Getting inspired by some classic routines from So You Think You Can Dance...
By Kimberly Lew (Playwright/Blogger)
When I was younger, I did ballet for a couple of years, throwing on a leotard and shoes regularly after school. I quit right before I got to toe shoes, opting to don Nikes instead and take up basketball. It's not that I didn't enjoy dancing -- to this day, there's something almost comforting about learning a new little routine -- but I saw that the road to being a ballerina would be a hard one, and I decided to go a different path.
Still, dance has never failed to catch my attention, and one show in particular that has shown me the power of storytelling through dance has been So You Think You Can Dance. Every year, this show seems to find an amazing crop of dancers and pair them with a host of extremely talented choreographers, including Tabitha and Napoleon, Mia Michaels, and former contestant Travis Wall. Often when I need a daily dose of inspiration, I put on some of the best performances from the show and revel in the beautiful piece of art people are able to create through movement. Here are a few of my absolute favorites:
Chelsie and Mark performing to "Bleeding Love", choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon
This was the first time I was introduced to lyrical hip hop, and it was the dance that cemented my love of this show. The movements are precise, the story is genuine and gave this song a completely new context, and the acting is fantastic. Not to mention homeboy is representin' Hawaii. So much to be proud of.
Sasha and Twitch performing to "Misty Blue," choreographed by Christopher Scott
Irresistibly sexy, it is unreal the way the dancers move to this music, finding every nuance and making their bodies tell the story.
Kayla and Kupono performing to "Gravity," choreographed by Mia Michaels
Some of the more conceptual dances on this show are hit or miss, but this dance depicting addiction hits it on the head. Gorgeous in its interpretation and almost frightening in the struggle of it, this dance transcends a competition piece and is simply art.
Kent and Neil performing to "How It Ends," choreographed by Travis Wall
There are a ridiculous number of incredible Travis Wall-choreographed pieces on this show, so it was hard to pick just one. Not only is it a rarity to have same-sex partners on this show, but the guttural story this piece tells is so utterly relatable, it's hard not to include it. Executed with precision and anguish, this dance is a story of a friendship coming to an end.
Katee and Joshua performing "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," choreographed by Wade Robson
Love everything about this-- the chemistry between the dancers, the song choice, and the twistedness of their movement. At times it's almost like watching stop motion, they have so much control throughout.
KIMBERLY LEW is a playwright with two published one-act plays for high schools, as well as full-length Searching for Candi (co-written with Gabriella Miyares), which debuted at Mt. Holyoke college. Her latest play, Other People's Children, was recently featured as a part of The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective's new works reading series and was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O'Neill Playwrights Conference. She also created/manages the Emerging Musical Theatre blog. www.kimberlylew.com
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