It was all about Casey Askew at the February 5, 2015 Seattle stop of the So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 tour. The top-five finisher hails from Seattle and the packed Paramount Theatre audience showed love for their hometown boy every time he took the stage. High-decibel screams greeted Askew upon his initial appearance as the Top Ten Finalists were introduced. Winner Ricky Ubeda deservedly received his fair share of boisterous cheers, including a standing ovation following his solo spot late in the show. For fans of So You Think You Can Dance, it was certainly a night to remember. In fact, I’d wager that anyone dragged to the show because a friend or family member is a fan probably left with a newfound appreciation for what these young dancers do.
The SYTYCD finalists have been on the road since last October. By now, their live show is a well-oiled machine. Seattle was ready for action as soon as the opening video montage began. For those who haven’t caught a SYTYCD live show before, it’s two hours of non-stop energy, style, sexiness, and grace. Even the most casual fans of Fox’s Emmy-award winning series are sure to get caught up in the excitement. The show is structured in such a way that keeps the dancing flowing, with one routine segueing into the next before any given pair of dancers has even left the stage. Dazzling group numbers punctuate the string of solo and paired routines. Season 11 runner-up Valerie Rockey clearly thrilled the crowd too, especially when she and Ubeda performed their Top 6 week Broadway number (“I’ve Got the World on a String”).
Audience enthusiasm remained high throughout the show, peaking at various times as obvious fan-favorite routines were performed. For me personally, popper Emilio Dosal is a consistent show-stealer. His routines with contemporary dancer Bridget Whitman (see my recent interview with Bridget and Casey) were highlights, including the revisiting of their Top 20 week hip-hop performance to Iggy Azalea’s “Work” and their expert recreation of Top 18 week’s jive number to Pharrell William’s “Happy.” Given the Seattle setting, hometown favorite Casey Askew and jazz dancer Jessica Richens’ massively popular Top 14 contemporary routine (set to Hozier’s “Like Real People Do”) was one of the most warmly received of the night.
The one element of the presentation that doesn’t quite work is the series of dance tutorial videos that play on the big screen while the stage is being reset. They don’t really serve any practical purpose since no one is going to remember the various choreographers’ tips by the time they get home. Interview clips with the finalists themselves would make a better way to fill the brief sections of downtime. Otherwise, the show offers a fast-paced experience that hardly ever slows to catch its breath.
If you’re lucky enough to have caught one of the dozens of previous stops on the SYTYCD Season 11 tour, you already know the show is a blast of fun and a great display of all the finalists’ talent. There are only a few dates left on the tour, check the official site for more information.
2/8/15 – Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle Casino
2/10/15 – Pentiction, BC – South Okanagan Events Centre
2/11/15 – Vancouver, BC – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
2/12/15 – Victoria, BC – Save-On Foods Memorial Centre
2/15/15 – Billings, MT – Alberta Blair Theater
2/16/15 – Rapid City, SD – Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
2/18/15 – Fargo, ND – Scheels Arena[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00274SIWE]