"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.
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!