“SYTYCD: The Next Generation” Season 13 Recap: The Academy
Welcome to The Academy!
The first rounds of auditions are complete, and this week we say "see ya later" to Nigel, Paula and Jason—and hello to one Miss Maddie Ziegler!
Here's how The Academy will work...
First, the dancers will perform solos for the panel of All-Stars: Sasha, Paul, Fik-Shun, Jenna, Comfort, Kathryn, Robert, Jonathan, Gaby and Joshua. After all the solos are complete, each All-Star will vie for five dancers (three in his or her own style, plus two wild-card options) to be on his or her team. (And like on "The Voice," if more than one All-Star wants a dancer, the dancer gets to pick which team to join.) Then, the choreography rounds begin. This week, the dancers get 90 minutes to learn a Warren Carlyle Broadway routine that they'll perform for the All-Stars. Then each All-Star will cut one dancer from his or her team before going on to next week's contemporary (with Travis Wall!) and hip-hop (with Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo!) rounds.
Got all that? Here are our five favorite moments from The Academy this week.
Warren Carlyle with dancers during The Academy. (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX)
We can't get enough of this girl. She was the first dancer up this week, and her solo killed. She earned hoots, hollers, "werks" and cheers of approval from all the All-Stars, who were on their feet by the end of the routine. Ultimately, both Kathryn and Sasha wanted Tate on their teams, and Tate chose to go with Kathryn. (Kathryn also scored beautiful ballerina Avery for her team.)
The "firecracker tapper" turns like a top and is so fun to watch. Plus, she's smart: Last week, she danced to a Paula Abdul song, and this week it was a Jason DeRulo jam. Girl knows her audience! Well played, lil' Emma. (Unsurprisingly, she joined Gaby's team.)
3. Sage's solo
The 13-year-old contemporary dancer could totally be a young Travis Wall, right? So we were super happy to see him join Robert's team, where we're absolutely confident he'll thrive. (Robert also got too-cute J.T. on his team, whose post-Broadway-round tears crushed our hearts. He's too sweet to cut! Can't we all be winners?!)
Maddie's here! (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX)
4. Not having the parents onstage!
It was so nice getting to see the dancers really be in their elements this week—meaning they got to perform without their parents joining them onstage. In light of the mounting pressure of the competition, the dancers seemed more at ease during their solos this time around.
5. The All-Stars
Raise your [jazz] hand if you cried when Jaryan didn't make the cut at the very end of the episode. (Joshua and Fik-Shun, you guys raising your hands? We know you are.) It seriously broke our hearts when Jaryan didn't get to continue after the ballroom round, but seeing the way the All-Stars all reacted to his breakdown was so heartwarming. Joshua was sobbing, and Fik-Shun joined Jaryan onstage to comfort him. It's clear the All-Stars already care so much about these kids, and we're excited to see where they take them onstage and beyond over the course of the season. (And we definitely have a big box of tissues on standby for the many inevitable tear-jerking moments we're about to endure.)
In our "Dear Katie" series, MCB 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!
I'm 14 and have been studying ballet seriously for about three years. Even though I feel ready,my teachers haven't put me on pointe yet. Am I doing something wrong? Should I ask them about it, or is it pointe-less?
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Samantha Figgins (Andrew Eccles)
Samantha Figgins is currently in her fifth season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (and was a Dance Spirit cover girl back in 2013!). But what many people don't know is that the gorgeous dancer suffers from single-sided deafness. As a baby, Figgins contracted spinal meningitis, which caused her to lose all hearing in her right ear. She never gave up on her dance dreams, though, and fought her way through uncomfortable situations, never missing an opportunity to learn and grow. Now, after getting her first pair of hearing aids, she opens up about her path to success. —(As told to Courtney Celeste Spears)
Sara Esty as Maggie in "A Chorus Line" (courtesy Esty)
Sara Esty's ethereal grace and sophisticated charm have won over ballet and Broadway audiences alike. The bunhead-turned-Broadway-baby began training near her hometown in Gorham, ME, at the Maine State Ballet's School for the Performing Arts (with her equally fabulous twin sister, Leigh-Ann). She enrolled full-time at the Miami City Ballet School in 2004, and joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2005. In 2006, Esty won the Princess Grace Award, and she was promoted to soloist at MCB in 2011. After leaving MCB in 2014, she made her Broadway debut in An American in Parisas the understudy for Lise, and went on to share the role of Lise with her sister on the show's national tour. Most recently, she was seen in 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Marie, Dancing Stillin Seattle, WA. —Courtney Bowers