So you think you can Dance is back on our UK screens and as we love everything to do with dance, we here at Dancemania will be watching it religiously from week to week. It is so refreshing to see so many talented dancers from across the genres all in one competition, but we can’t help but judge their dancewear and dance shoes as much as their talent.
This year they are taking the show up a notch and so far have really put all the dancers through their paces. The judges are looking for the best of the best and were not afraid of telling everyone what they really thought throughout the audition process and choreography camp. But as the weak fell, the strong emerged and our twenty finalists were born!
Who are the Contestants on So you think you can dance?
Below is a little snippet of the profiles of each contestant!
Contemporary dancer Alice grew up in Lancaster. Since studying at Phil Winston’s College, Alice has worked at Disneyland Paris. She has also worked in the States in Spirit of the Dance and La Grand Cirque for which she had to learn Irish dancing in just one week. Since having her hair dyed red, Alice has been told on numerous occasions that she resembles superstar Rihanna, however Alice wants to be known in her own right!
Originally from Devon, Jazz dancer and dance teacher Bethany Rose lives in London. Bethany Rose trained at Arts Educational School and shared a dorm with last year’s winner of SYTYCD, Charlie Bruce. Bethany Rose realises they are “very similar in style and look” which she hopes works to her advantage. Bethany Rose wanted her solo in the audition to come across as “feisty” and differ from other Jazz dancers. She says “hopefully I’ll be able to blag my way through anything thrown at me but I am slightly worried about hip hop as I have a bad habit of making it look sexy.”
Originally from Southampton, 19 year old contortionist and Hip Hop dancer Charlie is currently living in London and studying a foundation degree at Circus Space. Charlie started dancing at a very young age when he did Ballet classes alongside gymnastics. It wasn’t until he was 16 that Charlie started to take dance seriously and he began teaching himself contortion break dancing. He says “I think I offer something different to the competition as I try to do things that nobody else can, I can’t wait for the audience to see my crazy flexible tricks.”
Happy-go-lucky and self confessed girly girl Charlotte, 19, is a Jazz dancer from Watford. She is in her second year studying dance at Urdang College. Charlotte says her worst habit is “frowning when dancing as it causes wrinkles and coming across as too cheesy when nervous.” As she is in the middle of her studies, Charlotte wasn’t planning on auditioning for SYTYCD this year but decided to at the last minute when her grandmother persuaded her to give it a go.
Danielle is a real family girl and loves nothing more than relaxing at home, “I am a normal girl from a loving family, determined to do my best. I have a real passion and I am doing the show to relight the fire in my heart and soul and really dance again.” The 24 year old’s first job after graduating was the part of Iris in Fame in London’s West End. She then moved on be part of the ensemble in the pantomime, Peter Pan, followed by the ensemble in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang before resuming her role of Iris on the tour. Her latest role was in the ensemble in We Will Rock You at The Dominion Theatre. She felt very lucky to be on stage with Brian May and hopes she’ll be as lucky on SYTYCD.
Gian Luca Loddo
At 32, Gian Luca is the oldest dancer in the competition. He is a passionate Italian Contemporary dancer and male model who moved to London last year. He says “I am doing SYTYCD because I want to show what I have learnt in my lifetime; I am not afraid to show I’m an interesting performer with a strong personality and a sensitive side, Italians do it better.” He has been told he resembles Charlie Chaplin and likes to think he has “the same elegance of an old fashioned movie star”.
18 year old Hip Hop dancer Israel is the youngest in the competition. He describes himself as “laid back and sometimes shy”, but he feels he comes out of his shell when he dances. He says “I grew up in a rough area so if I hadn’t discovered dance I’d probably be going down a completely different path to where I am today.” Israel initially didn’t have the confidence to apply for SYTYCD as he didn’t know if he was ready or experienced enough, so he was very happy to be proved wrong by the judges’ decision to include him in the final 20!
Contemporary dancer Katie currently lives in Sidcup. She has always been experimental with her hair and loves her new pink look, she says it adds to her rock chick image. Katie started dancing at two years old. At 16, she studied theatre performance at Bird College before working front of house at Wicked in the West End, followed by a cruise ship job, which she absolutely hated. Katie now teaches theatre workshops in Bird’s and has formed her own company, Default Theatre. Contemplating the live shows, Katie says “I hope my strengths lie in the fact that I’m well-trained and a quick learner with a good eye for detail.”
Katrina is a part-time dance teacher and the only Ballerina in the competition. She moved to London aged 13 to study at the Royal Ballet School where she won an Ursula Moreton Award for choreography. She then moved on to train at Central School of Dance to gain experience in other styles. Katrina feels she is “very much against the norm” as not many Ballet dancers would put themselves forward for SYTYCD. She has always loved other styles and found it hard to contain herself at ballet school so now is her time to break free.
Bubbly Jazz teacher Kirsty, lives with her boyfriend in Banstead, Surrey. Partially deaf, Kirsty began dancing aged 7 and attended the Brits School aged 14-16, where she studied Contemporary and Jazz. She then trained at Laine Theatre Arts. The 29 year old entered the competition because she still feels that there is something inside her left to give, she says “if I’m not dancing, there is something missing in my life.”
