Dance News

"SYTYCD" Season 15 Recap: NYC Auditions Part 2

Andrew Avila and Melany Mercedez brought the FIRE. (Jef Neira/FOX)

We're back—back in the New York groove!

It's the last round of auditions before Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch send our "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 hopefuls off to The Academy. Who might we see there (location still undisclosed)? Here's a rundown of last night's highlights.


Andrew Avila & Melany Mercedez

This salsa duo grew up dancing together, and they say they know the competition is stiff, but they have something no other ballroom couple has: "We're flavorful," Melany says. What does that mean? According to their fast-and-furious performance, it means he can spin her at rapid speeds, she can kick and drop into a stunning split, and together they have magical chemistry. The judges gave the routine a standing O—and a few shimmies of their own.

The verdict: They're on Mary's Hot Tamale Train, offering non-stop service to The Academy!

Randorn "Tiger" Luangpraseuth

Apparently, Tiger did something called Breakdancing Shakespeare (?) back in the day. Now he's happy, smiley, and all about spreading positivity. His audition, in summary: trick, trick, flip, kick, spin, smile, arm balance, smile, freeze, headstand, madness, crazy, fire, fun, smile, freeze. It garnered praise from all four judges, though Nigel and Vanessa each expressed concerns about how Tiger's skills will translate to the rest of the competition.

The verdict: It's a yes from Mary, a yes from tWitch, a no from Nigel, and a tie-breaking yes from Vanessa. So Tiger gets his shot at The Academy!

Mika Doman

Mika is a lovely contemporary dancer who grew up suffering terrible migraines, at times losing her sight completely—all because she was born with tumors in her brain that will continue growing for the rest of her life. No doubt that's super scary—and her mom's also undergone a recent battle with cancer—but when Mika took the stage, she let go. Her spoken-word piece about bullying was intense. But the judges weren't quite convinced. tWitch praised her potential, but said it didn't quite work for him. Mary agreed. Nigel appreciated Mika's emotion, and said he wanted more of it. Vanessa didn't love the song choice and felt the performance lacked connection, but applauded Mika's story.

The verdict: No from Vanessa, yes from tWitch, yes from Mary, and a stressed and drawn-out yes from Nigel. See you at The Academy, Mika!

Kory Geller

Kory-with-a-K is a sassy jazz dancer who knew show business was his business after seeing Footloose ("the musical, not the movie"). He came to "SYT" "for myself...and to meet Cat Deeley," and who doesn't love a little honesty? Kory's performance was sweet and simple, with quiet moments balancing the big jumps and one explosive toe-touch. Was it Academy-level amazing? Maybe not. Nigel said it was too pantomime-y and over-the-top. Vanessa loved the legs and jumps and heart, but tWitch and Mary suggested dialing back the tricks and working on technique.

The verdict: Bye for now, Kory.

Brianna Penrose

OK, so Brianna looks like Taylor Swift's tap-dancing twin, right? If Taylor Swift wore oxfords and could make super-crisp sounds, she'd basically be Brianna. The judges gave the tapper a standing ovation, saying they adored her confidence and her mad skills. So, unsurprisingly...

The verdict: ...she's heading to The Academy!

Arcadian Broad

While we were happy to see the excellently-named Arcadian's audition, it lacked a little in the suspense department. At 16, he became the youngest member of Orlando Ballet...meaning he's already a professional dancer. WILL HE MAKE IT TO THE ACADEMY? HARD TO TELL. His passionate performance featured the excellent technique of, well, a member of Orlando Ballet. Nigel wanted more personality, but otherwise loved it. Vanessa liked seeing a male ballet dancer command the stage. (Vanessa, gurl, we have to get you to more ballet performances! This is not all that rare!)

The verdict: TOUGH CALL, but Academy.

Bridget Derville-Teer

Bridget said she spent a long time trying to conform to "the dancer stereotype"—something that led her down a scary road and into an eating disorder—but now she's found her happiest, healthiest self. And that self is a little edgy, a little goth, even a little creepy. Can she dance? Uh, YEAH. (That penchée to kick things off? That massive developpé? That backbend to wrap things up? NOT BAD AT ALL.) Mary loved that she went all in, Nigel said she was going to give him nightmares—in a good way—and Vanessa called it "exploooooosive" and mystical.

The verdict: Unanimous YES to The Academy. Yay Bridget!

