It's almost time to say goodbye: the final cut of the season.
Group Performance (Choreography by Travis Wall)
Very nice concept, some sweet moments. I hated the choice of song (a dance featuring same-sex couples set to a gay anthem from a movie ingrained in gay culture... how original), and the uptempo change was especially cheesy and jarring. The choreography itself was some of the best from an opening performance all season, though. But it was still very standard stuff, including some reused moments from Travis's strongest work this year (the all-men piece).
Valerie and Ricky (African Jazz by Sean Cheesman)
For starters, I hated the visible knee pads. Wardrobe could and should have been more creative in working them into the overall look. I loved Sean's choreography, but I wasn't really feeling either of these dancers in this style. Valerie looked tired, and Ricky seemed a little too put together when this style is more messy and loose. They weren't bad, by any means, just not as strong as I expected. I thought Zack and Jacque did much better earlier this season with their African jazz.
Jessica and Zack (Broadway by Spencer Liff)
The staging, choreography, and costuming of this piece was utterly fantastic. I thought they both performed the hell out of this one, from choreography to character. We've seen everyone in the top four do at least one Broadway routine now, and I think anyone would be suitable for the part the winner will get in On the Town. I said last week that Ricky and Valerie seemed more natural for the show, but these two just proved that I may have been wrong... this was great.
Valerie and Zack (Contemporary by Tyce Diorio)
This was pretty standard stuff. The concept was gimmicky and ultimately unnecessary to the movement, just a new way of portraying the disconnect we constantly see in contemporary pieces on this show. The styling tonight is already very hit and miss, with this being miss number two... seriously ugly costuming and strange lighting. I'm never a fan of Tyce's choreography, and while I didn't hate most of this, there was at least one really awful moment. You know the one, where Valerie awkwardly shuffled across the stage.
Jessica and Ricky (Jazz by Ray Leeper)
Very athletic and technically great. Another miss for the wardrobe department. I like the way these two look and work together, but I probably won't remember anything about this tomorrow other than that they were both good.
Jessica and Valerie (Bollywood by Nakul Dev Mahajan)
I've decided I don't care about the Bollywood routines anymore. I don't know much of anything about the style, so I can't really critique it from a technical aspect, and I feel like as long as you smile and look like you know what you're doing then you're doing well. There were moments of this that didn't look quite right to me, but I don't know if that was choreography or performance or if it's just me. So yeah... this happened. No one fell or majorly screwed up.
Ricky and Zack (Hip Hop by Phoenix & Pharside)
A battle for the crown... gee, never seen that one before.
So this was very... white. The producers or whoever definitely like these choreographers more than I do, though I appreciated some of the movement (that jump Ricky did onto Zack's shoulders). But neither of these guys have swag, so it was a little awkward to me. Like, really, some of the faces Ricky pulled were just embarrassing. Another styling misstep too, because Jesse really nailed what they looked like: stoners who haven't left their apartment in a week.
Valerie and Aaron Turner (Tap by Anthony Morigerato)
This was fun and cute, but as usual, I had trouble hearing the taps a lot of the time. Whether that's because of music or muddy choreography or unclear movement (or some combination of all three), I don't really know. Valerie was great, very easy and natural, and her shoes were awesome.
Ricky and Kathryn McCormick (Contemporary by Stacey Tookey)
This is basically a reiteration of Stacey's piece set to Christina Perri's "The Lonely," and I just didn't feel very much. I know that's probably just me, but since this is my blog... :-) Anyway, I don't think this showed us anything new for Ricky. We all know he's an ingenious, technically perfect dancer with amazing feet and a beautiful extension. This didn't push him beyond, which is fine because he's still a joy to watch, but I just want to see something more or something else. That's my own hang-up though.
Also, Nigel is a fucking tool... "the stupidity of suicide," really? Educate yourself, sir.
Zack and Aaron Turner (Tap by Anthony Morigerato)
The taps were easier to hear in this one, and I liked the rhythms better than in Valerie's piece. I liked it a lot. That's all I got... Nigel's comments on suicide pissed me off so much that I'm having trouble forming coherent thoughts.
Jessica and Robert Roldan (Contemporary by Travis Wall)
Seen it a hundred times before.
My Pick for the Win: Ricky. Because duh.