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SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (SYTYCD) – Elimination round #1/Fate takes over.

You might think art is created from a grand vision that seamlessly progresses to its desired end. While vision is required, art equally reflects circumstances that have nothing to do with the master plan. Run out of yellow paint and the painting becomes predominately blue. Run out of time and the play becomes two acts instead of three. A dancer gets injured and a trio suddenly becomes a duet; the show must go on. Fate shapes art and its outcomes.

This was certainly true in this week’s show. Contemporary dancer Billy Bell left the show due to illness. So much for my prediction of him winning the competition. I’m truly sad he’s gone and I have no one to replace him as a clear front-runner. Jakob, also a contemporary dancer who reminds me a bit of Billy, could do well. He certainly has the technical ability that Billy had but with a bit less personality, brilliance, originality and talent. Noelle was injured and did not dance. This does not bode well for her.

Fate also plays its part in what style the dancer picks and choreographer. Ballroom I feel puts most dancers at a disadvantage. It strengths, which are its elegance, control and precision in footwork, rhythm and body posture, often do not excite as much as some other styles. Also any mistakes or missteps are transparently apparent. Russell, who I think is great, did well in ballroom for a crumper, showing line and style, but the routine did not show off his strengths and magnified his weaknesses; dancing without his partner also didn’t help. Pauline, Brandon, Kevin and Karen also suffered by dancing ballroom. Getting choreographer Sonya can also be a disadvantage. I find her routines inane, with too much of a contrived and unnecessary story line going on; just get into the dancing. The best routine of the night was the contemporary number danced by Bianca and Victor. They had great connection and chemistry, which is interesting since the dance was about ignoring each other. They also gave the choreography beautiful flow.

I was not surprised to see Brandon and Pauline in the bottom four. Russell and Aniana were a surprise, though I don’t know whom else I would have chosen. Brandon was an obvious elimination. The waltz was to be light and flowing but instead I saw a postural rigidity and marching feet. His solo was fine, but compared to Russell, it lacked choreographic complexity, richness and style. I felt the judges were very gracious though in allowing him to audition for the next season, having come back to the show disadvantaged, with little time to work with partner Pauline. Ariana had nothing overly captivating in her hip-hop number, and her solo was too frenetic and desperate. Trying to capture the judges’ favor simply by using as much energy possible and doing as many steps and tricks as you can in the allotted time, won’t cut it and gets you eliminated. There was little artistry in her solo.