So You Think You can Cry? SYTYCD 5 Dancers Show it in Las Vegas Week

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.

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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.

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Natalie Reid

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.

Our Top 7 Girls we’d love to see in the show:

1. Caitlin Kinney (ballet/contemporary)
2. Jeanette Manrara (ballroom)
3. Kelsea Taylor (contemporary) ?
4. Asuka Kondoh (ballroom)
5. Kayla Radomski (contemporary)
7. Paris Torres (contemporary)

Our Top 9 guys we’d love to see int the Top 20:

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

Kelsea “Beautiful Disastrous Weirdo” Taylor SYTYCD 5 Audition Video

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Kelsea Taylor 18 from Millcreek, WA
Dance Song: “Tore My Heart” by Oona and Dave Tweedie

So You Think You Can Dance Season 5 Final Auditions in Los Angeles and Seattle, They Did not Save the Best for Last…

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We were down to the final destinations in Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance Auditions- in Hollywood, California and Seattle, Washington yet we were left wanting for more. Six audition cities this season but we have yet to find the natural talents that really stood out for us like last year’s Katee Shean, Twitch Boss, Mark Kanemura and Joshua Allen from the moment we saw them.

We sure hope the Las Vegas callbacks will show more of this season’s finest and that we could be in for an exciting Top 20 to top all tops!

Funny and game Choreographer Adam Shankman joined Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe in the LA auditions and spiced up the stage showing off his dancing skills when challenged to partner with hopeful Swing/Lindy Hop dancer  Calico Sequeria, 30 from Irvine, CA who was passed on as a social skilled dancer but not good enough for the competition. It was a fun segment.

Visiting the LA audition were Season 4 stars Comfort Fedoke, Katee Shean and Winner Joshua Allen.

Bianca Revels 20 of Detroit MI wowed the judges and us with her excellent Tap routine. She was in last year’s Vegas callbacks but didn’t make the cut. Hoping she’s had some training in other types of dances because we want to see more of her in SYTYCD. International Latin Ballroom couple Asuka Kondoh and Ricky Sun are also back for a another try. Asuka was fabulous and can’t wait to see how she’ll fare in Vegas the second time. We thought we saw some other great dancers but Fox decided to have them “nameless’ for now. Geez, we hate speedy montages of people going to Vegas without getting to know them!

Contemporary dancer Nathan Trasoras was pretty impressive except that he is ineligible to participate because he’s only 17 years old. Dang! But Nigel gave him a fast pass straight to Vegas for next season so we’ll definitely see more of this kid in the fall.

Seattle, Washington was true to its trademark- it was raining during the auditions. Unfortunately the city wasn’t raining with talents. Most unfortunate was that the Mia Michaels of dance, Mia Michaels herself was in the panel of judges. What a shame she had to endure all the crazies and wannabes. They didn’t save the best for last in this instance. In day one, they only had 4 people go through to Vegas! That included Kelsea Taylor who enlivened the place up with her unique contemporary dance.

Hawaiian hopeful Kuponohi’ipoi Aweau brought some quirkiness on the dance floor, interestingly very similar in style with Mark Kanemura who finished 5th last season, also happens to hail from Hawaii. Pono (for short since no one could pronounce his name right) did choreography and was put through to Vegas. We really liked him!

In total 178 dancers battle it out in Las Vegas next week. As per Nigel Lythgoe’s Twitter- they already have the Top 20 dancers- the names top secret of course. In June 4th we will know. 178’s a lot of dancers and we have no clue who more than half of them are! So we don’t have a pick of the Top 20 because we’re positive we have not seen the best of the best from all the footages. Season 5 is about to kick off, we are so ready for it! Are you?

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SYTYCD Season 4 Finale: America’s Favorite Dancer is Joshua Allen!

This show can often shock us with its results. In each episode, the audience has made us eat crow, and this week was no different, except our pollsters were asked to dine with us. We barely had enough to go around.

In a different approach to earlier weeks, we will cover the results first, because that is what was the focus of this show. The results were already in, the envelopes sealed and the cards dealt. But we will review the show in its entirety after this discussion, and if you didn’t see it, there were numerous surprises you will find entertaining and some important hints at what will be on the tour, so please read the entire review and vote in our polls. We put a ton of effort into it for you and would love your input. Thank you.

