So You Think You Can Dance

While my dance training is limited to a half year of Irish step dancing, an evening of tap dance training, and learning specific choreography for specific musicals, I am a dance aficianado. I love anything with dancing in it, which explains why I've seen Center Stage at least 12 times.

I've been watching SYTYCD since I caught a marathon of season 2 on MTV a couple of years back. I've been to see the top 10 SYTYCD dancers on tour for the past 2 years, and I'll be there again this year.

Since there's nothing much going on in life right now, I thought I would blog this season, season 5.

I'm not going back to talk about the auditions or Vegas week, or the first two weeks of the actual competition (although I may refer back to those episodes when talking about some of the dancers).

Last week, we lost Maks and Ashley, which was, I think, a mistake. Particularly Ashley, who I think had a different quality than the other contemporary dancers.

On to this week's performances!

Jonathan & Karla: they got a Dave Scott hip-hop, which they described as sort of smooth criminal, Bonnie & Clyde. This was not a good performance. Karla was on the beat and danced well, but I think she couldn't dance to her full potential because of her partner, Jonathan, who was just embarrassing tonight. He is in way over his head. I expect they'll end up in the bottom 3, I hope they can keep Karla, but I think it's time for Jonathan to go.

Vitolio & Asuka: Mandy Moore choreographed a jazz routine for the pair. I was not a fan of the choreography, which I think lacked substance and just meandered around senselessly. But I also think Asuka is too reserved of a dancer, too internal. They were dancing to Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar (because Mandy Moore pulls out her K-Tel "Greatest Hits of the 80's" when seeking music), and they should have been more explosive, but that performance quality is just lacking from this couple. Bottom 3.

Melissa & Ade: They had a rhumba choregraphed by Tony Meredith. I have to get my bias out of the way up front - I adore Ade, I love everything about this kid, and the way he moves gives me chills. He is powerful yet gentle, strong but soft...I love him. He did not fail me in this sensuous routine. And Melissa was gorgeous, sinuous and sexy. As much as I love Ade, I couldn't take my eyes off Melissa. They could still end up in the bottom 3, because rhumba is probably not going to get the tween vote, but I think they'll be safe.

Kayla & Kupono: They had a Viennese Waltz, choreographed by the possibly insane Jean-Marc Genereaux. I thought it was lovely. I don't know any waltz technique (although I did have to learn how to waltz for a production of A Little Night Music, which is mostly in 3/4 time), but they looked smooth and flowy and nothing jumped out as awkward. The audience at the taping had a very strong positive response, but I know that online fans seem to not like Kayla much because they feel like Nigel Lythgoe is pimping her, so they could end up bottom 3.

Brandon & Janette: Dave Scott choreographed a hip-hop routine for them. This was definitely more successful than the first routine, and I love Janette, she's saucy and has loads of energy, but Brandon just doesn't grab me. I read a critique of his dancing saying he looked like a college cheerleader, and I think I agree with it. He is clearly talented, and I think he could be great, but I think he's got a way to go. In the routine, she was rock, he was a hip-hop, it was a whole love story sort of thing. They danced it well, I think they'll be safe.

Caitlin & Jason: They had a Jean-Marc Genereaux paso doble. Okay, I've had a problem with this pairing from the first episode. The quality of movement of each of these dancers is so far from the other, that they always look wrong to me. Jason has a smooth, airy way of moving, he almost seems to move as if he was suspended from the ceiling by wires. Caitlin is tough and, IMO, cheerleadery, at least when she dances with Jason - she seems to do fine by herself. I'm not a huge fan of the paso doble, and I didn't think this one was too great, although I enjoyed Jason a lot more than Caitlin. I'm thinking bottom 3 for them.

Randi & Evan: Mia Michaels put together a routine for them, the concept being that Evan is hypnotized by Randi's butt. I kind of wonder if Mia knew that the idea of her butt being the center of the dance would kind of mortify Randi, who seems very Mormonish to me. I loathe Mia Michaels as a human being, she's misogynistic and mean, but I do enjoy her choreography. It was simple, but different and meaningful, and I think Evan and Randi danced the heck out of it. Although I wonder why they dressed Evan in clothes that were 5 sizes too big for him. I'm a fan of Evan, he is an old style dancer, in the mold of Gene Kelly. I think he did well with the movements Mia gave him, which are very bumpy and bouncy compared to his smooth jazz style. Randi has been a revelation to me in the competition, I had low expectations for her, but I really enjoy watching her perform.

Philip & Jeanine: Tyce DiOrio choregraphed a Broadway routine to Moses Supposes from Singing In The Rain. Philip is an extraordinary machine, he is incredible at popping and waving, everything else is out of his wheelhouse. But I have to say, I enjoyed him in this piece. Jeanine is a natural performer - she's not the greatest dancer, really, but she knows how to sell the heck out of it. I thought the routine was adorable, and I will be shocked if they are in the bottom 3.


The remote is broken

so I ended up catching a good chunk of the ABCFamily show "The Secret Life of An American Teenager".

What a craptacular program it is!

The creator of this show also created 7th Heaven, and she clearly has a particular agenda that she wants to put forward - the evangelical Christian perspective. The main character is a teenage girl who has sex - once, of course - and gets pregnant.

I have never watched an hour of any other show that is this obsessed with sex, and I've watched episodes of Real Sex on HBO. In the previouslies, one girl is shamed for being on the pill (because that means she's a slut); another girl who has sex is warning her friend away from having sex because "you can only have your first time once", and at the end of the show, there is a PSA about teen pregnancy, that ends with one of the male characters saying "teenage pregnancy is 100% preventable" (which it is, until teenagers start having sex, which they've been doing since the beginning of time, if not before then).

Aside from all the agenda stuff, the acting was horrifically bad. I felt bad for thinking this, but during a scene where an actor with Down's Syndrome was "acting", I kept thinking "He's no Corky". (Obviously, I didn't feel bad enough to keep it to myself).

I better go to the cable company and get a new remote.


Tony Awards

I just watched the last third of the Tony Awards. I'm not a big award show fan, but I always make room for the Tonys. The presenters and winners are almost universally articulate and charming and funny, I get to see too short snippets of plays, and there are musical numbers, and I am a sucker for a musical number.

I used to be very into theater. Siobhan started coming to rehearsals with me when she was about 6 months old - I was cast in the chorus of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Yale Dramat. I found out I was pregnant with Maeve when I was playing Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense. I played Princess Puffer in the Mystery of Edwin Drood when I was 5 months pregnant. The year before I got pregnant, I did 6 shows in one year. It was a huge part of my life.

It makes me unbearably sad sometimes, when I think about the "used to" part of that. This is something else that osteoarthritis has stolen away from me.

Anyway...back to the Tonys. I was deeply moved by the emotion of the dance they showed from Billy Elliot. I enjoyed the tribe of the show Hair singing the eponymous song (I did Hair...and yes, I did the nude scene).

But when are the damn Tony awards going to stop pimping Jersey Boys? I swear to Judy Garland, they've been showing young dudes imitating the nasal sound stylings of Frankie Valli for at least 3 years now. No more, Tonys!