‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Season 12 tour brings dancers to life

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Top 10 dancers from Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance” performed at the Wharton Center on Nov. 22.

Dance and SYTYCD fans alike were not disappointed with the high level of energy that each dancer brought to the stage with back-to-back routines.

This season was different because there were more group dances choreographed. There was a perfect balance between “stage” type dances and “street” type dances, and the tour really reflected this year’s competition with footage from each team’s mentor.

The dancers have been on tour long enough and know the routines so well that people who have not followed the show might not have even guessed which team each dancer was on. Although there weren’t costume changes for each and every dance, the audience was impressed by the stamina of the dancers.

Longtime fan of the show, dancer and Michigan State University senior Ashley Day said, “They have to change costumes frequently and in a very small amount of time and yet still deliver amazing performances without showing how tired they are.”

One of the biggest challenges the tour has to overcome coming from the competition is connecting the dances and creating a cohesive performance as a whole. That’s what is also great about being a fan of the show and seeing the tour; you see your favorite dances and new routines that are created specially for the tour.

For some fans, watching the dancers come together to perform live is just the cherry on top of a great season.

“I also love that the audience picks their favorite dancer rather than the ‘best’ dancer because dance is not something that can be perfected,” Day said, “There’s always room to grow, which is what the dancers do on the show.”

Every single number was either mesmerizing and emotional or pumped up. The group hip-hop routines were upbeat and engaging while the group contemporary dances drew the audience in. Although each solo dance was short, we were able to catch a glimpse of each dancer’s dance roots. The only tap number was performed by none other than season winner Gaby Diaz and the only ballet routine was performed by Darion Flores.

Posted in ReviewsComments (0)

High expectations for Kevin Hart

High expectations for Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart will perform at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Nov. 24. Photo via Creative Commons.

Kevin Hart will perform at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Nov. 24. Photo via Creative Commons.

Actor and comedian Kevin Hart will be at the Breslin Center on Nov. 24 and will be performing 100 percent new material, and therefore will not have any media covering the event.

Residence Hall Association Special Events Director Russell James said, “I’m upset that the weather didn’t allow us to have a 5k with Kevin, but the new standup is going to be phenomenal.”

This is the first time Michigan State Univeristy’s Residence Hall Association and ASMSU have joined forces to “collaborate so we could make the students tickets more affordable,” said James.

The show is a fraction of Hart’s normal prices thanks to both organizations, something that has been in the works since the summer.

“We moved mountains with this show so to speak, we got Kevin Hart for a great deal compared to what his shows usual cost promoters,” James said.

James said that they chose Hart due to his universal appeal. “He brings out a diverse group of students from all backgrounds and also he has appeal thru his movies in addition to his stand up comedy,” he added.

As for future events by RHA, James hopes that there will be more collaborations, “so we can have big events like this that bring out thousands of spartans to enjoy our campus.”

A general tip for anyone going to see the show: Due to the agreement the organizers have with Hart, don’t use your phone during the show.

Posted in Arts & CultureComments (0)

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Season 12 tour promises to amaze

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Season 12 tour promises to amaze

The “So You Think You Can Dance” tour will return to the Wharton Center stage in East Lansing, Mich., on Sunday, Nov. 22. Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance” was the first season where contestants were not based on their gender, but by what each competitor considered themselves; either a “Stage” dancer or a “Street” dancer. The tour features the top 10 finalists, with five from each category. The performance will include the best dances from the competition.

On left, Jaja Vankova and Gaby Diaz, on right, perform. Photo courtesy via

On left, Jaja Vankova and Gaby Diaz, on right, performing on season 12 of SYTYCD. Photo via “So You Think You Can Dance.”

For this year’s winner Gaby Diaz, who actually got into the competition based on her audition in Detroit, the tour has been “pretty incredible.” Like many who have been on the show, she has been a fan since the first season. She has had many friends on the show throughout the seasons and after hearing their stories, Diaz could not have been more ecstatic to win.

Fans can set expectations high for the show. The finale will be a fun number and Team Stage’s Edson Juarez’s favorite dance of the tour is the “last dance of the first act, it’s so full out,” he said.

Diaz also said that competing on the show is very different than being on tour, since the show features back-to-back dances with a very short intermission. From competition to tour, they work extremely hard each night to bring an incredible performance.

It has been an incredible journey for the Top 10 dancers, but not without challenges. Juarez suffered from strep throat during the first week and dehydration. Diaz passed out during the dress rehearsal for the finale.

“I just passed out and woke up and saw people hovering over me,” she said, “That was scary.”

Juarez’s next steps after the tour are to go back home to see his kids and move to Los Angeles in order to continue his dancing career. Juarez also said that he was excited to see his aunt who lives in Detroit. For fans of Diaz, you’ll be excited to see her on stage knowing that she will be joining Jennifer Lopez at her residency in Las Vegas after the tour.

“We hope to see you guys out there,” Diaz said, “and we look forward to meeting you!”

