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'So You Think You Can Dance': More like 'So You Think You Can Tap'?

September 10, 2009 | 12:56 am

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"So You Think You Can Dance," don't let me down: I have very high hopes for you this season! Not only do I expect a blockbuster of a season to improve upon this summer's, for many people it's the first time tuning in, as the show's never appeared during the fall before, so I hope it delivers an especially strong showing.

For an audition show, the premiere had the goods. Sure, there were a few weirdos such as Cole Clemens, who narrated the music to his own odd contemporary dance, and Christopher Aguilar, who danced the female parts to a medley from "Chicago," but, mercifully, the oddballs were kept to a minimum and a lot of talent was already displayed. 

I got a Kherington Payne/Randi Evans vibe from Mollee Gray, the adorable blond contemporary dancer who the judges fell in love with, and I also liked Amber Williams, the very elegant dancer whose mother is paralyzed from a botched spinal cord surgery. Something about Christina Santana was also very endearing to me. She had a very sultry Latin style and lithe body that contrasted with her beaming braceface and popping moves.  And even though she didn't get a lot of screen time, I also took a shine to Paula van Oppen, the short-haired brunette in the yellow dress. She seems older than her 18 years and seems to be perfect for a Mia Michaels routine. 

Of course the real story from the evening was the tap dancing. We all remember Ryan Kasprzak, brother of last season's Evan, who missed the cut for the Top 20, and Bianca Revels, who also missed the Top 20 the last two seasons. If Ryan wasn't such a good dancer, you could argue his audition wasn't that different from Cole Clemens' in terms of structure, but what was really noteworthy was the tap-off, or trade, between Ryan and Bianca. Their competition was fierce but friendly. I loved her leading him across the stage with a crooked finger, them finishing with the same steps. Of course there was also Ryan's old roommate Phillip Attmore, who revealed that Ryan has a tattoo of a smiley face on his behind. (How scandalous!) You'd think you could only take so much tap dancing, but then comes Phillip, emitting so much coolness, joy and confidence onstage that you can't help but hope we have three tappers in the Top 20 this season. 

It's too early to judge, of course, but this season seems to be off to a very promising start.

-- Claire Zulkey

Photo credit: Fox

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