Introducing the Dizzy Feet Foundation founded in July 2009 by SYTYCD Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe, film director Adam Shankman, Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba and movie actress Katie Holmes to support, improve and increase access to dance education in the United States.
Katie Holmes talks about her involvement with Dizzy Feet Foundation
Tension and emotions are high in Las Vegas callbacks. We’ve never seen so many tears and this is only part of the audition process! Fox had to show them and give those who were cut (or not) air time- as long as they’re crying, they’re going to show it for all to see. We would have wanted to see more dancing instead of more crying and whining…
What is in store in Vegas Week? The choreography is tougher. The judges ruthless and harsh. There are six of them in the panel and when they have to cut, at least three people must say yes for a dancer to stay. Nigel Lythgoe, Lil C, Mia Michaels, Mary Murphy, Debbie Allen and Adam Shankman complete the panel.
We thought there were 178 but Cat Deely just announced 172 best dancers in America are battling it out for a place in the Top 20. Before things kicked off, the judges had all the dancers do their solo to “refresh” them of how good or bad of a dancer the hopefuls were. 45 dancers are cut without hesitation, including Travis Prokop, Talia Rickards, and Chimezie.
The dance order of the Vegas callbacks are: Hip Hop with Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo (Music: “Boom, Boom Pow”), Ballroom with Jean Marc Genereaux and France, Jazz with Sonya Tayeh, Group dance (the group has to choreograph the dance themselves), the dreaded Contemporary with Mia Michaels, Broadway with Tyce Diorio, all boys and all Girls group dance (West Side Story) and finally another bout of solo performances.
In each dance style, the judges are going to cut and as the routine progress, they will cut some more and more. In the end, they left us hanging with 16 girls and 16 guys awaiting their fate to be part of Season 5’s Top 20.
Show’s main highlight, disappointments and shockers are people who were cut! Fox shows this little tidbits about the dancers here and there, tell us their back stories. Along the way we become “emotionally invested” with some of the dancers and then they cut them- heartlessly.
Natalie Reid was cut! C’mmon! and at a jazz routine where Sonya Tayeh proudly asked Natalie and Brandon Bryant to dance the choreography and show everyone else how it is done. The couple were used as example and yet in the final performance, the judges didn’t like Natalie’s dance. So her jazz wasn’t smooth as it should. They gave worse performers more chances. We couldn’t quite accept how she was rudely cut like that because last season, she was so close to becoming part of the Top 20 where it came down between her and Katee Shean and the judges picked Katee (which was great). But they didn’t give her a chance to do the remaining routine including contemporary and Broadway to showcase her talent. What was that?
And then to give Gabi Rojas a chance again and again and again to redeem herself yet was cut later on in the Broadway routine. They even gave Gabi a chance to “dance for her life.” Why didn’t they give that to Natalie?
Nobuya Nagahama, Erik “Silky” Moore, Megan Kinney and Priscilla Marrero were also cut. Bianca Revels who was doing great in the whole process was cut in the Broadway round. She was shocked and believes the judges made a mistake. We think so too, along with cutting Natalie Reid. She remarked in finality that she was not going to try back again because she didn’t make it last season and this year’s. She doesn’t see any point to audition again.
1. Evan Kasprzak (jazz)
2. Pono Aweau (contemporary hip hop funk)
3. Maksim Kapitannikov (ballroom)
4. Brandon Bryant (contemporary)
5. Philip Chbeeb (hip hop)
6. Ryan Kasprzak (tap)
7. Alex Wong (contemporary)
8. Jason Glover (contemporary)
9. Ricky Sun (ballroom)
The Las Vegas Choreographers
“If your feet are bad, you work them until they cramp.”
“I love cutting people and I will cut you.”
– Mia Michaels
It does not take much to move from American Idol fever to So You think You can Dance mania after all. We thought we’ll have withdrawal symptoms from missing Adam Lambert belt out those outrageous high notes every Tuesday night. So You Think You Can Dance to the rescue! Our weeks will be filled with dancing and more dancing every Wednesday and Thursday nights and we are feeling it! We are so excited for these undiscovered dancers whose lives are about to change as they become TV stars and soon after ‘conquer’ America.
The Season Premiere continues as Cat Deely and the rest of the gang head to Miami, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee.
Dancers to watch out for in the Miami audition are Priscilla Marrero, 23 Miami, FL, Erik “Silky” Moore, 19 Oviedo, FL and Janette Manrara, 25 Miami, FL. We’re not sure about the last two making it very far though because Erik does tap and Janette ballroom. They might not be good in other dances. Janette was in Season 4 but was cut in Vegas week.
Last but not least, Talia Rickards, 24 Miami, FL who had a moving backstory reminiscent of Danny Gokey losing his wife prior to audition in American Idol. Talia lost her young husband to a motorcycle accident and SYTYCD had her narrated her love story found and lost. She dances with fire and intensity and thought she should go straight to Vegas but the judges wanted to make it more dramatic so they had her do choreography. She passed and is going to Vegas, but of course!
Beautiful and exciting dancers are aplenty in the Memphis auditions: Paris Torres, 19 from Seattle WA was Miss Washington prior to audition made it straight to Vegas after her “Toxic” audition performing in the acoustic version of the Britney Spears song. (Watch audition video here.)
Lots of siblings going to Vegas! Caitlyn Kinney, 21 Annapolis, MD, who was stunning in her audition dancing in “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson and younger sister Megan is also joining her, shown in a montage of contemporary dancers. Both beautiful dancers. Twins’ Lauren & Lydia Guerra, 19 from Dallas TX are a pleasant surprise! Brothers Evan Kasprzak, 21 West Bloomfield, MI (lyrical Jazz/Broadway) and Ryan Kasprzak, 29 Astoria NY (Tap dancer and choreographer) are such exciting dancers and want to see more!
Anna Dunn, 18 Jackson, MS shows a lot of promise dancing contemporary to “Winter Song” (again). She too has a sob story where she lost her father to suicide. Must we really know these things? This is too private to be on TV but Fox has to “tell” it all… She made it to Vegas after doing choreography. We’d like to see her grow in the show but less talk about back stories please…
Contemporary Dancers: Henry Rivero, 18 Miami, FL, Megan Kinney, 18 Annapolis, MD and Alex Wong, 22 Miami, FL are also all worth mentioning. (Watch audition video here.)
Tyce Diorio is an unbelievable choreographer but wow we didn’t realize he has got some unbelievable mouth! We thought Nigel Lythgoe was bad. Tyce is something else. All throughout the audition he came off really cocky to the point of being demeaning and insulting to the dancers. At the end of the Miami leg, Nigel finally had to say: “… Tyce don’t be so mean with the Dancers.” Mary Murphy seconded with “I know…” That should teach them that perhaps Tyce is better off in the background, do what he does best- choreograph but not have to be in the judges panel.
In contrast, we are really beginning to like Lil C. We remember him as guest judge in the panel before and he always had something good and constructive to say. Some even deep and thoughtful which surprised us because he does not seem the type. “Krump” choreography defines rugged and tough but Lil C is soft and gentle in a good way. He is not patronizing and seem to be really sincere in his criticisms without offending the dancers or the viewers.
Still more coming in the Los Angeles and Seattle auditions, Thursday… Check back for videos later!