We could totally understand Joshua winning. After trailing in our polls by as much as 3-1, he made a major surge as the show was nearing its start. It was close enough that the telephone vote could have gone either way, but seeing Twitch there on the stage with Joshua made it surreal, like when you watch a movie and you say, “That could never happen in real life”.

Katee was offered a runner up prize of $50,000.00. We get the impression the show added this surprise when they realized how unexpected the result was. Katee took it well and followed with an excellent performance; ironically, it was with Twitch.

This has been a year where the best have often been eliminated in favor of the underdog, but in this case, whoever was dialing those phones were punching in the wrong keys. Our Polls had Twitch as dead last, out-voted 5-1!! Statistically, it all seems rather odd that the telephone dialers felt so differently.

After 35 hours of show, 167 performances and 60 million votes, for Twitch to be in the final two was farcical. We believe this demonstrates that there is something wrong with the system of voting on the show? Twitch placed in front of Katee?? Twitch is a great street dancer, but he shouldn’t have placed in front of Mark, Chelsie, Courtney or Will, let alone Katee!

But in a way, there was some justice. Katee, by being selected as the top woman performer got a $50,000.00 prize. For coming in second, Twitch got diddly.

And Now For the Show.

This was a wonderful show, well choreographed and presented. Let’s start by introducing our “jidges.” Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, Mia Michaels, Nigel Lythgoe and Little C.

The show started with a move through a number of flashbacks from the season. It was quick, but brought back some fond memories.

They then brought back the entire top 20 to dance to a set choreographed by Shane Sparks and danced to “BOOM”, by SIN feat. T-Pain. This was basic hip-hop. The choreography was fun, bringing out some of the best talent on the show. One move where Gev slides under the line of women as they each jump over him. As Little C says, it was “buck”. They then clustered into a group and everyone gradually drops to the floor leaving only the final four standing. Cute metaphor yes?

So the show moved to letting the six “jidges” choose their favorite set from the season. These are likely the sets that will be performed on the tour, so make sure you don’t miss them. Nigel Lythgoe had first pick and selected one of our favorites, and one we already said would be on the tour, “Bollywood”, which may be more appropriately spelled “Bali-Wood”.

Katee and Joshua were at the ready and began their routine. You could tell how much these two love to perform with each other. There is no point in presenting an encore of our prior review of this piece, other than to say these guys gave us goose bumps once again, and you can watch it here.

Mary selected Courtney and Gev, performing to “Wishing on a Star” by Rose Royce.  This piece has a richer feel than any performed to songs by Ford Taurus.  The set had some of the sexiest moves in the show this year with Courtney showing how provocative she can be. Had this been a dance in her repertoire last night, the results of this competition may have been different.

Surprise 1

Now, for a break, there was a popping championship, incorporating two of the poppers that the judges voted through to Vegas. The first, Philip Chbeeb, had to resign before going to Vegas because he contracted pneumonia. And Robert Muraine resigned after getting to Vegas when he realized that there was much more to the show than just popping. Neither could have won the competition, but their popping skills defy everything we know about physics, so they are clearly worth watching compete.

This was the first time Robert and Philip met and they went head to head. Robert went first, and did some basic moves. Philip looked unfazed and moved into a set of his own that was quite challenging. But then Robert stole the rest of the show with moves that could not be duplicated by any other human on the planet. This kid is a major freak show with the way he can move his body. Robert finished by mimicking Philip’s signature move easily. Adam Shankman concurred with what we had said to each other half way through the performance, “Robert, you are a freak of nature!”. The judges voted Robert the winner 5-1. We have no idea what he won, but it was fun.

Adam Shankman called Twitch and Comfort back to the stage, for their set performed to “Forever” by Chris Brown. This hip-hop piece has been reviewed on our site before and will be on the tour. It is freakish how good it gets when these two fantastic hip hop dancers hook up. The finale Russian walk and heart pump are classic and only created and performed this well by artists in the top of their field.

Little C called out Chelsie and Mark to perform to “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. This was a classic, and they took it another step as they continued to prove why they are champions. Had things played out differently, these two could have easily been in the finals instead of Twitch and Courtney. And we believe that this dance shows that America may have erred on calling for their elimination.

