jasmine Harper, and "You Should Know" alum Easton Payne. It was a totally full-circle moment to see each of them score a coveted spot on this list. Check out their profiles below (which originally appeared in Dance Magazine), and major congratulations to everyone else selected this year!
Maddie Ziegler is the kween of dance these days and it seems like there's no move this teen dancing machine can't do...or is there? In a recent video with Teen Vogue, Maddie shows us just how lit her dance skills are by demonstrating 10 iconic music video dance routines. From Britney Spears to Michael Jackson, the "Dance Moms" star gets her groove on as she dissects some of the most popular dances of all time. Though Maddie is a great dancer, it's pretty entertaining watching her do moves that might be a little outside of her comfort zone.
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It's the age-old debate: Is dance a sport? The answer is, without a doubt, YES. Of course, dance is much more than just a sport. But when we get down to the logistics of it all, it's impossible not to recognize it as the athletic endeavor it is. Here are 10 reasons why dance absolutely qualifies as a sport.
Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.
Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!
The Nutcracker has become an essential part of the holiday season—not to mention a part of most dancers' DNA. These days, the ballet is a beloved tradition, and the lifeblood of many dance companies, whose budgets depend on its reliably great ticket sales. But did you know that it was a flop when it first premiered in Russia? Or that George Balanchine himself once played Drosselmeyer on TV? Here's a timeline of the rich history of The Nutcracker.
For some it's a holiday tradition, for others its an iconic spectacle, but no matter the reason, more than 1 million people will watch the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year. And though the production has been around since 1933, much of what goes on behind those velvety curtains and intricate sets remains a mystery. To curb our curiosity and find out what ensues when these leggy ladies aren't doling out their sky-high kicks, we got a backstage tour from the legends themselves.
From hair and makeup, to warm-up exercises, and costume quick changes (the fastest quick change in the show is a #mindblowing 75 seconds, by the way) we got a glimpse into the glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) world of the Rockettes.
Showstopper sees all different dancers from across the world at their dance competitions. They understand sometimes it can hard to know how to stand out among the 100s of dancers that perform on their stages.
On March 30, 1958, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, dancer Alvin Ailey and a group of African-American dancers performed onstage together for the first time. Since then, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the company Ailey formed, has become legendary in the dance world. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, Ailey has dubbed its annual City Center season "Ailey 60." From Nov. 28–Dec. 30 choreographers including Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang, and Rennie Harris will present premieres, alongside the works of current artistic director Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, and over two dozen pieces by Alvin Ailey himself. We asked a few of the company members to share what the anniversary means to them.
When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.
So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.
The holidays are just around the corner and that means it's time to get your wish lists finalized. And while we have no doubt that stylish leos and cozy warm-ups will find their way onto your list, we think you'll want to consider adding some of these lit dance books to your holiday lineup, too. From revamped Nutcracker tales to biographies of your favorite dance stars, we've rounded up the latest and greatest books that every dancer will want to see in their stockings this season.