So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Week 3

The best show is yet to come. This was a forgettable week. It felt like everyone was still warming up. The solos made up for the lackluster group and couple routines.

These two innovative crazy movers killed their solos as expected.

I’m also happy that Lex and Logan got to showcase their personality more in their couple routines. Although Logan and Allison as a pair did slightly better in their jive-slash-Broadway number,  I thought Lex really nailed his character. The ballroom boys didn’t do badly either. Paul brought his newfound hip-hop swag (I kept seeing him in videos of recent hip hop classes.) while Kiki was able to use his excellent partnering skills in a contemporary piece.

Koine and Marko are creeping up to the top. They were fabulous in this Dave Scott hip-hop jazz routine. This is another testimony of their great chemistry.

Kaylee, Dassy, and Taylor are my bottom 3 this week.

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Week 2

That was the best disco routine in the history of the show to date! Adding in some jazz into it made it magical. I added it to my list of favorite group routines. Thank you SYTYCD for giving us these exciting genre fusions!

This week was a chance for Robert (to show what he can do), Kiki (to show he can nail hip hop), all-star Cyrus (to dance his style), and Sydney (to show her versatility) to redeem themselves. We also get an opportunity have a glimpse of Lex’s brilliance through his solo. Sad how his couple routines are not helping him highlight his mad skills to a point that I think the show is downplaying him a bit to give others a chance.

Koine, Mark, and Kiki also delivered great solos. Koine is a fighter. She is showing us that she wants it and that she is consistent. Kiki is proving how good he is in his style. Mark is bridging jazz music and breaking which is beautiful. He had a little Broadway swag there.

My top 2 favorite couple routines tonight were Sean Cheeseman’s African jazz piece to Speaking in Tongues II performed by Koine and Marko,

and Al Blackstone’s Broadway piece to The Man That Got Away performed by Taylor and Robert.

These two couples are less controversial and more ‘quiet’ than the others but they are strong and consistent pairs. Marko and Koine’s number reminded me what an emotionally captivating dancer Marko is even during his season. Same with Robert, he always draws the audience into the story.

On the other hand, Logan needs to come out more. Allison is such a star that she’s eating him up on stage.

Sydney, Dassy, and Lex will probably be in the bottom next week.

Back-to-Back Win for UPeepz in the 2017 World Hip Hop Dance Championships

I’ve just finished watching the livestream of the 2017 World Hip Hop Dance Championships. It was a blast! All the crews brought it tonight. Thank you Hip Hop International for organizing this event, making it available through livestream, and for keeping the hip hop culture alive!

The Megacrew Division was hot hot hot! I love UPeepz! They really deserve that back-to-back win. I can think of five things that separated them from the other crews tonight:

One, they make great music choices and they relate well to the music. They sit right on the pocket. They get on the groove and vibe. Their choreography isn’t rushed like how others tend to do theirs nowadays.

Two, they can execute the most complex steps and blocking with so many people. Other crews probably consist of better skilled individual dancers but when it comes to dancing in sync as a group, UPeepz group choreography is far advanced than others. It takes hard work, solid team chemistry, and outstanding direction (props to their coach and director, Chips Beltran).

Three, they have a variety of styles divided brilliantly into segments that are well-paced and well-thought-of. Every segment is carefully crafted with a concept, a highlight, and a clean transition. They tell mini-stories. You won’t notice it but you tend to follow every segment of a UPeepz performance: the vogue, the isolation, the wacking, the urban style, the krump, etc. (Though I’m hoping to see them do more fancy footwork and breaking. :P) There is no dull moment. They get you hooked all throughout the performance.

Four, they are clean and detail-oriented not only in their dancing but in how they enter and exit the stage. I think they practice that as well. I haven’t seen a crew transition as smoothly as they do.

And lastly, they have a sense of humor and can connect well with the audience. Similar to their predecessors, the Philippine All-Stars, they are great entertainers. I see many crews choosing to be grim and intense all the time. Well, I guess it is common to associate intensity with power, but it leaves you with a heavy feeling. On the other hand, a UPeepz routine is always strong and passionate but they never fail to mix in small fun surprises for the audience. It gives the routine great texture.

I hope this win opens more opportunities for them to perform internationally and commercially.

