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SYTYCD: The OneRepublic of Bjork episode

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This week the Top 16 opened the show in a Mandy Moore routine to “Take Me to the River” by Annie Lennox. The performance was light and fun. Truth be told your Albuquerque Dance Examiner “zoned out” at one point because the dance had such an even quality to it that was almost too tame for a show opener.

Misty Copeland appeared for her third (and last) week at the SYTYCD judges’ table for more excellent, constructive critiques of the performances. We learned that Bridget, Marcquet, Brooklyn, Serge, Tenisha and Zack were in danger of going home this week and that all the dancers would share their very first performances. (Which was exactly as embarrassing as it sounds.)

Valerie and Ricky threw down the proverbial competition gauntlet with Nakul Dev Majahan’s Bollywood choreography. Their hands could have been a little sharper (your Albuquerque Dance Examiner is a little critical of this style having actually studied Indian dance) but you have to commend this pair for keeping the energy level consistent throughout the cardio workout. The ending was a little awkward but it may have been the choreography and not the dancers.

Next came Bridget and Emilio in Travis Wall’s Contemporary piece to “The Leaving Song” by Chris Garneau. The dance was sharp with a lot of controlled extensions and lifts. It was also stark (even the bed they danced over, around and through was merely a frame) but very visually intriguing. This was thanks to these bursts of movement that left the audience with no clue as to what could happen next. You could see that both dancers really felt the movement.

Dave Scott gave Tenisha and Rudy a Hip Hop dance to “Good Kisser” by Usher. Tenisha’s costume here was a little distracting (she looked like Catwoman from the red light district) and seemed to put Rudy in the shade. However, these two made a great use of the music and were very fluid.

Jessica and Marcquet worked with Dmitry Chaplin for a Foxtrot set to “I Put a Spell on You” By Nina Simone. Jessica was lovely and graceful in this one using her arms to reach and elongate the movement very well. Marcquet appeared uncomfortable. He may have been thinking a little too much tonight after he learned he was in jeopardy.

Mandy Moore performed double duty tonight with a Contemporary piece for Carly and Serge to “Foolish Games” by Jewel. Carly was pretty amazing but really blew yours truly away at the very last moment where she hinged backward to the floor while on her toes. Serge still continues to impress as a strong partner and a surprisingly talented Contemporary dancer.

Choreography team Oksana Dmytrenko and Jonathan Platero had a Salsa routine for Emily and Teddy. Emily seemed as though she needed a few more rehearsals to be more comfortable in the movement and to watch the placement of her arms. Kudos, however, for her professionalism during a little bit of a slip on stage. Teddy definitely stole the show from her a few times as he broke out some serious Salsa skills. The guy knows how to command a stage and swivel those hips!

“Back to Black” by Beyonce feat. Andre 3000 was the soundtrack to Sonya Tayeh’s Jazz choreography for Jacque and Zack. There were definitely some inventive lifts as one comes to expect in a genuine Tayeh. A certain lift in particular was very impressive when Jacque jumped up into Zack’s arms as they were both rising from the floor. Overall, they danced very well although the performance did not seem to evoke any strong emotions.

Choreographer WilldaBeast gave Brooklyn and Casey a Hip Hop dance to “Hustle Hard Remix” by Ace Hood. Although it was fairly obvious that Hip Hop is not the comfort zone for these two, they did a remarkable job bringing the choreography to life. The judges seemed to agree that Brooklyn really brought the beast in this scenario.

The first of two group routines came from choreographer Sonya Tayeh to “So Broken (Live)” by Bjork. Brooklyn, Casey, Emily, Valerie, Serge, Zack, Emilio and Tenisha were all tortured and wretched in this group effort with some brilliant lifts and catches. Tenisha did stand out a bit here because of her extremely brave upside-down lift and a solo bit where she seemed to jump out toward the audience.

The last eight (Jacque, Teddy, Carly, Marcquet, Jessica, Rudy, Bridget and Ricky) performed in an escape-themed Travis Wall piece to “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. This was a crowd-pleasing performance with a lot of chaos paired with sharp unison. Ricky (who suddenly resembled Colin O’Donoghue from Once Upon a Time) really took on his character with amazing results. Carly also shone in a risky (but very successful) series of lifts and catches. That was an awesome show of core strength, Carly!

Lucy Hale (you may recognize her from Pretty Little Liars) gave the judges time to deliberate as she performed her new single “Lie a Little Better.” But then it was time for the eliminations. Marcquet and Brooklyn were ultimately sent home and it was announced that four dancers would be eliminated next week.

Albuquerque viewers can catch So You Think You Can Dance Wednesdays at 7 p.m. (MST) on Fox Channel 2. Everyone can vote for their favorite dancers (including favorite dance crew) 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, don’t forget that National Dance Day is this Saturday (July 26, 2014)! What are your plans to spread the joy of dance?

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