So I’ve been buried under another big project and have fallen behind on my SYTYCD duties.  I’m sure my readers are waiting with bated breath.  So what I’m going to do is quickly recap the last few shows and highlight some of my favorite moments.

In the week of June 29th and 30th we were joined by the lovely Kristen Chenowelth and the fancy verbage of Lil’ C. The first highlight was a Dee Caspery  love story with Sasha Mallory and Alexander Frost.  The center piece of the dance was a piano representing the keys to his heart.  The prop was used well:  they played it, maneuvered all around it, used the bench and at the end Sasha’s hands emerged from behind the keys.  It was moving, well performed and confirmed that she has a presence that transcends time and metaphysics.

Next Miranda Maleski and Robert Taylor Jr. came out  a blazin’ in a Tyce Diorio jazz piece.  Lil’ C said, “with legs like that, who needs arms?”  I agree 100%.  I believe Miranda could come out of this competition strong, and Robert is definitely holding his own.  I always secretly keep my fingers crossed for them.

Melanie Moore and Marko Germar entertained us in a Lyrical Hip Hop Nappytabs story about a boy who gets left at the alter and realizes his best friend is his true love.  Marko sold his role which is extremely hard to do when Melanie is on stage.  She can do anything, a modern day superhero, every motion is thoughfully placed and strong.  Lil’C explained that the choreographers don’t know which dancers they will be working with.  With the dancers they get a tool box and Napolean and Tabatha must have been thrilled to receive a couple of limited edition Swiss Army Knives.  They are definitely the couple to beat.

Since I am just sharing highlights today, I have to mention Sonya Tayeh’s contemporary piece with Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jaime.  The dancers embodied the feeling of pain and frustration that goes hand in hand with a love that is ending.  The black strappy costume took the theme even further. They were almost always attached with very brief moments of disconnect.  They twisted in and out pulling each other in to sad yet lovely shapes.  Ricky executed a beautiful leap over the strap while continuing to hold onto it.  I have to impress that it is extremely difficult to work with a prop like this.  My only complaint is that the dance was too short.  I hope Sonya develops this idea into a decent length work.

Nappytabs had a good night. Their fun commentary on two college kids waking up together after a wild night is definitely worth noting.  It was a well choreographed concept.  Simply put…they were trying to put their clothes back on.  All I have to say is, “Wow, Tadd, you’ve been holding out on us.  Hubba Hubba!”  Kristen  said, “That was desert and I liked every bite.”

Because the gals are so strong this year there has been a lot of emphasis on the battle of the sexes.  The last notable piece was a group piece by Dee Caspery.  It was a Medieval battle between the men and the women.  This is an example of smart clear storytelling.  There was just enough gesture without compromising the choreography.  I had to watch it multiple times to just get over the beauty of it.  I loved it and would really enjoy seeing it transformed into a whole ballet.  It would be an overwhelming experience.  This is a dream company of dancers, their technique is flawless and their performances are present and believable.  Dance can be social, colloquial, kitschy, showy and edgy but I always feel like a proud mama peacock when I can call it “High Art”.

Thursday’s results were preceded by a performance by AXIS.  Artistic Director Judith Smith has comprised a company of performers with and without disabilities.  We were presented with the extraordinary between a woman and a man in a wheelchair. In fact, the wheelchair didn’t exist a few moments into the piece, it became part of the man, his thighs and his pointed toes.  The partnering was perfection and he was there for her 100%.  This piece was uplifting, inspiring and could be placed on a program next to any of the great companies.  It is a must see.

Well, no matter how hard we try, we cannot avoid the results.  The two dancers going home were  Miranda and Robert.  I absolutely disagreed with this decision.  Miranda has been a real contender, and really quite flawless.  Plus, her solo this particular evening was the best.  Robert gave it his all. Not only was he dancing for his life, but he was having a great time doing it.  In fact, he executed a backwards roll to a headstand with no hands that blew my mind.

From my heart of hearts, I was really sorry to see these two go home.