cover art by Opalsong
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Credits in the End Notes
cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3
Another week, another episode of So You Think You Can Dance. On the surface this was a quiet week. No massive upset at eliminations, no disastrous near dropping of anyone’s partners. But there's something building, I can feel it. I'm never wrong about these things. There was just a weird tension this week that can only end in a massive explosion (hopefully metaphorical) or group nudity. Don't ask me how I know that.
We got to learn more about each of the dancers this week which I enjoyed. Instead of telling us about themselves, each person told us something about their partners, and there were some gems. The tweet of the week comes from Erza:
Is Erza physically capable of giving less than 100% effort? All signs point to no.
Top 16 Dance
Hip hop, Everything is Awesome, choreographed by Christopher Scott.
What a great way to start an episode. This dance was bursting with positivity and energy, and not in a way that felt forced or disingenuous. I really enjoyed the choreography on this piece. Sixteen dancers is still a pretty big number to fit on a stage, but they made it work. Natsu particularly stood out to me in this dance. He got to really let loose with some break dancer power moves.
Lucy & Natsu
Jive, Gun's & Roses, choreographed by Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev.
We got to find out right away how this week's new partnership of Lucy and Natsu turned out. And the answer is: really good! After two weeks of the dismal pairing that was Evergreen and Natsu, this dance was a blast. One good thing I can say for Lucy, is that she's danced with four different partners now, and she's connected well with all of them, but Lucy and Natsu was something special. Natsu's dancing is still a little rough around the edges but he's always having so much fun onstage that his shaky technique gets a pass, at least from me. I don't quite how I feel about the facts we learned today. Lucy told about how Natsu sneaks off every night to phone his best friend. We didn't learn anything about this friend other than his name is 'Happy'. I'm more intrigued by what Natsu told us, spilling the beans that Lucy's family is super rich. Which.... on the one hand, she has that 'rich white girl' vibe, yeah. But on the other, Lucy looked so strangely mortified that Natsu was telling us this. It felt like there was a lot more going on there than we found out.
Cana & Elfman
Contemporary, House of the Rising Sun, choreographed by Travis Wall.
I admit it, I'm a sucker for a good cover of 'House of the Rising Sun' so I'm automatically biased in favour of this dance. Cana brought her confident attitude to this piece, but also gave it the right amount of softness. And how cool is it that Cana reads tarot cards? I love learning that kind of detail about the contestants. I was really surprised at how good Elfman was at dancing contemporary! On second though, come on, both his sisters are contemporary dancers, so I really shouldn't be surprised. We also found out from Cana that Elfman cries very easily: at movies, listening to sad music, watching cat videos. (I guess he needs all those muscles to protect his soft marshmallow soul.) On the whole this dance was quite good - except for the lifts. They were really laboured. Come on Elfman, you were doing so well! We already know you could bench-press four Canas at once without breaking a sweat.
Lisanna & Bickslow
Bollywood, Mera Naam Mary, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan.
Two weeks with Bollywood in a row? No complaints here. Though I have to say that Erza and Freed's routine was a bit better, at least in the technique department. This routine was more traditional Bollywood which was a good choice to set it apart from last week's, and those costumes were gorgeous. I'm even more impressed with Lisanna since we found out from Bickslow that she has to start stretching and warm ups twenty minutes earlier than everyone else. We already knew from tryouts that Lisanna had a bad injury a few years ago and almost had to give up dancing, but I didn't realise just how much dedication she needs to keep going. You're a hero, Lisanna! Bickslow's tongue tattoo, on the other hand, is something I could do without seeing again.
Erza & Freed
Hip hop, Caffeine (feat. Lamar Hall), choreographed by Luther Brown.
