“SYTYCD: The Next Generation” Season 13 Recap: NYC Auditions

Welcome to New York—it's been waiting for you, "So You Think You Can Dance!"

The third and final round of auditions brought us to the Big Apple (and the home of Dance Spiritwe were at the auditions!). This episode was packed with top talent and familiar faces. We may be biased (home field advantage!), but this was our favorite audition city yet. Here are our Top 5 moments from the show.

Tate McRae's "SYTYCD" audition. (Photo by Adam Rose/FOX)

1. Tate

We have adored Tate McRae since she was, well, a mini. (Now she's 12—they grow up so fast!) And we're calling it now: The final round of "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" will be a battle between Tate and Sophia Lucia. Tate trains at Alberta Ballet, and she could easily hold her own on "SYTYCD"—the regular version, not just the junior edition. She's super pro, she works her butt off in the studio and onstage, and it shows. She's just incredible. That layout into the back-walkover, and then the slow, juicy grand plié in second position? Yes, to all of it. Yes yes yes. Paula cried, we beamed with pride, and Tate went straight to The Academy. Tate FTW, and Tate 4 President.

2. Olivia

The 12-year-old from Rochester, NY, embodied a snake in her audition piece—but like, a really pretty, really bendy, really gorgeous snake with excellent control and ridiculous flexibility. Not a scary snake. (Olivia, how do you bend and jump like that? Unreal.) Tate, you've got some competition!

3. Ruby

Ruby as in Ruby Castro. Castro as in the famous dancing Castro family from Miami, where they own the always-winning-things studio, Dance Town. The Castros are super well-known in the competitive ballroom world; Ruby's dad is Manny Castro, and he was such a ham on the side during his daughter's performance that Nigel made him get up and join her onstage! It came as no surprise that Ruby was a knockout. She's currently the U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom (NBD), and we loved that she rocked a solo so we didn't have to split our attention between her and a partner. The judges gave her no feedback—just a ticket to The Academy. (PS, Ruby, where can we get our hands on that fringe top you were wearing? Need.) Check out this throwback video of Ruby performing at The Dance Awards.

4. Lucas

The 13-year-old tapper looked so sharp in his suit, and he had the skills to boot. His sounds were clear and crisp, and his personality was loads of fun. We loved this guy! Classic tapping never goes out of style.

5. Valeriya and Alex

What is it about these show-stopping young ballroom kids that make our hearts simultaneously melt and explode? They're so sassy and their faces are so fun—but they're also so legitimately good. These two dynamos were downright precious. (Valeriya, gonna need to know where you got that leather-trimmed skirt when you have a sec.) Paula called them magnificent and gave them a standing-O. Jason said he thought they were grownups. And Nigel told Alex not to keep his mouth open for too long, because that's how you catch flies. OK then—to The Academy! (We sure hope the "Dancing with the Stars" producers are tuning in, BTW, because all these kids auditioning for "SYT" today are the future of "DWTS.")

What did you think? Next week, we finally get to experience The Academy and meet this season's All-Stars. We can't wait.

Want more Dance Spirit?

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 by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search