“SYTYCD: The Next Generation” Season 13 Recap: The Eliminations Begin
We knew it was coming.
We knew right from episode one when we started getting attached to these young dancers that soon we'd have to start saying goodbye to them one at a time. And now—after watching them all show their best moves for the first time on live television last week—that time has come.
But first, let's talk about the good stuff, because there was loads of good stuff on last night's episode.
Kida and Tate's hip-hop routine. (BRB, running out to buy overalls, stat.) (Photo via FOX)
The dancers got out of their comfort zones this week by pairing up with their fellow contestants and dancing styles other than their own. Each dancer performed four routines. Again, four routines per contestants. Make sure you tell your non-dance friends watching that that is a lot to learn in one week. Each dancer performed two duets with a new partner (a fellow contestant, not an All-Star this time), one short routine with his or her All-Star partner, and an opening number. This is no joke, people. That's a lot of choreography to master.
And master it all, they did. Here are our favorite moments from last night's show.
Emma and J.T. performing a Nappytabs hip-hop routine. And the award for Biggest Smiles goes to... (Photo via FOX)
1. The opening Bollywood routine
In honor of busting out of the comfort zones, why not kick off the show by getting everyone out of their comfort zones? No dancer on the show right now—neither a contestant nor an All-Star—lists Bollywood as his or her speciality, so it was fun seeing all 20 dancers come together to perform this unique style. The routine was high-energy and tons of fun, and the only way we could tell the contestants from the All-Stars was because they wore different outfits. (That part when J.T. got to dance up front and shine in the spotlight for a second? He was living for that moment.) Nakul Dev Mahajan, you never disappoint. Way to kick off the show.
Bollywood mania! (Photo via FOX)
2. Having tWitch on the judging panel
While Jason Derulo was...somewhere...tWitch stepped in to fill his spot on the panel! His feedback was pretty tame, but he could've been silent up there and we would've been fine with it. (Though he did have a few gems, like telling Sheaden, "You're cooler than a polar bear's toenails.") tWitch, your smile gives us life.
3. The contestants getting to dance with each other!
Sure, the contestant-and-All-Star duos last week were nice. But this week, with the contestants dancing with each other, we were reminded of the "So You Think You Can Dance" format we know and love. Each pair learned and performed two routines in two different styles. Tahani and Jake were so sweet together, Tate and Kida proved they're forces to be reckoned with (donning overalls to boot), and J.T. and Emma were all-smiles and totally adorable. All-Stars, we love you, but these are the pairings we love.
4. Jake and Tahani's contemporary duet
As tWitch said, when these two were onstage performing this piece together, they were all, "I got you." Their routine, choreographed by Bonnie Story, was about bullying, and it hit home for Jake, who shared that he has been bullied for being a dancer. It's hard to learn this much choreography each week and maintain a strong performance quality, but Jake and Tahani nailed it this week. Not only did they dance full-out and beautifully, but they also connected with each other onstage and supported each other throughout the piece. Both dancers were crying by the end of the performance—and so were we. No surprise there.
ENCORE, PLZ. (Photo via FOX)
5. Maddie Ziegler coming into her own on the judging panel
Last week, Maddie's feedback was mostly complimentary and she didn't say a whole lot. This week, though, Maddie spoke up a lot more, and we loved it. We especially loved seeing her get on the dancers' levels and relating to them. (Like when she told J.T. and Emma she got where they were coming from in their hip-hop piece because she isn't a hip-hop dancer either, so she appreciated their efforts.) Having Maddie pop in during the rehearsals felt more cohesive this week, too. She's able to see how hard the dancers work and what challenges they overcome, and it's nice seeing her getting to know them and being invested in their performances. Keep it up, Maddie!
Speaking of Maddie, did anyone else expect her to bust out a cameo during the All-Star group routine? You simply can't have a Sia song without a Maddie Z. appearance!
Ladies and gentlemen, your All-Stars! (Photo via FOX)
Other highlights from last night included Tate and Kida's John Deere-themed hip-hop routine ("You're two of the best dancers we've got on this show," Nigel told them afterward), J.T. and Emma's cute West Side Story Broadway routine, Jordan's smile, Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo sucking on lollipops in the audience (adopt us?), Sheaden's awesome stage presence and the All-Stars waiting in the wings with hugs for their dancers after each performance. (Of course this was totally staged, but it was still adorable and heart-warming and we wouldn't mind running offstage and directly into Robert's arms. Just saying.)
What we could've done without? Those super awkward Ice Age promos and jokes, and the many even-more-awkward moments on the judging panel (like Nigel asking Paula if she was dating anyone and then telling her about a farmer's-only dating site...no).