Ryan Green

Ryan auditioned during Season 12 and made it all the way to Vegas Week (#TBT). Now the hip-hopper and animator is back at "SYT" after a scary brush with homelessness. Honestly, Ryan may not be human, based on the ways he can move his body (think Madd Chadd meets Fik-Shun meets, IDK, an actual robot?). All four judges were in hysterics and on their feet by the end. "You are sick in so many ways," Nigel said. tWitch said he remembered Ryan from Season 12 but that this was "on another level." Mary called him a genius, and Vanessa felt like he was looking directly at her. Which he was! Ryan is Vanessa's biggest fan and had her picture on his binder in seventh grade. THEN RYAN BATTLED TWITCH AND IT WAS AWESOME. THIS! IS "SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE."

The verdict: Academy DUH.

Next week: It's Academy time! Let's do this!

Show Comments ()
Dancer to Dancer
James Whiteside and Misty Copeland showing off Odile's Gemini tendancies in "Swan Lake" (original photo by Gene Schiavone)

Over the last couple of months, I've gotten really (like really) into astrology, by way of memes on Instagram. If you're a millennial or Gen-Zer locked in an eternal scroll like I am (except it's my job, so I have an excuse!), then you're no stranger to these types of posts. One popular format? A list assigning zodiac signs with their corresponding "things," from foods to colors and everything in between. And since y'all love our memes (we're making more, we swear), I decided to spend my Friday afternoon figuring out each sign's classical ballet equivalent. I recruited fellow DS editor Helen Rolfe, and we proceeded to conduct a VERY scientific and THOROUGHLY researched study. If you don't like yours, I truly am sorry, but the stars don't lie. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Behold, the signs as classical ballets!

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
@brittanytemple_ Bohemian And Barefoot Blog

From Mandy Moore to Boston Ballet, the most trusted professionals in the dance community are recommending Apolla Shocks. We decided to investigate further and learn more about the footwear company that has started a new revolution in the dance world.

The revolution begins

Apolla Shocks are everywhere right now. Your favorite dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance", on tour with "Shaping Sound", at conventions, in class, and on competition stages. These dancers are not just wearing socks. They are wearing Shocks!

What do all these dancers know that you don't? Why are they building such a strong and loyal customer base? To understand better, we asked some of the most trusted dancers, choreographers, and physical therapists in the dance community why they recommend Apolla Shocks?

Mandy Moore (award winning producer, director & choreographer)
"I wear Apolla Shocks when I am in the studio all day creating. They make my feet feel like they are on clouds! Who knew that a little sock could bring such happiness to my aching feet…"

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
(L to R) Vikas Arun, Gerson Lanza, and Jabu Graybeal in Chloe Arnold's "GLORY" (screenshot via Facebook)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Tap dancer and choreographer extraordinaire Chloe Arnold was inspired by these words from Martin Luther King, Jr. to create a piece in solidarity with the #SayTheirNames movement (a campaign to highlight stories of police brutality as told by the victims' families).

Released earlier this week, the heartbreakingly beautiful clip stars Vikas Arun, Jabu Graybeal, and Gerson Lanza, all dancers with Arnold's Apartment 33 company. Watch closely: Reigning NYCDA National Teen Male Outstanding Dancer David Keingatti also makes a memorable cameo towards the end.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet soloist Lauren Strongin's classic grace and powerful acting skills captivate audiences. The Los Gatos, CA, native trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and the John Cranko School before joining Houston Ballet in 2009. In 2015, she came to SFB as a soloist and has since danced principal roles in ballets including Giselle, Swan Lake, "Rubies," and Onegin. This month, catch her performing with SFB in New York City Center's Balanchine: The City Center Years program. —Courtney Bowers

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun
#2: High School Musical. We've waited long enough! (Giphy)

Producers just looooove turning hit movies into huge Broadway shows. From Legally Blonde to Hairspray to Billy Elliot, some of our favorite dancetastic musicals got their start on the big screen. So listen up, Broadway: Here are 10 movies that need to be turned into musicals ASAP.

Keep reading... Show less
Editors’ List: The Goods
Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alison Stroming in a Capezio leotard (via capezio.com)

There's a change in the air these past few weeks—is it fall? Not quite yet. More importantly, it's PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON. And now, the quintessentially autumnal flavor isn't just for lattes anymore. Dancewear companies are picking up on the trend, offering more and more pieces in rich, sweet orange shades. Behold, eight of our favorite pumpkin spice-inspired pieces for your dancing enjoyment.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

This past January, 18-year-old Jay Ledford did what tons of aspiring dancers do every day: She posted a beautiful dance shot to Instagram. But this photo carried more weight than most. Clad in a black leotard, tights, and pointe shoes, and hitting a stunning arabesque, she was beginning a new journey—as a transgender ballerina. Ledford, then a student at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, never thought she'd come out on Instagram, let alone experience such an outpouring of support. Here, she talks to Dance Spirit about the experiences she's had over the last 10 months, her hopes for the future, and what she wants the dance world to understand about trans dancers. —Olivia Manno

