So You Think You Can Dance Recap : AlekSandra and Ben Susak Are Eliminated

So You Think You Can Dance Recap : AlekSandra and Ben Susak Are Eliminated
By JBey
 
Great show, not a premise I’m that fond of.  I mean, this is a show about how good individual dancers are, but they’re paired up and if you (like poor Dmitry) keep getting lousy partners, you’ll find yourself in the bottom ranking and forced to “dance for your life.” 
 
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see truly random pairings o­n occasion, not this mess where a good partner is routinely disadvantaged by lack of a strong dancer to be paired with.  It’s not that we can’t see two guys or girls dancing ensemble.  Perhaps next year.


Now o­nto this week’s show.  Didn’t go as I would have liked, but I’m not hired to judge the show either.  So, o­n with it!
 
Benji and Donyelle were the cutest things ever!  It helped to know the back story was that he was a DJ enamored with her supermodel self.  And the dance was his enticement while she dominated the whole thing.  I was a little concerned, as this had the potential to turn into clothed porn by less skilled dancers.  But I needn’t have feared- this dance reminded me of something that came from a more wholesome time past. 
Donyelle is striking to watch.  She’s very strong and precise, which does show she comes from a “trained” background, but she’s also quite feminine and fun.  Benji is goofy, but in that I-hope-he-gets-the-girl-anyway style.  Together they do have good chemistry, and I can’t wait to see more of them. 
 
Martha and Travis, although panned by the judges for being too distinct and “dancing as two individuals,” are really the couple to beat.  Dancing a hip-hop number, the mismatch was that she was fluid with hers and he was sharp and precise.  The judges thought they should have both chosen o­ne style.  I say, BUNK!
These are two amazing performers- Martha is beautiful in her lines and fluidity.  She moves like a panther, almost slinky but powerfully.  This woman must have some royal bloodline someplace because all of her movements- even in Daisy Dukes and 3 or 4 inch heels- are purely regal.  She is well matched by Travis.  I haven’t seen such a combination of boyish playfulness and masculine energy at o­nce.  I’m still wowed by the first time we met these dancers- doing a Fosse-type comedic number, and this guy is a true showman.  He can dance, he can act a role.  I wonder if he sings.  These two are a joy to watch, and still the couple to beat.
 
Musa and Natalie have been having some trouble.  She’s a lyrical/jazz dancer, and he’s a hip-hopper/funk dancer.  He’s definitely benefited from her training and technique.  But keep in mind, she’s paired with arguably the best male dancer to watch.  Mind you- I’m not saying Musa’s technique isn’t suspect, I am saying that to the untrained eye, this is a man you can’t take your eyes off.  Musa has incredible control of his body, and for a man, he moves his hips superbly.  Get your minds out of the gutter!  In the 30s, there was a dancer called Earl Tucker, “Snake Hips.”  He was known for this undulation that would mesmerize anyone who saw him perform.  Musa has that same power over his audience.  Plus, as a fitness model, Musa is a pleasure to look at anyway.  Technique aside, this guy is gonna get the votes from fans.  Natalie has strong technique and great personality.  These features will carry this pair, but I fear as the weaker dancers fall, this pair will have to make up for their lack of great technique. 
 
Ivan and Allison.  Ivan and Allison.  Ivan and Allison.  Who are these two performers?  They’re surely not the o­nes who were commended for not tripping o­nstage during their last performance!  The Argentine Tango they were to perform really had me biting my nails.  Ivan’s a hip-hopper who has no experience with a female dance partner, and he was charged with dancing the most sensual, seductive and dangerous dance of all!  Whew.  What this pair performed was truly magical! 
I felt the passion between them.  This is a competitive dance of sensual o­ne-upmanship, and Allison was a worthy opponent.  She was quick and with good presence.  Her upper and lower body stayed in the character- I almost believe she and Ivan were locked in a dancing duel.  And what a delightful draw it was.  Ivan’s not getting outdanced by his partner anymore.  This little boy has grown up!  And Allison was just the woman to bring out the new man we see here.  I’m holding my breath in anticipation to see what this pair brings us next!
 
Ashlee and Ben should have had this all sewn up.  Ashlee is a pop and lock dancer, and this is right up her alley as she and Ben match wits- or hands and at the end she rips off his shirt.  Ben gets criticized for being stiff, although the judges like Ashlee.  Were you watching the same performance I saw?  Ben, with no hip-hop anywhere in his background is an asset to the show.  He really reminds me of Mick Jagger.  Not that he’s the best dancer you’ll ever see, and we know he’s just learning to lift a partner, but this is a guy whose personality is big and theatrical and it comes across positively in his performance.  Ben is memorable and funny, and yes, he can actually dance too.  As we watched in his solo- he’s got great spins, wonderful lines, and a fiery spirit.  Hello dear judges, audiences pay to see that!  But alas, not o­n this show.  Ben will, I’m sure, be leading some Broadway cast quite shortly.
 
Dmitry and Aleksandra.  Although Nigel apologized for bringing up “Corpse Bride,” while watching this couple, I don’t think he was far off the mark.  Dmitry is a dream male lead.  He’s a fantastic dancer in his own right, he’s strong enough to perform lifts and drops that seem effortless, and he exudes passion in all that he does.  So in this waltz, he was forced to carry a limp and rhythm less partner.  And while she fully deserved to be in the bottom three, she wrongly carried an unfairly dragged down dancer with her.  Dmitry’s solo was sexy- he too has good movement through his hips- nowhere near Musa, but they’re not going head to head.  Good spins, nice flexibility and excellent tempo to the Latin music.  He is a controlled performer, and that reserved style suits him.
On the other hand, the judges couldn’t have made a better call in kicking Aleksandra off the show.  Good riddance to her and the staples(!) in her hair!  Her solo was frantic and pointless.  Just whirling like a dervish and leaping around (no great toe points, bent legs, sloppy in its appearnce!) does not a dancer make.  Good call judges.  There are thousands of girls in dance schools around the country who do just this.  Aleksandra in special in no way at all.
 
Finally, I get to Jaymz and Jessica.  I was wholly unimpressed by this pairing.  They wore flowing cotton outfits and danced all over the stage.  The story to their dance is that they’re a couple in trouble and she chases him and he finally loves the “beauty in the breakdown” and softens toward her.  Though the judges liked this, I know the rest of the country say two dancers flailing across the stage and rolling atop o­ne another.  There was no emotional chemistry, the story was lost and the performance looked like o­ne of those weird, dreamy foreign films condensed to ninety seconds.  Her solo wasn’t much better, Jessica appeared rather like a cheerleader putting o­n for an audience.  She frantically jerked about and shook her backside and twirled a little.  But for the fact that staple-haired Aleksandra was so bad, Jessica would have been out of there! 

It is truly a travesty that Jaymz remains o­n this show and Ben is gone.  Ben shouldn’t have said that he put “zero” effort into his solo, but the fact is, Jaymz was pathetic in his solo.  He fell out of every turn he attempted.  He was off beat and in no way connected to his music and there wasn’t a pretty line or a real technique at any point.  Ben was robbed.  Jaymz had better make the audience cry with delight in his next dance, or he’s sure to go the way of Ben and Aleksandra.  And rightfully so.



Aleksandra Wojda



Ben Susak

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