Wow, Erza really overshadowed Freed in this piece. This was a hard hitting hip hop and Erza hits hard. Freed, not so much. Oh, he was on beat and everything, but his clean technique was actually a disadvantage here. We found out from Erza that Freed researches all the dance styles an insane amount, so he knows all the techniques and lingo better than the choreographers even. But, sadly, that doesn't translate to actual swagger. This makes his pairing with Erza, who apparently never stops rehearsing, oddly appropriate.
Levy & Gajeel
Tango, Cell Block Tango (He Had It Coming), choreographed by Jean-Mark Généreux.
Ummm. After everything I said about Gajeel and Levy the last two weeks, is it a betrayal that I kind of liked this dance? Like, a lot? It wasn't perfect, but there were some real great nuggets here. I liked all the fancy footwork, which Levy executed perfectly. She is a tap dancer after all. The rehearsal footage clearly showed us that she was a big help in teaching Gajeel the steps. I also liked that Levy was cast as the 'bad girl' in this routine and that she got to murder Gajeel at the end. Yeah, that's shallow of me, but come on! It was great. Similarly, I found it disarmingly... adorable?... how enthusiastic the tough, guitar playing Gajeel sounded when he told us that Levy speaks five languages. (Sidebar: WOW!) NO! I don't want to like Gajeel. I WON'T DO IT AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.
Mirajane & Alzak
Jazz, La La Latch, choreographed by Ray Leeper.
This dance was so frustratingly 'almost'. It was almost great. So close to great that I might have actually enjoyed it more if it had been worse. Alzak, after looking so distracted last week, was dancing like he was in a fever tonight. Mirajane got flack from the judges for holding back again, which I agree with. Come ON Mirajane! I've been noticing this for weeks, I really want to see you dance your heart out! The only real levity in this piece was the about-the-dancer segments. We found out from Mirajane that Alzak owns thirteen pairs of cowboy boots, which seems just slightly excessive. Just a bit. And we found about Mirajane that she does really great impersonations. Her Nigel was spot on!
Bisca & Laxus
Contemporary, Wolf and I, choreographed by Stacey Tookey.
Ouch. This piece really didn't work. The cracks have been showing in Bisca and Laxus’ partnership for a while now, but it finally broke completely. In a slow contemporary piece like this one it's all the more important to make sure that dancers keep their energy up, and Bisca looked for the entire routine like she was three seconds from falling over. This was highlighted all the more when Bisca shared what it's like being Laxus' partner. I could tell she was trying to put a positive spin on the situation, telling us that Laxus "just tries to get the best performance" - but the real message came through loud and clear. Laxus is a really pushy, demanding partner. For his part, Laxus would only talk about Bisca's dance history and training in different styles. Seriously Laxus? Is it only about pedigree with you? Not everyone can be a third generation Dance Prince. Eugh.
Juvia & Gray
Lyrical hip hop, Closer, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon.
I have long since accepted that the producers of So You Think You Can Dance save the best routine for last, and this week was no exception. Instead of skewing weird like they did last week, Tabitha and Napoleon gave us a straightforward lyrical hip hop routine about a couple reconnecting after drifting apart. Gray's ballet training really helped him deliver the more fluid motions of the piece, and Juvia's history of dancing in a street crew gave her a real advantage. According to Juvia, she and Gray have met before, but she wouldn't say where. Oddly, Gray looked really confused by this. I wonder what's going on there? For his part, Gray shared with us that Juvia can hold her breath underwater for an absurdly long time. Why do all the talents go to the same people?
Eliminations and Closing Thoughts
The writing's been on the wall for a while for the two dancers eliminated this week: Bisca and Alzak. I was hoping they could dance together again in the top ten, but with the wealth of talent this season, that always seemed like a faint hope. At least now Bisca can get some well deserved rest! This doctor prescribes that Bisca and Alzak cuddle for at least three hours! I got my doctorate out of a cereal box, so you know it's legit.
I really, really hope that Laxus lightens up as a partner, or that Mirajane refuses to take his crap. Though she seems so light-hearted, I'm worried. Who knows, maybe she's got a hidden dark side?