And cue music...

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to

Our Top 10 dancers return with all new routines.'s's...LEGSSES, which I always appreciate.  But I'm not sure about this feathery fringe on the white dress.  The dress itself is lovely.  Hair is sleek and shiny.  Yes, I think I approve!

Judges are Adam Shankman, Mia Michaels, and Nigel Lythgoe.

OK, now we can begin.

Cristina Santana, a 24 year old Salsa dancer, is paired with All Star Pasha Kovalev from Season 3 for Paso Doble choreographed by Jean-Marc Genereux and France Mousseau.  I love JM's work.  The opening lift sequence was so complicated and a bit scary, but she trusted Pasha.  She's got the Paso dramatic attitude squared away.  She looks very natural dancing this.  Her posture is good and once again she displays the strength in her core.  The choreography had drama and she brought the passion to it.  But most importantly, she didn't allow the power and aggression to overwhelm the piece.  She performed it, and maintained control.

AdeChike Torbert, a 23 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Allison Holker from Season 2 for contemporary choreographed by Mandy Moore.  Mandy says there's no story in this piece, just emotions.  The movement was really wonderful, and there were moments when I could feel the joy he had in his dancing.  This was a better performance than last week, but still somewhat incomplete for me.  He's definitely a very talented young man.  But I'm still having trouble believing that he's giving a performance for us.  Rather he seems to be dancing more for himself.  That's not wrong, as long as I'm not being excluded as a viewer.  I don't just want to watch the dance...I want to feel it too.  Mia told him to remember that dance is an art form, but also a heart form.  Perhaps that's corny, but it's also quite true.  The best performances may not be the finest technically, but the ones that grab us by the emotions and refuse to let go.

Alex Wong, a 23 year old ballet dancer, is paired with All Star Lauren Gottlieb from Season 3 for Broadway choreographed by Tyce Diorio.  It's Fosse as interpreted by Tyce.  The Fosse style is a favorite of mine.  Alex's extensions are outstanding and the lines he creates are exquisite.  Technically, he was spot on in this piece.  He can strike a Fosse pose and we could put it on a poster.  But what I missed was the relaxation in the hips.  Alex is a brilliant dancer but I didn't feel any of the innate sexiness in Fosse-style movement.  Fosse movement is primal and contained, powerful but stylish.  Alex was not bad in the piece and the performance wasn't bad.  Adam said there was a lot of flash but no smolder.  Smoldering...that's what I want out of any routine based on any interpretation of Fosse.

Ashley Galvan, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Mark Kanemura from Season 4 for Jazz choreographed by Travis Wall.  I think she got a bum rap last week from the judges, who questioned her emotional performance.  I believed her last week, and I believe her again this week.  She makes me smile with her when she dances.  And I thought she maintained the character and the performance throughout this entire piece, including through a series of incredibly difficult and intense lifts and tricks.  But I think Nigel was correct...this wasn't really a Jazz routine.  It was more lyrical, and more contemporary in flavor.  That's not Ashley's fault.  I think she's sneaky good.  She pulls me into the piece with her.  The judges see certain technical things to give notes on, but when she dances I see beyond those.  I like her.  And Happy Birthday girl!

Billy Bell, a 20 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Comfort Fedoke from Season 4 for Krump choreographed by Lil C.  Krump is street.  It's raw.  And I don't generally like it.  I thought that Billy had every step in the piece.  He pounded when he should have.  He stomped when he should have.  His movement was fluid when it was supposed to be.  He was sharp when he was supposed to be sharp.  He was committed to the style.  There was a story to the piece, which isn't always the case.  But just because he may not have gotten down into the "buckness" or the "stank" of the style, he embraced it and he danced it.  So he didn't hit and rebound with the power you want from an experienced dancer in this style.  His partner, Comfort, who would know, complimented him.  I like that.  Dancers stick together.  I doubt that she'd choose him for sides in a hip hop battle.  Neither would I.  But regardless, Billy remains a favorite of mine.

Robert Roldan, a 19 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Anya Garnis from Season 3 for Argentine Tango choreographed by Jean-Marc and France.  This style is all about precision and passion.  I think Robert is a complete performer.  I like how he took control of the dance.  He seemed confident, despite a bit of tension in his shoulders.  They seemed just a little far apart in hold and there were a couple of spots where I thought he missed a step or two in the choreography.  I also didn't see much of the snap and twist I expect from Tango, but that could just be a choice made by the choreographers to make more of a smooth and sensual routine rather than a crisp and powerful one.  But other than that, I thought the performance was very good.   

Melinda Sullivan, a 22 year old tap dancer, is paired with All Star Ade Obayami from Season 5 for contemporary choreographed by Stacey Tookey.  This routine has a very organic theme.  Ade represents mankind and Melinda is the earth.  I enjoyed the performance.  I think Melinda is an intriguing dancer.  She seemed very comfortable with the movement she was given.  She made some wonderful lines...excellent toe point and lovely straight and strong legs.  You would not have known that her basic style is tap from the way she extender her legs clear through her turned out feet.  And her upper body...her arms made some terrific shapes.  For me, she hasn't come across as very likable in some of the rehearsal and audition footage, so I'm very pleased with this performance and for her.  You've got to be able to appeal to the viewers and get them to pick up the phone.  I think she had a performance that could do that for her this week.

Jose Ruiz, a 21 year old break dancer, is paired with All Star Kathryn McCormick from Season 6 for Bollywood choreographed by Nakul dev Mahajan.  Oddly enough, a break dancer or hip hop dancer can sometimes settle into this style because many of the movements have similarities to the kinds of foot placement and finger locking you find in street dancing.  At least that's how it sometimes looks to me.  It takes a lot of energy and attention to detail.  Jose looked like he was having a great time just dancing.  Sometimes you just have to forget about what you're doing and perform it.  And that's what he did.  He was committed to what he was doing.  I enjoyed watching the routine.  I've seen better Bollywood in past seasons, but this dance was fun and sometimes that's enough to get you through to the next week.  I wouldn't want to draw this style late in the competition though.

