"SYTYCD: The Next Generation" Season 13 Recap: The Top 5 Perform

Happy 250th episode, "So You Think You Can Dance!"

The show marked a major milestone last night and celebrated with a fun format switch-up: The Next Generation dancers choreographed a duet for themselves and their All-Star partners to perform. We must say, it was really fun to watch the kids' rehearsal processes and see them take charge. (They loved having the power....a little too much at times!) The contestants also danced another pro-choreographed routine with their usual All-Star partner, in their own style. Tbh it was kinda refreshing not to have any new partner pairings or dancers dancing outside of their comfort zones. This new format was the perfect thing to shake up the season and make it really exciting again!

Take a look at our Top 5 highlights from the night:

Maddie Ziegler and Travis Wall performing their duet. (Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

1. Maddie Ziegler and Travis Wall's Duet

Also in honor of the show's historic 250th episode, our favorite judge, Miss Maddie Z, performed a fierce duet with Travis Wall. Choreographed by Wall, the dance was dark and kinda evil, but we loved everything about it. From Maddie's commanding stage presence to the awesome partnering and lifts, it was a win for sure. And it was so nice to finally see Maddie up on that stage proving why she deserves to be a judge on the show in the first place.

2. The Dances Choreographed by the Next Generation

It's really hard to call out just one or two of these pieces because every single kid-choreographed piece was a serious highlight last night. The Next Generation shined in their own choreography and quite frankly blew us (and the judges) away—as dancers and as mature choreographers. And you could just tell they were having so much fun creating their own visions and finding their own voices. Tate created a beautiful and powerful contemporary dance focused on masks; Kida choreographed a robotic-inspired hip hop routine; J.T. chose to highlight his and Robert's super-sweet relationship in a contemporary dance to "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars; Emma gave Gaby some bubbly (and super fast, per usual) tap choreo that also showcased their BFF status; and Tahani made Comfort a nerd in a sassy hip hop piece inspired by Grease. 

Kida and Fik-Shun in Kida's hip hop routine. (Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

  3. Tahani and Comfort's Hip Hop Routine

We LOVED this incredibly fast and super high-energy tribal-inspired hip hop routine, courtesy of choreographer Dave Scott. And the story was really creative: Tahani and Comfort were tribeswomen in Nigeria discovering hip hop on the radio for the first time. They then realize they're already familiar with the beats and end up adding their own African spin. Tahani seemed to have a little trouble picking up Scott's intricacies in the rehearsal footage, but by the time they got on stage, both girls killed it. And they looked fabulous while doing so—they're hair and makeup was on point.

(Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

4. Emma and Gaby's Savion Glover-Choreographed Tap Dance

It's not everyday that one gets to watch a tap legend's choreo on primetime television. But that's exactly what happened last night when the one and only Savion Glover made his first appearance on the show. It made us so happy to watch him work with Emma and Gaby—he gave them a slower, very musical number that was a throwback to old-school tappers like his mentor Gregory Hines. It was a beautifully elegant and classic tap piece, and the girls' sounds were incredibly crisp and meticulous, naturally.

(Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

5. J.T. and Robert's Father/Son Duet

You guys, this duo is pure magic and truly can do no wrong at this point. Their bond and connection gets stronger with every passing week, only making their pieces that much more powerful. Last night they danced a contemporary piece by Stacey Tookey that centered on a touching father and son relationship. The son had just received some devastating news and the father picks him back up and puts a smile on his face again. Cue, all the feels. And as adorable as J.T. is, his technique has been the subject of previous judge criticism, but last night it was noted that he's making strides in that department.

(Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

Despite all the fun, though, an elimination still needed to be made and unfortunately it ended up being Tahani. We'll miss your spunk and your bows, girl!

Your Top 4! (Photo by Patrick Wymore via FOX)

What did you think of this week's elimination? Was America right to send Tahani home? And who are you rooting for at this stage of the competition?

Want more Dance Spirit?

Latest Posts

Alex Wong (Collette Mruk, courtesy Alex Wong)

6 AAPI Dancers Share Their Stories

Last year, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 150 percent in many of America's largest cities. And last month, a mass shooting in the Atlanta area took the lives of eight people, six of them Asian women. Since then, the attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have continued, sparking a national movement to stop AAPI hate.

In light of this, Dance Spirit wanted to help amplify the voices of AAPI dancers. We asked six to share their thoughts about anti-Asian racism and how it appears in the dance world. Here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
William Zinser works with a dancer at The Joyce Theater (Kristin Stevens, courtesy William Zinser)

How to Beat 5 Common Cheats Dancers Commit

Y'all, we get it. Dance is really, really hard. So what's the harm in taking the easy way out on a technical correction? Answer: an increased chance of injury, and a whole slew of new technique problems that could take a loooooooong time to fix.

Lucky for you, Dance Spirit has enlisted the expert help of Dale Lam, artistic director of CCJ Conservatory in South Carolina, and William Zinser, certified athletic trainer at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in NYC, so you can start leveling up your technique the honest way.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
What happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? (Getty Images/kf4851)

What to Do When Your Dance Teacher Says You're Not Pointe Ready

Since the day you pulled on your first leotard, you have no doubt been dreaming of the day you would attend your first pointe shoe fitting. Going on pointe is a rite of passage as a ballet dancer, and the result of years of hard work.

But what happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? It's totally understandable to be disappointed and frustrated if your teacher doesn't move you on pointe, but don't lose faith in yourself. "I've seen a lot of dancers go on pointe over the years," says Josephine Lee, professional pointe shoe fitter and founder of The Pointe Shop. "I don't think I have ever seen a dancer who was held back from pointework feel like they were behind in the long run."

Ideally, your teacher has laid out clear guidelines for what makes a dancer pointe-ready. But if they haven't, there are some milestones that ballet professionals are looking for to give the green light for your first pair of shoes. Factors like your age, technique level, range of motion and strength all come into play. And the good news is that if going on pointe is a goal for you, there are proactive ways that you can get there.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search