Monday, May 25, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance? Season 5 - New York & Denver Auditions

Last Thursday night marked the beginning of the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance?, which has to be the dumbest name for one of television's best reality shows ever. I love this show even beyond Top Chef, which is saying something since Top Chef involves the preparation and eating of food, two activities with which I am completely simpatico. Whereas SYTYCD? involves dancing and sweating, which....well, let's just say that it would be considered a criminal act for me to dance in public and sweating is just something that happens to you when you're pre-menopausal and suffering from hot flashes. Although I do prefer to think of them as POWER SURGES.

I never really knew how interested I was in all types of dance until we started watching this show. I knew about ballet and ballroom dancing, of course, and I was terribly envious of my friend, Traci, who took tap lessons when we were kids. And I do remember those Electric Boogaloo commercials on TV when I was a teenager. My word. Who could forget THAT? With those guys spinning around on their necks and shoulders; they are probably regretting that now. But now I know about popping and locking and crunking and hip-hop and West Coast Swing. And I also don't think any more that lyrical dance is silly and pretentious.....well, okay. I admit it. Sometimes I still think that lyrical dance is silly and pretentious, but not as often as I used to.

I have managed to recruit Carol and Susie as new viewers this season. I hope they will enjoy it as much as we do, but even more, I hope we like the same people so that I won't hurt their feelings when I say with passion, "So-and-so REEKS" and then have to backpedal in shame at my bad manners, saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I mean, so-and-so reeks with talent. Just oozing out of him! Gorgeous dancer!"

As always, there were many talented people who auditioned, and some who weren't. There was Crazy Kate ("I'm crazy about dancing") who was kind of plumply lethargic in the swing routine she and her partner, Ron, did. When Nigel, Mary, Tabitha and Napoleon let her down gently, she told the camera that it was okay that she didn't go to Las Vegas; now she could stay in New York and keep her job and go to a Lego tournament. Okaaaay....

Then there were the Same Sex Ballroom Dancer Guys at Denver who were just....I don't know. Weird and wrong? There was something so ungainly about seeing them grimly swinging one another about ("I'm straight, he's gay"), and then, of course, falling flat to the floor as they attempted a lift. Whoops! In one of the Latin styles noted for sensuality and grace, those two dudes were neither. And thank heaven for that.

And who could forget -- even if you spent a LOT of time trying -- the girl made up like a cat, doing a dance with two light sabers to the Star Wars theme? I'll spare you the details, but it was uncommonly bad. It's not unusual for people to show up for the auditions and do something really stupid just for a prank, but if that's what Catgirl was aiming for, it fell as flat as last night's

Here was one of our favorites in the pop-and-lock style. We thought these two brothers, Elias and Enoch, were good dancers, so cute and how do they move like that? They're all the way from Santa Fe and their audition was very funny and entertaining.

As the show progressed, there were a few hot messes, one of which had Nigel fuming, "That was just....stupid. Why would you want to do that at an audition? And on television?"

Exactly what we were saying, Nigel. Especially about the people doing the "Bolero" dance, who nearly scarred us for life with their all-around yuckiness. What was that? Did they need to get a room? Medical assistance? Sensitivity training? Yeeeeshhhh!

The guy with the umbrella slayed us all. When he appeared onstage with the unfurled umbrella, my husband said, "What does the umbrella represent?"

I watched him for a moment and replied, "I think the umbrella is a woman."

When he finished his routine, Mary Murphy asked the same question about the umbrella. And it turned out I was right. The umbrella was a physical metaphor for the young man's aunt, recently deceased, whom he perceived as a covering and protection in his life; someone who sheltered him. You think we weren't moved by this? Meelyn swiped her sleeve across her eyes; I got up to get a tissue, and my husband sniffed a bit. Aisling looked at us and said incredulously, "Are you all crying ALREADY?!"

There was a kid named Chimezie who had issues with the pronunciation of his name. When Nigel referred to him, understandably, as "Chi-MEE-zie," I thought the young man was going to turn on his heel and stride from the auditiorium in a huff. Napoleon corrected Nigel hurriedly, saying, "Chih-mih-ZAY." Well, okay then! Chimezie did a very entertaining dance, however, and went on to choreography.

It was lovely, by the way, seeing Lauren Gottlieb from Season 3 working with the auditioners as the choreographer. Hi, Lauren!

One other dance who really stood out was a girl named Kayla, who came with a set of the sweetest, cuddliest grandparents you've ever seen. She was a great dancer (did a lyrical piece to "Blackbird") and her grandpa got all choked up....aawwwww. Everybody loves their Pawpaw! Lots of hugging. Talented girl, adorable family.

Sonya the choreographer was in Denver for that set of auditions, and I know, I know: The Mohawk. The piercings. The tattoos. But I just love her. When she said to a dancer, "When I watch you, I want to throw daisies and sunflowers into the air," I just melted. I'd like to be her (older, overweight, untalented) friend.

But here was the highlight of the evening: Bryant and Natalie from Season 4. Oh, the tears!

It was wonderful to see them back this year, and I hope they make it through to the top twenty.

All in all, an excellent start to the season. The show is on this week on both Wednesday and Thursday. Yay!

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