So You Think You Can Dance S11 Hell Week

2 07 2014

SoYouThinkYouCanDanceDuring the Pasadena, California callbacks, Adam Shankman, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tara Lipinski, and Irina Dvorovenko joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe.

 

CallbackJudges

Solos were first. One hundred and fifty-seven contestants danced in front of the judges. Tanisha Belnap‘s solo was okay, but now that I’ve seen other ballroom dancers, she is not quite at their level. I loved Steven Kador. Even “tWitch” went “oooooo.” After this round, 36 dancers were cut including puppet-dancer Paul Brushaber. One hundred twenty-one dancers remained.

The first choreography challenge was hip-hop. Christopher Scott and Jasmine Harper demonstrated the routine. The contestants had the night to rehearse. Steven Kador and Malene Ostergaard danced together and were through. Marie Poppins was through. Jessica Richens was asked to dance for her life. Marcquet Hill was fabulous and was put through. Trevor Bryce, Caleb Bruner, Megan Marcano, and Franchesca Bass were sent home. Jessica Richens danced for her life and made it through to the next round of choreography.

ScottAndHarper

Sonya Tayeh put them through the paces with a jazz routine. George Lawrence II and Amy Yakima demonstrated the dance. Alla Kocherga was a no, but Zach Everheart moved on. Serge Onik, Johnny “Waackd” Gibson, and Jourdan Epstein are all through. Steven Kador, Shafeek Westbrook, and Marie Poppins all were sent home. Jana “Jaja” Vankova had to dance for her life and she was sent through to the next round of choreography along with 64 other dancers.

SonyaTayeh

The dreaded ballroom was choreography round 3 with Dmitry Chaplin and Anya Garnis demonstrated. They were once again given the night to practice. Zach Everheart and Valerie Rockey were through.

DmitryAnya

Travis Wall led round 4 of choreography for contemporary dance with the lovely Makenzie Dustman. Bridget Whitman and Landon Anderson had to dance for their lives. After the contemporary rounds, 29 boys and 21 girls were left to compete.

Travis

Group night was next. Once again they were given overnight to choreograph and learn their steps.  They were broken up into groups of five and given a CD of music. They are required to choreograph and perform the routine. “One Love” consisting of Ryan Johnson, Ryan Redman, Carly Blaney, Novien Yarber, and Serena Pav did not do well at all. Tara thought it was “a mess” as did Irina. Mary told Serena that international rumba is not done on the show for a reason. Nigel said they need smart dancers and that was not smart. He makes the group go decide who will go home. When they could not reach a decision, and because they were willing to all go home versus give up a name, Nigel puts them all through.

The group containing Trenton Williams, Kamille Upshaw, Zach Everheart, Malene Ostergaard, and Johnny “Waackd” Gibson did a wonderful job dancing to “All of Me” by John Legend. I had goosebumps. Adam Shankman thought it was lovely. Tara said it showed they thought about each other but showcased their individual strengths as well. It was Nigel’s favorite routine of the morning.

At this point there were 44 dancers left. They were asked to dance their final solos. Ricky Ubeda may be my favorite dancer this year. I had seriously major goosebumps. In the background you could hear Adam Shankman say, “He’s the best dancer you have.” The four dance crews who will perform are “Academy of Villans“, “Wanted Ashiqz,” “Control Freakz” and “Syncopated Ladies.”

The dancers who walked the final mile were: Ricky Ubeda, Jessica Richens, Jacque LeWarne, Teddy Coffey, Stanley Glover, Carly Blaney, Emilio Dosal, Jana “Jaja” Vankova, Novien Yarber, Serena Pav, Armen Way, Johnny Wacckd Gibson, Bridget Whitman, Valerie Rockey, Zach Everheart, Jourdan Epstein, Casey Askew, Emily James, Landon Anderson, Haley Payne, Justine Lutz, Nick Garcia, Rudy Abreu, Tanisha Belnap, Serge Onik, Malene Ostergaard, Brooklyn Fullmer, Marcquet Hill, and Erik “Silky” Moore.





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.