This week on SYTYCD we saw something spectacular, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Making art is hard, making good art even harder. In any art be it visual, music, theater or dance, one must endure a plethora of mediocrity to see that rare work that soars and transcends everything else. It reminds you why you spend time with art in the first place. Such was the case with The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, whose dancing and energy (not choreography) was mindboggling. The opening stop action solo immediately captured attention and the dancers’ ability to fly through the air breathtaking. Perhaps we’ve become jaded and expect too much from dancers. With technology and movies like the Matrix, we see super humans doing the impossible. How can dance compete with this? It can all seem so tame. Well, this group did capture the seemingly impossible in their superhuman feats with Ellenore and Jakob’s Contemporary number coming close to matching them – wow.
Eliminating dancers is now nearly impossible. The judges are probably happy to be off the hook; all they now do is give heartfelt support. The dancers are performing at such a high level. Even Mollee and Nathan did much better, dancing with more maturity thanks to their new partners who brought them to a higher level. By interacting with others who are better than we are, we get better.
I was pretty off, compared to audience voting, as to who would be in the bottom four. Ryan and Noelle, both in the bottom, I thought did some of the best dancing of the week, particularly their Hip-Hop. They had great chemistry, connection and were incredibly sexy; the choreography was strong as well. I would not have put Kathryn, who danced with maturity, class, passion and attitude, in the bottom either.
I had Mollee in the bottom; she just can’t win with me. She did dance more maturely, but still hasn’t graduated from High School Musical. I see steps not the dancing. She also seems a bit robotic and self-consciously aware of the audience. Her solo, though fierce, was again all tricks, no art. I had Ashleigh and Legacy in the bottom, due to weak routines, not their dancing. Ashleigh’s solo though was weak and didn’t show her off. Of solos, Russell, Ellenore and Legacy were terrific. Each has something really unique in their dancing and movement vocabulary, setting them apart from the others.
Of the bottom four, Ryan’s strength is his strength. Being a ballroom dancer unaccustomed to dancing solo, he did pretty well. Nathan held his own, particularly in his solo on Wednesday, but if we must eliminate someone, he was the one. Kathryn’s solos were better than Noelle’s, less desperate with more ease and flow. Between the two women, Noelle was the one to go.
Eliminating dancers is only going to get harder from now on, but the contest for me is between Jakob and Ellenore picking one from each gender.