Season 9 of "So You Think You Can Dance" premiered last week and, once again, it delivered beauty, grace, and a supportive environment. While it brings the art of dance to the forefront on mainstream entertainment, "SYTYCD" also supports the underdog and encourages growth in all areas of form. The show has been influential for so many seasons that now kids who began studying because of the series are showing up to the auditions; it has inspired people to become dancers. And as if that all weren't enough, here are five specific reasons to love "So You Think You Can Dance."
1. 'So You Think You Can Dance' Gives People the Will to Live.
When Leo Reyes stepped onto the stage he admitted that his mom had recently attempted suicide. While she is fine now, he stated he was dancing to give her a reason to live. He realized that "life isn't forever. You're not guaranteed tomorrow." And so he needed to use the talent he was given to make his mother proud. The song he chose, Drake's "Look What You've Done," was punctuated with lyrics about suffering and pain, and his dance was partly pantomimed to the words that cut all too close for the young dancer. His fellow auditioners gave him a standing ovation for his heartfelt performance and head judge Nigel Lythgoe gave him a ticket to Vegas.
2. 'So You Think You Can Dance' Proves It's Never Too Late.
Mother of two Bree Hafen had put her dance career on hold to raise her kids. But eventually she realized her love of the art was too strong, and she needed to pursue her dream. At the age of 29, with her husband and children by her side, she auditioned for "So You Think You Can Dance." Lythgoe invited 5-year-old Luke and 2-year-old Stella to sit at the judges' table to watch their mom dance. After she wowed them all, Luke handed her a ticket to Vegas, and Stella joined her mom on stage and performed her own audition. She may be too young to qualify this year, but she'll be back.
3. 'So You Think You Can Dance' Reaches Into Your Soul.
Street dancer Hampton Williams revealed to the judges that he had created a new dance form called "Exorcist Style." He explained that through his movements he can take your soul, interpret your fear, and get rid of your pain. He said when he's done, "You'll look at life in a different way." The judges looked at him like he was certifiable, and the audience was so stunned you could hear crickets. But the amazing part was, he was right. By the time he finished his dance to "My Immortal" by Evanescence, judge Mary Murphy and every dancer in the auditorium was brought to tears. Lythgoe commented, "You are an artist. I think you may be a genius."
4. 'So You Think You Can Dance' Makes Moms Proud.
Jarell Rochelle's mom was told that it was just a matter of time before she would be completely blind. With her eyesight failing, Rochelle was more determined than ever to make it as a dancer so she could see him, even just once, perform on a big stage. And so Lythgoe brought Rochelle's mom closer, and they all looked on while he danced to a celebratory song that repeated the hook "It's good to see you again." He was able to look right into his mom's eyes as he danced a stunning audition. Judge Lil' C stated, "Every millisecond of that performance touched me." Mom handed Rochelle his ticket to Vegas.
5. 'So You Think You Can Dance' Always Supports the Underdog.
When Sam Shreffler stepped on to the stage, he was immediately pegged as someone who should most likely not be bothering to audition for a dance competition. But while speaking with the judges and divulging that he was on the Autism spectrum, a lot was revealed about the show. He explained that his condition made him feel like his memory was addled and that he was a social wallflower. Lythgoe encouraged him, applauding "the very fact that you've got the guts to get on that stage." Although his lyrical freestyle was less than stellar, Shreffler finished his dance beaming with pride saying when he dances he feels "free to express myself." Lythgoe urged him, "Whatever you do, don't stop dancing." The audience of dancers honored him by waving their arms in the "Ocean" move Shreffler had invented. He left the theater victorious despite not winning a ticket to Vegas.
Watch "So You Think You Can Dance" on Wednesday nights at 8pm EST/7pm Central on FOX.
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