We caught up with Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Vanessa Hudgens, and special guest tWitch at "So You Think You Can Dance" auditions in NYC. The panel of dance pros discussed reuniting for the 15th season, what their favorite part of judging is, and their advice for "SYTYCD" hopefuls.
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
Thanksgiving is only two weeks away! And that means we've all got a certain bird on the brain: the penguin. (Wut?!) That's right, this year Mr. Turkey will have to share the spotlight with his arctic amigo—because Penguins of Madagascar is hitting theaters. You may be thinking: Sure, sure, that's great, but what does it have to do with dance? Everything, my friends, for there's a new dance in town and it's called the #PenguinShake.
In honor of the movie's upcoming release, the folks at Dream Works want to create the longest music video in the world. (Trying to rival Pharrell Williams 24-hour music video to "Happy," are we?) Their song of choice? Pitbull's hit single "Celebrate." And, to keep up with the recent music-video trend of hiring world-class choreographers, they needed to find someone pretty flippin' awesome...
...tWitch to the rescue!
All you've gotta do to join the longest music video in the world is 1) learn the #penguinshake, 2) film yourself performing it, 3) upload the video to Instagram with #penguinshake and 4) check the #penguinshake website 24–48 hours after uploading to see yourself in the video.
Everyone who's anyone is doing it, including animator-extraordinaire Marquese Scott:
Get (penguin) shakin'!
Let's face it: Ellen's got swag.
The friendship between tWitch and Ellen is kind of adorable. We've been in love with the pair ever since Ellen made her surprise "SYTYCD" appearance, filling in for the injured Alex Wong to perform that infamous Nappytabs routine.
They need a cute friend name like tWitchison. tWitchellen? Eh...we'll go with it.
On this season of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," we've gotten to see lots of tWitchellen, because tWitch was a recurring guest DJ on the show. On Wednesday, Ellen took a moment to thank him for bringing joy and dance to the show week-after-week, and to tell him how much she loves him (awwww!!). And tWitch had a little thank you for Ellen, as well. Naturally, it came in the form of dance:
Recognize some of your favorite "SYT" alums? It was the perfect gift for Ellen, given her love for "So You Think You Can Dance." Plus, it came on the morning of the show's Season 11 premiere! Well timed, tWitch, well timed.
Here at DS, we live for the Step Up movies. Whether Channing Tatum is romancing Jenna Dewan with his slick dance moves, or Alyson Stoner and Adam Sevani are sweetly tap dancing through the NYC streets, every Step Up movie is just the best.
OK, so maybe the plot lines leave a bit to be desired, but who cares? The dancing is so good.
This summer, the mega-hit dance franchise gets back to the big screen with Step Up: All In, and we couldn't be more psyched. This time around, all of our past favorites are back: Alyson Stoner (as Camille), Ryan Guzman (as Sean), Adam Sevani (as Moose), Misha Gabriel (as Eddy), plus the Lombard Twins, tWitch, Christopher Scott (who also choreographed) and so many more.
The official trailer for the film was released last week and we can't. stop. watching.
Here ya go:
Step Up: All In hits theaters this summer. We'll race you to the theater!
Can we talk about how wonderful the tWitch—Ellen DeGeneres bestfriendship is? They've hearted each other for ages. (Remember their epic duet, with Ellen doing a verrry impressive Alex Wong impression, during the "SYT" Season 7 finale? Yeah, that was SEVEN YEARS AGO). tWitch has even served as a featured DJ on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" for the past few seasons. Their dance-based love for each other knows no bounds.
So it's only fitting that Mr. Boss would get his boss a delightfully dancey birthday present. tWitch surprised Ellen, who turned a totally unconvincing 59 yesterday, with a celebratory performance featuring some of his friends from 24 Seven. (We see you, Hefa, Randi and Kaycee!) They broke it down old school—like, running man, walk-like-an-Egyptian old school—to the equally old school and oh-so-appropriate "It's Your Birthday" by Luke. A a giant breakthrough wall of wrapping paper was also involved, which, many bonus points.
"What more perfect gift for Ellen than the gift of dance, right?" tWitch told the audience. "It is my honor to give such a gift to such a kind, genuine, generous person." 💕💕💕
Enjoy the lovefest, friends:
We knew it was coming.
We knew right from episode one when we started getting attached to these young dancers that soon we'd have to start saying goodbye to them one at a time. And now—after watching them all show their best moves for the first time on live television last week—that time has come.
But first, let's talk about the good stuff, because there was loads of good stuff on last night's episode.
