Dance News

"SYTYCD" Season 15 Recap: From 8 to 6

Sesaon 15's Top 8 in a group routine that had the guys all tied up (Adam Rose/FOX)

We've officially reached the point in this competition where the finalists are just doing so. much. dancing. Last night, each contestant performed two duets, a solo, and a group routine. Even just typing that sentence made us tired. After all that choreography, the Top 8 became the Top 6. Here's what happened (minus recaps of the solos, because they were all delightful):


The Opening Routine

Choreographer: Christopher Scott

Song: "Runaway" by Nathan Lanier

This was AWESOME. With the male contestants stationed on individual platforms, the lady contestants were free to command the stage. But give it up for the dudes, who mastered some seriously intricate, demanding Chris Scott choreography while all tied up.


Jensen & Jay Jay

Style: Smooth jazz

Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

Song: "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by Jessie J

Last week, Nigel called these two the strongest team on the show this year. Casual praise. This week, the power duo got to portray a sultry, Mr. & Mrs. Smith-esque couple. In the past, Nigel has called Jensen too sexy, so despite this routine's seductive nature, Jensen's goal was to keep it subtle. Apparently the performance included some wardrobe malfunctions—but nothing we noticed until Jensen pointed it out in the post-routine interview. Nigel called Jensen "the poster child for 'So You Think You Can Dance,'" Vanessa loved their personalities, tWitch said there's nothing this couple can't do, and Mary appreciated that they kept it PG.


Genessy & Slavik

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Mandy Moore

Song: "Fall For You" by Leela James

That moment when you decide to tell someone "I love you"—that, Mandy Moore says, is what this routine was about. Genessy and Slavik have had the chemistry factor on lock since day 1; the challenge with this routine, Mandy said, was getting Slavik to point his toes. Unsurprisingly, the performance was lovely, with both dancers pretty much nailing the whole "I'm so vulnerable right now" vibe. Genessy, a contemporary dancer, was clearly comfortable with the choreography. Was Slavik? Maybe he's not the most technical contemporary dancer, but guy's got heart, soul, and a whole lotta love. Vanessa called their connection pure and said she loved it, tWitch noted their commitment level, Mary gave it a "holy smokes" and said there's love in the air, and Nigel appreciated Slavik's toe-pointing efforts.


Magda & Darius

Style: Hip hop

Choreographer: Phoenix & Pharside

Song: "Killa" by Disto

Magda was in the bottom four last week, which seemed crazy. So this week, Darius said, "We have to kill it." And boy, did they make that clear onstage: They hit this routine hard. Darius seemed to roll with the choreography really well, but while Magda started super strong, her energy started to fade big-time about halfway through. tWitch said Magda's execution was lacking a bit. Mary praised Magda for fighting for every step on that stage, and applauded her effort and determination. Nigel said Magda has crushed everything so far, from contemporary to Bollywood, but that this didn't work for him. Vanessa said, "Whoomp, Dar-i-us!" (To the tune of "Whoomp, there it is." Obviously.)


Hannahlei & Cole

Style: Broadway

Choreographer: Travis Wall (yes, you read that right!)

Song: "Get Happy (Live)" by Judy Garland

For years, Travis has been the show's contemporary golden boy. So why not let him try something new by dishing out a Broadway routine? (Actually, if you know Travis Wall, you know he's merely returning to his roots: He got his start on Broadway!) This little number was sweet, happy, and adorable—you really can't go wrong with massive fan kicks underneath a big ol' umbrella—and Hannahlei and Cole had a lot of fun with it while managing to pull off all its technical challenges. (Since this was, after all, still a Travis Wall piece, there were plenty of tricky elements in the mix, including leaps, turns, jumps, and lifts.) The audience went nuts for it. Mary said it made her happy, Nigel agreed, Vanessa called Hannahlei "literal sunshine," and tWitch said it was one of Cole's most honest performances.