Jazz dancer Lee describes himself as “androgynous and artistic” and says “because of my look, people don’t know where to place me and won’t use me in a line up of dancers, I hope SYTYCD will prove that it’s OK to be an individual, have your own style, that you can stand out and succeed.” After training at Italia Conti in London from 12 years old, he bagged himself an agent and went straight into ensemble for Wicked in the West End. Since then, Lee has done various jobs including dancing in Goldfrapp’s Alive music video and modelling for fashion magazines, including British Vogue.
Hip Hop dancer Lee is known as Reckless Lee for his crazy break dancing moves. As a B-Boy (Break dancer), Lee says that everything is a battle so he hopes he can “battle and win SYTYCD” and he is ready for anything. Lee admits “my weakness is my lack of experience but I can be moulded whereas other dancers can’t easily change.”
Jazz dancer Luke started dancing aged 11 when he was the only boy in class. As he was shy, he used to keep his dancing a secret from pupils at school. Luke says “I’m laid back and down-to-earth but more focused on the show than anything in ages, I can be shy but not when performing.” After studying at Laines Theatre Arts, Luke’s first job was in the ensemble of Saturday Night Fever. Following that, he performed in Copa Cabana in Denmark and then the West End show Phantom of the Opera. Other jobs include being ensemble in Cats and swing and dance captain in Grease. He has recently finished being swing in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Tap dancer Matt is originally from Scarborough but moved to London aged 16. Matt attended a street dance class and then, whilst playing a scarecrow in a school production of Wizard of Oz, he snuck into the girls’ changing rooms – he then knew dance was for him! Matt explains his reason for appearing SYTYCD: “I want to bring Tap back and make it accessible to everyone by infusing old fashioned Tap dancing with tricks and Break dancing.”
Brazilian Hip Hop dancer Rithy lived in Sao Paolo until she was 10 years old, she moved to be with her mother who had already emigrated to Zurich. Her grandparents helped raise her and she is still very close to them. Rithy feels that her passion for dance is innate as all Brazilians love music and dance! When she started, Rithy was the youngest member of dance group Culture Shock and they have since taken part in competitions all over the world.
At 6’4″, Contemporary ‘Aussie’ dancer Shane is the tallest dancer in the competition. Shane is from Perth, Australia but left at the age of 18. He moved to London last year and hopes SYTYCD is his big break. Shane was a gymnast when he was younger but was told he was too tall so he went to dance lessons instead. From the age of 16, Shane trained at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Latin dancer Stephanie began dancing aged four. She is very close to her parents and describes them as “incredible, encouraging and have sacrificed a lot” in order for her and her siblings to pursue their careers. Stephanie has since worked as dance captain and swing in Dirty Dancing in London’s West End, as a backing dancer for Cheryl Coleand most recently as Cha Cha in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, London.
Tom began dancing aged 16 and is open about the fact that he started in order to meet girls! At 19, Tom joined Laines Theatre Arts where he studied contemporary dance, musical theatre, singing and drama. Whilst at Laines, Tom performed at The Royal Variety Show, dancing with Meat Loaf and Jamelia. Tom is never normally without his trademark flat cap, which he wears everyday, even when dancing. He describes himself as a “lad’s lad who isn’t afraid to follow dreams”.
Sadly Paige Smith and Ryan Jenkins have both been eliminated in the first elimination show.
As SYTYCD goes on, the competition is going to get increasingly harder and I feel there is already a few dancers which are standing out. From the first live elimination there were a few surprises in the bottom four and it goes to show no one is safe in a competition such as this. The judges are being particularly picky this year and soon they will start showing who their personal favourites are.
Brazilian dancer Rithiely Pereia danced beautifully in her Broadway style duet with Australian dancer Shane Collard. To see her transition from hard, tough hip hop dancer to sexy, elegant Broadway lovely was both refreshing and great to see true talent. Also everyone was thrilled to see Ballet dancer Katrina Lyndon absolutely smash the hip hop routine she was given. Again you can tell a a true talented dancer from how well they adapt and Katrina certainly did that. Her partner Tom was also very versatile and gave a good solid performance which I feel the judges should of commended him more for that.
Latin dancer Stephanie Powell performed her ‘save me’ solo in a sassy and saucy manner which received positive feedback from the judges. Stephaine is definitely one to watch and although she had a bad start, I think she is going to go from strength to strength throughout the coming series. Everyone that was in the bottom four gave stunning performances and to be honest anyone of them could of stayed. Losing dancers Paige and Ryan was very sad.
Kirsty and Lee B both shocked both the judges and audience with their beautiful contemporary dance to Adele’s “Turning Tables”. The unlikely pairs different and unique styles entwined together fantastically, creating a haunting but stunning performance. Both Lee B and Kirsty have come a long way from their first auditions, who both received criticism from the judges. It is a good job they stayed in hey!!
UK’s Favourite Dancer not best Dancer
As any talent competition there are those who will ‘win the hearts’ of the viewers. In the UK we are suckers for a ‘rags to riches’ story and SYTYCD is no different. Although this year the producers of the show have taken another spin on the normal style talent show and are asking the viewers to actually pick their favourite, which means their favourite contestant will not necessarily be the most talented in the competition. Saying that though, almost every contestant is really talented and who ever wins will do the UK proud, so it is a win win situation! So who is your favourite dancer? Well we are just going to have to wait and see…..
If you fancy having a go at dancing and are looking for some dancewear, why not check out Dancemania for all your dance wear needs!
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