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
James Whiteside and Misty Copeland showing off Odile's Gemini tendancies in "Swan Lake" (original photo by Gene Schiavone)

Over the last couple of months, I've gotten really (like really) into astrology, by way of memes on Instagram. If you're a millennial or Gen-Zer locked in an eternal scroll like I am (except it's my job, so I have an excuse!), then you're no stranger to these types of posts. One popular format? A list assigning zodiac signs with their corresponding "things," from foods to colors and everything in between. And since y'all love our memes (we're making more, we swear), I decided to spend my Friday afternoon figuring out each sign's classical ballet equivalent. I recruited fellow DS editor Helen Rolfe, and we proceeded to conduct a VERY scientific and THOROUGHLY researched study. If you don't like yours, I truly am sorry, but the stars don't lie. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Behold, the signs as classical ballets!

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
@brittanytemple_ Bohemian And Barefoot Blog

From Mandy Moore to Boston Ballet, the most trusted professionals in the dance community are recommending Apolla Shocks. We decided to investigate further and learn more about the footwear company that has started a new revolution in the dance world.

The revolution begins

Apolla Shocks are everywhere right now. Your favorite dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance", on tour with "Shaping Sound", at conventions, in class, and on competition stages. These dancers are not just wearing socks. They are wearing Shocks!

What do all these dancers know that you don't? Why are they building such a strong and loyal customer base? To understand better, we asked some of the most trusted dancers, choreographers, and physical therapists in the dance community why they recommend Apolla Shocks?

Mandy Moore (award winning producer, director & choreographer)
"I wear Apolla Shocks when I am in the studio all day creating. They make my feet feel like they are on clouds! Who knew that a little sock could bring such happiness to my aching feet…"

Keep reading... Show less
Editors’ List: The Goods
Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alison Stroming in a Capezio leotard (via capezio.com)

There's a change in the air these past few weeks—is it fall? Not quite yet. More importantly, it's PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON. And now, the quintessentially autumnal flavor isn't just for lattes anymore. Dancewear companies are picking up on the trend, offering more and more pieces in rich, sweet orange shades. Behold, eight of our favorite pumpkin spice-inspired pieces for your dancing enjoyment.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris (courtesy Trafalgar Releasing)

Couldn't make it to the Tony Award–winning Broadway revival of An American in Paris? Or DID make it to the show, but now miss it like ca-razy? Either way, we have fabulous news: Both today and Sunday, September 23, movie theaters across America are screening the gorgeous musical, directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Thinkstock

You've probably heard that protein is essential in a dancer's diet. But you might not know what protein actually does for your hardworking bod, how much you should be eating, and—gasp!—why it could actually be overrated. We asked Andrea Chernus (a registered dietitian nutritionist who advises Juilliard students and Hamilton cast members) and Nora Minno (a certified personal trainer, registered dietitian, and former pro dancer) to spill all the protein pointers they share with their dancer clients.

Keep reading... Show less
Arthur Mitchell and Diana Adams in George Balanchine's Agon (courtesy Dance Magazine Archives)

Former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Dance Theatre of Harlem founder Arthur Mitchell passed away today in a Manhattan hospital. He was 84 years old.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

The iconic New York City dance studio Steps on Broadway has a new leader coming on board: Joe Lanteri. The New York City Dance Alliance founder will be Steps' new co-owner and executive director.

"For me, it's a big full circle," says Lanteri, who used to take class at Steps when he first moved to New York City, and started teaching there in the mid-1980s. The 4:30 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday Advanced Intermediate Jazz slot he held down for many years taught a slew of young talent—including choreographers-to-be like Jessica Lang and Sergio Trujillo. "As a young teacher, Steps was a platform for me to travel the world giving master classes; it became the underlying foundation for what I'm doing now in my life."

Keep reading... Show less
Videos
Screenshot via YouTube

Kylie Shea is no stranger to showcasing her quirky take on ballet to the masses. The Instagram star continues to entertain us with her unconventional dance routines on pointe, be it on her social media platforms, in music videos, and even commercials. And her collaboration with the Canadian band MAGIC is one of our favorites yet. Dancing to their hit song "Expectations," Shea and the band's lead singer Nasri have a low key dance-off. The video starts out somewhat somber, but as things progress, Shea's sense of humor shines through—culminating with a fabulous scene that has her jiving in a tutu.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Hayden Hopkins studying in the theater before transforming into Mystère's La Belle (courtesy Mystère 'by Cirque Du Soleil)

A full-time university isn't your only option for earning a degree. Enrolling in college part-time while pursuing a pro career is a challenge well worth the rewards.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways