Sunday, September 23, 2012

So you think you can dance

I like to think I have a decent sense of rhythm. Gone are the days when I’d be among the first on the dance floor. But back in college, there was a big group of us, who on every Friday and Saturday night without fail, would walk uptown in Geneseo, NY, and hit the dance floor at the Inn Between, Fat Augies, or the Tail of the Bear. I recall those days fondly – hanging out with a group of good friends and laughing a lot. I remember my friend AnnMarie, who could hit those falsetto notes in the chorus of “Crocodile Rock”, my friend Laurie who raced to the dance floor when she heard the opening riffs to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”, my friend Becky’s choreography to Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry”, and endlessly mocking my friend Margaret over what she thought The Clash was saying when they sang “Rock the Casbah”.

 So yeah, there was a time when I could bust a move, get down on that, and generally boogie down. My point in all of this (and yes, I do have one) is that while I enjoyed my time on the dance floor, it’s now much more fun (and no sweating!) to watch other folks cut the rug.

Enter “So You Think You Can Dance”, the dance reality TV show that just wrapped up its 9th season on FOX-TV. Yup – “reality TV”. I swore off “American Idol” years ago, and have never watched “The Voice” or “The X Factor” (come on, Britney Spears judging other people’s singing abilities?) – but there’s something about SYTYCD that does my heart good. I love the way that over the course of a few months, talented young people are morphed into amazing performers. I love watching them work with talented choreographers, pushing themselves to memorize and perfect several routines each week. I admire the fluidity of it all, the blend of music and movement, and the staging of the production numbers. Heck, I even like judge Mary Murphy – and her enthusiasm and theatrics when she puts one of the dancers on her “Hot Tamale Train”.

So after watching every show this season and witnessing dozens of amazing performances, I thought I’d share my Top 6 (I couldn’t decide on just 5) with you. Note: hit the little "four arrows" icon in the bottom right corner of each video to watch "full screen".

During the season finale, Chehon was named the top male dancer of the season. The right guy won. This routine with “all-star” Allison featured the song “Leave” from the musical “Once”. Watching this makes me tear up every time.

Eliana was named the top female dancer. In this routine, she dances with “all star” Alex to a very cool Nancy Sinatra song, “Bang, Bang My Lover Shot Me Down”. Breathtaking.

OK, so Will is kind of goofy, but this performance in the “Bollywood” style with “all star” Kathryn is nothing short of amazing: fast, symmetrical, and full of joy. I don’t think he got the credit he deserved for pulling this off.

Female runner-up Tiffany performed this energetic jive routine with “all-star” Benji. So fast and so cool. They both make it look effortless.

Lindsay, dancing here with Cole, was my early pick as a winner. She was stunning across the board, but in particular, in this performance.

And how could I leave Cyrus and “all-star” Twitch out of the mix? Yup, I think Twitch (the bigger guy) out-danced Cyrus. But Cyrus came to the show with no formal dance training, so he deserves a shout-out.


  1. "So yeah, there was a time when I could bust a move, get down on that, and generally boogie down"......and 'cut a rug'.

    I am so embarrassed for you.



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