Surprise 2

Mary Murphy then surprised even Nigel by taking the stage in a hot short red dress dancing with D’mitri from last season, with his shirt fully open. Mary demonstrated she still has the legs to move on the floor. She wore the outfit that Courtney should have worn last night in the Jive. Had Courtney worn that red, frilly dress, instead of a one-piece bathing suit, we know that dance would have been much better received.

Mia Michaels then called on Katee and Will for the classic danced to “Imagine” by David Archuleta. If you remember, earlier in the season, this dance was performed to near perfection in the competition, but Katee bumped her head moving under Will’s arm. This time, it was flawless and brought the entire crowd to its feet as well as the judges. This demonstrated that these two were the best dancers in this competition. America does not like to be told whom to vote for, but sometimes the experts really do know best. These two were perfect.

Adam Shackman called on Mark and Courtney dancing to the Garden by Mirah. This is the sexy Burlesque piece where Courtney wears a single net stocking half torn and Mark distinguishes his performance with the look of Alex Delarge, played by Malcolm McDowell, from “A Clockwork Orange”. Great set and we look forward to it on the tour.

First Elimination

They then brought out the four finalists to cut Courtney. She knew she wouldn’t beat Katee. She got a nice bouquet of flowers. She took the loss well, as she should, because she is a star now and will be cheered again and again on the tour and after that in every performance of which she is a part.

They then had the final five men perform Nigel’s piece choreographed to “Five Guys Named Moe” by Joe Jackson. This piece is so much fun that if you haven’t seen it, watch it; if you have, watch it again (we did, twice), and expect it live on tour.

They then presented a dance from the performers of “Cirque du Soleil” done to “Homage to the Rabbits” by Eric Serra. It is an incredibly dark piece danced with everyone in rabbit costumes and choreographed by, you guessed it, the dark man himself, Wade Robson, of “Thriller” fame.

Second Elimination

They then leaped to the biggest mistake on the show we have ever seen, eliminating Katee and leaving Twitch. She was awarded a prize of $50,000.00 to compensate her for America’s inept analysis of dance. The judges last night tried to subdue their praise of Katee, we think to keep this from being a blow out, but they instead got America to forget how wonderful she is. They played back her prior dances from the season, and we remembered, she not only made herself the winner, she brought the male dancers to the show. Twitch’s most memorable dances were with Katee, and if not for those, he likely would not have been voted through.  Will’s best performance was with Katee, and we all know how the pairing of Joshua and Katee worked out.

Sour grapes are worth eating after you saw Katee lose. It was sad, and it was wrong. We have to believe that this was an error on the part of the show; perhaps what they were inferring with the new prize for Katee is that there will be a winner on both the men and women’s side from now on, and it will not be clear if the leader in the runner-up gender finished second or third. We are thinking that Katee could have actually finished second here and we were misled by the show because they wanted to play up the final draw between the men. No clue, but if America did vote for Twitch over Katee, we know they were in the “dead zone” with their cell phones.

Surprise 3

After the break, we found Cat Deely sitting in Nigel’s place in the judges panel.  Could this be a  signal something was up?  Cat chatted with Debbie Allen for a little while who quipped that she stepped down (as SYTYCD judge) so Will could compete and that she was proud of Will’s performances. With that note, Cat introduced the next performers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy bringing in Debbie’s youngest and ‘oldest’ students- 19 kids tap dancing to “Boogie Wonderland” by the Earth, Wind and Fire. Oh, the oldest performer was- was that really Nigel Lythgoe taking the center stage? Yes it was! He was tap dancing his heart out along with the kids. It was a fun number.

Mary called for Mia Michael’s piece next starring Katee and Twitch and danced to “Mercy” by Duffy. This performance was not as sharp as when it was first performed, but it was still superb and should win Mia an Emmy. It was also, ironically, performed right after Katee’s elimination, the piece that brought Twitch to the forefront and gave him his chance to beat Will in the voting. Had this piece not been so wonderfully performed by Katee, we think Will would have lived on and Twitch would have gone home.

After some comic relief, Debbie Allen selected Twitch and Kherington‘s dance to “A New Day Had Come” by Celine Dion. This is a beautiful piece and it does show Twitch can dance, but it also clearly demonstrates his lack of ability in formal dance relative to the other performers in the competition. The lifts are strong, but strength is not dance. It helps, but it is not dance.

Nigel then called for the pair of the season, Joshua and Katee, dancing to “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. This was Joshua’s and Katee’s first dance together on the show and it is one of the most memorable. It was the start of what would be the best year of these two dancers’ lives, and resulted in another standing ovation from the crowd and judges.

