Dancetown Divas during their powerhouse performance (Evans Vestal Ward/NBC)
Last night, while the rest of the population was watching "Game of Thrones," we (and all of you) were wrapped up in the drama that was first round of "World of Dance" cuts. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that everyone can agree this season is especially unpredictable: We've got a whole new points system, surprises every episode, and a truly talented group of dancers who bring it week after week. So, who survived and who was sent packing? Here's what went down last night.
Junior Team Division
A standing O from J.Lo is always a good thing, and that's exactly what the Crazy 8's got. Their routine was, as ever, intricate, hard-hitting, and super satisfying to watch. We were living for their energy and facials, and absolutely loved the costumes. The judges were super impressed, giving them a 92.3.
Ahhhh, our favorite ladies from Miami. What can't these super-girls do? (That's obviously a rhetorical question.) They confidently danced in heels, which is a feat in itself, and the addition of voguing had us screaming as loud as the audience. The judges loved it, awarding them a 93.3.
Last but certainly not least, the third junior group safe from The Cut was VPeepz. Their insanely technical, precise, and complex routine earned them a whopping 98.7, as well as a standing ovation from the entire judging panel. Right now, VPeepz is clearly the one to beat.
Our 2016 CMS winner has been on a ROLL this season. Each of her performances builds on the last, and it's clear she's peaking at the right time. Nolet's performance last night highlighted every single one of her strengths. She earned a unanimous standing O, tears from J.Lo (!!!!), and a stellar score of 95.3.
Derion & Madison
These two are just so breathtaking to watch. Their performance was infused with a sense of emotion that'd been lacking a tad this season, and man, did it complete the package. The judges were blown away, giving them a standing O and a 94.7.
We live for some props done right, and Poppin John (or Proppin John—see what we did there?!) did just that last night. The supremely talented popper gave us a lesson in balance by pulling off some wild tricks and optical illusions, while never sacrificing the emotional pulse of the performance. The judges loved every minute of it, giving him a solid 95 and a standing ovation.
Next week is sure to be just as intense, so catch us back here for another recap!
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!