“So You Think You Can Dance”: Walking in tall cotton


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It’s boring me, a little bit, how ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ is keeping the same order of dancers each week, so for fun I am going to discuss the dances in the order I found most compelling (for reasons both good and bad).

Even though I think most viewers probably liked Travis Wall’s dance the best, I was most impressed by Legacy Perez and Kathryn McCormick’s Paso Doble. First, it was a good idea for Legacy to dance without his shirt on, but he wasn’t the only dancer in the pair to work with this costume (or lack thereof). Kathryn was definitely fiery tonight, including, as Adam Shankman pointed out, the way she flung her flowing white dress down when she hit the ground. This couple is climbing up the ranks for me each week, and I also got a kick out of Legacy admitting to his practicing in the mirror. It was clear they both felt confident and excited about the dance, and the feeling was contagious.


Speaking of the shirtless, I am rarely opposed to seeing Ryan Di Lello’s abs, but I actually didn’t think his exposed stomach worked in tonight’s Travis Wall contemporary piece. I loved the story behind the dance, about a former couple reuniting and the man realizing he was the one who ‘lost’ in the breakup. The dance was beautiful (including the autumnal stage lighting) and Ellenore Scott was captivating as always, but with Ryan’s hunky physique hanging around it was hard for me to believe him as the character in the piece. But I did appreciate his dancing, thanks especially to the judges, who noted the great timing of his catches. Mary Murphy (looking lovely tonight, a little bit more chic than when she’s surrounded by a cubic zirconia halo) even got choked up as she talked about Ryan breaking down barriers on the show for ballroom dancers.

What I still don’t understand is the judges’ love affair with Mollee Gray and Nathan Trasoras, who performed a Laurieann Gibson dance to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance.’ I think it was a poor song choice in some ways because I was thinking about the recent video the whole time, which is weird and wonderful, but Nathan and Mollee’s dance was neither. I just think they both lack the maturity to really throw themselves into their dances. As a couple they remind me a little bit of Ashleigh Di Lello and Jakob Karr, but I think Ashleigh and Jakob both work hard for the chemistry they have. It bothers me that Mary refers to Mollee and Nathan as the ‘dream team’ because they’re definitely not in my top selection of couples so far.

I like Channing Cooke and Victor Smalley better. I enjoyed the eclectic ‘Blackbird’ dance choreographed by Tyce Diorio ,which especially helped Channing show off a little personality (and I liked the minimalist but pretty ‘cage’ they performed behind). I thought the judges were right on that Victor needs to push himself to really stand out from the crowd and also that the choice of the Bobby McFerrin version of the song was a little off-putting. As Adam put it, the song is great but I think something a little more funky and weird might have helped establish the tone of the piece better.

Those were the highlights and lowlights of the evening for me. I thought Ashleigh Di Lello and Jakob Karr’s Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo hip-hop dance was fine, except that I wish their dances wouldn’t always start with a little scene, plus the dance reminded me very much of the dance Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower did for the same choreographers in Season 4. I was glad the judges explained the fox trot to me because while I appreciated the zestier moments of Noelle Marsh and Russell Ferguson’s performance, I needed to be reminded that the dance is supposed to be slow and deliberate. And Karen Hauer and Kevin Hunte may be in trouble Wednesday for their Broadway routine. I think Kevin tried pretty hard, but his lack of confidence in his abilities was evident, and this time Karen wasn’t able to draw the charm that was necessary for the routine. The judges predict they’ll be the ones to go, although the part of me that hates dreams and teams is hoping it’s the youngsters.

On a happier note, L.A. residents, tickets are still available for the Dizzy Feet Foundation’s ‘A Celebration of Dance’: As of last glance I saw that they were available for $25, which seems like a bargain to catch performances by stars from ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ The American Ballet Theatre and the Ailey II Troupe.

--Claire Zulkey

(Photo: Kathryn McCormick and Legacy Perez perform a Paso Doble choreographed by Tony Meredith. CR: Mathieu Young/FOX)