cover art by Opalsong
|Podbook (entire series)||3:12:35||90.6 MB|
Credits in the End Notes
cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3
What a show! THIS is why I love this show so much: weeks like this one. So much just happened I can barely wrap my head around it all! First off, let's go to the tweet of the week and Natsu dishing out some perspective:
Getting hot? I'll say! This week had it all! You want great dances? We got them! You want smoking sex appeal? Nailed it! You want earth shattering truth bombs? Got those too!
There's a lot to talk about tonight so I can't waste any time. Each dancer showed us a solo, on top of dancing with a partner plus special guest Gildarts. (Side note: I can't believe they got Broadway heavyweight Gildarts to make an appearance! That's some serious star power!) In other words, this week not only delivered big on the drama, there were also a lot more dances, and I'm reviewing it all. So strap in, folks, because here we go!
Top 10 Dance
Contemporary, Nextwave Theme, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
I have honestly no idea what just happened. But I loved it! Something about this incredibly strange dance was just perfect for this season. I think it was all the implied destruction. This show certainly destroyed my feels this week. Yes, this routine did an excellent job at setting the tone.
Lucy & Juvia
Samba, She Wolf, choreographed by Jean Mark Généreux
As sad as I am at our regular dance partners being split up, it has its perks. Lucy and Juvia made a fascinating pairing. Their chemistry was unmistakable, but also unusual. I couldn't tell if they were rivals or partners. This ambiguity was helped by some inspired choreography by Jean Mark and this routine's story about two lady werewolves on the prowl. But I think my favourite part of this dance was actually after the performance, when Cat asked Lucy and Juvia if there was any specific prey they were prowling for. Lucy's blush was pretty adorable, but nothing matches Juvia's instantaneous response: Gray.
Cana & Erza
Broadway, Still Alive, choreographed by Warren Carlyle
This was a really cool dance. Broadway is often so bombastic, but this subdued routine packed just as much punch. I know just enough about dance to appreciate how much harder this makes it. Given to any lesser dancers, this routine would have felt flat. Fortunately, that never happened. It's no surprise really, Cana specialises in Broadway and Erza specialises being awesome! It was the perfect fit.
Mirajane & Elfman
Hip hop,Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back, choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon
Yes! Mirajane and Elfman dancing hip hop together was everything I hoped it would be and more. Can Mirajane just dance only hip hop forever, please? Considering what we learned during the solos, this actually isn't outside the realm of possibility. I love how this show gives choreographers the opportunity to create routines for specific dancers, to both push them to grow and take full advantage of their skills. Ok, so this routine actually wasn't a stretch for either Mirajane or Elfman, they're both too excellent at hip hop.
Gajeel & Freed
Contemporary, Armageddon, choreography by Tyce Diorio
Well. That happened. Really not sure what to make of this routine. I can't decide if it was 'ironic' or 'sincere'. I really, really hope it was ironic. But... I have this nagging doubt. I just don't know! Anyway, I didn't like it. Freed's technique was spot on, as usual, and he seems to be getting his energy back after Laxus's expulsion. Gajeel looked really out of place, but he was clearly trying really hard. And... hmmmmm. No, sorry guys. Better luck next time.
Natsu & Gray
Jazz, I Don't Dance, choreographed by Brian Friedman
Let's not beat around the bush, this dance was sexy as hell. Turns out Gray has at least as much chemistry with Natsu as with Juvia, and this routine took full advantage. Was it intentional? Who cares! Did anyone laugh so hard they started hyperventilating when Nigel started going on and on about how great it is when two guys can dance together like this? Yes, Nigel, it was an amazing dance, but you are clearly not seeing what the rest of us are seeing.
Cana's Solo (Broadway)
Cana got the first solo this week. In the about-the-dancers segment each dancer was asked about a specific dancer or routine that had inspired them. Cana told us about seeing 'Into the Woods' as a child with her mom - which is why she chose to do her solo to a song from that play. As usual, Cana was vague on the details, it sounded like went to see a specific person. As usual, Cana only hinted at her mysterious past - but it seemed like a sweet memory. Looking back in hindsight, after the big reveal this story is even more touching.
Freed's Solo (Contemporary)
Oh Freed, the most inspiring dance you've ever seen was when you saw Laxus during the auditions? Oh honey, you can do better. Maybe someone who doesn't harass his dancing partners to the point where he gets himself kicked off the show? Just an idea. As for Freed's solo, it was technically amazing (no surprise), but I'm afraid that it wasn't quite memorable compared the other solos. I mean, between this solo and Gray's? No contest!
Juvia's Solo (Contemporary)
I really enjoyed Juvia's solo, though it was definitely understated compared to many of the others and like Freed I'm afraid that it may have gotten lost in the shuffle. But it managed to evoke a sense of loneliness that I found very moving. When asked about an inspirational dance or routine, Juvia cited the first time she saw Gray dance - which, she pointed out, was before auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance. At the time I didn't think much of it. But NOW..... I want the whole story. I can imagine just enough that I need to know more!!!
