SYTYCD-11x9-TravisLift-640The weeks are flying by, City Kids, and as we quickly approach this Saturday’s National Dance Day, another “So You Think You Can Dance” has now come and gone. I encourage everyone to get up and do a little dancing on Saturday, even if you don’t leave the house. (If you’re in Los Angeles, come look for me in Grand Park.) Have you been trying out the mini lessons during the show?

The Top 16 dance a fun group routine, choreographed by Mandy Moore, that’s apparently about baptism, if only because it’s to Annie Lennox’s “Take Me To The River.” I certainly get the river/water motif, but apparently miss the baptism part—but nonetheless, I enjoy the routine.

After introducing the judges, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe, and Misty Copeland again (I don’t mind Misty’s judging, but I generally like the changing parade of guest judges), Cat Deeley reveals the six dancers in trouble: Bridget, Marcquet, Brooklyn, Serge, Tanisha, and Zack. At first I thought Serge and Brooklyn might be in trouble but it becomes clear that it’s likely Marcquet. But we’ll get back to that later.

First, it’s time for my Top 5 dances.

Valerie may outshine Ricky just a little tonight, for me at least, in their Bollywood number choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. She’s afraid of not being able to pull off sexy, but she does very well (despite needing to make those specific hand movements a little sharper), looking sexy while clearly showing the love she has for the dance. Yes, she’s definitely one of my favorites, but this fun, high-energy Bollywood looks great (though I can do without the butt-bongos, thanks very much).

I actually enjoy Marcquet and Jessica’s fox trot tonight, even though Nina Simone’s sultry, slinky music feels a little incongruous to the upright, proper fox trot—those moments when there are actual fox trot moves, that is. (Is Nina Simone making a comeback? They used the late singer’s music last week and at Saturday’s Dizzy Feet Gala, too.) Though there are similarities in both dances, I want a little more blues dance and a little less Foxtrot for this routine. Still, it’s fun.

It’s great to have Mandy Moore back after her busy season on “Dancing With The Stars.” Her choreography there is great too, but it’s often more like staging, controlling the traffic of the dancers as they enter and leave than a through-composed work. In the package, she makes this routine, danced by Serge and Carly, seem much more comical and light than the number actually is, especially with Jewel’s slow “Foolish Games.” I also confess I’m a bit distracted by the song because it’s been so long since I’d heard it that I keep thinking, oh yes, I remember this song. But the pair dance beautifully and Carly’s final slow backbend down to the floor is beyond impressive.

As great as tonight’s duets may have been, they’re all blown away by the two group numbers, both of which absolutely must be in my Top 5. Sonya Tayeh’s “Village of Broken People” to Bjork’s “So Broken” is exquisite, beautiful, touching, heartbreaking, and so exciting (despite that the dancers look like a group of “True Blood”’s Hep-V vamps). The group lifts are especially exciting, and working with more dancers allows her to explore movement in a way she can’t with only two. The piece is funky, for example Tanisha’s stumbling walk toward the audience, but it’s somehow more fluid and not quite as angular as her works often are. Spectacular.

But as brilliant as the piece is, I’m afraid Travis Wall still knocks Sonya out with his group number to One Direction’s “Love Runs Out” (which sounds like Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown”). It’s so fun to see Travis do something upbeat and sexy, since the contemporary works seem to require Sturm und Drang. It’s almost like Travis and Sonya switch places a little, with this routine more aggressive and angular and Sonya’s more fluid. This piece also uses similar breathtaking group lifts (did they plan that?), with Carly’s incredible rise and fall above the group. She has a little trouble with the dismount as her foot gets tangled up in Teddy’s weird back suspender, but she recovers quickly, and the group work is just so dynamic. I feel badly comparing the two pieces because they’re both so stunning, and in very different ways.

With the dancing over and Lucy Hale having sung her song in an adorable black fringy dress, it’s time for the elimination. It’s not terribly surprising, except that Brooklyn’s hip-hop with Casey is her best routine to date. Nigel points out that all the dancers in danger surprised him tonight, so they stick with America’s vote and eliminate Brooklyn and Marcquet. While I’m sorry to say I’m ready for Brooklyn to leave, I’m a bit sad Marcquet is going. With Stanley gone too, the Top 14 is less colorful now.

So what do you think, city kids? Do you think Brooklyn and Marcquet deserve to be sent home? Do the final group numbers blow all the other routines away? How will you be celebrating National Dance Day? Let us know in the comments.


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