"World of Dance" Week 5 Recap: Anything You Can Duel, I Can Duel Better
JDC won over the judges with powerful storytelling. (Jordan Althaus/NBC)
We were a tad trepidatious going into the second round of Duels on NBC's "World of Dance." Last week's Upper Division showdown saw all four of the highest-scoring teams from the Qualifiers eliminated. (Derek Piquette, 😭😭😭!) Were some of our Junior faves about to face the chopping block, too? Would one of them find salvation during the last-minute redemption round? We weren't sure our stomachs, or hearts, were ready for another roller-coaster ride.
But here we are, hearts and stomachs relatively intact, on the other side. Who survived the twists and turns? Read on for our episode highlights.
First up was VPeepz vs. Battle Droids, a baby b-boy brawl. We honestly didn't know which way the judges were going to go here, given how similar the crews' movement styles and even costume choices were (sports team-inspired looks are apparently very hot right now). But ultimately, VPeepz's stronger transitions gave them the edge.
Speaking of evenly matched acts: Dancetown Divas and JDC received the exact same score in the Qualifiers round—and their Duel was the highest-scoring of all last night. We were v into JDC's intense paso doble vibe. While the Divas edged them out by a point with their powerful storytelling, nobody was surprised when we discovered JDC had earned a spot in the redemption round.
The Crazy 8's vs. West Springfield Dance face-off was on the other end of the spectrum: The former earned the highest score in the Qualifiers, the latter the lowest. So the 8's victory last night—thanks to yet another super-clean, fantastically technical routine—was far from shocking. But bonus points (figuratively speaking, at least) to West Springfield for creativity. We were genuinely terrified/fascinated by their "Twilight Zone"-themed hip-hop horror show. (Was anybody else reminded of this little "SYTYCD" gem?)
In the redemption round, we had the aforementioned Dancetown Divas vs. hip-hop crew MKAM. The Divas' Latin flair earned a standing O from J.Lo, and though MKAM pulled out some impressively intricate choreo, its boys couldn't best the ladies from Miami.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.