In honor of So You Think You Can Dance kicking off their 10th season this week, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 most memorable routines in the show’s history.
As fans of the show know, SYTYCD is so much more than just a “dance show.” There are routines that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you scream in disbelief that someone can actually move their body like that. There have been so many amazing routines in the show’s history (Emmy winning/nominated routines, as is the case with almost every one on this list) that this is just a very small sampling. Tune in to season 10 and we guarantee you’ll be hooked!
Christopher Scott choreographed this hip-hop routine for season 8 runner-up Sasha Mallory, and all-star and fan favorite Stephen “Twitch” Boss. The Dorothy Moore classic sets the scene for an everyday suburban breakfast between a frustrated husband and wife that turns into much more. If only all breakfasts were this hot and involved this much Twitch.
All-star Allison Holker and season 7’s Robert Roldan took on the difficult and important role of stepping into choreographer (and season 2 contestant – you’ll see more of him later) Travis Wall’s shoes in this emotional routine. Travis based this routine on his struggle to help his mother in her fight with breast cancer. The subject matter struck a chord with Robert, with judge Mia Michaels, and many audience members, making this routine hard to forget.
Everybody knows this Eurythmics tune, but who knew it would fit in so perfectly to a boardroom brawl? Mandy Moore (no, not that Mandy Moore) choreographed this routine for Neil and season 3 winner Sabra, calling it an “’80s jazz power lunch.” It had a conference table and everything! The part where Neil hovers over Sabra on said table is just ridiculous.
Sonya Tayeh is basically the Tim Burton of choreography, and this awesome jazz routine was America’s introduction to her work on SYTYCD. Everything she does is just a little bit offbeat and strange, but beautiful in its strangeness. Mark’s unique dance style (he’s now one of Gaga’s backup dancers, if that tells you anything) worked well with Sonya’s unique choreography, and Courtney was such an outstanding dancer, she could really do anything.
Another season 4 routine featuring Mark Kanemura, this time with partner Chelsie Hightower. This was the first season featuring choreographers Napolean and Tabitha Dumo (or Nappytabs, as they’re known to fans) and their lyrical hip-hop style, and this is one of their most famous routines. The dancers play their parts so well that you feel legitimately bad for Chelsie when Mark literally steals her heart.
They are statues come to life. That’s all you need to know. Season 8 winner Melanie Moore and her partner Marko Germar look like statues, and they dance like statues (in a good way) until they come to life. It’s a beautiful routine by Travis Wall, set to a beautiful Ingrid Michaelson song. This was their first dance of the season, and you could already tell they would go on to greatness.
Before Travis Wall was an amazing SYTYCD choreographer, he finished in second place as a dancer on the show’s second season. His partner Heidi Groskreutz was a ballroom dancer, and had a hard time adjusting to the contemporary style of this routine, but she certainly rose to the occasion. This Mia Michaels dance is one of the most unforgettable uses of props in the show’s history, with something as simple as a park bench. See if your heart doesn’t stop when their hands touch through the bench seat.
Another Mia Michaels routine (Mia is basically a legend). This one paired friends Katee Shean and Twitch, before he was an all-star. Their friendly chemistry manifested itself as more of a sexy chemistry in this routine. Katee plays the epitome of the psycho ex-girlfriend; Twitch the definition of “too cool.” Their personalities clash in this, with wonderful results. Please exercise caution when trying to recreate this dance at home on your bedroom door: don’t pinch your fingers.
Twitch was paired with ballet dancer Alex Wong for this routine, and please keep in mind that Alex is a ballet dancer as you watch this dance. This Nappytabs routine is the fastest, craziest, most exciting hip-hop routine in SYTYCD history, and it was so incredible even Ellen DeGeneres came back to recreate it with Twitch for the finale. Unfortunately, early front-funner Alex was injured shortly after this routine, and had to leave the competition.
It’s no surprise that a Mia Michaels routine is at the number one spot on this list, but this particular routine is incredible. The dance represents addiction, with Kayla as the addict struggling to escape the hold of her terrifyingly malevelent addiction, played by Kupono. It’s an amazing physical interpretation of an otherwise abstract concept, and it paints an even more overt portrait of just how frightening addiction can be. Beautifully danced by both Kayla and Kupono, you’ll ache for Kayla’s addict, and be haunted by Kupono’s addiction.
SYTYCD season 10’s two-night premiere airs Tuesday night at 8/7c, and Wednesday night at 9/8c, following American Idol.