'So You Think You Can Dance': Where Have We Seen Them Before? (Or, Why is the Dance World So Small?)
If there's one thing I learned from watching So You Think You Can Dance, it's this: the dance world is a small one. There's always a chance that the dancer you're watching knows, or has worked with, either a former contestant, a fellow hopeful, or one of the show's judges or choreographers. Or maybe we've seen them in previous seasons of the show.

Say, Ryan Ramirez, who auditioned in San Francisco. She almost made it to the Top 11 last year, but was cut from the Top 24. (I couldn't find a clip of that moment, though.) And then there's the fact that she also worked with former SYTYCD judge Mia Michaels, which might explain as to why she didn't make it last year -- and why she might make it this year.

The nice thing is, you see the dancers grow from the very beginning -- and you know how much SYTYCD loves these growth stories. You'd see how the judges would send someone home only to see them do well the following year. (Hello, Nathan Trasoras, although I know your story is a little bit different that what I outlined.) Say, Arielle Coker, who showed up at last week's Los Angeles audition episode. Yes, we know she's been back many times -- the judges obviously remember her -- but do you remember her audition from season 5, when she danced with future finalist Phillip Chbeeb?

Please do not be distracted by Nigel's hair.

More proof that the dance world is small: Hiro McRae, also from the Los Angeles auditions last week, who you might recognize as a member of We Are Heroes, which was the team that won the fourth season of America's Best Dance Crew. And you thought it's SYTYCD alumni that go to ABDC (hello, Dominic Sandoval and Hok Konishi).

See her at the end of the clip? But she performed with We Are Heroes on ABDC's season finale a few days back, so does that mean she didn't make it to the Top 20 this year?

Finally, there's the fact that little boys and girls often follow the footsteps of their older siblings slash established dancers. It's like Lacey Schwimmer joining SYTYCD after her brother Benji won. And it's like Alexis Mason auditioning after her sister Jeanine won. Now, the Schwimmers danced together before the show came along -- and the same's also the case for the Masons:

Of course, in the end, it doesn't matter who you know or where you've been: it's what you can do. And if you don't make it this time, surely we'll fall in love with you in the near future. Again, SYTYCD loves growth stories.

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(Image courtesy of Fox)