Some people say summer is officially over after Labor Day. Others say the end of summer is the day everyone goes back to school. Officially, summer is over after September 21st. But in our world and yours, the end of summer is marked only by one thing: the "So You Think You Can Dance" finale.
Last night, to wrap up Season 15 and, along with it, another summer, Nigel, Mary, Vanessa, and tWitch crowned one lucky dancer as the season's winner. But before getting to that, there was the usual dance down memory lane.
It all started with a Macy's-sponsored opening number. The energy was high, there was that fun element with the audience members throwing a zillion white balloons onto the stage, and the contestants seemed like they'd all finally taken some seriously deep breaths after weeks of high-pressure competition. (But the giant red Macy's star onstage, and the Macy's T-shirts on every single audience member, might have been...a bit much.)
From there, the night launched into a whole lotta #TBT-worthy memories and montages. Each judge picked his or her favorite routines for a reprise: Vanessa went with Jensen and Jay Jay's Tahitian number and Hannahlei and Jensen's heels performance, Mary opted for Cole and Hannahlei's cha-cha and Travis Wall's contemporary routine for Magda and Darius, tWitch was all about Mandy Moore's jazz piece for Magda and Darius and Slavik and Genessy's "House Work" hip hop, and Nigel chose Jay Jay and Lauren Froderman's epically energetic jazz routine and Travis Wall's "What Makes a Man" piece for Darius and Taylor Sieve.
Each Top 4 contestant also got to pick a past favorite for an encore performance. Genessy chose her contemporary routine with past winner Lex Ishimoto, Slavik went with his Luther Brown hip-hop with Genessy from week one, Jensen picked the "Cookin'" hip-hop routine with Jay Jay, and Hannahlei chose her Robert Roldan-choreographed contemporary duet with Marko.
Did anyone else SCREAM when tWitch busted out from center stage to join the Top 4 guys in that oh-so-memorable "Juice" routine?! The piece was amazing to begin with, but we can all agree that tWitch makes everything just a little bit better. AND THEN: Nigel popped up, just in time for a slick strut across the stage. This was SO GOOD.
Afterward, we found out that Slavik took fourth place. Meaning that or the first time ever, "SYTYCD" had an all-female Top 3!
Finally, after many audition rounds, numerous Academy intensives, several weeks of live shows, and millions of votes, the tallies were in. Genessy held it down in third, and Jensen was named runner-up, which means America's Favorite Dancer is officially Hannahlei!
Congratulations to all of this season's stunning dancers. And an extra special congrats to Hannahlei, who'll be Dance Spirit's December cover star!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.