Dance News

"SYTYCD" Season 15 Recap: The Top 4 Perform

Which of these four will be named America's Favorite Dancer—and our December cover star?! (Adam Rose/FOX)

Genessy. Hannahlei. Jensen. Slavik.

In a week, one of those dancers will be crowned "America's Favorite Dancer" (and, in addition to a cool $250,000 prize and a spot in the upcoming live musical Rent, will also earn Dance Spirit's December cover). But first, let's recap what went down on the final jam-packed night of competition.


Genessy & Slavik

Style: Hip hop

Choreographer: Luther Brown

Song: "Poke It Out" by Playboi Carti

The only original couple to make it to the finale! And what better way to kick off the show than with a Luther Brown hip-hop duet—just like the way these two rang in the competition together a handful of weeks ago. This time, they were clad in day-glo neon sweatsuits, and they seemed significantly more relaxed than in that first week. There was a mid-routine kiss (!!!), a lot of hair tossing from Genessy, and enough confident charisma from Slavik to get him back in the judges' good graces. tWitch called it the perfect way to open the show (RIP tWitch's voice! Poor guy!), Mary called it wonderful, Nigel said it was terrific, and Vanessa said they "fully brought it."


Jensen & Hannahlei

Style: Heels

Choreographer: Brian Friedman

Song: "Dem Beats" by Todrick Hall ft. RuPaul

YES HEELS. YES BRIAN FRIEDMAN. And yes for the level of difficulty in this routine. (Seriously, it would've been tough in flats, let alone sky-high heels.) There were moments when both dancers seemed to feel comfortable in the choreography (hello, Hannahlei doing the worm), and others when it definitely seemed to require a little more focus. But ultimately, this routine was heavy on the girl power and sass, and that celebratory post-routine hug was the cutest ever. Vanessa loved the routine, particularly the hair whipping, tWitch appreciated the precision, Mary loved everything about it, and Nigel praised both women for being magnificent.


Genessy & Jonathan

Style: Samba

Choreographer: Elena Samodanova

Song: "Watch Out For This" by Major Lazer

Upon learning she'd be portraying a supermodel in this routine, Genessy felt hesitant. Pretty sure she can go ahead and take that feeling back, now. She did an awesome job with most of the fast footwork required of a Samba (alongside a bona fide pro, no less), and that attitude! From the minute she strutted out on the makeshift runway, Genessy commanded the spotlight—and she stayed in it until the final pose. This phenomenal routine earned the evening's first standing ovation from the judges. Mary called Genessy an "unleashed diva" (that's a good thing), Nigel said Genessy reminded him of Jennifer Lopez (NBD), and Vanessa said, "Girl, you were not playin' around." And tWitch reminded Genessy to never doubt herself, because that routine was amazing, and so is she.


Slavik & Melanie

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Travis Wall

Song: "Gun" by Mas Ysa

Slavik hit the jackpot with this routine—Travis, Melanie, and an emotionally-charged contemporary routine! Travis knows what works on this show: Keep the costuming and set simple, and let the dancers and the choreography shine. It works every time, and it worked for Slavik. It's hard not to watch Melanie Moore whenever she's onstage, but when we could tear our eyes away from the Season 8 winner, we saw Slavik most definitely holding his own. Nigel reminded Slavik that, win or lose, he deserved to be in this competition, and said he came through with flying colors in this performance. Vanessa called his performance raw and beautiful, tWitch loved the commitment, and Mary said Slavik makes us all feel something.


Hannahlei & Slavik

Style: African jazz

Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Song: "When Rivers Cry" by Somi

"I really went all-out choreographing this piece," Cheesman explained during rehearsals. He was NOT exaggerating. There were about a billion complicated (and potentially concussion-causing) lifts. There were pirouettes at hyper-speed. There were développés into lifts into jumps. There was enough energy to power New York City during a blackout. Bravo to Hannahlei and Slavik for somehow keeping it all going from start to finish—and for making it through without any concussions. Nigel loved it, Vanessa said it was incredible, tWitch noted the teamwork required for such a physically demanding routine, and Mary enthusiastically said it was well done.


Jensen & Genessy

Style: Broadway

Choreographer: Travis Wall

Song: "Maybe This Time" by Liza Minnelli

This was "not your typical Broadway routine," Travis told these two dynamos during rehearsals. But it was fun, feisty, and full of character. It was exciting to see these two get to dance together. Their backgrounds may be totally different, but Travis gave them choreography that perfectly suited their personalities. The judges gave it the night's second standing ovation, with Vanessa calling it smart, tWitch saying it was Jensen's best performance of the season, Mary calling them both stars, and Nigel simply agreeing with the rest of the panel (and calling the choreography "genius").


Hannahlei & Fik-Shun

Style: Hip hop

Choreographers: Randi & Hef

Song: "Move Something" by DJ Quik & Problem

It took a few weeks, but Hannahlei finally got to make her hip-hop debut on the live show, and she. killed. it. (Not a surprise, but still fun to watch.) We'd gladly pay double for Fik-Shun and Hannahlei to be our movers in the future, because they actually made packing and stacking boxes look fun! This performance was uncomplicated and high-energy—though, was Hannahlei supposed to fall in the box at the end? The look on her face said maybe not, but kudos to her for being professional enough about it all that we couldn't decide. The judges gave it a standing ovation, which is always a good sign. tWitch said it was incredible, Mary called Hannahlei a special delivery, Nigel said there's nothing Hannahlei can't do brilliantly, and Vanessa said she's been a huge fan of Hannahlei since day one.