Gajeel's Solo (Krump)
After Gajeel's surprisingly touching journey with Levy, I totally forgot how angry he looks in his own style. It made me remember how much I used to dislike Gajeel. Wow, he's come a long way with the audience - if I'm anything to go by. Because.... I do like Gajeel now. The fact that his dancing inspiration is his mom certainly helps. Apparently she was a hardcore street dancer herself, who danced under the name 'Metallicana'. She sounds badass.
Erza's Solo (Ballroom)
Stop the presses! That was, hands down, the best ballroom solo I have ever seen. And ballroom solos are already at a disadvantage on account of traditionally needing a partner. But who cares about tradition when Erza's tearing it up! The show may by half over already, but if Erza's going home any time soon I'll eat my hat. Erza cited one of her first teachers, Rob, as a significant inspiration. He apparently passed away not long after beginning to teach her, which is sad.
Elfman's Solo (Contemporary!?)
WHAAAAAAAAAAT!? Elfman, you were hiding this secret the whole time?!? I mean, I knew you were good at contemporary, but I figured you just absorbed tips from your sisters. But it turns out that contemporary was Elfman's main dance style for years. YEARS! Elfman told us the story of going to his first dance lesson with his sisters and seeing contemporary for the first time, and falling in love with it right then. What a nice story! I have to give it to Elfman, he combines technique, passion and physical power to create a unique spin on the form. And I dig it!
Natsu's Solo (Breaking)
I have to admit, Natsu has something really special. He's always fun to watch in any style, but when Natsu can really cut loose and do his thing, it's spectacular. I can totally see how Natsu makes a living off street dancing. I don't think the judges ever expected Natsu to make it this far in the competition, but it's zero percent surprising to me that he's still here. Not after a strong solo like this one. For his inspiration, Natsu cited his father, Igneel, as both performer and mentor. Apparently, his dad used to be the one who danced for money but now his body can't handle it anymore, so Natsu's taken over the family business.
Lucy's Solo (Jazz)
Lucy got so flustered when she was asked who inspired her to dance, I barely understood what she was saying. She just kept rattling off names. I'm pretty sure one of them was her mom, but there were, like, twelve more people she wanted to thank. As for Lucy's solo, it was solid. Though anybody who makes it to the top ten is going to be solid. On her own, Lucy isn't quite as powerful as the other dancers. What I will say, is that while I do think it was weaker on the whole, Lucy's solo had a few moments that were inspired.
Mirajane's Solo (Hip hop!!!)
This solo was everything I never knew that I always wanted. In hindsight, I really should have seen this coming after Elfman's contemporary solo but I didn't. I did not. And it was all the more glorious for it. It turns out that Mirajane and Elfman literally swapped styles a few years ago. I wish I knew the story of how that happened there. For now I'm just so happy to see Mirajane dance in what is clearly her strongest style. She's a demon of hip hop, for realz! For her inspiration, Mirajane said she watched a street dancer and knew right away that was her style. Can I headcannon that she saw Metallicana? Yes or yes?
Gray's Solo (HOLY CRAP!! WHAT THE HELL!)
WHAT JUST HAPPENED!? I'm serious! Did I just see what I think I saw, or was that a magnificent fever dream? I knew instantly that something strange was up when Gray came onstage wearing a shirt. I was so distracted by the anomalous shirt-wearing that I missed the fact that there was a pole set up onstage. Naturally, I forgot about the shirt the instant Gray started dancing. POLE DANCING! We just got a male pole dancing solo! THAT FREAKING HAPPENED. And it was awesome!! The strength required for that solo is mind boggling. It turns out that Gray's inspiration to dance was his teacher, Ul, who not ONLY runs a ballet studio but ALSO a strip club. Where Gray works. Holy. Freaking. Crap. Is THAT were Juvia saw him!?
Gildarts (guest dancer - Broadway)
As spectacular as the dancers are this season, I could tell instantly that Gildarts was a professional. It was perfectly clear that he's been doing this on stage for years. Every movement of this solo was exactly perfect without sacrificing the emotion or storytelling that makes Broadway distinct. Getting Gildarts as a guest dancer was really special. I don't think anyone could ever have foreseen quite HOW special, least of all Gildarts himself.
Eliminations and Closing Thoughts
We got no less than three bombs dropped on us. Three! You thought Mirajane and Elfman swapping styles was exciting? You thought Gray's polo dance solo was shocking? That ain't beans compared to the ending this week.
I admit that after their disappointing hula dance last week, I wasn't terribly surprised that Cana and Elfman got the lowest number of votes. Personally, I still can't differentiate if it was the dance I disliked or just that song. Either way, the elimination itself wasn't the bombshell, it's what came after.
When Cat asked Cana if she had any final words, Cana blanched - but then she shared the mysterious secret she's been hinting at all season. Gildarts is her Dad! I didn't miss the fact that Lucy was the first dancer back onstage to give Cana a hug. It looked like sharing that piece took a lot of courage. And because there is no justice in the world that's how the show ended! What happened next?! Touching reunion? Tears? Awkward silence? I'm so curious I'm dying! Now I know how the cat felt when curiosity killed it. That cat is me.