After a grueling Vegas Week filled with tears, lectures and heartache, the final group of dancers (an insanely talented bunch!) headed to Hollywood to walk the famed Green Mile and learn whether they would snag a spot in the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 9 Top 20. Like always, the announcements were brimming with drama and suspense. And the judges were up to all of their old tricks: The pitting-best-friends-against-each-other trick (but, surprise! They took them both!), the you-really-weren't-good-enough-but-we'll-take you-anyway trick and, of course, the no-explanation (Kaitlynn Edgar, whaaat?!) dismissal.
So without further ado, meet your Season 9 Top 20!
Now onto the best part of the night—the performances. Here are our Top 5 moments:
5.Eliana, Daniel and Cheyon's contemporary ballet piece. We couldn't have been happier to have a contemporary ballet number kicking off the season. Complexions Contemporary Ballet artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson choreographed an edgy, technical piece and the boys absolutely killed. While Eliana definitely gave a valiant effort, she had a few technical issues. But we have to give her credit, we can't imagine dancing in pointe shoes on that stage. [Side note: We swear Eliana and Lauren Gottlieb could be twins. They look so similar.]
4. Travis Wall's Top 10 girls routine. While we absolutely adore Travis, this wasn't our favorite piece he's ever done (the idea felt a bit unoriginal). That said, the performance was jaw-dropping. The girls were technically flawless and their precision and timing was perfect. Each girl was 100 percent full-out and dancing for her life. It. Was. Awesome.
3. Sonya Tayeh's Top 10 boys routine. We can't say we were as impressed with the boys as a whole as we were with the girls, but holy cow, Sonya—you rocked our world last night! The male-male partnering and strong masculine choreography were stunning. It was a bit underrehearsed and those maternity pants (as Nigel called them) were heinous, but that didn't stop us from loving the choreography.
2. Mia Michaels' Top 20 routine. Oh Mia, we've missed you! She more than made up for her absence last season with this brilliant routine. We can't wait for more.
1. Tiffany and Audrey's Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. These two tiny powerhouses stole the show! We were nervous when we learned Janelle was sick and would be sitting out, but after watching Tiffany and Audrey perform, we never would have guessed it was choreographed as a trio. They were technical and captivating and gave the best performance of the night. We want to see more from these two.
The "So You Think You Can Whaaaat??" moment of the night: Zooey Deschanel. The "New Girl" star joined Nigel and Mary on the judges' panel and it was just painful. Poor Cat kept trying to feed her lines and help her out, but it never got any better. We're all for guest judges—we just ask they have a teeny tiny bit of dance experience?
Now it's your turn. What did you think of the show? Do you have any early favorites? Tell us in the comment section below!
Be sure to tune in next time on Wednesday, July 11!
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!