Nigel made a lot of promises about the quality of talent in this week’s LA auditions, and the dancers did not disappoint.
What a week! The So You Think You Can Dance auditions showcased the most talented dancers in Los Angeles this week, and the Sunshine State had a lot to offer both Team Stage and Team Street.
A few exciting highlights: We’re finally seeing some great ballroom and ballet dancers for Team Stage, a team that has so far been stacked with contemporary and jazz dancers. We also saw some amazing female street dancers, proving one again that the new Stage vs. Street format, which allows untrained dancers to bypass mastering all the other dance styles in order to make the top 20, gives a lot of very talented dancers a shot they haven’t had in previous seasons.
Well, I don’t think any of us expected to be introduced to a “Hebrew Breaker” this season. And when Asaf Goren introduced himself as such, and started off with a shrouded head and some sort of horn, it seemed like he was going to be a joke. But no, oh no. He was absolutely incredible. His stunts were outrageous, including a blind headfirst dive onto the stage. The judges were blown away, and couldn’t get enough of him.
LA was certainly starting out strong, for both Team Stage and Team Street. Asaf Gordon’s incredible performance was immediately followed by an absolute show-stopper from ballet dancer Avo Karapetyan. The way he glided around the stage was absolutely gorgeous, nevermind the air he managed to get on his leaps. It was absolutely beautiful to watch, and Paula said she couldn’t even critique it, it was so perfect.
There was no familiar face we were happier to see than animator and krumper Jaja Vankova. After nearly missing out on the top 20 last year, the Phillip Chbeeb protégée was back with a vengeance, and her robotic routine had Jason DeRulo questioning whether or not she was even human. He went on to say that every hip hop dancer can learn from her, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in season 12 than we did in season 11.
We’ve suffered a bit of a ballroom drought so far this season, but Allen Genkin made up for it. The testicular cancer survivor battled his way back to the stage, and gave an incredibly entertaining West Coast Swing performance. He was fun to watch and captivating, not to mention an incredibly talented dancer. Here’s hoping Allen is only the first of many talented ballroom dudes to strut their stuff this season.
Jim Nowakowski has been through a lot in his life, overcoming dozens of facial surgeries to correct a cleft lip, but his beauty shone inside and out during his audition. He is a beautiful ballet dancer, and his strength and grace inspired Nigel to call his audition “one of the best dances I’ve seen on So You Think You Can Dance.” Nigel also compared him to season 7 standout Alex Wong, which is very high praise, indeed.
Jessica Rabone may have spent her life fighting to escape the shadow of her sister, a famous TV host in Japan, but she certainly managed to stand on her own two feet in her audition. She specializes in waacking and house dancing, she trained with “Hey Mickey’s” Toni Basil, and she has battled alongside SYTYCD fav alum Comfort Fedoke. Needless to say, she has the pedigree, but it was her own brand of charm that really made her stand out.
Tune in to see the So You Think You Can Dance auditions take over NYC next Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox.