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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 "Academy" Week 1 & 2 Review

If you haven't read/noticed by now, I love dance. It is very close to my heart and I personally find it to be such a therapeutic activity. So naturally, I love the show "So You Think You Can Dance", especially because it incorporates so many different styles of dance and such impressive choreography!

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts on the dancers and choreography etc. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts too! 😊

Academy Week

All-Star Robert, has the best facial reactions to all of the dances - especially Ryan's Solo routine & Jenna's special-tailored routines for Kiki & Konkrete.

Even though I love the "Academy Week" format, of running the dancers through the different styles, in rounds as cuts are made; I do think it's a shame that we miss out on seeing so many of the actual dance performances. It would go a long way to help us understand why certain dancers were cut or chosen etc. - especially those who already had a "fan-base" from their auditions. Why show people who are cut without showing why?

Hip-Hop Routine Thoughts

Robert Green, is the stand-out in his group. He has such a natural charisma when he dances that makes you want to watch him, and makes you have fun watching him too!

Koine Iwasaki & Mark Villaver, were the stand-out "couple" in their group. They had amazing chemistry that you could see right away and they looked like they were having a blast! Totally a surprise since hip-hop is not Koine's specialty. (I think she has a good chance of making it far in this competition.)

Sydney Tormey & Logan Hernandez, had surprising chemistry together and looked really good together - especially considering that hip-hop is outside of both of their styles.

Lex Ishimoto, is obviously a stand-out favorite from the beginning. He was surprisingly good in the hip-hop routine, showing why he's such a good all-around dancer. I don't know why anyone says anything about his "personality" when he dances; I guess they need something to criticize him about so it's not so obvious how exceptional he is? He clearly gave personality with his face in this number and did a good job with it, too.

Kiki Nyemchek, did a really bad job at the start of this hip-hop number. It almost seemed like he wasn't there to learn the beginning of the routine like everyone else or something, as he clearly "picked up" as the number went on - though never reached above a "decent" performance. Compared to his partner, it also seemed like he wasn't having any fun dancing either. He looked frustrated to have to be dancing.

Sofia Ghavami & Kevin Davis Jr., were surprising pretty good together. This was especially surprising since Sofia is not a hip-hop dancer at all.

Kevin Davis Jr., had 5 all-stars who wanted him on their team: Allison, Cyrus, Jasmine, Comfort, Fik-Shun. He said he wanted to "be wise about this decision" because he knows he doesn't know a lot of styles and chooses Allison. He really decided to take a chance and grow as a dancer, something very admirable.

Dassy Lee
 is clearly a perfect fit for Fik-Shun and I cannot wait to see them dance together!

Logan Hernandez, has Robert, Allison and Jenna - who actually went as far as to tell Logan that if he picked her team, he basically had a sure-fire spot on the show. Surprisingly, he chose Allison. Very interesting as now he is pitted against Kevin.

Lex Ishimoto, was only shown to have Robert and Gaby choose him for their team.... Really?

Sydney Tormey chose Paul as he was in her style instead of Robert; making the "safe" choice.

Mark Villaver, had to choose between Allison and Comfort. It was interesting that he said he "trusts energy" and chose Comfort. (I guess Allison's over-energetic approach was a turn-off.) I think it was the right choice for him, especially since Allison already has Kevin and Logan at this point.

Robert Green, seemed to only be chosen by Jasmine? Weird because I thought he did a great job and had great personality. At least he was chosen, I guess.

Sade Austin, doesn't make it through even though she clearly did well in the hip-hop routine. I wonder why she didn't make the cut?

Kiki Nyemchek, actually gets immediately picked for a team (despite his hip-hop performance)! By Jenna. He's apparently something of a ballroom expert - which is why she picked him - so it'll be interesting to see how he does in the other dance styles.


Contemporary Routine Thoughts

Taylor Sieve, does a clearly tremendous job in her routine. You'd think she would've impressed the judges enough that Robert would've had someone to fight with to get her on his team, yet he didn't. She is the first dancer to join Robert's team. (Ironic that Robert had such a hard time getting contestants. As a contemporary dancer myself, I would've easily picked him.)

Dassy Lee, Mark Villaver & Robert Green, seem to do a good job in the contemporary round, though we don't get to see much of their routines.

Matthew Deloch, seem to do a good job in the contemporary round, though we don't get to see much of their routines.

Huwer Havoc Marche, has a few great moments in the contemporary but for the most part, he either forgets his moves or doesn't move at all. Cyrus gives him a chance by letting him "dance for your life" in a solo routine. The solo impresses Cyrus enough to offer Havoc a spot on his team.

Ballroom Routine Thoughts

Jensen Arnold, does a good job in ballroom though not an outstanding job despite the fact that it's her specialty. Whoever the other female dancer was on the floor, seemed to be doing a much better job but for whatever reason, didn't get the spotlight. Robert chooses Jensen as his last "missing puzzle piece".

