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SYTYCD: The seven guys and seven gals episode

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The Top 14 opened the show with a piece by Stacey Tookey to “Last Moment” by Christophe Filippi. The piece was deeply solemn in Greek themed-costumes. Some aspects of the dance appeared to mimic the forms in Ancient Greek artwork. Overall, it was a tragically beautiful way to begin the evening.

Guest judge Christina Applegate was introduced right before we learned that a total of six dancers would be in jeopardy this week. The judges could only save two dancers after these six performed solos throughout the show. Bridget, Emilio, Jacque, Ricky, Tenisha, Rudy, Valerie and Zack are the eight dancers who would definitely be moving on to next week’s competition.

Choreographer Ray Leeper had a Jazz routine for Bridget and Emilio who danced the parts of emissaries from Hell come to obtain some souls. “Long Road to Hell” by Avicii was the music for this piece which was visually dynamic. These two were not always on the same page as far as quality of movement (Bridget dancing like a Jazz dancer and Emilio like a Hip Hop dancer) but both were brilliant in their own way.

“Seduces Me” by Celine Dion was the backdrop for Tenisha and Rudy’s Contemporary performance crafted by Mandy Moore. The piece was comprised of a lot of complex lifts that required quite a bit of trust between the partners. The single-handed lift over Rudy’s head was particularly impressive.

Jacque and Zack worked with Jean Marc Genereux on a vampire Paso Doble to “Dragula” by Rob Zombie. The music choice for this dance was a little distracting or perhaps it was the camera angles which your Albuquerque Dance Examiner lamented all evening. (The low camera angles drastically shortened the limbs of the dancers.) Zack tends to meld into whatever character he is given and Jacque was pretty but a little stilted.

Broadway choreographer Warren Carlysle gave Emily and Teddy a 1940’s like dance to “From This Moment On” from Kiss Me Kate. Teddy looked like a dancer from that era for most of the dance. Emily appeared a little precious with the movement at times but embodied her character well. The Jazz turns toward the end, however, were quite sloppy.

Next came a Travis Wall Contemporary piece for Jessica and Casey to “Like Real People Do” by Hozier. Jessica is a lovely, graceful dancer with a lot of heart. Casey was a good pairing for her both strong in lifts and turns. This pair is in the bottom and both judges Christina and Mary threatened the audience with untold harm if either of these two end up in danger again.

Carly and Serge were treated to a Jean Marc Genereux Quick Step to “A Cool Cat In Town” by Tape Five feat. Brenda Boykin. Serge was quite good and precise with his arms and feet. Carly looked to be having a wonderful time but was not quite as exact in some places.

Hip Hop choreographers Far Side and Phoenix had a voodoo dance for Valerie and Ricky. Ricky played a puppeteer controlling doll Valerie to “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon. This was definitely a dance that caught the audience’s attention and tends to defy description at points. Valerie really killed the leg wave (in a straddle split!) and the slow motion movement. Ricky was commanding and flawless in his part.

In the first group dance the girls performed some positively brilliant choreography from Mandy Moore. During the interview Mandy said she wanted to see “powerful” movement in this dance to Evanescence’s “My Immortal” and that is what these girls put out on the stage. The choreography paired with the long costumes and collective strength of this group was intoxicating and emotional. The girls danced so well as an ensemble with no weak points. Yours truly is calling for this piece to appear it in the finale!

Dance crew Academy of Villains appeared in a neon and black lighted performance to “What Are You Waiting For” by Gwen Stefani. This very commercial and athletic choreography definitely was appealing to the audience and likely earned Academy of Villains many, many votes to appear it the finale episode.

The guys’ group dance was choreography by Travis Wall to “Wave” by Beck. Their movement made them appear to rise and roll with the waves in an incredible, memorable dance. (Another finale piece, certainly!) The gents amazed as they caught Emilio is a death defying toss and basket catch and launching themselves off the stage at the end. Head shaking disbelief was the general response to this one. The performance will stick with all who saw it for a very long time.

Jessica and Casey were ultimately saved by the judges to dance another week. Next week the Top 10 will be paired with some of our favorite SYTYCD alumni!

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.

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