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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

So You Think You Can Dance, July 6 – New Choreographers Bring It


Jordan Casanova has lived in Chino Hills all her life, and everything changed once she started dance. It’s tough for her to be here without her parents and her brother. Tadd Gadduang grew up in Salt Lake City with a strong Filipino background. He has a lot of relatives in San Francisco in “Little Manilla.” He and Jordan are doing a smooth waltz with Toni Redpath this week. Jordan is seducing Tadd with her singing in the piece, only to kill him in the end. They waltz to Nocturne by Secret Garden, and she moves so beguiling in this. She pulls off the character.

Mary notes the waltz is supposed to be a romantic dance with rise and fall, and notes it was near scandalous in the 1800s. It’s an Americanized waltz now and not so scandalous to touch each other. It was dreamy and romantic, and the beginning was beautiful from both of them. Tadd has a tenderness about him, and he doesn’t tighten up even with difficult choreography. Jordan moved her arms well and held her positions as she should.

Nigel thought Toni was clever in the choreography and gave them areas to work with. He was doing dance steps he never would have heard of as a hip hop guy and doing them well. Travis thought it was beautiful, yet also thought it could have been a little bit smoother. He’d like to see Jordan extend a little more, and notes Tadd seems to have an easier time when he’s doing a style other than his own. Carmen doesn’t know much about the waltz, but knows what she feels and they project. It was just beautiful to her.

Clarice Ordaz ‘s parents are her biggest supporters. She’s a college student and also teaches dance. Her parents focus their lives around dance. Jess LeProtto grew up in New Jersey and knows performing is in his genes. He, too, has a father who is an actor. He and Clarice worked with Justin Jiles on a contemporary routine based on a couple with a super-intense love that’s run its course. They end their love affair over Light Through the Branches by Celeste Lear. His partnering is getting better and better.

Travis tells Clarice and Jess they just came alive, and it’s his favorite routine of theirs all season. That’s high praise from him. Justin’s musicality is ridiculous. The first time Travis didn’t feel the chemistry was forced was when her hand went up his shirt; the chemistry was believable. He can’t wait to work with them. Nigel is in total agreement, and compliments Jess on this routine as well as the guys’ routine. It’s so staccato, yet still able to pass off emotion. He felt the anger, and it was tremendously choreographed and tremendously danced.

Carmen really believed the story and felt the anger and passion. Knowing what it feels like when you’re going through a breakup, they really showed it. Mary thinks the partnership has been growing every single week this season. The fox trot last week was great. Now it feels like they’ve been dancing together for years. Clarice had a moment in the beginning and brought something from her center. Jess has proved he’s versatile and here to stay.

Ashley grew up here in California and was  raised in a church as her dad’s a deacon, and her mom is the director of a dance program there. Ashley dreams of having her own cooking show someday. Chris is from Dallas and one of seven kids. He has dyslexia and struggled in school. They’re doing salsa with Liz Lira, and she’s determined to bring out the sexy flavor right here, even though he’s reluctant to move his hips. They’re shaking the hips anyway to Mambo Beat by Tito Puente. It took him time to work into this, but he really gets into it in the middle.

Travis loves Ashley and Chris and says it started out hopeful. He loved the lifts, but when they broke away from each other was when it got questionable. The chemistry wasn’t as much with them as it usually is. Carmen notes salsa is hot on fire, passionate, and sharp. She felt like they were hesistating. It was almost there, but they weren’t quite hitting it.

Mary notes they were on the hot tamale train in tweak two, and this one wasn’t as hot, but had its moments. Ashley had some moments when she was on fire. Chris had a lot of partnering to do, and she gives him props, because he was there for her every step of the way. Yet, she wasn’t sure they were really in that Latin swagger. Nigel thought the lift sequences were magnificent, and it seemed to him like she was in West Side Story for a moment, but overall if didn’t have the right feel. Nigel compares it to himself doing the krump. He also commends Chris for his partnering skills.

Ryan Ramirez  is another California girl, and started taking classes with Mia Michaels, but had to stop dancing for awhile because of financial difficulties. She has continued her relationship with Mia, even appearing on House with her. Ricky Jaime hails from Miami and likes water activities. He started cheerleading in high school when the dance opportunities weren’t there. They’re doing jazz with Chucky Klapow, who explains the piece is a bout two people who follow the cult of fashion. They dance tonight to Fashion by David Bowie, and do quite well with it, which is good, because their butts were on the line.


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