While it may be a reality show that provides entertainment week to week, sometimes So You Think You Can Dance really touches our hearts and makes us think about things beyond just a few dancers flipping around onstage. Wednesday's second episode of Season 11 did just that with 18-year-old dancer Dani Platz. The young dancer from Moorpark, Calif. bounced up onstage before her audition just as many others before her, but while introducing herself to the judges, she told them about a dark moment in her life. She had been dancing since she was three but she stopped for two year at the age of 16 due to an eating disorder. Dani talked about not never thinking she was good enough, having no love for herself and no appreciation for life. Her story seemed to break guest judge Christina Applegate's before her dancing even began.
But Dani took the stage with determination and delivered something truly moving. Her performance echoed the broken moments in her life and provided us with some truly stunning high points. Nigel Lythgoe praised mostly Dani's technique, Mary praised dancing in general while she teared up, but Christina went further. She told Dani that her dancing was inspirational to girls everywhere who are dealing with the same problems she once had to face. "It's OK to be broken," Christina said. "But you're healing. You're healing through dance, you're healing by telling us your story. And by telling us your story, you're healing so many girls in this room that are going through the same thing you went through two years ago."
While Christina was hoping to send Dani through to Hollywood, Mary and Nigel wanted to see her do the choreography level which she breezed through with ease. Dani's audition dance was reminiscent for me of many inspirational dances on the So You Think You Can Dance stage that came out of pain and sadness. It reminded us of some of the show's most touching moments:
Mia Michaels' Love Letter To Her Father
This beautiful performance was more an ode to Mia's father than a moment of pain but the loss of a parent is a sorrow that sometimes never really goes completely away.
Sasha's Performance On The Wall
Guest judge Applegate nails her critique on the head again with this routine by Tyce Diorio. "I don't know what you've gone through in your life, and I don't know what has hurt you, but something's hurt you and I thank you for sharing that with us, for being that courageous to show us through your body what you've felt in your life." Yup.
Travis Wall's Backstabbing Friend
SYTYCD alum turned outstanding choreographer Travis made a real-life experience with an ex-friend one of the most memorable two-man performances in the history of the show. The pain in the dance is real and you can feel it so sharply while watching the routine.