Here goes another duckyxdale review by the So You Think You Can Dance Tour Correspondents.
PHILLY TOUR REPORT:
Disclaimer: So many people have written wonderful write-ups about the actual shows on this tour; so, as not to bore you, I might be a bit more brief with the show details, but I hope you won’t mind if I share with you some of the other amazingly exciting details about the rest of my experience! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my pictures!
WHAT AN AMAZING NIGHT!!!!!!! I have been looking forward to this show since the day I heard there would be a tour. Admittedly, a lot of the initial thrill had worn off since the show completed its second season, but as the date approached October 6, I got more and more excited. I may be 26 years old, but NEVER underestimate my ability to become completely obsessed with talent competitions!
SYTYCD Philadelphia was held at the Academy of Music – home of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet (this was especially meaningful to me because my mom took me to see the ballet a few times a year while I was growing up!). It is a beautiful venue in the heart of Center City. As far as security goes, we got quite lucky that they are nowhere near as strict as some of the larger Philadelphia arenas…but I’ll get to that more later ;-)
I went to the show with my best friend Kelli, who was never a dancer like myself but has a shared appreciation (translation: obsession) for the show just the same. We decided to get to the Academy a bit early to check out the scene (okay, who am I kidding…we really just wanted to stalk the dancers). After nearly getting hit by a dumbass driver who decided to back up on Spruce Street, I was already shaken up when Kelli starts screaming. Great, I’m thinking — I just hit a small child or something. Then finally Kelli manages to get out — IT’S DMITRY!!! There he was, walking down the street chatting on his cell phone, slightly incognito with his hoodie pulled over his head (but you could just tell that somewhere underneath that hoodie was his fantastic abdomen…yum!). Unfortunately we were driving and couldn’t stop, but the night was still young and getting off to a fantastic start!
Once we parked and walked to the Academy, we saw that the tour busses were parked right outside the stage door, which is located right on a busy street and conveniently has a giant window right next to it; we could actually see into the backstage area where all of the costumes were hanging. We stalked around for a few minutes, and somehow just missed Donyelle walking in through the stage door! I thought I saw her out of the corner of my eye, and lo and behold, when I looked through the window, there she was!
We decided we had to eat dinner sooner or later or we’d never tear ourselves away. Of course we ate about a block away and demanded a window seat, but we didn’t have anymore dancer sightings…UNTIL we walked back to the Academy after dinner and saw Ivan and Natalie sitting outside smoking! Now I do have to say, I was disappointed to see them smoking, but I was honestly too excited to freakin’ care. We didn’t want to impose so we kind of just stood nearby hoping we’d get the opportunity to say hello. Eventually some little girls walked by with their parents and started chatting with them and asked for a picture. Somehow Natalie snuck away back inside, so Ivan posed for a picture and I went in for the kill. I always had a little crush on Ivan and his cute big ears and genuine smile, so I was in heaven (and Kelli said I made some weird laughing noise that she’s never heard before). I will cherish that photo!!!
As it got closer to showtime, we figured we wouldn’t have anymore dancer sightings as they had to be getting ready for the show, so we got ready to head inside to our seats. We were seated on stage right of the first balcony, and had a great view of everything! Once the show began, we really couldn’t stop smiling. Kelli said her face hurt by intermission because she just smiled the whole time. I turned the flash off on my camera (unlike a lot of people) but still managed to get some halfway decent shots. I’m including those that are the best quality for you all to see!
The show was UNREAL. Some highlights for me (in no particular order):
• “Technologic”: What a great way to start the show! The audience was already going nuts before the show even started, but this number really set it all in motion.
• Seeing Ivan and Alison dancing to “Why” and “Sexy Love” …I not only love these two as a couple, but these were two of my favorite pieces of choreography of the season. The dances both just seem so sweet and heartfelt, as do the dancers. I just want them to get married. Is that too much to ask?
• “Rama Lama Bang Bang” — I was completely obsessed with this performance on the show. I definitely missed the staircase and the crazy make-up, but still an amazing number.
• Solos: Benji, Alison, Ivan and Natalie were standouts for me. Benji showed us some skin and his usual amazing moves; Alison strayed a bit from her usual fluid/jumpy moves but remained spectacular; Ivan did a great performance to Justin Timberlake’s “My Love”; and Natalie brought some of her usual emotion.
• Benji and Heidi. If any of my cousins could dance like that, maybe I would have stuck with dancing!
• Tranji…so adorable and great!
• SexyBack…I LOVE LOVE LOVED this number with the whole group. I got a nice dose of the final 4, but it was an added bonus to have the extended number with the whole group.
• The Fosse montage…I know this isn’t the most acrobatic dance like some of them, but I always enjoy a good Fosse number, and I especially love watching Alison in this dance. It’s just a cute number that strays from some of the other fast-paced, almost frantic dances. I think the costumes were adorable, too.
• Too Much Booty…NEVER too much booty as far as I’m concerned! Love seeing Donyelle and Benji together again in the performance that was their debut as a couple on the show.