Genessy & Slavik

Style: Jazz

Choreographer: Ray Leeper

Song: "House Work" by Jax Jones

Those tuxedos and white gloves! This piece felt like a hip-hop-meets-jazz hybrid, and it may have been the first time Slavik stole some attention from Genessy, who generally commands the stage no matter who else is on it. The choreography was fun and upbeat, and it earned the night's first standing O from the judges. Nigel thought it was fabulous, Vanessa wanted in on the routine and said her heart literally exploded inside her body (side note: we hope not literally), and tWitch reminded Slavik to stay excited but not so excited he gets ahead of the music.


Magda & Darius

Style: Contemporary

Choreographer: Jaci Royal

Song: "Undertow" by Ane Brun

Power and praise, as always, to Jaci Royal, for choreographing something so intricate and emotional that everyone was in tears before it even started. The concept: Magda and Darius were bound together by a rope throughout the routine, in a way that was reminiscent of that haunting "Gravity" piece Mia Michaels made for Kayla and Kupono back in Season 5. Vanessa said something about rope burn, tWitch acknowledged the trust and commitment between the pair, Mary called Magda "liquid grace," and Nigel thought the concept overwhelmed the content (burn). And then Nigel and Mary argued, which was fun!


Jensen & Jay Jay

Style: Hip hop

Choreographer: Hef & Randi

Song: "Cookin" by Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and French Montana

Bakeware! Aprons! Poultry! We'd just heard Nigel say he didn't want big concepts to control the choreography, so it was a little nerve-racking to see Jensen and Jay Jay surrounded by pots and cooking spray and a whole raw chicken (!). But they ditched the accoutrements after just a few seconds, and then this routine was all choreography. Despite burning whatever it was they were "cooking," these two seemed to be having a blast from start to over-done finish. (Also, give it up for Hef—formerly known as Hefa—Tuita and Randi Kemper, making their "SYT" choreographic debut!) tWitch loved the personality and special sauce (cooking reference!), Mary said, "Sock it to me sock it to me sock it to me sock it to me," (#RIPAretha), and Nigel said Jay Jay brought the juice and said someone should do a reality show about Jensen's family, aka "a family with talent" (sick burn to those Kardashians, amirite?).


Hannahlei & Cole

Style: Cha cha

Choreographer: Sasha Farber & Emma Slater

Song: "Sing It Back" by Moloko

"This song isn't about being gentle and caring," the choreographers explained during rehearsals. "It's about lust, not love." Onstage, that translated to tricktastic, hot 'n' steamy choreo—and shirtless Cole, hooray! This one got a unanimous standing O from the judges. Mary loved the tricks, said it was the best Cole ever danced, and gave us that famous, deafening Mary Murphy scream. Nigel said Hannahlei did a good job with her hips and that Cole performed brilliantly. Vanessa said it was the sexiest cha cha she'd ever seen in her life. tWitch said it made him want to go to the gym "immediately" (SAME).


Group Routine: The Top 4 Girls

Choreographer: Talia Favia

Song: "Wanderlust" by Empara Mi

These four girls could definitely run the world. And this routine was beautiful and powerful. Magda, Hannahlei, Jensen, and Genessy threw themselves across the stage and into every count of the choreography. Nigel was into all the surprises throughout the routine, Vanessa loved the emotion and presence (particularly from Hannahlei and Jensen), tWitch reminded us to vote (and said we can't complain about the results if we don't vote!), and Mary said all four of these women are wonderful.


Group Routine: The Top 4 Guys

Choreographer: Luther Brown

Song: "Juice" by Yo Gotti

This was WAY too much fun. Each of these men is so strong and comes equipped with loads of personality, but Jay Jay and Slavik definitely commanded the stage—despite all four dudes being dressed identically in The Mask-style black suits and neon-yellow jackets and hats. The judges gave the routine a well-deserved standing ovation. "Y'all brought it," Vanessa gushed, and she said Darius and Jay Jay, in particular, did it for her. tWitch, again, reminded us all to #rockthevote. Mary said each guy got a moment to shine. And Nigel said Darius stood out for him.


Then it was final results time: Cole and Magda were sent home, which means Hannahlei, Jensen, Genessy, Jay Jay, Slavik, and Darius are the show's Top 6. Remember to vote, vote, vote to determine the final four! (And don't miss next week's show, either: Rumor has it Mia Michaels is making her triumphant return as a choreographer.)

