So You Think You Can Dance - 2012 (Season 9)
Meet TOP 20
Alexa Anderson - 19 (CHANDLER, AZ) - Contemporary
Alexa Anderson was born in Little Falls, NJ, but grew up in Chandler, AZ where she started dancing at the age of 11. Alexa trained in many different styles but found Contemporary to be her specialty. At the age of 18, Alexa moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer and has been dancing and teaching in Los Angeles for the past year.
Amber Jackson - 21 (ATLANTA, GA) - Contemporary
Amber Jackson was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, where she started dancing at the age of 14 at the esteemed Ballethnic Academy of Dance and simultaneously at DeKalb School of the Arts. Later, Amber enhanced her dance technique at the prestigious Dancemakers of Atlanta studying Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Pointe, Hip Hop, and Jazz. Amber continues to pursue her craft as an artist and hopes to one day share her love for dance with the world.
Amelia Lowe - 18 (BUTLER, NJ) - Contemporary
Amelia Lowe currently lives with her parents in Butler, NJ where she grew up. She is currently a senior in high school at the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts in Denville, NJ. Amelia has been dancing since the age of 3, and had her first performance when she was 5.
Audrey Case - 18 (EDMOND, OK) - Jazz
Audrey Case currently lives in Edmond, OK, her hometown. Audrey attended Edmond North High School and graduated this past spring. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old and her specialty is Jazz.
Brandon Mitchell - 27 (KANSAS CITY, KS) - Stepping
Brandon Mitchell currently lives in North Hollywood, CA, but grew up in Kansas City, KS. Mitchell graduated from Sumner Academy in 2003 and from Florida A&M University in 2009. He has been dancing since he was in 6th grade and his dance specialty is Stepping. He has been Stepping for 5 years.
ChehonWespi-Tschopp - 23 (ZURICH, SWITZERLAND) - Ballet
ChehonWespi-Tschopp was born in Chicago, IL and raised in Sydney, Australia and Zurich, Switzerland where his family lives now. He began Ballet at age 13 and when he was 14 he was offered a spot to train at The Royal Ballet School, London. After graduating from the RBS, Chehon joined the Los Angeles Ballet in 2009 where he performed for two seasons. Chehon was lucky to have been seen and offered a contract with the touring company of Twyla Tharp's Broadway Show 'Come Fly Away', which enabled him to remain living and working in the US. His dance specialty is Classical Ballet.
Cole Horibe - 26 (HONOLULU, HI) - Martial Arts Fusion
Cole Horibe currently lives in Honolulu, HI, where he was born and raised. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies. After dancing for three years in high school, he quit dancing, believing he had relatively little talent in dance (as opposed to martial arts) and continued to train in various martial arts and studied acting--his career aspiration. Cole began dancing again 4 1/2 years ago. Having studied martial arts for most of his life, Cole incorporates a martial arts flavor into his choreography--a dance style which he calls "Martial Arts Fusion."
Cyrus Spencer - 22 (ATLANTA, GA) - Animation Popping & Robotics
Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer currently lives in Duluth, GA, and grew up on the Southside of Atlanta. Spencer was born in Dallas, TX and graduated from Creekside High School in 2008. He started dancing at 8 then stopped to play sports and picked it back up at 15. His style of dancing is Animation, Popping, and Robotics. He got signed to Xcel Talent Agency in December of 2011 and he is part of a dance movement to Dubstep music.
Daniel Baker - 24 (NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA) - Ballet
Daniel Baker currently lives in San Francisco, CA but is originally from Newcastle, Australia. Baker moved to the US at 15 years of age to train at the School of American Ballet in New York City. He has danced with the Miami City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Baker has been dancing since he was three years old and specializes in Ballet.
