So You Think You Can Dance recap: Season 11, Ep.2

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: A contestant shows off her moves at the season 11 auditions. Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: A contestant shows off her moves at the season 11 auditions. Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

Tuesday marked Day 2 of the “So You Think You Can Dance Audition Tour” in Chicago and this time joining Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy was ballet choreographer and model, Fabrice Calmels.

The first up to move on to the next round was Paul Brushaber, 18, from Mokena, IL, who taught us what “puppeting” is. Nigel wanted to send him to choreography but Mary fought for his unique style and, with most of their disagreements, she won.

Emily James, 21, from North Kingstown, RI auditioned twice before but took two years off from dancing to finish school. She gave a solid performance and got a straight shot to the next round.

Francesca Bass, 18, from Crown Point, IN stood out for more than just being bald. After battling with alopecia areata, she learned to use her condition to her advantage, adding to her unique dance style. The judges used words like, “mesmerizing,” and “captivating” to describe her performance.

Jenna Scaccia, 18, from Chicago, IL was more than excited to meet Fabrice, seeing as she was training with the same company he danced at. Although having Fabrice there added to the pressure, Scaccia made him proud.

The audition tour then headed to Los Angeles, where guest star, Christina Applegate, pulled up a seat at the judge’s table.

Jessica Richens, 18, from Yobra Linda, CA took the stage and left the judges speechless. When her performances ended, Nigel already had a ticket waiting for her. Mary and Christina said they wanted to be her, and more than that, “she could win the show.”

Valerie Rockey, 20, from Indianapolis, IN took more steps then most to be in LA as she tap-danced her way across the stage, leaving the crowd in an uproar. The judges sent her to choreography and after proving she could dance with a partner, gave her a ticket to the next round.

Jana “Jaja” Vankova, 22, originally from the Czech Republic and now living in Chatsworth, CA, caught everyone by surprise with her animated crump dancing. She was brought to America by Season 5’s Phillip Chbeeb. After taking Chbeeb’s dance class in Czech Republic, he invited her to join his dance crew, which brought her to Los Angeles. The judge’s faces were priceless. Nigel stopped the music early to hand her a ticket. Then a few familiar faces stopped by auditions to wish the dancers luck, including last season’s winner, Fik-shun.

Kyle Taylor, 28, from Wichita, KS is a self-taught dancer and had only ever danced in his living room. After taking the stage for the first time showing off his popping skills, Nigel said he should be battling. And so the battle began. Season 10’s Fik-shun, Season 6’s Legacy and Season 9’s Cyrus all hit the stage in a dance battle with Taylor. After one of the best battles on stage, Taylor got a shot at choreography but, unfortunately, wasn’t able to keep up.

Justine Lutz, 19, from Minneapolis, MN gave an exceptional contemporary performance that left the judges on their feet. Deise Mendoca, 23, and Mauricio Vera, 27, from Santa Barbara, CA fell in love the first time they met, dancing for the Santiago ballet company. The judges gave a standing ovation and these love birds left Christina with tears in her eyes.

Kailee Payne, 19, the jazz-funk dancer from Roy, UT gave a quirky performance the judges loved. Sebastian Serra, 24, from Orlando, FL was back for the second time and with his solid contemporary performance, got a straight shot to the next round.

Dani Platz, 18, from Moorpark, CA inspired many with her performance after recovering from an eating disorder that forced her to take a break from dance. But her elegant routine showcasing her brokenness moved the judges. Plats went on to choreography and got a ticket to the next round.

Last to take the stage was Marie “Poppins” Bonnevay, 27, from North Hollywood, CA whose elegant popping performance caught the eye of a special someone in the audience. Fik-shun joined her on stage and her improvisational dance got her a ticket.

Justin Beiber was back again to present two more dance crews for America to judge on. The first was “Break Sk8,” an unconventional B-boy crew from the Midwest who managed to combined tricks, flips and break dancing, while wearing roller skates. The second was “Academy of Villains,” an illusion dance crew from Northern California with a mix of circus makeup and theatrical tricks. The crew that gets the most votes will be invited to showcase their skills on the SYTYCD stage for the grand finale.


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