Last week’s So You Think You Can Dance was filled with more fabulous dancing and a wealth of wisdom from show creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe. Since last Wednesday was the first time two dancers were eliminated from SYTYCD's Top 20, Nigel gave the group an inspiring pep talk (and even quoted Winston Churchill) about how only one can win, so they should rise above the blow when they are voted off. Even with his kind words, two dancers still had to go and Marlene Ostergaard and Nick Garcia were sent home. And Wednesday night, another two dancers will have their SYTYCD dream crushed. Like Nigel said, everyone is "absolutely impeccable representatives of this art form that we call dance," but it may be time for Marlene’s partner last week — contemporary dancer Stanley Glover — to go.
Although I said that ballet dancer Jourdan Epstein would be in danger last week (and she was), the judges absolutely made the right call with getting rid of Marlene over her. Stanley and Marlene were partners in a musical theater dance to Nancy Wilson's jazzy rendition of "I've Got Your Number." Marlene had the look and attitude of a 1960s dancer, but she didn't bring the moves technically or in her performance. Usually, Stanley is incredible, but last week’s performance with Marlene let me down.
I completely agreed with Mary Murphy and Nigel's review of Marlene and Stanley’s dance and performance. The telephones were a cute idea at first, but it didn't allow the dancers to connect with each other. The choreographer Spencer Liff should have tailored the dance more to them. He also should have given choreography where they weren’t holding onto the telephone chords. But at the end of the day, you have to make each dance the best you can — regardless of what the choreographer gives you. That's just how it goes on SYTYCD — dancers may not get the best choreographer one week, but they can’t let that hold them back.
Stanley has amazing extension — as shown by his surplus of kicks in the piece — but he wasn't sharp enough for a musical theater dance. And since he has the technique and flexibility that Marlene doesn't, it felt like the Stanley show. He jumped around Marlene onstage, but he didn’t perform with her at all. Now Marlene didn't really perform with him either (which is one of the reasons she's gone), but if you’re the stronger dancer, one of your jobs is to bring your partner up to your level and get them to do a great performance. That way, you both benefit. Stanley — as the stronger dancer— should’ve done that, but he didn’t.
It does pain me to say all of this after his contemporary performance in the first live show with Bridget Whitman.
I could freakin’ watch him do jumps and leaps for days.
Stanley and Bridget actually know each other already from going to school at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. So maybe that’s why they had such a connection during their performance (plus, it was in Stanley's style). But when he was paired with a different partner, in a different dance style, like last week, he wasn’t as connected.
If Stanley is in the bottom three guys Wednesday night, I think the judges will keep him because of his tremendous talent. But he'll definitely need to show that he's got more than a pair of insane legs and that he has the ability to connect with his partner. If he does leave the show, I don't think we need to be too worried for him — he'll have a career as a dancer regardless.
Image: Adam Rose/Fox