Things I could have done without (in no particular order):
• Ryan’s scary diaper pants in his solo. Wha happen’d?
• Jaymz. I know he was an understudy and was there to fill in when the other guys needed time to change for another number, but I just never liked him. I wish Musa had been there. Although, I think Jaymz was only in 2 numbers (“Rama Lama” and “Cellblock Tango” maybe?) so I guess it wasn’t THAT bad…but I just never thought he was that great.
• Donyelle’s solo & costume choice. I loved her throughout the show, but this number seemed a little sloppy and she didn’t seem to have that “spark.” The costume was not flattering (a strange red dress-type thing over blue tights) and I just didn’t get it.
• Some of the chit-chat between numbers. Benji, Natalie, Heidi and Donyelle were mostly painless in their delivery, but I just wanted to cry for the awkwardness of some, especially Ivan, Alison, and Dmitry, when they had to come to the mic. It was just very unnatural!
• The weird costumes for the finale when everyone came out to reprise “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” I get the whole Hairspray 50s thing, but come on now — Ivan in a sweater with a poodle on it? It seemed to be a bit too much. But whatever, I still loved it!
After the show is when the excitement continued for Kelli and I…we stood out by the stage door (which actually turned into an entire city block barricaded) to get photos taken with all of the dancers! And yes, we met EVERY SINGLE DANCER. The show was over at 10:30 and I don’t think the first dancer came out till 11:30, but it was sooo worth the wait! Jessica was first, followed by Alison, Ivan, and then the rest of the group.
Jessica- really sweet to everyone. Stopped and chatted, hugged a group of girls who said they were ballerinas like her, and told us all about how she wears high heels everywhere (after she nearly fell through a grate in the street!).
Alison- adorable and SO TINY! I felt like an oaf next to her. She was also chatty with people and I think some of the other dancers actually passed her in the autograph line because she said she “likes to get to know people!” It was so cute.
Ivan- of course you already know I love him, but he was also very sweet to everyone. Actually seemed a bit more shy but seemed to generally appreciate and be humbled by the attention.
Jaymz- seemed to want to talk to anyone who cared…sorry, I just don’t like him!!!
Travis- so funny and the girls were just fawning over him (I think maybe they’re too young to get the whole “he’s not your type” idea…). Kelli and I got a picture with him and she asked if she could touch his spikey hair. He ate it up! Such a good sport.
Heidi- wow and I thought Alison was tiny! This girl is Petite with a capital P. Very sweet, not as talkative, but patient with everyone’s autograph and photo requests.
Martha- maybe the most personable and natural. She seemed to just banter with everyone about anything and everything. We made a comment about her fabulous sparkly eye shadow that was still on and she joked how she used to be “the butch girl who would never wear make-up”! So funny!
Dmitry- very nice but quiet. Still seems genuinely flattered by all the female attention. Kelli got a picture with him and asked if she could touch his chest. I nearly peed myself — the photo is priceless!
Donyelle- she is stunning in person. Seriously, those eyes are just amazing. I really hope they’re not colored contacts. But regardless, she is lovely and was friendly with everyone. Not necessarily chatty, but overall nice and patient with the photo and autograph requests. She was concerned that she blinked in our picture, which was nice that she was willing to re-take it (but she didn’t blink so we didn’t have to!).
Natalie- okay, I have to tell you how disappointed I was with her. I always had mixed feelings about Natalie, as she is an amazing dancer but her facial expressions can sometimes bug me. But I’ve tried, really tried, to like her. Well she was the ONLY dancer who rushed through the line signing whatever people held out for her, without ever really looking at anyone or seeming interested/flattered by the attention. She wouldn’t pose for any pictures (at least at our end of the barricade), saying to the girl next to me “I’m sorry sweetie I really don’t have time” in a worried whisper, but there were still a few other dancers behind her in line so it wasn’t like she was holding up the busses or anything. I just thought it was a little bit of a diva move. Who knows, maybe she had family waiting backstage or something else going on, but it was just disappointing.
Ryan- a lot friendlier than I imagined. I don’t know why but he always came across as a little uptight on the show. Honestly though he was very nice and made an effort to talk to everyone. After I took a picture of him with the girl standing next to us, he whispered to me if I could show him the picture because he wanted to make sure you could see his eyes under his hat. I thought that was nice that he cared what other people’s pictures turned out like! Or maybe he just cared what he looked like…but whatever, he was friendly J
Benji- the last to come through the line, and even more lovely and genuine in person than I could ever imagine. I think he was last because he took so much time talking to his fans. He took a picture with us and had his arms tightly wrapped around me and Kelli — he seemed honestly excited to pose with every single person in that crowd. I thanked him and said “you are amazing, congratulations” and he looked me in the eye and said “thank you sooo much.” It just seemed entirely genuine and heartfelt. He certainly deserved to win the competition with those moves, but his personality and humility make him absolutely the perfect person to have won.
Anyway, it was a completely amazing night…Kelli and I giggled the whole way home! I just can’t wait for season 3 so I can begin my obsession again and I can work on getting tickets for the next tour!