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TV Review: So You Think You Can Dance

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Well, they say that the competition is not exactly for the best dancer, but for America’s favorite dancer. America voted, and last night’s results show was a shocker. As Nigel said at the end of the episode, “I think America got it wrong.”

Thursday night marked the 100th episode of So You Think You Can Dance. The night started with a Mia Michaels-choreographed routine to “One” from A Chorus Line, which was a fun, quirky number. Unfortunately, I have to point out that the camera angles and way the piece was filmed somewhat detracted from the dance. I would have preferred to see the dancers’ whole bodies and maybe wide camera shots for the important bits – like when they started the actual kick line. I think the impact of the number was lost with the MTV video style camera work.

The evening also included dancers and dances from past seasons. We got to see “The Bench,” performed by Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz; and “The Hummingbird and Flower,” danced by Hok Konishi (a member of Quest Crew from ABDC) and Jaimie Goodwin. We were able to relive “Ramalama (Bang, Bang)” from season two. Choreographer Wade Robson joined the dancers in this amazing Renaissance zombie number. Not only was the dance enjoyable, but kudos should be given for costumes and makeup. This is one of the show’s truly memorable group dances.

The same cannot be said for special guest dancer Katie Holmes. While her performance was a for a good cause – the Dizzy Feet Foundation – her “Get Happy” tribute to Judy Garland, though highly anticipated, was distinctly underwhelming. I was neither impressed by her singing or by her dancing. She looked good in her costume, but seemed mostly to walk around the stage, surrounded by much better dancers. Her most difficult move seemed to be a dispirited fan kick. On a show that celebrates great dancers, it seemed a shame that they were trying to highlight celebrity over performance.

Another disappointment with the 100th episode was the failure to introduce all of the past dancers from previous seasons. It would have been nice to have some sort of alumni roll call and a little bit of information about what they are doing now. While I have always applauded the show for educating the world about different styles of dance, this was a missed opportunity to educate the world about the possibilities out there for dancers who excel at their craft.

Maybe a two-hour SYTYCD special is needed to tell more of the dancers' stories. As time was short, we needed to get onto the business of eliminating dancers from this season and it was a shocker. The competition has been fierce this year and as I stated earlier, it is a shame to see anyone go. Last night we lost Jason Glover, who has exhibited amazing growth on the program, and whose smile will be missed. More astounding is that we also lost Janette Manrara – a dancer who had never been in the bottom until last night.

Janette’s final comments were uplifting for dancers everywhere however. She explained how she had been working in a bank and going to school for finance. Being on the show made her realize how much she loves to dance and she knows now that this is what she was meant to do. So despite the disappointment in this special 100th episode, So You Think You Can Dance has lived up to its promise of encouraging young dancers to follow their dreams. For that, I applaud the show.

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About CindyC

Cindy is a Connecticut writer and member of the Connecticut Critics Circle. She has had many changes in her life, but one thing has always remained the same: her life-long love of theater.