So You Think You Can Dance – June 16th

| June 16, 2011

Every summer my friend and I make it a point to watch So You Think You Can Dance (called “The Dance” for brevity and dramatic purposes) from the Top Twenty episode onward. We talk about dance and eat desserts and it’s very girlie indeed – all the summer fun, none of the mosquitoes.
The Top 20 Dancers performed on Wednesday and after the first half hour, I thought I had lost the thrill of The Dance. Do leg kicks behind the head not impress me anymore? Did I just yawn at that 1800 degree turn? These kids (average age 21.35) are undoubtedly talented, but I just can’t seem to muster the same enthusiasm as in past summers. Have I [gasp] outgrown The Dance?
Let’s have a look at the dances and dancers this week. I tend to gloss over the Micky-Mouse-Club-esque character intros and dig right into the dancing. Oh, and Megan Mullally was the guest judge and she was a ballerina in junior high. Who knew?
First Dance: Jordan Casanova (jazz) and Tadd Gadduang (street): Afro jazz (choreographer: Sean Cheesman)
Very cool. Incredibly well-performed. Afro jazz is not always the most interesting style, but the choreography and the dancing brought a nice opening to the new season. I can’t believe Tadd’s a street dancer! He looked very natural and didn’t have that bad b-boy thing where they cannot do any other genres and end up funking up their partner. Well done Jordan & Tadd, well done.
Second Dance: Sasha Mallory (contemporary) and Alexander Fost (contemporary): Contemporary (choreographer: Travis Wall)
Travis Wall makes me pee my pants. I love him and he does consistently great work. What he specializes in is making the dancers lip-lock at the end of the piece. I don’t know if he works it into the choreography or if the moves are just so amazing that the dancers fall in love, but things usually get a little steamy. So there I was waiting for the romantic make-out party I never had to play out before my eyes and it didn’t happen. The chemistry just wasn’t there. The choreography was great but it just fell a little flat. Alexander also reminds me of Robert from last season and I didn’t like Robert.
Third Dance: Clarice Ordaz (jazz) and Jess Leprotto (musical theater): Broadway (choreographer: Tyce D’Orio)
Tyce gets me excited, but in an Amy Poehler kinda way – you remember them fondly and think everything they do is good, then you see Baby Mama and realize you’re actually getting more bad than good from them typically. Nonetheless, I am a complete musical theater geek and I squeal with delight at the prospect of seeing a Tyce D’Orio Broadway number. And then they dance. And it’s just meh. Jess looks like my ex-boyfriend so I wish he would just go away. He is a talented ham. Clarice is pretty and she did fine.
Fourth Dance: Ryan Ramirez (contemporary) and Ricky Jaime (contemporary): Lyrical hip-hop (choreographer: Chris Scott)
Okay Ryan, stop smiling. It’s really throwing me off. The dance is supposed to be about a woman who leaves a man and he can still feel her presence and he misses her. The choreography’s great. I’m lovin’ Chris Scott! But that smiling is just really making it hard to absorb the piece. We know that you’re young and happy and cute and you have big teeth, but just stop the grinning. I think this could have been really powerful had Ryan been haunting instead of happy. Ryan tries to explain herself later, but no matter what explanation is given, it still took me out of the moment.
Fifth Dance: Caitlynn Lawson (contemporary) and Mitchell Kelly (contemporary): Jazz. (choreographer: Sonya Tayeh)
Sonya’s my home girl. She always does these really strong movements for women that looks awesome. Looks like Mitchell is injured so they’re sending in…ROBERT FROM SEASON 7? Ugh, I think I just Beetlejuiced him onto the show by saying how much Alexander reminded me of him. He actually did a great job though and they didn’t interview him afterward – good call. Enjoyable performance from Caitlynn.
The dancers have been unquestionably talented and they’ve done some cool stuff, but I’m not really thrilled about this season yet.
Sixth Dance: Miranda Maleski (contemporary) and Robert Taylor Jr.
(hip-hop): Jive (choreographer: Jason Gilkison)
Where has Jason Gilkison been all my life? Finally some exciting ballroom. Love the costumes, love the energy, love the characterizations – my favorite dance of the night so far. The magic of The Dance is back!
Seventh Dance: Missy Morelli (jazz) and Wadi Jones (breaking): Jazz (choreographer: Sean Cheesman)
Missy seems right at home and Wadi seems a little clunky to me. I knew we couldn’t have a Top 20 without a street dancer who is a little out of his element in other genres. He does some really cool tricks at the end, though. It was better than okay.
Eighth Dance: Melanie Moore (contemporary) and Marko Germar (jazz):
Contemporary (choreographer: Travis Wall)
Another Travis Wall? To what do we owe the pleasure? I am unspeakably happy that Travis gets another dance in here. Right off the bat I love the concept and the costumes and then it happens: they dance. And though they don’t make out at the end, it had all those great Travis qualities – chemistry, passion, great movement, and a burst of “wow” at the end. Loved it and it looks like everyone else did too. Marko has a bullet lodged in his shoulder? That makes it all the more impressive. Highlight of the night.
Ninth Dance: Ashley Rich (contemporary) and Christopher Koehl (hip-hop): Hip-hop (choreographer: Christopher Scott)
Chris Scott is rocking my world today. Love the sharp movements in hip-hop and there are plenty in this routine. I cannot believe Ashley is a contemporary dancer! She is owning this hip-hop routine and Chris is actually falling behind in my eyes. Like.
Last Dance: Iveta Lukosiute (ballroom) and Nick Young (tap): Ballroom quickstep (choreographer: Jason Gilkison)
Another entertaining ballroom number from Jason Gilkison. He single-handedly brought the most dull part of The Dance up to par. I cannot believe how well Nick is doing here. I am absolutely rooting for this guy since I love both tappers and Midwesterners. This could have been the kiss of death for both of them, but they turned it out.
So who goes home? Bottom couples will be: Sasha and Alexander, Ryan and Ricky, Missy and Wadi
And the two going home: Alexander for the guys. Girls is a much tougher call: Ryan?

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