Ultimately—and tearfully—Daniela and Sheaden were the bottom two dancers, and the judges chose to keep Sheaden around. Daniela, we will miss you.
Bye, Daniela. Love you. (Photo via FOX)
Now we're off to sew our broken hearts back together, because this part of the show is the worst.
Just in case you missed it: To highlight last Thursday's International Day of the Girl, The New York Times has launched a unique photographic and editorial project called #ThisIs18, all with the aim of spotlighting what life is really like for 18-year-old women around the world.
It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:
Quinn Starner is no stranger to competitions. The 16-year-old "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" alum has been slaying the contemporary circuit for years, winning Best Teen Dancer at The Dance Awards in 2017. But lately she's been more focused on ballet, relocating from Florida to train at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory two years ago. And while she's won awards at ballet competitions like ADC|IBC and Youth America Grand Prix, in June she upped the stakes by going to the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS—an audition-only event that's one of the world's most prestigious comps. We followed Quinn on her Jackson journey.
Is there anything better than a dance convention? Frankly, we don't think so. Although we love getting a guest teacher to come to our studio for a masterclass every so often, there's just something so exciting about packing up our leotards and dance shoes and heading to a convention for the weekend. Here are 7 reasons why dance conventions are, without a doubt, the greatest things ever.
Amanda LaCount was born to move. The second the music comes on at her Dance Spirit cover shoot, the bubbly 17-year-old is shimmying her shoulders and tossing her hair. When she launches into a full-out freestyle to Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay," you can't take your eyes off her.
And yet with every gig she lands, Amanda is challenging some of the dance world's longest-held biases. "I'm curvy," she says, "and I like being curvy. My body is not a bad thing. It's who I am." Here's how Amanda went from talented tot to hardworking pro—and from insecure preteen to body-positive role model.
Boston Ballet principal Ashley Ellis' dancing is the perfect pairing of ethereal grace and punchy musicality. The Torrance, CA, native began training at South Bay Ballet at age 6, and attended the School of American Ballet summer program in 1998. In 2001, she was accepted into American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, and the following year, she joined ABT's corps de ballet. In 2007, she became a founding member of Corella Ballet Castilla y León in Spain, under the direction of Angel Corella. Three years later, she headed back to the States and danced with Sarasota Ballet before joining Boston Ballet as a second soloist in 2011. In 2013, she was promoted to principal dancer. Catch her performing this season in the company's Nutcracker. —Courtney Bowers
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This story originally appeared on dancemagazine.com.
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
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.
Let's take a walk down memory lane to this past September, when the #LevelUpChallenge was in full-blown viral mode. Literally thousands of videos of people dancing to Ciara's song "Level Up" flooded the Internet, but only one truly broke it: an amazing clip of the Wilson Central High School Dance Team—and their Assistant Principal, Ranesa Shipman. Never one to miss out on a viral dance challenge, Ellen DeGeneres decided to have Shipman and the team perform on "The Ellen Show"—and the fun didn't stop there.
You and your phone have more in common than you might guess, says Dr. Rafael Pelayo, pediatrician and clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. "If you charge your phone halfway, it works for a few hours," he explains. "But it's not performing at its full potential, and you have to be careful about how you use that energy."
It'd be nice to just plug into the wall for nine hours until you hit 100 percent battery, but for (human) dancers, it's not that simple. So DS asked Dr. Pelayo and Dr. Argelinda Baroni, co-director of the Child and Adolescent Sleep Program in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, how to maximize your own battery life—ensuring you'll dance better and more safely in the process.
Two dancers from different studios on opposite ends of the country meeting at a dance competition may sound like the formula for a cheesy teen-rivalry movie. But it's actually real life for lots of dancers on the comp circuit. Meet four sets of adorable BFFs who found winning friendships at a competition.
We still can't get over the talent on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors"—like how many YouTube tutorials do we have to watch to become half as good as these mini dancing machines? And just in case you forgot how skilled these prodigies are, this week's theme was sure to remind you: Last night, the ten couples performed to songs that came out the year they were born. (But let's be real, most of these songs aren't really that much of a throwback.)
It's safe to say that the bond between dancing siblings is one of the strongest out there. But for sisters Emma, 16, and Ava Blaser, 10, that bond runs deeper than most can even fathom: The pair continued to dance together throughout Ava's treatment for kidney cancer remission, and they say it helped them heal.
With cooler weather finally here, it's time to talk warm-ups. And while your dancewear drawer is probably overflowing with oversized sweaters, leggings and enough leg warmers to outfit the whole class, warm-up boots are often forgotten. To keep your feet and ankles cozy in between rehearsals, we rounded up dance warm-up boots that suit every style.