Erik and I were guests of renowned choreographer, Jean Marc Genereux, at this week’s taping of “SYTYCD”, now in its fifth season. It was interesting to see how the show is filmed and see the dancers perform live and without all the editing and camera angles. The dancers were impressive and really experts at their art. How exhausting mentally and physically each week must be to received new routines, many times in a dance style they are unfamiliar with!



Jean Marc & France Mousseau earlier in the season in Las Vegas

Visitors to the set might be surprised how small it seems compared to on TV, but the crowd was full of energy, helped along by the upbeat warm-up guy and the colorful lighting and atmosphere on stage. However, if you go and get cold easily, don’t forget a jacket! We were all freezing in the bleachers. Also, the taping is very long, and you cannot bring in a cell phone, so be prepared to not have anywhere to go.

Jean Marc’s brilliant choreography opened and closed the show. First, was an energetic cha cha. This couple really impressed us! The speed and musicality needed to pull off the cha cha is not for the novice to be sure. The girl was sexy and playful, with very good leg and hip action, helped along by her background in the salsa. The boy was excellent, as well, showing masculine powerful movement and lines. The judges gave them excellent marks on their performances.

The second piece was also impressive–a dark modern lyrical piece. The couple compliment each other well with their stunning appearances. Overall the number was intense and dramatic and showcased the girl’s abandon and flexibility and the boy’s strength and long lines. A beautifully crafted number and well performed.

Next was a Broadway number featuring. Although I like these two dancers, the routine itself didn’t do much for me.

The strangest routine of the night had an alien theme with the girl playing the E.T. and the boy as the last surviving human. I generally don’t like this type of music and style, but the girl is one of my favorites on the show and I thought she did an exceptional job with the interpretation and movements, which were quite complex and difficult.

For the first time in the show’s history, this night featured a classical pas de deux. I was looking forward to seeing this, as there is no way to fake doing a good job in ballet without training! It appears there might have been some sort of set-up, as the female contestant who picked this dance is the only pure ballet dancer on the show. HHHmmm…. However, this can be forgiven, as it would be important that the debut of a classical pas de deux be done well and she fit the bill. The boy was surprisingly good too, with decent posture and secure strength for lifting. Of course they had to squeeze in the pas de deux from “Romeo and Juliet” into about a minute and a half, but I found the choreography to be lacking, showing less of dancing then gesturing and presenting, although these were well done and did give a believable and clear portrayal of the story. I hope to see more classical dance on this show.

Erik and I are both impressed by the innovative choreography of husband and wife Napoleon and Tabitha. This night they created a number that had the partners linked together with a chain. Both dancers were strong in their sharp, definitive movements, which were a natural for the boy, who is a phenomenon in popping. His movements are truly astounding and impressive. The girl did well in her own right keeping up with him. A well done and danced piece.

Closing the show was a fun and fast-paced quickstep, by Jean Marc. As usual, his creativity shone through the dance, from the theme, to the patterns, to the surprise costume change. The couple did a remarkable job keeping up with the speed and complexity required by the quickstep.

“So You Think You Can Dance” is just as fun and entertaining live as it is on TV. No smoke and mirrors needed for this show–the dancers are the real deal, highly skilled and full of energy. If you’re in LA during a taping of the show, be sure to check it out!