DareianKujawa - 20 (ST. PAUL, MN) - Contemporary
DareianKujawa currently lives in Boulder City, NV but grew up in St. Paul, MN. Dareian graduated from the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in 2010. He has been dancing since the age of 3 at Larkin Dance Studio and his dance specialty is Contemporary. At the age of 18 he moved out on his own to Las Vegas to try and pursue a career in dance.
Eliana Girard - 21 (WEST PALM BEACH, FL) - Ballet
Eliana Girard currently lives in New York and grew up in West Palm Beach, FL. Girard started dancing when she was 3 1/2 yrs old. She left Dreyfoos High School of the Arts to dance at Joffrey Ballet School, and went the following year to Alvin Ailey School. She started her career with Cirque Du Soleil in July 2009. Her dance specialty is Contemporary Ballet.
George Lawrence II - 19 (ATLANTA, GA) - Contemporary
George "Geo" Lawrence II was born in San Diego, CA and raised in Atlanta, GA. George acquired his love for dance at the age of 11 and was adamant about perfecting his attraction to the art. That same year, he enrolled at Price Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in College Park, GA where he studied Lyrical, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Hip-Hop and Acrobatics. In 2010, George decided to further his technique at Dancemakers of Atlanta, and in the summer of 2010 he was selected to attend the coveted Juilliard School. In 2011, George graduated from the esteemed Dekalb School of the Arts in Atlanta, GA, with honors.
Janaya French - 20 (AURORA, CO) - Lyrical Contemporary
Janaya French currently lives in Van Nuys, CA, but grew up in Aurora, CO. French graduated from high school in 2010 and has now moved to California to pursue her dance career. She began dancing at age 3 and is a technically trained dancer who specializes in Lyrical/Contemporary.
Janelle Issis - 24 (VESTAVIA HILLS, AL) - Belly Dancing
Janelle Issis has been dancing and performing since the age of 4. She is extensively trained in belly dancing, jazz, and tap and continued to study a multitude of dance styles including hip hop, jazz and modern at the University of Alabama under the direction of Professor Cornelius Carter of Alvin Ailey. For several years she has been preparing herself to step into the commercial industry by attending summer classes and events in New York and Los Angeles. She is currently living in Los Angeles, CA pursing a career in dance.
Lindsay Arnold - 18 (PROVO, UT) - Latin Ballroom
Lindsay Arnold currently lives in her hometown of Provo, Utah where she was born and raised. Lindsay just recently graduated from Timpview High School and plans to attend Utah Valley University. She has been dancing since she was 4 years old and her specialty is Latin Ballroom.
Matthew Kazmierczak - 21 (PEORIA, AZ) - Contemporary
Matthew Austin Kazmierczak was born and raised in Peoria, AZ, where he currently still resides. Matthew went to Sunrise Mountain High School, and it was during those years where he found his interest for dance. Now five years later his love for it has continued to grow and he has trained in multiple styles specializing in Contemporary.
Nick Bloxsom-Carter - 20 (OAK PARK, CA) - Ballroom
Nick Bloxsom-Carter currently lives in Orem, UT, but grew up his whole life in Oak Park, CA. Nick was born in Santa Monica, CA and is about to be a senior at Utah Valley University. Nick has been dancing since the 4th grade, but didn't start to compete until 9th grade. His specialty is Ballroom and he loves to inspire.
Tiffany Maher - 19 (PLANTATION, FL) - Jazz
Tiffany Paige Maher currently resides in Plantation, FL, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale. She attends school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. She has been dancing since the age of 3, but was brought up in the dance studio since she was a baby watching her older sister, Brittany. Tiffany's dance specialty is Jazz. Dance is her passion and she loves to perform.
Will Thomas - 19 (TROY, MI) - Contemporary
Will Thomas currently lives in Studio City, CA but grew up in Troy, MI. Thomas was born in Rochester, MI and graduated from Avondale High School in 2011. He has been dancing since he was in the 6th grade and his specialty is Contemporary.
Witney Carson - 18 (AMERICAN FORK, UT) - Latin Ballroom
Witney Carson was born and raised in American Fork, UT. Witney has been dancing since the age of 3; training, performing, and competing has been her life. Her specialty dance is Ballroom. She recently graduated from American Fork High School, and is ready to start her new adult life!
Reference: Fox Broadcasting Company (So You Think You Can Dance)
So You Think You Can Dance
So You Think You Can Dance is an American dance competition and reality show that airs on Fox in the United States.
The series first premiered on July 20, 2005, and was created by American Idol producers Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe and is produced by 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions. The first season was hosted by current American news personality, Lauren Sánchez; since the second season it has been hosted by former British children's television personality and one-time game show emcee, Cat Deeley. The show features a tiered format wherein dancers from a variety of styles enter open auditions held in a number of major U.S. cities to showcase their unique style and talents and, if allowed to move forward, then are put through additional rounds of auditions to test their ability to adapt to different styles. At the end of this process, a small number of dancers are chosen as 'finalists' who move on to compete in the competition's main phase where they will perform solo, duet and group dance numbers in a variety of styles in competition for the votes of the broadcast viewing audience which, combined with the input of a panel of judges, determines which dancers will advance to the next stage from week to week. The number of finalists has varied as determined by a season's format, but has typically been 20 contestants.
The show features a broad variety of American and international dance styles, including Salsa, ballroom, Jive, swing, hip hop, breakdancing, krump, contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap, and bollywood, with many sub-genres within these styles represented. Competitors attempt to master these styles, which are generally, but not always, assigned by a luck-of-the-draw system, in an attempt to survive successive weeks of elimination and win a cash prize (typically $100,000), the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" and often additional prizes. In its eight seasons, the winners have been Nick Lazzarini, Benjamin Schwimmer, Sabra Johnson, Joshua Allen, Jeanine Mason, Russell Ferguson, Lauren Froderman, and Melanie Moore. The show has won seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and a total of nine Emmys altogether
The program became the No. 1 rated show in summer 2006 for adults aged 18–49 during its second season but starting with season four the show has slowly declined in ratings, though as of season eight it still averages over 5 million viewers per episode. The show has been renewed for a ninth season, but will return to a one-show-per-week format. Spin-offs were announced starting in August 2006 and to date 21 localized adaptations of So You Think You Can Dance have been produced representing 22 different countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France (forthcoming), Germany, Greece, Holland, Israel, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States), and comprising 57 total seasons.
A typical season of So You Think You Can Dance is divided between a selection process, during which expert judges select competitors from a wide pool of applicant dancers, and a competition phase, during which these 'finalists' (more typically referred to as the 'Top 20') compete for votes from home viewers. Though it is produced over the course of months, the selection phase is highly edited and usually constitutes only the first 2–3 weeks of aired episodes, with the competition episodes forming the remaining 8–9 weeks of the season.
Selection of finalists
The selection process can be further broken down into two distinct stages: the open auditions and 'Vegas Week'. The open auditions take place in 5–6 major U.S. cities per season – these cities change from season to season but some, such as Los Angeles and New York have featured in almost every season – and are typically open to anyone aged 18–30 at the time of their audition. During this stage, dancers perform a brief routine (typically but not exclusively a solo) before a panel of dance experts, usually headed by series creator and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. This panel will then make an on-the-spot decision as to whether the dancer demonstrated enough ability and performance value to proceed further. If the dancer exhibited extraordinary ability in their performance, judges will award a "ticket to Vegas", moving them instantly one step forward in the competition. Alternatively, if judges are on the fence about the dancer, he or she will usually instead be asked to wait until the end of that day's auditions to participate in a short test of their ability to pick up choreography before a final decision is made.
The second stage of the selection process – referred to as "the callbacks" or "Vegas Week", after Las Vegas, in which it is held since season 2 – is a several-day-long process in which the remaining hopefuls are tested for overall well-rounded dance ability, stamina, and their ability to perform under pressure. The dancers are put through a battery of rounds which test their ability to pick up various dance styles (usually some of the more well-represented genres that will be found in the competition phase, such as hip-hop, jazz, ballroom and contemporary), as well as solo rounds where they perform in their own style and, since season 2, a group choreography round in which randomly-assigned groups must display their musicality and ability to communicate professionally by choreographing a performance to a randomly selected piece of music – typically the only time competitors will be asked to choreograph themselves, aside from solos. Vegas week is often portrayed as one of the most exhausting and stressful stages of the competition; dancers are given a limited amount of time to adapt to styles they are sometimes wholly unfamiliar with while being physically taxed by the rapid progression of rounds and a limited amount of sleep while each round often sees cuts in which a significant portion of the remaining dancers are eliminated from competition. At the end of this process, usually less than 40 competitors remain in a pool from which the final contestants will be chosen. Most seasons have featured 20 finalists for the competition portion of the show, but Season One had a Top 16 and Season Seven saw a Top 11.
Main competition: Top 20 to Top 10
Following Vegas Week, the show transitions into its regular competition phase which will last the rest of the season. The competition stage is divided into 8–9 weeks, with typically two shows per week (a "performance show" and a "results show"), with two contestants eliminated per week (or in the case of season 7, one contestant). Dancers are paired – in some seasons at random and in others by judge decisions – into male/female couples with whom they will stay paired for much of the competition, assuming neither is eliminated. These couples will then perform 1–2 duets during performance shows in randomly-selected styles. These duets, as with all non-solo performances at this stage in the competition, are choreographed by professional choreographers, who are often noteworthy names in their own genres or American dance culture at large. Prior to most duet performances, a video packet of clips of the couple preparing to perform the routine is shown; these packets are intended not only to demonstrate the couple's efforts to master the routine, but also to give glimpses of the personalities of the dancers as well as to allow the choreographer to give insight as to the thematic, narrative, and artistic intentions of the piece. Following each duet performance, the week's panel of judges (which varies both season to season and week to week and often features many of the same experts from the open auditions and Vegas Week as well as notable dance figures, regular series choreographers and even past contestants) gives critical feedback, often emphasizing the two key areas of technique and performance value. These duets and their accompanying video packets and critiques typically take up the majority of a competition show but may be supplemented by solos or group numbers during the later portion of the season. Each competition show ends with a quick recap of the night's routines accompanied by on-screen reminders of the telephone numbers by which at-home viewers can vote for the contestant(s) of their choosing and it is at this point that those lines open to receive votes. As of Season 8, voting can also be performed online. Performance shows typically last two hours, commercials included.
Results shows typically air on the night immediately following that of the performance show for that week and usually open with a group routine from the remaining contestants. The main purpose of this show is to determine which of the dancers are to be eliminated for that week, but these episodes generally also feature guest dance performances or guest musical acts and sometimes video packets which give further insight regarding the dancers and their journey on the show. After short recaps of the previous night's performance, the bottom three couples (those which garnered the fewest votes from viewers) are revealed. Each of these six dancers are then in danger of elimination and must perform a solo for the judges as their last effort to impress and keep themselves in the competition. The judges then retire briefly (typically during the night's headlining musical guest performance) to determine which guy and which girl (who are not necessarily from the same couple) will leave the competition. The eliminated dancers are then announced and given a brief send-off via a video montage. If the dancers who were eliminated were not from the same couple then the two remaining members will form a new couple for the following week's performance show. One two occasions, the judges, unwilling to send any of the bottom dancers home on the merits of their performances that week, have abstained from making an elimination and instead allowed all competitors to proceed to the next week, which would be followed by an elimination of the double the usual number of competitors. Results shows have varied in length from one to two hours, commercials included.
Main competition: Top 10 to Finale
Around the time that the show enters its 'Top Ten' competitor phase, there are typically several format changes that take place. Couples are split up and new pairings are formed for each of the remaining weeks (though some couples may be paired up more than once). Additionally, voting is usually then cast for individual dancers rather than couples. Lastly, the judges often give up their power to save dancers at this point, and eliminations are determined exclusively by viewer votes, with judges serving in only an advisory capacity. Each season sees its last format shake up in its last week, which typically takes place when the show reaches a Top 4 (though season six saw a Top 6 finale and season seven a Top 3). In the final performance show, the remaining dancers typically each dance duets with all of their fellow finalists as well as perform solos and participate in group numbers. The following night's season finale episode is often the most elaborately produced show of a season and features the last performances of the competitors, encore performances of many of the season's most acclaimed routines, guest dancers (including returning past season competitors and cast-members from other international versions of the franchise), musical performances and multiple video packets chronicling the course of the season's events, all culminating in the announcement of the winner of the competition, as decided by the previous night's vote. Following the closure of the season, the Top Ten dancers often go on tour for several months, performing hit routines from the season amongst other performances.
While the above describes the most likely format for a given season, there have been notable variations in how various seasons have been arranged. While most seasons have seen 20 top finalists, season 1, being slightly shorter in length than all following seasons, saw only a Top 16, and its final performance show had an improvisational segment that was never again seen on the show. Aired in the fall (as opposed to the summer as with all other seasons), Season Six saw some cuts to its average air time per episode and ended at a Top Six rather than a Top Four. Season Six was also the first to have a 'showcase' episode which transitions the show from its selection to competition phases; the showcase episode has become a staple of the series since and features all of the top finalists dancing in groups but exclusively in their own style and without risk of elimination. Season Seven is perhaps the most unique season to date in terms of format; this season, rather than featuring a Top 20 with two eliminations per week, had a Top 11 and sent home only one dancer per week, ending with a Top 3 finale. Season Seven also saw the introduction of 'All-Stars', former contestants who return in a non-competitive role to pair with new competitors for some of their routines. As a result of its altered format, Season Seven became the first season to feature male-male and female-female duets outside of a performance finale. Season Eight saw a return to the Top 20 format but also continued to use All-Stars past after the competition reached the Top Ten phase and was the first season to combine its Top 20 announcement episode with its showcase episode.
Elimination of Results Show
In January 2012, FOX announced that So You Think You Can Dance would be returning, for its ninth season, in the format seen in season one of a single two-hour show per week, eliminating each week's the results show, a development later confirmed by Nigel Lythgoe via Twitter. In an interview shortly thereafter, Lythgoe hinted at a format where each week's episode is ended with the revelation of the bottom three couples (based on the votes from the previous week) and the subsequent judges' decision, which could now take into account and additional routine (the one performed as one the current week's regular routines. This contrasts with the season 1 format where judges would nominate a bottom three couples and home viewers would vote out two dancers, the results being pre-tapped and shown at the beginning of the next week's episode. Lythgoe also hinted at which elements of the results show were likely to be carried over into the new format, suggesting the group and guest dance routines would be shown priority over guest musical acts.
The judging panel has also seen its share of shake-ups, in terms of both size and composition, over the run of the series. Typically a season sees 2–3 permanent judges with an additional 1–2 guest judges for most episodes, with the panel ballooning up to 6–9 members for Vegas Week and for finale shows. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is the only judge to be a permanent member of the panel for all eight seasons. Other permanent judges have included ballroom specialist Mary Murphy, film director and choreographer Adam Shankman and contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels. Guest judge positions are typically filled by choreographers who work regularly on the show (though never on the same episode for which they judge) and by iconic names from the entertainment industry. Lastly there has been some variation in how long into a season the judges have retained their ability to make the ultimate decision on who is eliminated from week to week; typically this ability is lost around week 5 of the competitive phase of the show, but in seasons seven and eight, the format has seen the judges retain this ability until relatively late in the competition, at week seven. Some displeasure has been voiced from the fan base of the show concerning format changes in the most recent seasons, particularly with regard to season seven's Top 11 format, which prompted the producers to construct a Top 20 setup that also preserved the All-Star element for Season 8 in what Lythgoe described as an attempt to achieve "the best of both worlds".
Over the course of its eight seasons, So You Think You Can Dance has featured dozens of distinct dance styles in its choreographed routines. Most of these styles fall into four categories that are regularly showcased and can be found in almost every performance episode: western classical styles (contemporary and ballet), ballroom styles, "street" styles (hip-hop and associated genres) and Jazz and it's related styles. Various other forms of dance that do not especially fall into these broad categories are seen as well, but not as regularly. The following styles have all been seen in a choreographed duet or group routine:
Contemporary dances in particular are one of the most common dances seen on the show, being seen in every performance episode of the series, and typically at least twice. Ballet routines occur much more rarely, at a rate of one or two per season since their introduction in the fourth season.
- Ballet: Typically in the form of a 'Pas de Deux'
Street and club styles
The vast majority of routines in this category, which is also represented in every performance episode, are labelled simply "Hip-Hop," but a number of sub-genres and related styles have been recurrently featured.
- Hip-Hop: Typical titled simply hip-hop despite a wide variety of styles but also including routines labelled as being in the developing style "Lyrical Hip-Hop" starting in season four. Lyrical Hip-Hop is unique amongst all the styles on SYTYCD in that it is the only one that is held to have become a known distinct style at least in-part as a result of the show; the style is widely attributed to regular show choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo.
Classical ballroom styles
Ballroom styles are also seen regularly in every performance episode, though these dances may be traditional European-derived styles or Latin styles or a mix of the two.
- Waltz: Typically labelled just "Waltz" in early seasons, later performances in this style have usually since been designated as either 'Viennese Waltz' or 'Smooth Waltz' with one routine being (unofficially) described by judge Nigel Lythgoe as an "American Smooth Waltz."
- Tango: Typically titled either a 'Tango' or an "Argentine Tango"
Latin ballroom styles
- Jive: Including "American Jive" variations.
- Paso Doble
- Rumba: Sometimes further specified as a Cuban or African Rumba
- Salsa: Typically just salsa, but also including one routine designated as a "Street Salsa."
Jazz is featured in nearly all performance episodes. While these routines are typically just titled "Jazz," the genre is notable as being one of the most fusional featured on the show and various style combinations and sub-categories have been referenced (sometimes officially in the routine labels, sometimes simply by choreographers and judges). These fusional styles include African Jazz, Latin Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, Pop-Jazz, Modern Jazz, and Jazz-Funk.
Broadway/musical theatre styles
- Tap Dancing
- Musical Theater: Sometimes alternatively called "Theater" or "Theatrical"
American social styles
These dance styles are featured less frequently than their ballroom relatives, but have been seen intermittently since the first season.
- Disco: Sometimes unofficially referred to by judges as having three different types, including "70's Disco," "80's Disco" and "New Disco."
- West Coast Swing
- Lindy Hop
- Boogaloo: Sometimes called an "Electric Boogaloo" or "Electric Boogie."
- Rock n' Roll
In addition to the broad categories above, many more "exotic" styles, less common in the US are sometimes featured. Most of these are seen only once, but the Bollywood style has been featured several times per season since the fourth season.
- Capoiera: This style has never been featured on its own but has been incorporated as a part of routines based on other South American styles
|Kent Boyd 1
^1 These dancers never appeared in the bottom group during their seasons. In addition, Moore is the first female winner from the US show to win without appearing in the bottom group.
^2 Season six's finale had six dancers. Ballroom dancer Ashleigh Di Lello, who had also never appeared in the bottom group, placed fifth, and ballroom dancer Ryan Di Lello placed sixth.
^3 Season seven's finale only had three dancers. Contemporary dancer AdéChiké Torbert was eliminated the week before the finale and placed fourth.