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So You Think You Can Dance, August 13th – Get Out!


“It’s our final results show before the finale,” says Cat, “and your votes decided who faces the cruelest cut of all.” You would think, then, that there wouldn’t be much left to this series with a statement like that, but you’d be mistaken. After tonight, there will still be four hours of SYTYCD. Four hours! Apparently, it takes a very long time to say, “You’ve won!”

The six remaining dancers begin their group routine set to “2:19” by Tom Waits. They jiggle and move awkwardly about the stage in moldy green tattered rags. They’re kicking and hopping and generally shaking it all about while sticking out their tongues like lizards. I’m not really getting it. My friend and I take a moment to look at each other confused. We nod simultaneously and agree vocally, “Wade.”

The youngsters crawl off stage, and Cat emerges in a black dress that explodes into a feathery mess at her chest. She refers to Debbie Allen, who is back in guest judge’s seat. “What happened to Cedric?” Debbie says Cedric is officially enrolled and will be attending her dance academy in September. He has sponsors who are helping to pay his tuition and room & board. I find it a teensy bit odd that the SPONSORS are paying his way and not Ms Allen herself, seeing as she was the one who made the offer. Ah well, what do I know. At least Cedric is getting the formal dance education he deserves.

Cat then says that Debbie knows “our next guest”: Titus Fotso. Debbie calls him “an amazing artist” and “a gentle giant” that she discovered when producing Spielberg’s “Amistad.” Cat then informs the panel that he is here tonight to perform, “Would you like to see him?” Debbie responds with an enthusiastic “Wow! Yeah!” as if she’s actually surprised that he’s here. Whatev. Four guys of the African Dance Music Ensemble keep a sweet beat on African drums while Titus does his thing on the stage. It’s actually pretty cool, seeing cultural dance as opposed to “learned” dance. And it goes to show that one can be a GREAT dancer without a bunch of fancy kicks, spins, and French-sounding moves.

The top six will be given one “last chance” to show off their skills. (What are the remaining four hours for then?) Sabra comes out first, dancing to “I Gotcha” from the Fosse soundtrack. As I’m watching her dance and be fabulous with her hair tied back, I begin to realize that she is this year’s Donyelle Jones. She’s incredibly pretty and beyond talented, but I wonder if she can outshine the charm some of her competitors exhude. Lauren is up next with Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker,” one of my personal faves. She does a nice, long pirouette in to the beat, but that’s just it. It’s “nice.” I know what effect she was TRYing to give, and in order for her spin to be more effective (and impressive), it needed to be faster at the end. By the end of her routine, I’m thinking she’s auditioning for “Flashdance.” She’d never get the part with that goofy grin on her face. Finally, there’s Lacey with “What I Like About You” by Lillix. Her solo’s not much different than some of her past routines, and she’s showing off the same amount (if not more) of jailbait skin. Oy.

Now it’s time for the gents. Speaking of skin, Pasha is once again shirtless, dancing to “Zoot Suit Riot”by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess. I like this solo much better than the funky dress model one: much classier. Neil performs to Rob Thomas’ “All That I Am.” He spins, he flows, I’m thinking I’ve seen all this befo—whoa! What just happened? He spreads out his arms so his body is in the shape of a cross and falls freely backward to the floor, and right when he’s about 45 degrees from the floor, he catches himself with his right foot and turns the fall into a graceful reverse somersault. Finally, it’s Danny with “2 The Sky” by Robin Thicke. It’s slow and very “frolicking-among-the-daisies”. And no pirouettes! Color me shocked… and unimpressed. Eh. It doesn’t really matter anyway.

Because So You Think You Can Dance can’t be outdone by American Idol, the show arranged to have some of its choreographers passing on their skills and knowledge to after-school dance teachers in some of Los Angeles’ “most challenged” neighborhoods. Actually, this IS a very cool program and gives many adults and kids a chance at meeting and working with some very talented choreographers, an opportunity they probably never thought they would have.

The first session takes place in South Central L.A. Nigel speaks to several dance instructors seated in a gymnasium, while an uncredited woman voiceovers and thanks SYTYCD for allowing their instructors to be taught by some of the best choreographers in the world. Nigel tells the teachers that with the “seeds” they will be receiving and bringing back to their students, people won’t forget about dance when SYTYCD is off the air. Because apparently, I don’t know how to move my feet in rhythm for the months that I’m not watching SYTYCD. The instructors will be doing hip-hop with Shane Sparks and contemporary with Mia Michaels. Nigel is very adamant that it would be an incredible tragedy to never work with Mia Michaels. Regardless, it’s nice to see a charity program that is more than just a giveaway. “Teach a man to fish…” and all that. The six finalists are then brought into the gymnasium and treated like mini-celebrities.

Lil’ C and Tha Nephz-Squad hit the stage with a krumping routine. I know there are some people out there who are just shaking their heads and saying, “I don’t get it,” but that has probably been the same reaction to EVERY new dance evolution in history. Not to mention, it’s great to see this performance done by professionals, rather than by some teenage amateurs who just learned the moves in 3 days, and have yet to experience a whole lot of angst/anger. (Note: Your Miles May Vary.)


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