Vasily Androsenko & Koine Iwasaki, are paired together for the ballroom routine. Even though Vasily's "specialty" is ballroom, he surprisingly makes a few mistakes. In fact, he is even almost cut as a result. However, Paul steps in for the save and adds him to his team, despite the fact that he "had other plans". Also surprising, Koine does a great job - especially accounting for Vasily's mistakes. She's definitely a much more well-rounded dancer then she's been presented as.

Kevin Davis Jr. & Dassy Lee, both of whom come from a more hip-hop background, do surprisingly well in the ballroom routine. They had good chemistry together and both executed the moves pretty well.

Lex Ishimoto, Sydney Tormey & Kaylee, are all briefly featured and all seem to do good jobs. This is especially true of Lex and Kaylee, who are not (generally) ballroom dancers.

Evan DeBenedetto & Alexis Gilbert, make an interesting pairing for ballroom. Evan shows that ballroom is definitely not his strong suit, though he's clearly trying, but Alexis does a really great job - despite the fact that her specialty is "contemporary". In fact, her performance was impressive enough to land a spot on ballroom-dancer Jenna's team.

Group Routines Thoughts

Paul's Group
This dance is just silly. It has an interesting concept and the parts between Vasily & Kristina are pretty good, but unfortunately for Sydney & Ramita, they don't get much of a chance to showcase their own talents.
Choreography: C-
Kristina Androsenko - It seems like maybe she did the majority of choreography as she seems to be the only one who enjoys it and makes it look like a coherent dance number.
Vasily Androsenko - When he dances with his wife, he does a great job. With everyone else however, he only did a mediocre job. 
Sydney Tormey - Even though this is a heavily ballroom-influenced dance number, Sydney doesn't really shine in this and her execution comes off a bit sloppy or lazy in this number.
Ramita Ravi - I actually think Ramita's Indian influence on her dancing is an interesting touch and adds to contemporary routines. Unfortunately, the way it is executed in this routine particularly, it really hurts her cause, more than helping it - and honestly serves to make the entire routine seem disjointed.

At the end of the number, it is Vasily who is sent home.

Allison's Group
It was actually very interesting how this 3/4 contemporary group did a mainly contemporary number yet allowed Kevin to show off his much different krumping style throughout.
Choreography: B+

Logan Hernandez - It makes sense that Logan was the prime choreographer as he does a great job in this number and really seems to enjoy himself.
Zachary Downer - Zachary just kills it in this number. The way he moves his body is so beautiful and his kicks and turns are so graceful! 
Abby Griffin - Abby does a decent job but unfortunately, there are definitely a few spots where she is visibly behind in her steps than everyone else on stage - including Kevin. Additionally, there are also times where it seems she's not giving it her all, coming off somewhat sloppy compared to her fellow dancers.
Kevin Davis Jr.  - Even though contemporary is not his style, he actually does a pretty good job fusing his own style within this number. He provides a unique touch that doesn't take away from the routine at all and actually elevates it instead, with it's unique contrast. He definitely gives it his all and does not disappoint.

At the end of the number, Allison chooses to send home Kevin (WHAT?!?). This was definitely a mistake. I can't think of any reason she wouldn't have sent home Abby before Kevin. Luckily, Jenna decides to swoop in for the save, saying, "I can't let Kevin go." and asks him to be on her team. As a result, Jenna will now have to eliminate 2 of her team members.

Jenna's Group
This was an interesting routine. Certainly not great but certainly not horrible either. Unlike say, Allison's group for example, this routine really didn't showcase the talents of the different dancers involved. The concept here was smart considering all other factors, but the execution just came off a little sloppy and not very well-rehearsed (or very well choreographed).
Choreography: C
Kiki Nyemchek - Kiki does a decent job but he looks out of his element when he's not performing in his own style. He never seems to have fun when performing a non-ballroom routine - and never really gives an above decent performance outside of his style either, so far.
JJ - JJ does a decent job and shows off some strength with the way he carries Alexis; However, he only shows an average technical ability.
Riley Kurilko - Riley definitely shows some potential and showcases some of his talent in this routine; Perhaps having the best technique of everyone else in the group.
Alexis Gilbert - As the only female in this group, Alexis gets a rare chance to get the majority spotlight in her group. Unfortunately, she doesn't use it to deliver. Her performance is a little sloppy, her technique is only decent and she definitely needs some work when it comes to a "dancing personality".

At the end of the number, Jenna must eliminate 2 members from her team (which probably wasn't all that hard for her at this point). She decides to eliminate Alexis and JJ.

What did you think? Did you like the routines? Did you agree with the picks and eliminations? Do you like the format for the "Academy" weeks?