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arts & CultureComments (0)

Review: Dirty Dancing at the Wharton Center

Review: Dirty Dancing at the Wharton Center

A great balance between music and dance, this Broadway adaptation of “Dirty Dancing” captivates and keeps you on your toes with humorous anecdotes. Not straying very far from the original story line, there is an even bigger emotional connection to the characters of Baby and Johnny as their time on stage allows their chemistry to grow. Gillian Abbott (“Baby”) encompasses the true spirit of her character and flawlessly convinces that she had nothing in her repertoire at the start of the show. Full of quality, show-stopping dance numbers, this show does not disappoint both the dance and musical lover with two smaller cast members stealing the show. Doug Carpenter (“Billy Kostecki”) and Jennlee Shallow (“Ensemble”) with their duet and individual solos are what really sent audiences cheering through the roof.

The key factor that makes this musical so unique is the balance between the music and dance talent.

“I think it’s special like that,” Christopher Tierney said. “As leads of the show we have our parts, but it’s great that you get these other two singers who who get to be their own leads.”

Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University

Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University

The show basically gives you two tiers of people enjoying the show, and the characters for different reasons. The live music on set certainly helps, of course.

The diversity of this production’s cast shows on and off stage. Lead actor Christopher Tierney, who plays Johnny Castle, has the most experience with the show as this is his second tour of “Dirty Dancing” with the same director.

His dance experience started at the young age of 12. “I got that bug and I just kept making the next right choice,” he said. “I joined dance companies, met great choreographers who brought me to great movie directors, who also brought me to Broadway.”

A fun fact from Tierney: he never watched the original film to study his character. This may come as a surprising fact because the consensus reigns that Tierney actually looks very much, and even sounds like Patrick Swayze!

On the other end of the spectrum, this is Jenny Winton’s first Broadway production. Winton plays Penny in the show and although her character flows on the dance floor with ballroom dance, she is classically trained in ballet.

On her connection with her character, she said, “I’ve just drawn on certain things in my life and we both share the passion for dance.”

Winton commented that since her character has multiple layers, it really gives her the opportunity to express parts of her personality that not everyone sees. Dancing on “Dirty Dancing” has opened many new doors for Winton and she wants to continue to explore her options in theatre and dance.

“I think it’s a story, that no matter what generation you’re in, you can relate to,” Winton said. “The passion for dancing and music is so relatable because these songs are so iconic.”

Posted in Featured, ReviewsComments (0)

Music Recap: Chance The Rapper and Hoodie Allen

Music Recap: Chance The Rapper and Hoodie Allen

Throwback! Chance The Rapper and special guest Hoodie Allen took the stage at the MSU Auditorium on April 28. The event was organized by the MSU Residence Halls Association.

Keep an eye out for performers coming to East Lansing during the 2015-2016 academic year with the MSU University Activites Board and the MSU Residence Halls Association.

Posted in Big PhotographyComments (0)

Timeflies at the MSU auditorium

Timeflies at the MSU auditorium

On December 6, Timeflies took the stage at the MSU auditorium. View photos here:

Posted in Big PhotographyComments (0)

Photos: Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer rock the auditorium

Photos: Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer rock the auditorium

Posted in Big Photography, FeaturedComments (0)

Rich Homie Quan concert made MSU feel some type of way

Rich Homie Quan concert made MSU feel some type of way

“Some Type of Way” has been the MSU football team’s anthem all the way to the Rose Bowl and back, but on March 11, Rich Homie Quan brought the feeling to East Lansing. At the MSU Auditorium, Rich Homie Quan and Kid Ink took the stage and gave students a show—he even got Coach Mark Dantonio to up on stage and dance.

Posted in Big Photography, FeaturedComments (0)

Middle of the Mitten 2013

Middle of the Mitten 2013

This year, Middle of The Mitten celebrated its 5th music festival with a three-day affair, Jan. 24-26, organized by The Record Lounge on Grand River, as opposed to two days in previous years. The music festival is way of celebrating the opening of the all vinyl store, which opened early 2008. What started out as a small project by Joel Heckaman who obtained his degree at Michigan State University in professional writing, has turned into a much bigger part of the community. Every year there are a few current students at Michigan State who are a part of his team, organizing, planning, designing and advertising.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, there was a kick off party featuring solo artists like Vince Zydek and The Hand in The Ocean. It was an intimate setting as twenty or more people got to listen to acoustic sets in the store. Despite the small space, everyone got to enjoy the local up and coming music artists. On Friday, the event moved a little less than a block where it was held at SCENE Metrospace, which was not so far away from the store. More artists locally in Michigan were featured, including Nathan Alan. The last night of the festival took people slightly further away. The night was filled with rock music as they occupied the Loft down in Lansing. With a much bigger space, there were many more possibilities.  Bands like Bicycle Sunday and Elliot Street Lunatic took the stage where both local and not so local bands have played.

Posted in Arts & Culture, Big PhotographyComments (0)

RHA concert brings together local and not-so-local bands

RHA concert brings together local and not-so-local bands

The Residence Hall Association provided MSU students another rocking night on Nov. 17 with a free concert performed by the California band Mansions on the Moon. Students were also able to enjoy performances by local bands In Satori and Wayne Szalinski.  In case you missed it, check out Rachel Tang’s exclusive shots of the performance!

 

Posted in Big PhotographyComments (0)