Lauren Froderman, an 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Dominic Sandoval from Season 3, for lyrical hip hop choreographed by Tessandra Chavez.  This piece is about abusive relationships.  I didn't really get that out of the performance, but I did enjoy the dancing.  It's clear that Lauren poured herself into it.  I felt emotion, but I don't know if it was the emotion I was supposed to feel.  If this was about abuse, then I should have felt fear and shame and maybe a little creepiness.  What I got was raw and powerful, but generic.  I don't mean generic in a bad way...I mean it was deep.  Lauren and Dominic connected well in the piece.  I think Lauren might have re-discovered herself.  Welcome and well done Tessandra.

Kent Boyd, and 18 year old contemporary dancer, is paired with All Star Courtney Galiano from Season 4 for Jazz choreographed by Tyce Diorio.  Wow.  I really liked that dance.  I thought the performance had heat, erotic tension, sensuality, and fire.  Although the piece may have called for the male role to dominate the female role, I thought between the two of them they turned it into something that worked more effectively...Courtney was the dominant, predatory woman and Kent was the wide eyed innocent sneaking under the tent flap at the peep show.  Whatever character he was given in the choreography, I thought Kent interpreted the story in a way that worked best for him. There is no denying that the kid is talented.  But I don't think he's really ready to pull off what Tyce envisioned in the piece, or what the judges expected to see in it.  He'll develop that with experience.  For now, I don't think he did anything that puts him in the bottom three tonight.  He's an excellent dancer with the kind of personality that makes people pick up the phone.

I think we had a show full of excellent performances.  But I also thought we lacked a major moment this week.  That's OK.  We can't have Emmy-worthy stuff every week.  Well, we hope that the dancers and choreographers are striving for that every week.  That's what makes the show entertaining and fun to watch.

I voted for Billy this week.  He is my favorite dancer and I thought he dealt well with the krumping.  I also through some votes to Ashley, because I see something in her.  Pam wasn't sure this week.  She likes Kent and Alex, but she also likes Lauren and Robert.  I think she rotated her votes among them.

Tune in tonight for results, and check back tomorrow for some encore videos and my results recap.

Later gang!


  1. To me Kent is like the Gomer Pyle of dance. He often looks, acts, and talks like goofy 12 year old kid, but when the music starts, the can dance with the best of them. That goofy personality runs the risk of making his performance less believable on some levels. I think, that on some levels, his personality my be his downfall later in the competition.

  1. wow, are you a writer for the show? If not, you could be--excellent.

  1. I have not seen any dance yet that made me feel the raw emotions of some of the former shows. Of course I realize they are growing each week and by the end they will be better dancers.

    Is it my imagination, but the judges seem much harder this year. They pick them to pieces and then say what a great dancer they are. What is up with that?

    Have a good day.

    I have to ask...are you a dance instructor? You seem to know so much about dance. Great review.

  1. BeckEye says:

    I'm glad you're recapping this. I totally missed it last night! I am SO SO happy that I have Pasha and Mark back. SO HAPPY. It's hard to care about any of these new kids with those guys hanging around.

    I wasn't really paying attention on last week's results show...what happens to the All Stars when dancers are eliminated? Does the All Star who was paired with the eliminated dancer go home too?

  1. Dude...seriously, your reviews are growing each week. You break it all down for anyone to understand and I truly enjoyed this post.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: I'm always amazed at the detailed posts you make, but I'm thinking particularly of the dancing ones. It makes me wonder how long it took you to to prepare the post. I know ho long it would take me . . . . Nevertheless, I find your analysis interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: I'm always amazed at the detailed posts you make, but I'm thinking particularly of the dancing ones. It makes me wonder how long it took you to to prepare the post. I know ho long it would take me . . . . Nevertheless, I find your analysis interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: Sorry for the double post. I know what I did wrong - I think. Good thing I figured it out before I got to twenty, eh?

  1. Hey gang...Sorry for some of the typos in the reviews. And some of them are a bit all over the place in terms of what I meant to say. It was getting late and I was tired. I guess my edits weren't as thorough as I thought they were.

    I did go back and fix a big mistake in Ashley's review...I meant to say that it was not her fault that the alleged Jazz piece from Tyce looked more lyrical than jazzy.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Cat Deeley is far more popular over there than she ever was here.

  1. Driller: You could be right. I think he's going to mature pretty quickly, but I'd like to see him stay grounded.

    Miles: Nope. I do this because I love the show and like to share my enjoyment of dance.

    Pam: I think the judges seem more harsh this time because there are fewer dancers. I'd like to see them continue to give constructive notes. I've taken ballroom classes, but whatever I know about dancing comes from observation.

    Beck: I like the way the pros are helping and enhancing each of the routines. The All Stars stick around, just fewer of them get a chance to dance. It all comes down to the styles the producers put in the hat each week.

    V: I try to make it as positive and informative as I can. I'm not one for snark. I enjoy what these kids are doing.

    GGG: Fortunately I've learned very well how to type without looking at the keyboard. I type most of my impressions while I'm watching each performance. Then during commercials I proof read. Then after the show I go back to add the photos, and that's when I add some final thoughts and polish everything up. I'm also trying to vote at the same time. It usually takes me about 45-60 minutes after the show ends to finish. And don't worry about the double post!

    Akelamalu: I like her. She seems to genuinely care about the dancers.

  1. I appreciate the time you take to bring this to your readers each week. Always well done.