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Over the course of its nine seasons on-air, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance has brought high quality dance into the homes of millions. The show features a group of 20 dancers who compete in a variety of dance styles with the hope of being crowned “America’s Favorite Dancer” at season’s end. In the meantime, SYTYCD viewers learn about new dance styles and about how choreographic malleability is the name of the game in the commercial world of dance.

As of season two, the show’s Top 10 (now 12) dancers follow the run of the show with a tour, bringing America’s Favorite routines – and some surprises, too – to theatres and arenas nationwide. This year’s tour featured Season Nine winners Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, Audrey Case, Cole Horibe, Cyrus Spencer, George Lawrence II, Lindsay Arnold, Tiffany Maher, Will Thomas, Witney Carson, Amelia Lowe and Matthew Kazmierczak.

Eliana Girard

Eliana Girard

The Tour

North Carolina’s SYTYCD fans packed the Durham Performing Arts Center on Sunday, December 3rd, giving the performers frenetic energy for their 28th of 30 performances. The evening’s lineup featured more than 30 duets and group numbers, in addition to a solo from each dancer. While most of the routines were familiar to TV fans, some numbers involved casting swaps and a lessened or increased number of dancers onstage.

Because its content’s widespread familiarity, the SYTYCD Tour presents a rare opportunity to its viewers – the chance to experience a live dance performance like they would a rock concert. In other words, when an audience member enters a theatre already knowing the performers’ repertoire, he or she can more actively respond to – and critique – the show.

That being said, I would LOVE to hear the perspectives of anyone who attended a performance on the SYTYCD 2012 Tour. Please leave me your thoughts in the comment section below!

And now, of course, my personal critique.  I’ll limit myself to just a few important notes below.:

1. Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp deserved their titles.

Eliana’s articulate hands, feet and facial expressions, and her never-ending extensions made it difficult to watch anyone but her in group numbers. And let’s not forget to mention her pole dancing skills or her ability to get down in a hip-hop number. Okay, Eliana. We see you…and we’re dumbfounded.

Chehon wasn’t an early favorite of mine this season – I was rooting for Cole to win Top Male Dancer – but what Chehon lacked in stylistic novelty he made up for in technique and performance quality. You might remember Chehon’s final solo during Vegas week – those leaps are every bit as impressive in person!

2. Amelia Lowe and Witney Carson made an impact.

I spent much of Season nine thinking that Amelia Lowe was riding on the coattails of her unique image, but it is worth noting that she is a fierce performer. She and Will performed one of my favorite numbers of the evening, “The Lovecats” by The Cure, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo. (below)


I loved Witney from the beginning of the season and she did not disappoint onstage. I had forgotten about Witney’s duet with SYTYCD Season One winner Nick Lazzarini (maybe due to a lack of chemistry), but I am glad that the tour brought it back, revamped. On tour, Witney performed this Travis Wall number, set to Molomo’s “Sing It Back” with George, and the pair had tangible heat between them.


3. Lindsay Arnold missed the Hot Tamale Train.

From her lack of energy in group numbers and duets to her uninspired, poorly executed solo (she fell out of a pirouette), Lindsay Arnold’s performance lagged throughout the evening. Though Arnold’s “Gravity” duet with Cole was performed with abandon on television, the dancer played it safe onstage. Arnold’s emotional trauma and clarity of movement were lost as she performed what seemed like a marked version of the routine seen below:


Arnold’s better moments came in a ballroom trio set to Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again,” and in a Paso Doble with Cole set to “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumus and choreographed by Jason Gilkison (below).


4. “I Will Always Love You” stunned the audience.

In a theatre where the energy buzzed all night, a duet set to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” brought the evening’s first moment of silence. Performed by Witney and Chehon, this number highlighted Ms. Houston’s haunting voice with choreography by Stacey Tookey. I can honestly say that, like Christina Applegate in the video below, I also found myself ready to cry at the end of this performance.

What was your SYTYCD Tour experience like? Please leave me a comment below!

So You Think You Can Dance Season 9 Tour

Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, NC

Sunday, December 2, 2012