Thursday, July 31, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 14

The top 14 dancers performed on So You Think You Can Dance this week.   The show began with a group dance to "Last Moment" by Christopher Filippi.  The number, choreographed by Mandy Moore, featured atmospheric lighting and the dancers in Roman garb.  It was a lovely way to start the show.

The guest judge this week was Christina Applegate.  I really like her as a judge.  She takes the show seriously and has insightful comments, but also offers a sense of fun.

The bottom 6 were announced, with news that 4 of them would go home.  They were:  Serge, Teddy, Casey, Jessica, Carly, and Emily

Emilio and Bridget danced first.  Emilio said that Bridget brings congeniality to the show, while Bridget said that Emilio brings a potty mouth. They danced a jazz number by Ray Leeper about two devils on a mission from hell.  The music was "Long Road to Hell" (Avicii).  Their costumes were red and cheesy and the whole number was a little bit too much for me.  

Next up were Tanisha and Rudy.  According to the dancers, Tanisha brings hiccups to the show and Rudy brings a quiet demeanor (said ironically, as he is very loud!).  They danced a Mandy Moore contemporary number about seduction to "Seduces Me" (Celine Dion).  There was lots of big movement and an impressive overhead lift.  Christina gave them a standing ovation.

Serge performed a solo to "Wicked Game" (Parra for Cuva) in ballroom style.  I wish I had voted for him last week!  (I rarely vote.)

Jacque and Zack were introduced.  The dancers said that Jacque brings customer service skills from her job at a grocery store to the show.  Zack brings "mad rapping skills."  They danced a vampire theme Paso Doble by Jean Marc Generaux to "Dragula" (Rob Zombie).  It was dramatic and interesting to watch.  Nigel said it was good that the concept did not overshadow the routine, and I agree.

Carly performed a contemporary solo to "Not About Angels" (Birdy).  I keep getting Carly and Emily confused - they are very similar to me in look and style. 

Emily and Teddy were next.  Emily brings a business degree to the show, while Teddy brings rubbery arms and neck.  They performed a Warren Carlyle Broadway number about a cat and mouse style flirtation.  The song was "From This Moment On" (Kiss Me Kate).  Nigel said it ended weak and I agree.  Teddy lost synchronization in several places.

Casey performed a solo to "Kiss Me" (Ed Sheeran).

Jessica and Casey performed next.   Jessica brings her awkwardness to the show (according to Casey), while Casey brings a great turning ability.  Travis Wall choreographed a number for them about finding a person in your life who centers you.  It was danced to "Like Real People Do" (Hozier).  There is a screen capture of the dance above.  The pivotal moment of the dance was a kiss.  Their chemistry was great.  The judges all gave them a standing ovation.

Emily performed a solo to "Infra 8" (Louisa Fuller, Natalia Bonner, Nick Barr, Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey).

Teddy then performed a solo to "If I Ever Fall in Love" (Shai).

Carly and Serge were next up.  According to the dancers, Carly brings her emotions to the show, while Serge brings a ponytail.   They did a quickstep choreographed by Jean Marc Generaux to "A Cool Cat in Town" (Tape Five).  Serge shone in this number.

Jessica performed a solo to "Fever" by Beyonce.

Valerie and Ricky danced next.   Valerie brings her tomboy personality to the show, while Ricky brings great Cuban coffee.  They danced a hip hop choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix.  It was about a witch doctor and a doll, performed to "Turn Down for What" (D.J. Snake and Lil John).  It was a fun dance, completely in character.

The girls performed a group number choreographed by Mandy Moore.  It was a salute to strong women dancing together, performed to "My Immortal" by Evanescence.  The judges loved it, and Christina singled Valerie out for praise, calling her "Tappy McTapperson."

The guys performed a group routine choreographed by Travis Wall about a city of lost souls.  It was to "Wave" (Beck).  The men wore what my friends and I termed "skants" (pants that looked like long skirts).  They did some amazing leaps and at the end of the number they fell off the stage, one by one.   It was a beautiful number and I think perhaps my favorite of the season so far.

The judges decided unanimously on the four dancers going home:  Teddy, Serge, Emily, and Carly.   They kept Casey and Jessica.   I prefer Serge to Casey, and was sorry to see him go.

The All Stars are returning next week.  Woohoo!   I love seeing them return.  The pairs for next week were announced:

Rudy will dance with Jenna.
Jacque will dance with Cheon. (Can't wait to see him next week!)
Zack will dance with Amy.
Bridget will dance with Brandon.
Ricky will dance with Lauren.
Tanisha will dance with Ryan.
Emilio will dance with Jasmine.
Valerie will dance with Ade.
Casey will dance with Katherine.
Jessica will dance with Twitch.