Kida and Tate's hip-hop routine. (BRB, running out to buy overalls, stat.) (Photo via FOX)
The dancers got out of their comfort zones this week by pairing up with their fellow contestants and dancing styles other than their own. Each dancer performed four routines. Again, four routines per contestants. Make sure you tell your non-dance friends watching that that is a lot to learn in one week. Each dancer performed two duets with a new partner (a fellow contestant, not an All-Star this time), one short routine with his or her All-Star partner, and an opening number. This is no joke, people. That's a lot of choreography to master.
And master it all, they did. Here are our favorite moments from last night's show.
Emma and J.T. performing a Nappytabs hip-hop routine. And the award for Biggest Smiles goes to... (Photo via FOX)
1. The opening Bollywood routine
In honor of busting out of the comfort zones, why not kick off the show by getting everyone out of their comfort zones? No dancer on the show right now—neither a contestant nor an All-Star—lists Bollywood as his or her speciality, so it was fun seeing all 20 dancers come together to perform this unique style. The routine was high-energy and tons of fun, and the only way we could tell the contestants from the All-Stars was because they wore different outfits. (That part when J.T. got to dance up front and shine in the spotlight for a second? He was living for that moment.) Nakul Dev Mahajan, you never disappoint. Way to kick off the show.
Bollywood mania! (Photo via FOX)
2. Having tWitch on the judging panel
While Jason Derulo was...somewhere...tWitch stepped in to fill his spot on the panel! His feedback was pretty tame, but he could've been silent up there and we would've been fine with it. (Though he did have a few gems, like telling Sheaden, "You're cooler than a polar bear's toenails.") tWitch, your smile gives us life.
3. The contestants getting to dance with each other!
Sure, the contestant-and-All-Star duos last week were nice. But this week, with the contestants dancing with each other, we were reminded of the "So You Think You Can Dance" format we know and love. Each pair learned and performed two routines in two different styles. Tahani and Jake were so sweet together, Tate and Kida proved they're forces to be reckoned with (donning overalls to boot), and J.T. and Emma were all-smiles and totally adorable. All-Stars, we love you, but these are the pairings we love.
4. Jake and Tahani's contemporary duet
As tWitch said, when these two were onstage performing this piece together, they were all, "I got you." Their routine, choreographed by Bonnie Story, was about bullying, and it hit home for Jake, who shared that he has been bullied for being a dancer. It's hard to learn this much choreography each week and maintain a strong performance quality, but Jake and Tahani nailed it this week. Not only did they dance full-out and beautifully, but they also connected with each other onstage and supported each other throughout the piece. Both dancers were crying by the end of the performance—and so were we. No surprise there.
ENCORE, PLZ. (Photo via FOX)
5. Maddie Ziegler coming into her own on the judging panel
Last week, Maddie's feedback was mostly complimentary and she didn't say a whole lot. This week, though, Maddie spoke up a lot more, and we loved it. We especially loved seeing her get on the dancers' levels and relating to them. (Like when she told J.T. and Emma she got where they were coming from in their hip-hop piece because she isn't a hip-hop dancer either, so she appreciated their efforts.) Having Maddie pop in during the rehearsals felt more cohesive this week, too. She's able to see how hard the dancers work and what challenges they overcome, and it's nice seeing her getting to know them and being invested in their performances. Keep it up, Maddie!
Speaking of Maddie, did anyone else expect her to bust out a cameo during the All-Star group routine? You simply can't have a Sia song without a Maddie Z. appearance!
Ladies and gentlemen, your All-Stars! (Photo via FOX)
Other highlights from last night included Tate and Kida's John Deere-themed hip-hop routine ("You're two of the best dancers we've got on this show," Nigel told them afterward), J.T. and Emma's cute West Side Story Broadway routine, Jordan's smile, Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo sucking on lollipops in the audience (adopt us?), Sheaden's awesome stage presence and the All-Stars waiting in the wings with hugs for their dancers after each performance. (Of course this was totally staged, but it was still adorable and heart-warming and we wouldn't mind running offstage and directly into Robert's arms. Just saying.)
What we could've done without? Those super awkward Ice Age promos and jokes, and the many even-more-awkward moments on the judging panel (like Nigel asking Paula if she was dating anyone and then telling her about a farmer's-only dating site...no).
Ultimately—and tearfully—Daniela and Sheaden were the bottom two dancers, and the judges chose to keep Sheaden around. Daniela, we will miss you.
Bye, Daniela. Love you. (Photo via FOX)
Now we're off to sew our broken hearts back together, because this part of the show is the worst.