To better cover the technical talents of season 6, we’ve brought on Dr. Goddess, a guest columnist with decades of dance experience. She will share her dance-pertise in a weekly column recapping and reviewing So You Think You Can Dance with an eye on technique.]
This week’s review of So You Think You Can Dance will involve substantial criticism of the choreographers.
The show began with a hip hop piece by new choreographer, Jamal Sims. Noelle Marsh and Russell Ferguson performed the storyline, characters and tennis racket props very well at first but then lost it in the end. While Noelle did pretty well, especially with the dodge-the-bullets-in-slow-motion Matrix dance, Russell brought more energy, confidence and commitment; and he should have, as krumping is a clear sibling of hip hop. Still, the judges were right—they did not take full control of the performance and the props—but the choreography was also too fast-paced for the props at times.
Yet another annoying marriage theme involving Ashleigh Di Lello allowed her to be showcased this week in a superb Viennese waltz with Jakob Karr. Did you notice Jakob’s “dance adultery” (a term and concept I invented to describe commitment to one’s character despite “real world” status)—when he kissed Ashleigh?! Kudos to Melanie Lapatin and Tony Meredith for their choreography and choice of Etta James’s version of “At Last”. Ashleigh exhibited graceful turns, with excellent spotting and beautiful lines. Jakob performed his lifts lovingly, as any new husband should, while his split “jete, en tournant” (a leap within a turn) was appropriate, it was his only time to shine, so blame the choreographers for their lack of balance to Jakob, as it was “too lifty”.
Let’s move on to Tyce D’Orio’s Broadway routine for Bianca Revels and Victor Smalley. I am undoubtedly a fan of Tyce’s; but as much as The Color Purple on Broadway is the best musical since The Wiz and “Maybe God is Tryin’ to Tell You Something” is one of the best songs ever (no true fan forgets Shug Avery proclaiming, “I’se married nah!”), Adam Shankman’s point that context and history are important is well noted. There were a few enjoyable moments in the piece (the first few steps and the syncopated step-turns across the stage) but it mostly fell flat and became a caricature of itself. Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations” exhibits seemingly endless body stretches and a dramatic flurry of church fans which introduces the audience to an imitation of baptisms and transformed souls without mimicry. It appeared as though Tyce gave Bianca easy steps to compensate for her lack of training (which showed when she did not arch her back or stretch her legs as she emerged from Victor’s strong arms), as opposed to challenging them both with a compelling number that could have shaken up the audience for years to come. This was his weakest piece yet; but it could have been fabulous and Bianca might still be here.
Nakul Dev Mahajan’s bollywood number on Mollee Gray and Nathan Trasoras was wonderful with a stunningly, dramatic entrance. Nathan’s “hopping pirouettes ala second” (meaning he was in a plie’ in second position) and stopping on one leg demonstrate his true mastery and control at just 18 years old! It was a beautiful dance but needed more bollywood than molleewood because those traditional dances are complex and exciting to watch. Further, with HBO airing Slumdog Millionaire everyday, we are all still abuzz with “jai ho!” Mix it up just a little bit but please continue to honor the ancestors, Nakul!
As for Channing Cooke and Phillip Attmore’s samba, this time Tony and Mary are mostly off the hook. Channing was shaking it like her Mama gave her but she will have to bring even more flexibility to her mid-section, as Karen Hauer is present and in the building. Both Phillip and Channing struggled with the lifts. The blame falls on both of their shoulders because Channing did not lift her body to assist Phillip after she tossed her legs over his shoulders and, perhaps Phillip needed to taste a bit of the protein that Ryan Di Lello has been chugging. Nigel is correct, in that this was the second time Phillip was given a routine wherein his tap background should have improved his footwork on the dance floor, despite it being a ballroom number. I knew he would be going home this time.
–Dr. Goddess, BuddyTV Guest Columnist
(Image Courtesy of FOX)