There was a segment on “where they are now” that was fun. It showed a number of past season dancers and was primarily a promotion for the show, but it was presented professionally.

Surprise 4

They brought performers from past seasons to refresh the audience’s memory of these great dancers. Dominic, Lauren, Travis, Ryan, Neil, Dmitri, Anya, Hok, Jaime and Benji among others came to the stage to remind us this show’s foundation is built on amazing talent. They wowed us in this set and at the end, the cast from this year joined in. This was great and had the audience going wild.

THE FINAL TWO

They then returned and crowned Joshua in the final 2 minutes of the show. Joshua and Twitch both reacted by leaping into the air, and Twitch raised Joshua’s hand in victory. Joshua’s Dad was in tears and Joshua was hugging Cat. He thanked everyone graciously, and showed he is a deserving champion.

Now, we wait for the tour and next year on SYTYCD. It was a great season with so many stunning and entertaining sets that no matter who wins, the audience always does.

Our congratulations to Joshua Allen, SYTYCD America’s Favorite Dancer!

The photo above is copyrighted; published with permission. Please do not copy.
For more quality and stunning photos visit j kay bradford photography




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Part I: Why Did Twitch and Will End Up in the Bottom Two?

Why Twitch Ended up in the Bottom Two:

We have been silent as to why Twitch came out in the bottom two this week.  We have decided to break the silence.  (PLEASE MAKE SURE TO READ OUR LATEST BLOW BY BLOW REVIEW OF THIS CONTROVERSIAL SHOW COMPLETE WITH VIDEOS!!)

Many other websites have cited his first piece with Katee as violence against women.  We disagree with the premise, but do agree, it could have been the interpretation.  Dance is so expressive, that sometimes extreme interpretations of the art can damage it.

(BECAUSE THIS IS CONTROVERSIAL, PLEASE SEND US COMMENTS IF YOU DISAGREE!!  WE APPRECIATE YOUR INPUT.  THANK YOU!!)

Twitch’s performance was heroic, creative and prodigious.  So what got him voted into the bottom two? The Mia Michaels contemporary piece (See Featured Video on right.) may have appeared in some ways to be violent against women.  But viewers have to remember, the dancers are performing the choreographer’s piece.  Voting against the dancer(s) for masterfully executing the piece as directed, because of something you don’t like about the choreography is like criticizing your accountant because you hate paying taxes.  The accountant didn’t make the tax laws, but you infer the anger on him/her.

On the one hand, women can be fearful of men.  Women are fearful for a legitimate reason.  Men are, in many cases, bigger and stronger.  And some men have no morals in this regard; they are abusive and use their physical strength to manipulate and abuse women.  It would make any man with a moral compass ashamed.

A number of forum sites caught this violence aspect, but it was wrong.  There is a scene that involves a throw of Katee behind the door.  This scene looks violent against women, but it is also a dance move.  The move is expressive in its beauty and is used to portray the talent of the dancers and strong emotion.  It has been used in many dances that were not expressive of violence.  Last year alone, there were several dances that used this technique and none were criticized.

In this dance, there is expressive violence against Twitch.  Katee strikes out in total rage and captures it perfectly.  She kicks and swings her fist at Twitch.  Mia Michaels did not miss this in her choreography, emotion is something not easily contained and our body parts sometimes get involved, and women express it as well as men.

Listen to the song.  It speaks of a break up.  How many real break-ups have you been in that were peaceful affairs.  Not violence or beatings (granted some few are), but that often involve angry words and expression.  The man’s heart is being broken here too, and when confronted with pain, men strike out.  It is not right to physically abuse any woman, and men have to realize this is totally unacceptable (and most do), but Mia is not portraying what is acceptable or right, she is portraying reality.

Dance is all about expression.  It is visual, not verbal.  It is almost like silent movies from the era before we could broadcast audio.  It has to be exaggerated to make the point.  Mia Michaels knows this and is brilliant.  This was not her expression of male violence, it was an expression of a strong love gone bad.

The part about this video that offends the most, and it really shouldn’t, because it could have gone either way, is the man appears to win.  Had Katee shut the door on his heart, the video would never have been controversial.  His heart could be breaking and he is defending his shame, but in the world of silence, he appears the victor.  But who in their right mind could not believe that he truly loves Katee and is putting on an act to try to hide it.  That initial kiss says he is not over her and adores her.