What did you think of this week's show?  Are you excited to see the All Stars return?   I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Retro chat on Facebook

Hi all!   

I just made a retro group on Facebook for chat about growing up in the 1950's, 1960's, or 1970's.   If you're interested I hope you'll join us!

Do You Remember on Facebook - click here!

Pictured above -- Woolworth.  I loved dimestores as a kid!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 16

It's So You Think You Can Dance night!  The top 16 dancers performed an opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore.  It had a water theme and was set to "Take Me to the River" by Annie Lennox.  I loved it!  I think Mandy Moore is often overlooked as a choreographer on the show, but I really consistently like her work.

Misty Copeland is sitting in as a judge again tonight.  While I like her, I really miss seeing some of the familiar faces from past seasons, like Adam Shankman.  

The bottom 6 dancers were announced:
  • Bridget 
  • Brooklyn 
  • Tanisha 
  • Marquet 
  • Serge 
  • Zack
I'm disappointed to see Zack on this list.  I think he is a really strong dancer. 

Tonight we saw clips of the dancers' first performances (home movies - very cute!) prior to their pairs dances.

Valerie and Ricky danced a Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan to "Dilliwali Girlfriend" (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani).  It was energetic and fun!

Bridget and Emilio did a contemporary number by Travis Wall about removing the past from your memory to move on.  They danced around an empty bed frame to "The Leaving Song" (Chris Garneau).  It was very intense, and I thought that Emilio stood out.

Tanisha and Rudy did a Dave Scott hip hop number that he envisoned like a black and white comic book.  The danced to "Good Kisser" (Usher).  Nigel said Tanisha reminds him of Uma Thurman, and I agree.

Jessica and Marquet danced a Dimitry Chaplin choreographed foxtrot to "I Put A Spell On You" (Nina Simone).  Marquet portrayed a very powerful businessman.  It didn't grab me - and evidently the judges agreed.  Mary did not like Marquet's hold, and Nigel didn't like the routine.

Carly and Serge danced a Mandy Moore contemporary about desire to "Foolish Games" (Jewel).  It was emotional and well danced.  Serge is one of those dancers who sort of flies under the radar for me.  I keep forgetting to mention him as a favorite, but I think he is very strong.

Emily and Teddy did a ballroom number by Oksana and Jonathan to "Bruk It Down" (Mr. Vegas).  It had a lot of lifts!  It was okay but not a standout to me.  Nigel related that Emily has a dislocated shoulder.

Jacque and Zack danced a Sonyah Tayeh jazz number about a couple who had a past fling and want to rekindle things.  They danced to "Back to Black" (Beyonce).  Zack is so versatile!  Misty was very critical of Jacque. Nigel asked her point blank if she is more critical of the girls than the guys.  Misty answered that perhaps she is because the guys are at another level.

Brooklyn and Casey danced a Wildebeast hip hop number to "Hustle Hard" (Ace Hood).  It was not a really memorable number for me, and I am not sure that either of them sold the hard hitting hip hop.

Then there were two group numbers.   Sonya Tayeh choregraphed a number about a village of broken people to "So Broken" (Bjork).  It was odd and unsettling with lots of falling and angst.  Tanisha was a featured dancer.

The second group number was by Travis Wall.  It was about outlaws escaping the city.  There were a number of dramatic group lifts.  It was performed to "Love Runs Out" (One Republic).  Ricky is such a star!  When he was dancing with the group, he really drew so much attention.

Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars "sang."  (Enough said.)

The judges closed the show by sending the two dancers with the lowest audience votes home.   Marquet and Brooklyn, who auditioned together, also left the show together.  Marquet was an early favorite of mine, but I don't think he lived up to his potential.  I think he is very young, and perhaps not quite ready for the competition.

Next week four dancers will be eliminated.  That should be a very dramatic show!   

Did you watch this week?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments, below.

Free Online Courses: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Modern Poetry

Hi all!

Just popping in with some fun news.  I'm going to try online courses for the first time this fall.  I'm excited!   I loved school (especially college).  In addition to classes related to my primary studies (Creative Writing, English, Theatre), I loved taking arts-related electives that captured my interest -- Film History, Art History, Sketching, Modern Dance, etc.

There are some great resources for FREE online courses.  I have heard very good things about Coursera and FutureLearn.   

I've signed up for two free classes:

Laura Ingalls Wilder:  Her Work and Writing Life  - Missouri State University (begins September 22)

Modern and American Contemporary Poetry - University of Pennsylvania (begins September 6)

If you sign up for either of these courses, please let me know so we have a milkshake in the virtual malt shop and chat about the classes together.

