With this. Wow. He’s not just an excellent dancer with superb technique – which you’d expect of a Miami City Ballet principal of course! He just danced that with so much meaning. So much more than the rest of them. That was really wonderful. And thank you to Adam Shankman for getting the name of his company right
So, as for the new format of the show: well, if it’s going to be this way throughout the season – where the returning dancers dance their specialty – then I’m okay with it. I really loved seeing Pasha and Anya dance Latin and Twitch hip hop, in particular.
But in the last piece, Adam Shankman told Robert he and Courtney looked good together and he thought this would be the start of a great partnership. He said something like that… which made me think that the partnerships are going to be the same each week, or for a while? Unless I just misunderstood him or he misspoke. I really hope they don’t do that – what’s the point of seeing the returning dancers dance outside of their specialty?
Anyway, Alex’s Hallelujah piece (by Sonya Tayeh) was my favorite. I thought he outshone Allison.
Then I liked Billy’s Footloose (by Tyce DiOrio) – I agree with the judges though that his movement, energy, technique – all brilliant, but he didn’t interact with his partner (Lauren) at all. I think he was too nervous, because I’ve seen him interact better with partners in DeMa Dance Company. I think though that there was a lot of side-by-side dancing, not a lot of partnering in the Tyce routine too though, so that makes it a bit harder.
Then I liked Jose’s hip hop (Tabitha and Napolean), danced with Comfort. I thought he really outshone her, but then, it’s his dance style. (Actually b-boying is, but they’re similar). He looked so rubbery, like vertebrae-less, and that flare was stunning. I liked its shaping as well – kind of asymmetrical. And he’s clearly very flexible which really worked to his advantage; you can definitely see the yoga training.
And I loved Kent’s Cha Cha with Anya. He really almost looked like a real Latin dancer. Unbelievable on your first try when it’s not your style. He really had the hips, the speed, the precision down. And you could tell he tried really hard and was really having the time of his life up there. I must have missed the “Jessica Rabbit” part though because I don’t know what the judges were talking about.
I didn’t like Melinda and Pasha’ Jive as well (both Latin dances chor by Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin). I thought she worked very hard but she still looked like a tap dancer doing jive. She didn’t have enough height on the jive kicks and it looked like she was shuffling her feet, which is tap. Judges are right – she needs to work on straightening her legs and turning her feet out into third position more, so she doesn’t get that awkward pigeon-toe look. I hope she stays on though. I think she has the ability to grow.
I wasn’t in love with the other routines either. Cristina’s Sonya Tayeh jazz routine with Mark didn’t really go anywhere for me. I thought he so clearly outshone her; he’s just so much more brilliant at her odd but compelling movement. And maybe that’s a drawback of the new format. If Mark is always going to dance Sonya’s pieces, then he’s almost always going to out-show his partner since he and Sonya practically share the same brain.
I thought Katherine really outshone Adechike in their would-be sexy Travis Wall contemporary routine. She really came through, both with really beautiful movement and the passion and meaning. He danced technically very very well, but I he didn’t do anything for me passion-wise. He was supposed to be seduced by her and I didn’t see that at all. I think it was just first-night nerves with him though. If he went to LaGuardia, I expect he can do much better!
I honestly don’t remember Alexie’s performance in her hip hop number with Twitch at all. All I could see was him. Damn he is brilliant. I’m glad for the opportunity to see him again this season because I don’t know where else I’d be able to watch him dance.
I completely agree with the judges about Lauren and Ade’s contemporary routine (chor by Mandy Moore). It was supposed to be all about flirting and the entire time she kept looking out at the audience, smiling cutely. She is a very good mover but it was like Diana Vishneva – no connection with her partner, all about wowing the audience and playing to us and not about the story of the dance.
Ashley didn’t stand out to me very well in her Tyce DiOrio routine with Neil. I honestly don’t remember much of her, so it wasn’t a very memorable performance to me. I have in my notes that she doesn’t have very much breadth and expansiveness in her body; she’s like the antithesis of Sara Mearns.
And Robert and Courtney’s African Jazz routine by Sean Cheeseman: the judges went nuts for it, and one of them called Robert the best contemporary dancer ever of the show, but I don’t know. To me, that movement didn’t look very good on either of them. There was a lot of energy, and they both tried hard with it, but I don’t know, I kept thinking of Alvin Ailey’s Antonio Douthit and how he’d have looked. They weren’t loose enough in the pelvis or the back. Though they waved their bodies around a lot, it just didn’t look natural on them. I’m not sure what she’s doing back on the show either … was she a finalist before?
Anyway, those are my thoughts. What about you guys?