So You Think You Can Dance Tour Report - Seattle!

Well folks, you've been waiting a long time and here are some photos from the opening night show in Seattle! Thanks to Teri Jo for the pics and I hope to bring you her report soon.

by Teri Jo

click on photos to enlarge

copied from CG Anderson's site

In the meantime, here is the report from CG Anderson, a writer/blogger from Seattle. Please check her site out! It's got some great bits.

REVIEW: So You Think You Can Dance LIVE Tour 2006 Seattle Premier September 12, 2006

Benji Schwimmer, Travis Wall, Heidi Groskreutz, Donyelle Jones, Ivan Koumaev, Natalie Fotopoulos, Allison Holker, Ryan Rankine, Martha Nichols and Dimitry Chaplin Rock the House at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle!

FOX's summer hit, So You Think You Can Dance kicked off its first ever LIVE tour at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA last night. The top ten dancers from the second season put on a stunning show for fans and critics alike.

Local son, Ivan Koumaev, season two winner Swing Specialist Benji Schwimmer and runners up Contemporary specialist Travis Wall, Latin specialist Heidi Groskreutz (Benji's actual cousin) and Hip Hop bootie-diva Donyelle Jones all gave stand-out performances as did the entire cast of the top ten—proving that they are indeed an exceptional group of young up-and-coming dancers.

The ten-week national tour sold out in just under thirty minutes, even with the addition of two extra performances (only on the east coast, sorry, folks.) The talented cast face a long, grueling road schedule, so one can only hope that the screaming fans and appreciative crowds will make the journey easier—and injury free.

My personal favorite Travis Wall was welcomed just as heartily as hometown boy, Ivan Koumaev. Wall gave several brilliant performances, most of them favorites from the television series already but also including one that he had apparently choreographed himself just for the road show—showcasing his talent as an emerging choreographer as well.

Several of the favorite routines, both the show pieces done by the cast and the individual, short competition pieces done by the pairs, were included in the show including the "Rama lama ding dong," "Chicago," and "SexyBack" routines (the SexyBack routine was lengthened to include the entire cast and the Rama piece was cut down because it now has only 10 dancers.) Travis Wall, Ivan Koumaev, Heidi Groskreutz and Benji Swimmer were also standouts in their short solo pieces as was a spanish solo number by Dmitry Chaplin (and yes, the Ryan and Heidi 'bongo' number is in there, too, as is the 'Gyrate' aka 'Nerdolicious Tranji' number.)

This is not to detract from the fact that everyone of the ten were absolutely wonderful to watch—there just isn't time or space to cover everything in the two and a half hour show (including breaks—for the audience, since I'm sure the performers were running around non-stop before, during and after.) It was an opening night and there were bobbles though—nothing major and nothing that the fans wouldn't forgive. Many of the pieces weren't as polished as they had been during their original debut on the television show and others were more polished. Some of the competition pieces that were not altered or lengthened were noticeable in their uneasy brevity and odd cut-off. Given that the ten dancers had only ten days to pull the show together (even given the fact that almost all were pieces they had already done before), and that it was a grueling and tiring amount of dancing to do, it was a very polished and professional show—not to mention highly entertaining.

The show has not been without controversy and many viewers are still turned off by the need to show and embarrass the worst dancers (in the video segments of the TV show that were also shown during the live show) that tried out. It's unfortunately something that American Idol made popular (making fun of others, including ones that don't realize that they are 'bad' and then filming them as they are humiliated into tears) and now seems a standard requirement for any talent oriented reality show. That is a shame, a true shame.

There has also been a great deal of (shall we say?) discussion as to the sexual orientation of several of the dancers, especially on the show's website. Wisely, the producers and the FOX network took the high road and simply ignored the debate and didn't encourage their contestants to discuss it either. The rarified world of dance is likely a bit different from the realities of a hit TV series, especially considering the demographics targeted, and while the performer should never be confused with the performance, in television, knowing too much about the private life of a contestant can negatively affect ratings sometimes—especially when the performers are male. So kudos to FOX for clamping down on the gossip, even with Travis Wall's unfortunate choice in MySpace website name.

It's all to the good for fans looking to connect to their favorite dancer and find out more about their career and life, since most (possibly all?) of the contestants have MySpace profile sites now, but hopefully most of them seem to be more conservative in website name choice, not to mention easier to find if the sitename is based on their actual name. (I didn't check all of them.) It's always a tragedy when a brilliant performance is overshadowed by all things that rightly should remain private (even for "public" individuals --not just sex but anything of a sexual, drug, private, etc. focus--unless they choose to make it public themselves)—and especially since some of these very young dancers might find themselves being targeted and pulled into politically hot debates because of such incautious and potentially "Hollywood-career at least" damaging behavior. Luckily, the world of dance shouldn't care and will likely embrace this talented crop of names-in-the-making. The fans certainly don't mind.

However, since the show is sold-out and basically only to fans of the show, any dancing missteps, hiccups or curtailed dance routines (as well as any image issues) shouldn't be a problem. The show itself is worth the price of admission and FOX and the show's producers will hopefully realize that they should quickly get the season 2 DVD out for sale—assuming they are going to do a DVD of the second season. The collateral for sale at the Seattle opening was disappointing, from the quickie 'program' that didn’t include any photos or information on the show itself (just the ten very very very short bios—their pictures were nice though--plus two small photos of the understudies) and the T-shirts for sale were even more disappointing. This event, with better T-shirts, programs and other merchandising, could have made a small fortune based on the enthusiasm of the crowd. Perhaps the producers will do better in that regard with the later cities. Seattle got the short end of the stick in that situation—but happily, getting to see the premier definitely makes up for it.

If you've got tickets, don't scalp them. You want to see this show, especially if you're a fan. Congratulations, FOX, So You Think You Can Dance Producers, cast and crew. Keep up the momentum!

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