SYTYCD Top 14 Episode Raves

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Can we just talk about all the greatness that happened on So You Think You Can Dance last week?!!

The top 14 episode was filled with so many great pieces that I wanted to write more than just a tweet or facebook post about how wonderful I think these choreographers and dancers are.

  • Tanisha & Rudy in that Mandy Moore contemporary piece to Céline Dion's Seduces Me: Ho-ly cow. I really hadn't been such a fan of Tanisha or, I guess, she hadn't really stuck out to me until this piece. Where the hell have I been? Watch:

Perfectly sensual and honest. They make all the unique transitions looks seamless and weightless. I particularly love the fan kick lift thing toward the end and of course the crowd-pleasing one armed lift. How can you not love that?! There's something about the way Tanisha moves her head around that is so lovely. And this was the start of some great music choices, in my opinion. Céline Dion's music may have a corny reputation, but you can't deny it's powerful!

  • Jessica & Casey in the Travis Wall contemporary piece to Hozier's Like Real People Do. I mean: Ugh. Jessica has been a favorite of mine since the auditions. I predict the top 2 from this season will be her and Ricky. This piece shows why. She moved like a feather in this. A happy-in-love feather! And Travis Wall is (obviously) brilliant. I think it's because he knows how to translate music visually. He understands how to mesh the two together and on top of that create such interesting movement and storytelling. What a treat it must be to dance one of his pieces.

Can't you see the music through the choreography? I just love it. The story was happy, which was a nice change from a lot of the pain driven pieces (though I love those too). I loved the addition of the "wind" from the side of the stage. There were three whammies in a row that got me hooked: the electric kiss, the overhead spinning lift, and then that moment Casey steps behind Jessica and she turns her head to the side smiling and the "breeze" comes sweeping in. It just said everything about how this was supposed to make us feel :) I also loved the pendulum type swinging into the arabesque, and the coloring of the costumes and the stage. And I would like to trade in my feet for Jessica's. Ok? ;)

  • Valerie & Ricky in the Pharside & Phoenix hip hop routine to DJ Snake & Lil Jon's Turn Down For What. There's not much for me to say about Ricky other than he has "it". He has the technique, the power, the funk, the emotion. He just looks good on stage. And I like him with Valerie! I can't figure out what it is about Valerie that I like - she just surprises me every week. For a tap dancer you wouldn't expect her to be able to point her feet, but she can. She can move fluidly, and mostly I think everything she does comes from an honest place. This piece was all fun (and I love dancing to this song while I'm cleaning my house!).

I am not a hip hop dancer so I don't know any of the technical things to watch for, but I loved the crazy leg transfer thing Valerie did in the splits near the end. Nigel brings that up during his critique because he had never seen it before. I guess I just like that Valerie seems like the type of girl that isn't afraid to try something crazy and/or difficult. And Ricky is such an amazing partner. I love how trusting his partners are of him and vice versa.

  • Top 7 Girls routine. So I'm blown away by the three pieces above (I cried during the Mandy Moore & Travis Wall ones...) and then Mandy Moore choreographs this freaking beautiful number for the girls to Evanescence's My Immortal. Even though that song was way overplayed on the radio when it was popular, I still remember thinking what a great song it would be to choreograph to. I loved the long silky dresses in different shades of purple. And the "breeze" from stage right was back again :)

The way Mandy used the sort of rippling effect in the music to highlight the girls individually was really nice. I felt like all of the girls were moving from the tips of their fingers down to their toes throughout the entire piece, which made it feel so full. I also appreciated that the big climax in the music wasn't used for a big jump in unison. That's always a powerful way to do a climax, but it's kind of become expected, which lessens its affect. I become a bigger fan of Mandy Moore each time she's on SYTYCD!

  • Top 7 Guys routine. Seriously, Travis Wall. He has a gift for seeing music. The way he had this group of guys moving like water was beautiful. And the fact that he did it to Beck (Wave) was icing on the cake.

Some of my favorite moments: The almost eery entrance with the guys appearing from beneath the back of the stage. The back sumersault lift they did with Ricky where he then opens up and over in his splits while still being held. Emilio being dragged across the floor on his belly. The cool arm ripple wave thing. The three sharp pivots in place followed by actual screaming. Emilio flying in the air and the ending where they all drop off the stage, in a ripple of course.

And finally, I have to say I enjoyed the dance crew special guest. During the audition episodes I was annoyed having to listen to Justin Bieber tell us about the different dance crews while reading so uncaringly from a teleprompter. But I realize that these dance crews have nothing to do with Justin Bieber so I should give them a chance.

  • The Academy of Villains dance crew were the special guest on this episode. I loved the effect they used with black lights and glow in the dark makeup. When closing their mouths they would look like normal skeleton faces, and by opening their mouths they would look like the mask from the Scream movies. I thought the routine was a good mix of tricks, interesting transitions, use of props, and fun!

I can't wait to see what the top 10 bring to the table. Every season seems to get really good when the group gets narrowed down, which is always hard to believe because everything has already been so good! Are you keeping up with SYTYCD this season? Who are your favorites and why? I'd like to hear in the comments!

- Jana

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