On Monday, August 29, the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance aired its 250th episode. This show was special due to two characteristics: the child competitors got to choreograph one of their duets and guest judge Maddie Ziegler performed with SYTYCD all-star and choreographer Travis Wall. Their number was put together by Wall himself, who talked about how hard it was to choreograph with himself. “I feel like I’m getting a taste of my own medicine,” he said, referencing all the high intensity routines that he has given the dancers throughout the years. He described the dance as being based on the idea of ‘contrasts’ and this carried into the pair’s costumes, as Maddie wearing white and Travis wearing black. The number was very intense and seemed almost battle-like, and deservedly earned a very long applause.
The first competitor to take the stage that night was contemporary dancer Tate. She and all-star Kathryn did a routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey, who judge Paula Abdul was very happy to see this season, and was not based on any specific characters. Instead, the dancers were supposed to be playing themselves and portraying just how much they meant to each other. Paula loved the routine and said, “Your lines are beautiful and your transitions are seamless.” Judge Jason Derulo told Tate, “I’m looking at not one but two all stars onstage.” Later Tate’s self-choreographed routine received equally positive marks. Her routine was inspired by the idea of wearing a mask to hide one’s insecurities, and they even wore plain white masks, giving it a very eerie mood. Maddie and Jason both commended Tate for the maturity of her piece.
After Tate was Kida, the hip hop “boy wonder.” He and his all star Fik-Shun did a krump routine by hip hop duo Pharside & Phoenix that was “all about energy.” Maddie loved the routine and said, “You bring so much presence and fire to the stage.” Nigel Lythgoe agreed but told Kida to loosen up a bit more, saying, “It all felt a little tight compared to Fik-Shun.” When he got to create his own routine, Kida made sure to include all of his favorite styles of hip hop in his 70’s inspired number: popping, locking, and animation. The two wore yellow and black outfits with gold paint all over their faces, making them look more like robots. Jason said, “This is the point where I would thank the choreographers, so thank you, Kida!” Paula also said, “I’m so happy to see you in your element tonight.”
Next up was tap dancer Emma with her all star Gaby, who got to work with the famous choreographer Savion Glover. Emma said of the experience, “At eleven, I can’t believe that I got to work with him.” The pair had what could only be described as tap dance swagger in their matching suits and bow ties, dancing to “On this Side of the Street” by Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. Nigel, a former tap dancer, had little else to say besides “I adored it!” Later, when Emma got to choreograph her own routine, Gaby compared the younger dancer to a drill sergeant. She chose Pentatonix’s cover of “Rather Be” and tried to keep in time by matching the timing to the words in the song and even sang as she choreographed. Much like Nigel, Paula could only give a simple, “Well done, well done.”
After Emma was JT and his all star Robert in another contemporary routine by Stacey Tookey meant to portray a father/son relationship where the son has received some devastating news and the father has to help him through it. The number was very fittingly set to “I’ll Keep You Safe” by Sleeping at Last. Jason was amazed by JT’s ability to handle such intense material and said, “You have the perfect marriage between maturity and innocence.” Nigel seemed to be especially moved by the routine and said, “If every father danced with their son like that, the world would be a far better world.” Even so, JT wanted to do a much happier routine, and that is exactly what he choreographed later in the night. He was very enthusiastic about his friendship themed number but struggled to remember all the steps by himself. His routine was even more fittingly set to “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. Jason told JT just how blown away he was, while Nigel jokingly said, “I’m just captivated by you, and it annoys me.”
Last to take the stage was hip hop dancer Tahani and her all star Comfort. They were paired up with the eccentric choreographer Dave Scott, who put together a “tribal hip hop” routine for them. The girls wore traditional Nigerian clothes and makeup and danced to an old radio that they found, discovering hip hop music. Paula was out of breath as she said, “I feel like I just watched a marathon–I’m exhausted for you!” Nigel liked it as well, but critiqued Tahani’s technique and said, “I’d like to see your shoulders loosen up.” For her self-choreographed routine, Tahani chose to have her and Comfort play a popular girl and a nerd, respectively. Paula commended Tahani for how she “rose to the challenge, headstrong.” Jason joked, “It’s really cool that you took Comfort out of her comfort-zone.”
Despite the raving comments, Tahani came in fifth place that night and had to leave the competition. In her video send-off, the other dancers talked about how funny and silly Tahani was. JT even said that she was always there for him. The dancers made it very clear that they would all miss her. Host Cat Deeley made sure to look the young girl in the eyes as she said, “You are sensational.”
Story by Madison Lazenby
Edited by Mrs. Carmichael