But in the end, what is it? It is an artistic rendition of the expression of love and pain.  How do you express that without also expressing emotions?

It does not mean a man lowers himself to beating women.  The man’s pride and manhood are expressed in the video.  He won’t beat the woman, and Twitch NEVER EVER SHOWED THAT.  What Mia Michaels portrayed was a man’s ego and strength, which is in contrast to a woman’s emotion and intelligence.

Men’s strength and ego gets the better of them.  Women’s emotion gets the better of them.  It does not suggest in any way that abuse of women is acceptable.  It just presents what is likely a very factual rendition of a crumbling relationship.  Emotion is not something that can be expressed when both characters are Smurfs.

Why Will Ended up in the Bottom Two. Click here.

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Part Two: Why Did Twitch and Will End Up in the Bottom Two?

Why Will ended up in the Bottom Two:

We believe that Twitch introduced a theme of “violence against women,” but we believe it was a misinterpretation or at least an exaggerated interpretation of Mia Michael’s piece. Even if you were to believe an angel like Mia Michaels believes in violence against women, our belief is this is an artistic piece portraying the artistic talent of Mia, reflecting her emotions.

So why do we bring this up in discussion of Will’s dances, which were not choreographed by Mia?   Because we believe the voting was related.

Will’s pieces were beautiful and expressive, and had nothing to do with violence, but they both had to do with romance.  And possibly, the audience then inferred the violence from Twitch and Katee’s piece upon Will.

We are not at all sure here, we may be speculating, and a poll at the end of this article will tell us if we are not in touch with reality.  But we believe Will was tried and convicted of a crime he did not commit.  And we are so sorry for him, because he was the leading male talent of this show.

Why Twitch was in the Bottom Two. Click Here.

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Profile Spotlight: Katee Shean

We were curious about Katee because she is such a great talent on “So You Think You Can Dance”. Often, one has to wonder where these greats come from. How did they not get discovered elsewhere, and yet are in the top of their field or niche? Daughtry comes to mind from “American Idol”. Once he was exposed, he made hit after hit, but prior to his exposure he was in an average every day job.

Katee caught our eye in her first competition dance with Joshua. It just shocked us how great this pair was in their first performance together. And how Katee had almost been eliminated by the judges before she even had a chance to show us how superb she really is.  Katee had inadvertently said that she may not come back next season if she was not selected at this year’s audition, and Nigel called a re-vote despite how much the judges loved her set.  What huge mistakes judges can make!!  Fortunately, the judges still sent her on to Vegas.

This is a great example of how wonderful this woman is to watch, even with a brand new partner!! That leap into Will’s arms near the end??? Well, we hope they do that dance on tour, although we hope she is wearing something a bit more appealing than a gym overall.

Supposedly, Katee started dancing at the age of 4. Although, at 4, who knows what we call dancing? She is from San Jose, California, although the audition said she was from Orange, California. She was born in 1988, a scant 20 years ago.

She has studied dance and specializes in contemporary, but has proven there is no style outside her reach. She graduated Pioneer High School, and despite her dance career, is studying for a double major in leadership and dance. While we cannot verify it, we understand her dance training has been pursued at the Atlas School of Dance and the Team Dance Company.

Katee originally auditioned with her friend and roommate Natalie Reid. Both showed promise, but it was clearly obvious, there was something very special about Katee.  And Natalie is supporting her 100%!!

Katee stole the judges votes, especially with her specialty, her hand movement. Actually, it is her peripheral movement, but in this case, watch the hands. The audition was a mirror image of what was to come. If you did not watch Katee’s hands in the audition, watch it again. It is shocking how a chill runs down one’s spine when watching just her hands.

She had Nigel leaning forward and the audience applauding. Even Mia Michaels was wowed. She was voted right through to Vegas after Nigel’s brief digression, and so was Natalie to her credit. Both were great, but only one was capable of getting to the top 20.

Katee’s talent becomes evident the moment she moves, and you know, there is something there, something you can’t quite place, and something you want to remember, so you watch it again and again.

Katee is our favorite to win this competition.  Superb grace in a gifted package.



Katee’s Final Solo of the season. With interview and judges’ comments

Find out more about Katee at Fox dance.