Sunday, June 03, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance - 9x02 "Los Angeles Auditions"

One audition episode later -- check that, one specific audition later, and I've completely turned around. The jaundice that I had been suffering from? I've suddenly come down with a case of selective amnesia (hey, it's the internet!) and am all set to effuse about Eliana Girard, who has become the possible tent-pole of the upcoming competition. (Apologies for the unfortunate imagery.) (You see, she performed for Cirque du Soleil?) Her solo is a complete performance -- technique, expression, music (is this the first time we've heard Yann Tiersen used on the US show?), and solemn demeanor.

Oh and hey, she's gorgeous.

It's a good thing that I'm too old mature to fall randomly in crush with reality tv contestants anymore, or I would be in for a season's worth of embarrassing myself, because she's surely going to win this whole thing, right?

(Considering my remarks a few weeks ago on the subject of solos, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that her "Contemporary Pointe Solo [is] choreographed by Isis Masoud [and] Marcie Russo." Good on them for putting together a great showcase, and good on Eliana for being amazing.)

A couple further, broader points, both about ballet. I'm admitting to some optimism about the emphasis SYTYCD is placing on ballet, which is all the more remarkable since the auditioning ballet dancers have mostly been male (Chehon, Daniel Baker, and lamestain Stephen Jacobsen), Eliana is this season only the first person to audition en pointe (and I will never say no to pointe work). Second, I applaud Eliana's decision to perform sans tutu, because of horny because in my opinion the tutu disrupts the lines that the entire body can make, and furthermore, evokes the staid and frumpy preciousness of classical ballet that can be a bit boring.

Incidentally, I've started watching Breaking Pointe -- in brief, the first episode concentrates on relationships at the expense of the dance (maybe the CW is aiming at SYTYCD's demographics?) -- and along with having just seen Black Swan (bleh) a number of weeks ago, I'm in a bit of a balletomane mood. Also, discussions surrounding Breaking Pointe have pointed out that among American companies, SF Ballet is rivaled in prestige only by ABT and NYCB, which makes me want to redress the number of times (zero) that I've gone to see them.

As for SYTYCD and this audition episode:

Alexa Anderson

You can practically see Nigel ticking off all of the Prototypical SYTYCD Dancer checkboxes during her performance:
  • photogenic
  • legs
  • blond
I actually prefer her opening and closing lyrical bits (which show some nice extension) to the jazzier stuff that forms the bulk of her audition, which make me think that if she hasn't worked with Sonya already, she'll be guaranteed to if she makes the competition.

Johnny Waacks
Mildly entertaining -- the kid has dance skills, but maybe not wacking in particular (e.g. his arms are not as articulated as Lockerooo's).

Sam Lenarz
Another checkbox dancer, but with an important addition: executing a hacky series of tumbling and turns (hacky in the artistic sense) that's missing only the hair-tossing, and I'm surprised to hear Nigel and Mary actually give voice to her lacking expression.

Caley Carr
Joke mustache, ugh, I bet he doesn't even have enough Crisspoints for it. (Two-for-two with the 30 Rock jokes? I'm totally Reaganing.)

Megan Branch
If the origins of her solo don't lie with Travis, I'll eat a hat,* mostly bhe doesn't strike me as a Bjork fan -- especially since "Hunter" came out fifteen years ago (i.e. I'm old). Furthermore, Homogenic is the Pitchforkiest of all Bjork albums, and we all know which dude reps Pitchfork around these parts. (Answer: him! Not me!)

* The hat is made of chocolate pie.

Megan also looks just like Sam, so I hope at most one of them makes it to the competition, otherwise we'd get the Chelsie/Chelsea or Courtney/Kortni/Quartknee confusions all over again, to the tenth power.

Cole Horibe
Between the martial arts and the overachieving, could Cole be any more stereotypically Asian? (Though to be honest, he looks half-Asian.) A couple things bug me, though. That bandana really needs to go, and the shaping of his legs looks weird to me -- I expect his kicks to go higher, but he mostly keeps them below his waist.

David Matz
I.e. him with the Cyr wheel. Another complete performance, but with the added OMIGOD of "How many times has this guy crushed his fingers or his toes practicing his routine?"

Jasmine Mason
We've seen her moves a hundred times before (particularly all the floor work), but she separates herself from the typical 18-year-old with all the maturity of someone who can rent a car in her own name. Epic!

It may just be me, but I think I'm hearing Best Coast everywhere now, especially in places I'd least expect them to pop up (considering how much the lead singer likes to pen odes to weed). Aside from "When I'm With You," I'm not so hot on them, though, and instead prefer the fancy leggings of the Dum Dum Girls.

Last week, I forgot to point out the b-girl buried in a montage who is doing what appear to be some awesome backspins, and I do believe she gets a ticket to VEAGS -- so, despite all the warning signs of a debacle, more reason for provisional optimism this season.

And one last, additional reason for provisional optimism is this girl:

To quote myself on my Tumblr: WAHT.


Ana said...

I both want to read your reviews as you publish them and I'm afraid to do so. Last time I did that my impressions fluctuated bit by bit until they matched yours, in general.

(Which isn't all that much of a fluctuation - I would be reading a GO-KENT-GO!!! or a Yay-Evan blog if it were.)

It didn't bother me, but I ended up wondering what my thoughts on the season would have been if I had watched it and then read the reviews, as I did before.

Leee said...

I know what you mean, actually. In fact, I started out liking Kent and Evan before reading certain recaps! As a result, I've taken to checking out the rest of the blogosphere after I've finished that week's post for me. I do think, speaking from personal experience, that there's a lot of (unconscious) consensus-seeking with virtual communities like these, which would bother me more except I'm getting old and more apathetic about these things. Or else I'm just accepting the fact that aesthetic judgment rarely is made in a vacuum (I know I took a long time to learn how to like certain styles of dance, music, etc.).