Madison Brown shows off her gorgeous extension in "World of Dance" (screenshot via YouTube)
Just when you think the dance routines can't get any better on "World of Dance," someone lights up the stage and sets the bar a little higher. This week was no exception. There were moves upon moves, with dancers performing tricks we didn't even think were humanly possible. Leave it to "World of Dance" contestants to rewrite the anatomy of the dancer.
You're looking swell, Taylor Hatala and Josh Beauchamp. (screenshot via YouTube)
In the wonderful world of reality-TV dance competitions, there's perhaps nothing so wonderful as a comeback kid—the artist who, having danced their way to an elimination on a past season, is brave and passionate enough to return to that very same stage and prove their skill once again. And last night, we got the chance to see two past "World of Dance" fan favorites return to fight (or, um, dance) it out one more time and earn their chance at redemption.
With several Shaping Sound tours and TV credits like "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars," and "Boardwalk Empire" to her name, you wouldn't expect Kate Harpootlian to be refreshingly down-to-earth. But that's exactly how she is: As soon as you start talking to the gifted dancer and choreographer, it becomes clear that she doesn't take herself too seriously. And she's happy to tell hilarious stories to prove it. (Ask her about the time she did a Mr. Peanut impression when Mia Michaels asked her to improvise, or the time she starred in a Japanese makeup commercial and had to do grand pliés wearing one pointe shoe and one flat shoe.)
That mixture of humor and grace is evident in Harpootlian's growing body of choreographic work. Her one-act show Better Late Than Never, for example, which premiered last summer, has a jazzy, West Side Story vibe, offsetting heavier moments with touches of whimsy. "There's always a balance in my work," Harpootlian says. "I want to use humor to balance out the darker aspects. It's like one of my friends once said: 'You make me laugh, and then you make me feel bad for laughing.' "
Contemporary Dancer Melanie Moore has come a long way since being named America's Favorite Dancer on Season 8 of "So You Think You Can Dance," where she became known for her captivating presence and elegant, fluid moves. In recent years, the 25-year-old has been blowing up Broadway: She originated the role of Peter Pan in Finding Neverland and starred in the most recent revival of Fiddler on the Roof as Chava. Moore started dancing at age 3 at Centre Stage School of Dance in her hometown of Marietta, GA, and later switched to Rhythm Dance Center in Marietta, where she fell in love with contemporary dance. She attended Fordham University for a year before leaving to compete on "SYTYCD" in 2011. These days, you can catch her in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! —Courtney Bowers