Melanie LaPatin on 'So You Think You Can Dance': Sasha is 'a moving work of art'
Hi, everybody! Hope you’re all doing well! I apologize in advance if this blog makes it seem like I’ve got my head in the clouds, but the fact is, I kinda do. I’m always on planes lately! But that’s good. I only ever really fly for exciting things, like going to Canada to work on SYTYCD there or L.A. to work on SYTYCD here… Here? There? Well, you know what I mean.
I’ve also been doing a bunch of interviews, some for Leading Ladies, the movie I did with Benji (the winner of SYTYCD/US, Season 2), which is out on DVD next month; some for Ballroom Remixed, the “dance” album on which I make my debut as a rapper (go ahead and laugh, it IS funny!); some just to talk about salsas and such, and what we do at the studio in New York. I think the only thing I haven’t been interviewed about recently is my cats, which is a shame — they really ARE fascinating! ;)
But you’re not here to hear about my babies, you’re here to read about SYTYCD. So let me buckle down and get to it, what do you say? Of last night’s performances, my favorite three (well, four) performances were…
· Sasha, in her contemporary piece with all-star Kent. By now, I’m almost out of adjectives to describe how beautiful a dancer she is. But it occurred to me while watching her in this number that what she is, is a continuous painting, a moving work of art. I’m so glad that this show exists to provide a frame for that art.
· Melanie, in her Broadway number with Tadd. She’s so reliably incredible that it’s like she’s from another planet — the same planet that all-star Alison is from, if you ask me. She’s so good that it makes it hard to watch anyone BUT her. Which wasn’t really a help to Tadd. Initially, I remember thinking, “This kid could win it all.” Now I think more, “He’s lucky to still be in the competition.” A very good dancer, but there are better.
· Caitlynn and Marko, in their jazz routine. He’s always a fearless dancer, at times breathtakingly so. So it wasn’t any big shock that his performance here was exceptional. What WAS a shock, however, was Caitlynn. To me, it’s a surprise that she’s still on the show, but in this number, I saw WHY she’s still there. In THIS number, she finally, really, truly rose to the occasion and danced with the fearlessness of an all-star. A total wow.
As for the rest…
· Melanie, in her hip-hop number with all-star Twitch. I didn’t think her best qualities — of which we all know there are many — were really on display here. I kinda felt like I was waiting for it to really get started, and it kinda never did.
· Marko, in his paso doble with all-star Jeanette. Yes, the bit where he used her as his cape was spectacular. But his grapevines and paso walks were awkward, and his lines could have used some more shape. Not his best dance.
· Tadd, in his contemporary routine with all-star Ellenore. In the final analysis, I felt like I wanted to see more actual dancing from him. Maybe that’s because, even when he was dangling from the chandelier, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. He got outdanced.
· Rickey, in his and all-star Jaimie’s contemporary number. This was a very mature piece for him, and he danced it well. But at this stage in the competition, that isn’t really what you want, is it? You want “amazing,” not “good.” So, not bad at all, but not his best number.
· Caitlynn, in her samba with all-star Pasha. She had some good moments here performancewise, but techniquewise, it was awkward. For instance, she didn’t use her supporting leg to get the “samba bounce,” and hello, she needed to.
· Sasha and Rickey’s whacking number. He looked a little stiff, she looked a bit more natural, so I came away feeling like she’d outdanced him. Hey, she’s a force of nature; that’ll happen.
And that’s it for Lady Cha-Cha! I’ll try and answer some more of your questions in next week’s column. This week was just a blur — like a quick step in fast-forward! ’Til next time, keep dancing!
Check out Melanie LaPatin’s album of wacky ballroom dance songs, ‘Ballroom Remixed’, featuring Broadway babe Kerry Butler, electropop upstart Kyle Brylin and British chanteuse Elouise.