Have you taken free online courses?  Do you have any free online course sites that you recommend?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 18 Perform

This week the top 18 dancers performed.  The show started with an elaborate top 18 dance to "How It's Done" (District 78).  The dancers moved like chess pieces across the stage in a number choreographed by the Academy of Villains crew members.

Cat Deeley introduced the judges, "three divine devotees of dance" - Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Misty Copeland.

The bottom 6 dancers were announced:  Bridget, Emily, Jourdan, Emilio, Stanley, and Teddy.

This week the dancers all told America something they did not know about their partner.

Jacque said that Zack loves to swim.  Zack confided that Jacque is obsessed with fellow dancer Rudy.  They then performed a lyrical hip hop number by Keone and Mari.  The song was "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith.  The dance started with  the dancers lying down and then moved upward.  It was lovely and emotional.  Mary commented on the "articulation of movement."

Marquet told America that Jourdan is always working out.  Jourdan said that Marquet is in a hip hop crew.  They then performed a Dee Caspary contemporary dance about a couple trying not to disappear.  The song was "Disappear" by Mikky Ekko.  There was an umbrella prop.  The dancers did not seem to connect, and I agree with the judges, who wanted to see more vulnerability with Jourdan.

Jessica told America that Stanley is an aspiring model.  Stanley said that Jessica likes to surf (but not very well!).  They then did a Tyce Diorio number about a magic carpet ride.  The song was "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" by Nikka Costa.  I'd never heard this song before but think I like it because the title is fun.  Stanley did some great leaps and extensions.  The judges commented on Jessica's mugging for the camera during her dance.

Bridget told America that Emilio is a ninja.  Emilio said that Bridget is a Renaissance Festival nerd who has a magic wand.  Then Anya and Pasha were magically on my tv screen.  Pasha!  Pasha Kolakev is my all time favorite dancer from SYTYCD and the friends I watch with have teased many times that he is my "tv boyfriend."  They choreographed a jive for Emilio and Bridget to "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  It was a fun number!  Bridget really did well in this genre.   The speed of the dance was fast and light.

Teddy told America that Emily likes deep sea fishing.  Emily said that Teddy is very competitive at board games.   They danced a Tyce Diorio number about a poetic look into someone's eyes with the thought "don't ever leave me."  The song was "No Me Quitte Pas" (Nina Simone).  The meaning of the song ("Don't ever leave me") was apropos to both of them being in the bottom 6.  I agree with Nigel's comment that they made some ugly lifts beautiful.

Casey told America that Brooklyn skateboards.  Brooklyn said that Casey takes fashion seriously.  They danced a Bonnie Story jazz number about a prom to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Michael Buble).  It was a fun number, and Casey stood out with his megawatt smile.

Ricky told America that Valerie is obsessed with pigs.  Valerie said that Ricky was a high school mascot and dressed as a barracuda.   They danced a Lacey Schwimmer choreographed Viennese Waltz.  Good to see Lacey again -- one of my favorite SYTYCD alumni.  The song was "I Won't Give Up" (Jason Mraz).  Valerie wore one of the prettiest dresses I have ever seen (photo of Valerie and Ricky above).  It was like the Jessica McClintock meets Laura Ashley dream dress from my teen years. Nigel gave them a standing ovation.  Mary said the beginning was "dreamlike," while Misty commented that it was Valerie's night.  This was easily my favorite dance of the evening - absolutely beautiful.

Carly told America that Serge is friends with Maks and Val from Dancing With the Stars.  We then saw a clip of them playing pool together.  Serve said that Carly joined the college dance team.  They danced a Luther Brown hip hop number clothed as skeletons.  The song was "Senile" (Young Money).  The dance was very ominous and hard hitting -- not my cup of tea.  I agree with Nigel, who did not care for it.

Tanisha told America that Rudy has a crush on Jacque.  Rudy said that Tanisha has a massive family.  They then performed a Broadway number choreographed by Warren Carlyle.  It was danced to "Sing Sing Sing" from Fosse and included cane tricks and a soft shoe routine.  It was truly a showstopper!

My favorites of the night were Valerie and Ricky, Tanisha and Rudy, and Bridget and Emilio.  I also thought Zack and Jacque were very good.

The judges decided that Stanley and Jourdan would go home based on America's vote.   I think this was the right choice.

Looking forward to next week's show already!   I wonder who the guest judge will be?  I would love to see Adam Shankman or Twitch back on the judging panel.

What did you think of the Top 18 show?  Did the right dancers go home?  You can leave comments below.