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SYTYCD: The comfort zone episode

Guest judge Jason Derulo at the CMT Awards
Guest judge Jason Derulo at the CMT Awards
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

This week kicked off the competition for the Top 20 dancers with guest judge Jason DeRulo. The opening dance from choreographer Sonja Tayeh to “Stalker Ha” by Kingdom looked a bit like Robert Fosse meets a Madonna video. Part of this could have been because of the fedoras and the girls’ mid-drift tops and thigh high stockings.

Each of the dancers had 8 seconds to introduce themselves which in many cases was easier said than done! Fortunately, they were dancing in their own styles tonight allowing them time to get comfortable on the SYTYCD stage. You will find that the technique of these dancers is pretty spectacular.

First to the stage were Brooklyn and Serge in a Dmitry Chaplin Cha-cha-cha to “Hell Yeah” by Midnight Red. The dance was very competent with Serge shining the most. It was very obvious that Brooklyn felt the pressure of dancing first in the evening.

Choreographer Travis Wall was waiting with a Contemporary piece for Emily and Casey. These two had really wonderful chemistry as they danced to “All of Me” by John Legend. You would never have known this was the first time they had performed together. The last split at the end was a little awkward but the dance was beautiful overall.

Tappers Valerie and Zach got to work with Anthony Morigerato on a very complex piece of choreography. They tapped their way up and down a set of steps to “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. This piece used a lot of skill and energy and the two really did a great job preserving the rhythm and the clarity of their tap sounds.

Bridget and Stanley worked with Bonnie Story for a Contemporary piece to “Doesn’t Mean Goodbye” by John McLaughlin. Stanley is a very strong partner and the two danced so well in unison. Bridget amazed as she morphed from the goofball in the interview portion into the emotional character required for the piece. Stanley’s unnaturally high jumps are also worth a mention. Gorgeous!

Ballet dancers Jacque and Jourdan were duel black swans in a pas de deux by Marat Daukayev to the music from Swan Lake. The choreography and the musicality required to pull it off where not easy and these dancers performed it en pointe. Jacque seemed to have better stage presence and was better at lengthening with the cadence of the music. Jourdan, however, was pretty great, too, and the pair managed to synchronize 15 foutte turns to near perfection.

Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg performed Derulo’s new single “Wiggle” at the intermission. If you’re like your Albuquerque Dance Examiner, you noticed the irony of just having seen a gorgeous pas de deux followed by a song about a generous posterior and featuring Snoop Dogg.

Next up came Marlena and Marcquet with a Samba. Louis Van Amstel (of Dancing With the Stars) created the piece to “Morning Druns” by Gregor Salto. The performance was upbeat and really phenomenal overall. These two danced very well together and Marcquet showed himself as a strong partner with an excellent sense of showmanship.

Tenured choreographer Stacey Tookey gave Carly and Rudy a Contemporary dance to “Take It Easy” by Jetta. Tookey did not spare them from the complex lifts that might have been expected later in the season. Carly is stunning with such great fluidity and grace. Rudy did a wonderful job in the lifts and synchronized turns but it was hard to keep one’s eyes off of Carly. Both show great potential.

Emilio and Teddy were treated to a Hip Hop dance from Christopher Scott. As the track “Nightshift” by The Comodors suggests, they portrayed the late night staff of an office manipulating a mop and bucket. The dance was a great crowd-pleaser with two incredibly fluid and yet precise dancers. It was a brilliant creation by Christopher Scott.

“Vow” by Meredith Monk was the soundtrack for a Sonya Tayeh Contemporary piece for Jessica and Ricky. The dance required them to create some neat shapes and one incredible lift where Jessica was balanced against Ricky’s back in a mermaid/arched pose. Should you limit yourself to one Contemporary piece this evening, this is the one to watch. Jessica and Ricky could have easily stepped off the stage to contracts with a major dance company tonight.

The second Cha-cha-cha of the night was for Tanisha and Nick. Louis Van Amstel created the show-ending piece to “I’m A Freak” by Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull. Both dancers had great control and were really conscious of alignment and foot placement. The best part of Tanisha’s turns which were so tight and precise that yours truly forgot to watch Nick.

Albuquerque viewers can catch So You Think You Can Dance Wednesdays at 7 p.m. (MST) on Fox Channel 2. Everyone can vote via the show website or the smartphone app through Thursday at 10 a.m. (PDT). Each voter gets 20 votes to divvy as they see fit.

Readers, who was your favorite couple of the evening?

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