So You Think You Can Dance Has a Family Night
by Stephen Mosher
Episode two of Season 16 of SYTYCD was filled with beauty, both in the performances and the performers. It is really refreshing to be treated to positivity instead of the insanities and insults of past seasons. It must be a new mission statement from the front runners and producers of the show: only happy stories and pretty things. What a relief from all the ugliness in the world, and with the episode I fell more in love with the two new judges, Laurieann and Dominic, whose love of dancers definitely shows, as more dancers traveled to Hollywood and the SYTYCD Theatre to chat with Cat and dance their feet off in a night filled with family matters.
The dancers moving forward:
Caroline Del La Rocha, contemporary. The Knoxville native shared the sad story of not being spiritually supported by her father, sparking a moment of personal sharing from Mary, whose father did not speak to her for two years when she went into dance. The 18-year-old followed up her therapy session with the world by performing a powerful piece to ‘Bird Set Free’ before the judges pointed out the haphazard and uncontrolled way she danced. 'Turn off your brain so your facilities can live' offered Dominic. It looked like Caroline would not be put through but with Laurieanne’s compliment that 'You make me FEEL something', she got enough votes to get a Golden Ticket to Academy
Samuel Sweetser, hip hop. Perhaps the happiest contestant of the night, the B Boy shared that '24/7 my entire family is dancing', even sharing his pride about his two-year-old dancing son, Koa, who Nigel insisted on bringing to the stage. The father and son dance duo warmed everyone’s hearts and, after, the father set the stage on fire with humor, athleticism, musicality and swag, dancing to ‘Squeeze Me’. Four immediate yesses.
In quick snippets we see contemporary dancers Tra Wilson, Howard Johnson and Abigail Hau being put through to The Academy.
In a special SYTYCD moment, 'Korra' Obidi Dean walked onstage in an advanced state of pregnancy. Sharing the story that she is a Nigerian Princess who moved to the states to be with the love of her life, she gave a surprising dance to ‘Bad Man’ that combined her native culture and belly dance, leaving the judges screaming with her drop split. The judges all loved her, praised her ('There is so much purpose in your choices' said Laurieann), and then sent her home. The glowing and grateful Princess said her goal was 'to create a shift for my people' and for 'every girl in Nigeria to see you can do anything you want.' It was a moment of magic on Episode 2.
So far the season is shaping up to be a pretty good ride, life affirming and happy, filled with joy and humanity. And lots of family.
Read more from Stephen at Hotchka.com!