So You Think You Can Dance
"Dancers Audition Around The Country"

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The Politics of Dancing

Brandon Bryant auditioned three years ago when he was fifteen, lying about his age to do so. Now he actually is eighteen, and his contemporary/ballet routine is fantastic, with controlled flips and twirls. The judges all lavish praise on him, with Mary screaming. And my wife concurs. "That is one incredible body. I'd love you more if you looked like that," says my wife, as helpful as usual.

Phucdat (pronounced "phookdat," unfortunately) Nguyen goes by "The Atomic Goofball," and tells a tale of schoolboy woe, of being spit on and stuffed into lockers. Well, clearly, the people who picked on him in school didn't know he could dance, right? He's pretty good -- breaking and spinning around on one hand, and pulling off his dark outfit, revealing a bright yellow suit underneath. At one point he lies flat and pretends to pull his body along the floor with the chin. He's here to represent the nerds! He gets sent through to the choreography, and even I know he's going to go no further.

Mariya Priymak dances with one of those ribbon-on-a-stick things. Can people still earn Olympic medals for that? Nigel's unimpressed. "I feel like I've seen all this before," says Dan, says he was waiting for her to do something with the ribbon. It's a no for everyone, and a rather uninteresting audition, shown mainly to set up the next guy, Anthony Bryant, who a few years ago auditioned using a ribbon-on-a-stick thing, and was told by Nigel that he "didn't look like a masculine dancer." He seemed genuinely surprised that twirling a ribbon around didn't exactly put him on the cover of Manly Man Monthly. Well, now, he's back, graduated from Juilliard, and is signifying "masculine" by putting on camouflage clothes. Is it more masculine? It looks like the Village People have added a soldier. You tell me. I don't find his contemporary routine of twirls and spins, many of which look like a figure-skating routine, super-amazing, but of all the dance that I know little about, I know the least about contemporary. I don't get the judges, though. Nigel complements the technique (I believe the word "brilliant" gets used), but says there's something missing. Well, surely if he dances brilliantly, this competition should help him find that inner something, right? Mary says his technique has gotten stronger, but agrees with Nigel. Dan is a little less kind, saying (again) that he's seen this before. They unanimously send him through to choreography.

Phucdat doesn't make it through. Anthony's changed his clothes, and has now soaked through a khaki T-shirt. And he doesn't make it. Of course, we already know that, given that they kept teasing his prissy hissyfit. Outside the stage, he bursts into tears, earning a soothing hug from Cat. "I have to get my shoes," he sobs. "It's OK, we'll get your shoes for you," coos Cat, but then he spins off and begins his profanity-laced meltdown, bitching about how much he suffers to audition. I guess the idea is to make us suffer now, huh? He's wryly juxtaposed with the amiable Phucdat, who does a little impromptu performance outside. Anthony's performance is a lot less dancey: "Fuck these people!" he snaps.

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So You Think You Can Dance

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