The Conversation
Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

Keep reading... Show less

It's time to do your favorite happy dance because it's the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are almost here, which means we can finally start dancing to Christmas music! With Just For Kix, you can easily dress the part for this holiday season.

Black Friday is starting early! Spend $100 and you will get a $50 gift card. What are you waiting for? Head over to www.justforkix.com and get the shopping started!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos

Choreographing is hard enough on its own, but add a two-hour time limit and two dancers from completely different genres, and the task of creating a dance can seem almost impossible.However, street dancer K-Flow and ballerina Toi'ya prove such a task to be possible, even if it's challenging. In this mesmerizing video, the two find ways to adapt their style of dance to the other's, which results in a completely stunning duet.

Keep reading... Show less

This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos

It's one of those iconic only-in-NYC images: Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia making music with their feet in the middle of the legendary toy store FAO Schwarz. The uber-charming "giant piano" scene (choreographed by Pat Birch of Grease and the Martha Graham Dance Company) from the 1988 movie Big has since found its well-deserved place in many a supercut and pop-culture deep dive. But the Big piano has sadly been silent since FAO Schwarz suddenly closed its doors—seemingly for good—on July 15, 2015. Until today, that is!

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Erin Baiano

Most-used emoji: ❤️

Favorite place to shop: Lululemon

Her dance style in five words: "Hard-hitting, lots of tricks"

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via Giphy.com

If there's one thing we learned from the musical episode of "Riverdale" last season, it's that more television shows should follow along and have at least one dance-tastic episode. Sure, sometimes these can flop, but most of the time they only make us love the show even more. Here are 8 series that we think need an episode filled with dancey goodness RIGHT NOW.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun

Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.

Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via YouTube

One Sergei Polunin is great but two, three, or four Polunins, that's something we can really get behind. And now we don't even have to go to an alternative universe to enjoy multiple Polunin clones. In Hozier's latest music video, "Movement" the legendary ballet dancer's drool-worthy technique is on full display as multiple versions of Polunin break out dancing. And though this isn't the first time the ballet superstar has teamed up with Hozier, this performance is even more haunting than the pair's 2013 collaboration in the "Take Me to Church" video.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via YouTube

One Sergei Polunin is great but two, three, or four Polunins, that's something we can really get behind. And now we don't even have to go to an alternative universe to enjoy multiple Polunin clones. In Hozier's latest music video, "Movement" the legendary ballet dancer's drool-worthy technique is on full display as multiple versions of Polunin break out dancing. And though this isn't the first time the ballet superstar has teamed up with Hozier, this performance is even more haunting than the pair's 2013 collaboration in the "Take Me to Church" video.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Ellie Wagner (center) at Hall of Fame Dance Challenge's 2018 Nationals (photo by Hall of Fame, courtesy Wagner)

Each competition season comes with a range of emotions—emotions that tend to test even our strongest dance friendships. We spoke with comp-world veterans about how to deal with five common friendship-ruining competition scenarios, so you can keep the "forever" in "BFF."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
From left: (photo by Michael Curley, courtesy Cincinnati Ballet) (courtesy Cincinnati Zoo)

Yesterday Cincinnati Ballet announced an exciting addition to this year's Nutcracker cast: a character based on Fiona, the world's most famous hippopotamus.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

For Zara Silverman dancing isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life. And now, Zara's enthusiasm for dance is trickling into her other interests. The 15-year-old's love of fashion spurred the creation of her own clothing line, which is designed specifically with dancers in mind. "Since I'm aspiring to become a professional dancer I wanted to design clothes that I would wear," Zara told Dance Spirit. She even uses other dancers as models for the the line.

Her official company, Zara Silver Clothing, just launched last month, and Zara admits she's still figuring things out. But she's excited to be merging her expertise in the dance world with her love of design. Find out why she attributes the hours she's spent in the studio to her success as a business owner and designer.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

Traditional stages are nice and all, but in the ever-unpredictable dance world, it's not uncommon for dancers to find themselves performing in pretty unusual places. Here's how six professionals make it work anywhere—from the mast of a ship to a giant beehive.

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

We're giving away Jordan Matter's latest book, Born To Dance. It features young dancers just like you, who are passionate about dance. Enter below for your chance to win a copy!

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways