Last night, we headed to L.A.—or, in the words of Cat Deeley, “the city where stars are made and dreams become a reality”—for the last stop on the Season 8 “So You Think You Can Dance” audition tour. Joining Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy on the judging panel was the always over-the-top Broadway choreographer Tyce Diorio. Here are a few highlights from the City of Angels:
1. Jordan Casanova. The girl is hot. That said, I don’t think she needed to be so sexual. Her solid technique and great movement quality would have been more than enough. Plus, seeing Nigel in his self-proclaimed dirty-old-man-mode is nauseating.
2. Derion “D.C.” Chapman, a.k.a. The Baby Daddy Hip Hopper. I loved his personality, I loved his energy, I loved his moves—and so did the judges. He’s definitely going to be the cutest dad ever. I have a feeling that baby is going to be born doing the “Cat Daddy.”
3. Hero McRae. I think I’ll just call her Crazy Pants From Japan. When she first stepped onto the stage with her gold metallic jacket and totally uncontained energy, I was skeptical. Boy, did she prove me wrong. She was poppin’ and lockin’ like it ain’t no thang. The best part? The peace-sign ending pose. Win.
4. Alexis Mason, Season 5 winner Jeanine Mason’s lil’ sis. Like Nigel said, she does need to be aware of the faces she makes, but wow, she’s great—like, as good as her sister great. I’m not going to lie, I may have shed a tear or two during their performance. Watching the connection Jeanine and Alexis have reminded me of dancing with my own little sisters. Ah, I’m such a crybaby.
5. Patty Anne Miller, a.k.a. The Drumming Hip Hop Chick. I was already totally digging her argyle sweater and bow tie—and then the music started and she completely unleashed. Krumping, locking, popping—she can do it all. And did I mention she graduated from Berkeley on full scholarship? No biggie. I really hope she makes the top 20 because I’d love to see her rock it in an itsy-bitsy sequined ballroom number.
6. Sasha and Natalia Mallory. These sisters knocked my socks off. Their routine, a combination of contemporary and African dance, was very entertaining, yet still technical. I love how they totally feed off each others' energy.
7. Last year’s Cover Model Search winner Alexa Anderson—was sent straight through to Vegas! Plus, one of this year’s three CMS finalists was also featured (and sent straight to Vegas!) on last night’s show. Find out who it was when the CMS voting opens June 15. We know how to pick 'em, don't we?
Be sure to tune in next week as we head to Sin City to watch 160 dancers from across the country battle it out for one of the coveted top 20 spots. Will you be watching? We will! Join our conversation on Twitter by following us @Dance_SpiritMag.
(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.
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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.