The other crews whom I liked were S-Rank (USA – Adult), 158 Crew (Russia – Adult), and Flip (Canada – Varsity).

To end, mad props again to Hip Hop International for this wonderful event!

Top 30 J-Dramas before 2017

Japan is home to original concepts and genius story-telling. What fascinates me about Japanese drama is how it delves into the psychological and moral state of its characters. It can cater to extremes and somehow make it work, whether its raw and disturbing to plain and boring to crazy and weird. I also like how it always attempts to redefine humanity to a certain extent. It provides depth and breadth of insight unparalleled by any series produced by any other country. I actually liked Japanese dramas first before I dabbled into Korean and Taiwanese, which explains this relatively long list. Anyway, here are my Top 30 Japanese series aired before 2017 solely based on my level of enjoyment.

Continue reading “Top 30 J-Dramas before 2017”

World of Dance Season 1 Finale

I see what they did there. Apart from the fact that the three divisions (Junior, Upper, and Team) were different for obvious reasons, the final three acts represented different genres of dance: Les Twins is hip-hop, Eva Igo is contemporary jazz and Swing Latino is ballroom. Coincidence? Most probably not, but do I hate it? No. It ensures that more people, and a wider variety at that, will watch the finale. It helps the show survive; thus, allowing dance fans like me to see more dance on TV, as well as the general public to get more exposed to dance.

The Season 1 winner, Les Twins, is consistent and entertaining. They’re not my cup of tea but I know they have inspired millions of dancers out there even prior to the show. They didn’t need the show to be considered dance legends but this win reaffirms that.

Anyway, it’s time for the list of my favorite numbers this season.

  • Change (Kinja Bang) | Performed by Kinjaz

This was clearly the most memorable routine by Kinjaz on the show. It showcased their individuality and creativity.  How they worked those panels was ingenious.

  • Let It Go | Performed by SuperCr3w

This isn’t the WOD version but I really love their floor work in this routine. The musicality of the breaking was spot on.

  •   Someday | Performed by Keone & Mari

It was broadway infused with lyrical hip-hop and feels. I enjoyed the story they told.

  •  Ready Or Not | Performed by Eva Igo

Her lines were so clean and she gave powerful performances. I noticed two things though: one, her facial expression was always tense and two, the type of pieces she did was pretty much the same. I thought this was the number where her expression matched the dance best. I do hope she gets to work with better choreographers to help her get more accent, and help pull out more emotion in her dancing. I’d like to see those beautiful lines of hers in softer, well-thought-out pieces.

  • Conga | Performed by Swing Latino

The song did a lot for them. It brought out the spice, the authentic Latin flavor which I felt was lacking in their previous performances. The vibe was great and their tricks were phenomenal. The hanging pose at the end was 🔥.

So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Week 1

The Top 10 were exactly whom I expected. It is either I mastered how to pick out contestants from watching all the previous seasons or the producers have manipulated the audience into liking these dancers.

Anyway, on to the show… Wade is back. Enough said. LOL. I actually didn’t like the song choices tonight. The dancing was fabulous but without great music, it lacks that oomph to make it memorable. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back, the track on Jenna & Kiki’s number was probably the most tolerable. I felt bad especially about the pieces choreographed by Travis Wall and Mandy Moore because they were visually stunning but the music ruined them for me. On the other hand, I thought the colors, the lights and the stage design were gorgeous. I guess they’re putting in more money on the production side of things this season.

My Top 2 favorite pieces tonight were Tyce Diorio’s choreography to Protocol performed by Logan Hernandez and Audrey Case (all-star stand-in for Allison)

and Tessandra Chavez’s choreography to Clown danced by Kaylee Millis and all-star Cyrus Spencer. Although the latter felt a little too busy and Cyrus basically just paced around as Kaylee danced, I enjoyed the emotion in this piece. I understood the story.

So who am I rooting for this season? Off the bat, I would say Gabby’s Lex Ishimoto and Allison’s Logan Hernandez. I’m really hoping that Lex gets a better piece to work on next time. We all know that his talent and versatility are insane. I pray that he gets the chance to showcase them soon. I’m also watching out for Kiki Nyemchek and Mark Villaver. I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised by them.

My bottom picks this week are Sydney, Dassy and Robert. One of them should leave next week.