Jensen & Robert

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Song: "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Kina Grannis

Jensen has admitted she's not comfortable being vulnerable. Which, of course, Mandy Moore sees as an opportunity. And who better to be vulnerable with than Robert Roldan? With its simplicity and moments of stillness, this routine was the perfect way to let Jensen tap into her sensitive side. Those slow lifts, the sweet moment when Jensen and Robert joined hands, and the big explosive lifts all came together to make something lovely and memorable. Unsurprisingly, the judges were on their feet yet again. Mary, through tears, said all Jensen's hard work has paid off, Nigel said he fell in love with that performance, Vanessa reminded everyone that vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, and tWitch told Jensen that all her rejections made it possible for her to get this far in the competition this time. Awwww.


Hannahlei & Genessy

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Talia Favia

Song: "Numbers" by Daughter

The idea behind this routine, Talia explained in rehearsals, was that Hannahlei and Genessy (who've been roommates throughout the competition!) have always been able to rely on each other, but now they're competitors. So, basically, it was art imitating life. And ohhhhh, that roommate chemistry! These two moved so well together, with fire and passion in their eyes. It was wonderfully intense, and earned yet another standing ovation from the judges Nigel said it was like watching synchronized swimming without the water, Vanessa said it was insaaaaaane, tWitch loved the warrior spirit, and Mary gave it a Hot Tamale Train-esque scream on behalf of tWitch and his weakening voice.


Jensen & Slavik

Style: Cha cha

Choreographer: Oksana Platero

Song: "Boom" by Tiesto

Jensen was in her element for this one; Slavik, less so—and yet, he owned it. (Jensen did, too, but, obviously.) Slavik's swagger, confidence, and charisma were on full display for this piece, which was a fun, energetic, and super-sparkly way to end the show. Mary said Latin dancing is Slavik's kryptonite, but that she saw some improvement and that he got the job done. Nigel said it looked like Slavik was dancing with an All Star, but praised Slavik for his outstanding progress throughout the competition. Vanessa called Slavik inspiring and Jensen a star, and tWitch thanked both performers for what they bring to the show.


OK, so who'd you vote for? Let us know who you think will take the "America's Favorite Dancer" title next week—and who we'll be putting on our December cover!

Show Comments ()
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
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
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
Trending-posts
Photo by Kate Glicksberg, courtesy NYC & Company

Are you more at home in the world of Rent, A Chorus Line, Cats, Oklahoma, or Grease? Take our quiz to find out!

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
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
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
Cover Story
Class at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (photo by Ema Peter, courtesy USC)

If you closed your eyes and pictured dance paradise, what would it look like? Maybe you'd start your morning in rehearsal with a renowned contemporary choreographer, and then work on a dance driven by computer programming, and then run to a music video audition, and end the day discussing the impact of African dance styles on American pop culture.

Guess what? That dance paradise isn't just a dream. It's the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, a young program that's already attracting some of the most talented dancers around—for good reason.

Click here to meet Alyssa Allen, Simrin Player, and Jake Tribus, three of USC's standout students.

Keep reading... Show less
How To
Shannon Mather's Body Love being performed at competition (photo by Art Lee, courtesy Shannon Mather)

When Shannon Mather choreographed Body Love on a group of dancers from her Mather Dance Company, a video of the work was so popular that it ended up going viral, garnering over a million views on YouTube. Set to a spoken-word poem by Mary Lambert on themes of body image, unhealthy beauty standards, and self-confidence, the piece resonated not only with competition judges (who placed the piece in the top three at Hall of Fame Dance Challenge), but also with the teenage dancers in the cast. "It spoke a lot to girls," Mather says. "I got so many messages."

Dancing to spoken word can be incredibly powerful, and help you stand out in a competition. But it comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you're used to having music backing you up. Here's what you need to know if you're thinking about tackling a spoken-word piece.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
It includes a peek at a chimney-sweep number that's giving us ALL KINDS of Newsies vibes. (Walt Disney Studios)

What could be more super(califragilisticexpialidocious) than a Mary Poppins sequel? How about a Mary Poppins sequel helmed by fabulous director/choreographer Rob Marshall and starring the likes of Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Yup, Mary Poppins Returns is happening, friends! In fact, there's now a trailer out for the much-anticipated follow-up to the Disney classic, set to hit theaters December 18th. And from a dance perspective, the new film looks practically perfect in every way.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun
Yes, the "workshop" ballet was just as life-changing as I'd been told it would be.

I have a confession. Until today, I had never seen the seminal classic Center Stage.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Ellenore Scott posing in shoes from the latest Marc Fisher fashion campaign that she choreographed (courtesy Marc Fisher LTD)

It's the most wonderful time of year for fashion and fierce fall fashion/dance collabs are all over the place. But we had to pick our jaws up off of the floor after watching the new dancetastic Marc Fisher LTD footwear commercials. The shoe brand created one of the most compelling ads we've seen thanks to the fancy footwork of six dancers and the choreography of "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Ellenore Scott. We talked with the multi-talented artist to find out how choreographing for a fashion commercial compares to creating routines for live shows on Broadway, like King Kong (which opens Nov. 8th). Check out our interview where Scott shares tips on what you can do to also become a choreographer in the biz one day.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Longer ballet skirts are having a major moment. We've seen them popping up in the Instagram studio clips of dance fashionistas around the world—from American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston to The Royal Ballet's Beatriz Stix-Brunell to Berlin State Ballet's Iana Salenko. And with cooler weather on the way, we have a feeling we'll be seeing even more calf-length skirts.

Beyond being trendy, long ballet skirts give any studio ensemble a sophisticated prima ballerina vibe (hi, Natalia Makarova). Try out one of these long skirt options.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways