So You Think You Can Dance S11 Chicago Day 2 and Los Angeles Auditions

11 06 2014

Chicago Day 2

Joining Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe for day 2 of the Chicago auditions was Fabrice Calmels from the Joffrey Ballet.

First up was “The Puppet” Paul Brushaber. He is 18 and from Mokena, Illinois. He makes it look so easy but I cannot imagine how difficult his style of dance is. I would send him to choreography just to give him an opportunity to partner with someone. The judges surprised me. Mary wanted to live in his world. Fabrice loved that he created his own style.

Emily James, a 21-year-old from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, auditioned twice before in seasons 8 and 9. She took season 10 auditions off so she could use her degree, but she discovered that it is dance is what she should be doing. I got a mini-set of goosebumps at times. She has power but there is something missing here. Maybe it was just nerves or maybe a disconnection of her dance to the chosen music emotionally. I remember when I first saw Melanie Moore and I knew she would be the winner. Melanie always extended her reach lines just a little bit further. But Emily had some interesting moves I have not seen others do. Fabrice said it was solid. She is through to the next round.

We are then shown a montage of people who get through, but they are cutting the audition features down it seems.

Next up is Franchesca Bass, an 18-year-old young lady from Crown Point, Indiana. I loved that she created this story behind her dance. It was unique and interesting. Nigel was mesmerized by her and she had fabulous techniques. Fabrice, too, thought it was unique and he really enjoyed it. She is through to the next round.

Jenna Scaccia is an 18-year-old trainee with the Joffrey Ballet and apparently has a slight crush on Fabrice. She is a ballet dancer but it looks more like contemporary with ballet mixed in. It was light and heavenly and I’d give her a ticket. And they do. Nigel said she had a good flow of movement and it was very beautiful. Mary said it was like she floated on a cloud. She made Fabrice proud; he loved it.

James Thomas is a hip-hop dancer who does contortion and bopping. He is from Chicago. This type of dance is always so freaky to watch (in a good way). Fabrice thought it was insane. He tells them that he knows other styles so they give him a yes to choreography. Choreography proved too much for him and he drops out.

Los Angeles

Christina Applegate joined Mary and Nigel for this round of the auditions.

Jessica Richens from Yorba Linda, California did a jazz number. I loved the routine but I hope her “sexy” does not become a crutch. I think this particular audition was my favorite to watch so far of all the ones shown to date. Mary and Christina thought she could win the show and she is through.

I enjoyed Valerie Rockey‘s tap routine quite a bit. Mary said she was full of light and life. Christina said she wanted to look at her feet but she was drawn up to her face and then she saw what she was looking for in her expressions. She is through to choreography and from there she got through to the next round.

Jana “JaJa” Vankova is part of Phillip Cheeb’s animation crew who hails from the Czech Republic but now lives in Chatworth, California. She needs some lessons from Cyrus to get her animating to the next level. It was enjoyable. She is through to the next round.

The next contestant was a joy. Kyle Taylor is a 28-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas. He does popping in his home, but has never had professional guidance. I was amazed. Kyle just wanted to get a favorable opinion from other dancers. Kyle, I don’t know if my opinion counts, but that was hot! You were on fire! Nigel proposes a battle and Fik-Shun, Cyrus, and Legacy get up from the audience and join Kyle on stage for a little dance-off. I enjoyed this part so much. It made this guy’s day. He did such a great job that they give him a yes to choreography but he bowed out when he realized it was too much above his level.

Justine Lutz has experience in ballet and jazz but decides to do a contemporary routine for her audition. For a moment I was worried for her. For someone who has no experience in contemporary (and freely admitted this to the judges) who had the guts to do contemporary, it was beautiful. I had goosebumps. All three judges were standing and she is, of course, through to the next round.

Mauricio Vera and Deise Mendoza are in love. They are 27 and 23 respectively from Santa Barbara, California. I got goosebumps. Christina was in tears. She wanted to watch them all day long. Mary started crying. Off to the next round for both of them.

Hailee Payne is a 19-year-old from Roy, Utah. Her family is a lot of fun as well. I think Sonya Tayeh will LOVE getting her hands on her. I loved her hair (I want it). I also loved her dance. I will remember her because of the unique style that makes her stand out. I also liked her personality. That is a big part of the ability to win over people’s votes. It is not always being about the best dancer. She is through.

Sebastian Serra, a 24-year-old from Orlando, Florida, was fabulous! He was cut last year right before the green mile. I hope he makes it further this year.

Dani Platz‘s story of overcoming an eating disorder (and still fights these demons) between ages 16 and 18 was powerful. Her story was in her dance. She is such a brave young lady and a great role model for other dancers who starve themselves. Not only did I have goosebumps, but I was crying. I felt like she was broken and then at times healed and then broken and then healed throughout the entire dance. This is what I mean about having an emotional connection to the dance that I felt was lacking in Emily James. This is NOW my favorite dance shown to date. “Dance is like oxygen for the soul.” I loved that. Christina saw her story in her dance, too. She said she was healing through dance and it was beautiful. I was SHOCKED that they wanted to put her through choreography (and Christina was, too). But she fortunately made it through that round.

Marie “Poppins” Bonnevay is a popper who lives in North Hollywood, California and performs on the street. In doing such, she has to engage the audience in order for them to leave money to support herself. She utilized this skill during her audition with a very positive response as well. When she got close enough to the show’s previous contestants, Fik-Shun jumped up on stage and engaged with her. I love seeing this with the other dancers coming up and getting caught up in the moment (or if it is rehearsed, who cares about that). They need to keep this portion of it. She is moved to tears by it and she gets a ticket to the next round.

Dance Crews

Breaksk8 versus Academy of Villains.

Breaksk8 was interesting but I liked the Academy of Villains better.





So You Think You Can Dance — LA Auditions — Season 9

3 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance — Season 9 —  Los Angeles Auditions

By Hilda Clark Bowen

On Twitter, East Coast people are complaining that New York only got 1 hour of airtime last week while California got 2 this week. Judges for this panel were Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Who I liked a LOT

Eliana Girad; West Palm Beach, Florida. She has an impressive resume including Joffrey Ballet. She does pole dancing. I got distracted on Twitter by the reminder to people that our local Fox 26 Houston did a story about Pole Dancing for Jesus, a group here locally, which then brought up images and comments for me of, “So that was what Christ and his disciples were looking at on the other side of the table in “The Last Supper!” I understand empowerment, I understand exercise, but I don’t envision pole dancing to Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Dive.” I do see pole dancing to “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse. Her routine mesmerized me. The judges give her a standing ovation. Vegas baby.

Eliana Girad

Cole Horibe; Honolulu, Hawaii; contemporary. He combined his training in martial arts (silver in the junior Olympics) and dance. He presented a powerful piece. He could be the “Marko” of this year. He is sent straight through to Vegas.

Cole Horibe

Jasmine Mason; Placentia, California; jazz: She was in a wreck 6 weeks prior with Marshae Kidd. She had beautiful lines. Her dance was sultry and sexy. She is sent to Vegas.

Marshae Kidd; Placentia, California: He broke his neck in a car accident 6 weeks prior to the audition. I don’t know if I’d even be out of bed after breaking my neck. I think he has grown since trying out previously. He also gets to go to Vegas.

Jasmine Mason and Marshae Kidd

Who I thought was average

Alexa Anderson; Chandler, Arizona; contemporary: She was on last year, but Ryan Ramirez was picked instead. She had a very strong dance. Quite beautiful. She is through to Vegas.

Sam Lenarz; Lavergne, California; contemporary: Her story was oh-so-familiar-to-me. She was kicked out of the house by her mother (mine occurred when I was 14). She had great fluidity but she wasn’t emotionally connecting with the dance. “You can always believe in yourself.” I felt that way, too: You can take responsibility for your own life and be the captain of your own destiny. It also helps when there is someone there as a safety net as it appears we both did. She is sent to choreography and then to Vegas.

Megan Branch; Gilbert, Arizona; contemporary: She did a great job. She is sent to Vegas.

Who needs improvement

Jontel “Johnny Waacks” Gibson; Portland, Oregon; waacking. The judges could not stop saying “waack” without breaking into hysterics. Johnny was such a good sport and his answers just fed into the hilarity. Jesse called him a Lenny Kravitz nesting doll. While he definitely is no Princess Lockeroo, they put him through to choreography. Unfortunately, Johnny will have to come back another year.

Jontel “Johnny Waacks” Gibson

Jonathan Anzolone; Milan, Italy; B-boying: He was good, but not spectacular. He had tried out previously on SYTYCD. He’s toned down his narcissistic persona, but I get a really negative energy from him. The judges send him to choreography but he did not prove himself worthy of a Vegas ticket.

The Odd-Ball Lot

Nick and James Aragon, contemporary, age 32. (a.k.a. the Ninja Twins). Although they are past the age limit of 30 for the show, these two young men deserve to have a reality show of their own. I LOVE them. They are not only terrific dancers, but charismatic and funny as hell. The judges and the audience gave them a standing ovation.

The Nina Twins: Nick and James Aragon — Someone PLEASE give them their own reality show!!!

Caley Carr; Huntington Beach, California, tapper: He surfs and dances. This is a case where what he looks like on the outside deceives you to what kind of talent he has on the inside. One immediately stereotypes him as a surfer. I did and I’m glad when I am reminded not to do such things. He is sent to choreography and not sent to Vegas.

David Marz; Los Angeles, California; Cyr wheel. What is a cyr wheel? Per Wiki: “The Cyr wheel (also known as the roue Cyr or simple wheel) is an acrobatic device popularized in the early 21st century. It consists of a single large, metal hoop, and is used in a similar manner to a German wheel, with the acrobat rolling the wheel around the stage from the inside. The Cyr wheel was popularized by Daniel Cyr from 2003. There are records of others using a similar apparatus during the 19th and 20th centuries, but Daniel Cyr is known to have popularized it, and claims he created it without any awareness of previous similar devices. It is now used in performance by hundreds of performers around the world.”.  I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was mesmerizing and beautiful. He is sent to choreography and leaves on his own when he finds the choreography difficult.

David Marz using a Cyr wheel for his dance audition.

Stephen Jacobsen; Cincinnati, Ohio; ballet: I wonder if the audition dance was some kind of plant by the producers because it was horrible. However, when Nigel had him do a ballet routine, which was incredible, they put him straight through to Vegas.

Vegas bound

Eliana Girad; contestant numbers 20515 (tapper Aaron Turner?, son of the famous Earl Turner); contestant 20323 (inspired by Desmond); and contestant 20429 (inspired by Sasha); Megan Branch, contestants 20273, 20309; Cole Horibe; Stephen Jacobsen; Jasmine Mason; Marshae Kidd; Sam Lenarz.