Normally on So You Think You Can Dance, the dancers competing on the show get the main focus during their performances. As it should be, right? Duh. But every once in a while, a dancer's personal life will take precedence. Or a choreographer will get creative with his or her routine and throw in a crazy prop that the dancers have to seamlessly work into their dancing skills. This is exactly what happened on Wednesday night's Top 6 episode of SYTYCD: choreographer Shawn Cheesman had ballerina Jacque dance with a red ball — an exercise ball, to be exact. Despite the weirdness of the idea, somehow Jacque was able to pull of a beautiful performance with the help of All-Star Will.
Listen, guys. I can't even use an exercise ball for its actual purpose let alone dance a really adorable number with an incredible partner. But Jacque took the challenge with a great balance of a ballerina's grace and her trademark adorable goofiness. Throw in working with a hottie and dance machine like Will, and it didn't seem likely that the number would be completely terrible, even though the idea for the prop appeared to be exactly that: completely terrible. The piece, according to Cheeseman, was about the innocence of first love and the ball served as a way to keep the dance youthful and playful. Cheeseman's strange idea worked, thanks to smart choreography with the ball and the dancers' talent and chemistry.
Jessica and Will got lucky this time around as props don't always work. In the past 10 seasons, props have been the most inconsistent parts of routines time and time again. Sometimes they work incredibly well, but many times they make absolutely no sense within the confines of the choreography.
1. The Great: Sasha's Contemporary Wall Routine
This is one of the best dances Tyce Diorio has ever choreographed on the series. Using just a gray wall and Sasha and Kent, Tyce created a beautifully painful number about two people hitting a wall in their relationship. Sasha somehow not only makes brilliant use of the physical wall but shows us the emotional wall at the heart of the routine.
2. The Great: Travis And Heidi's Park Bench Routine
Hands down the best prop-based routine in the whole series to this day. This Season 2 masterpiece by Mia Michaels not only showcased the absolute perfection that is Travis Wall, but elevated Heidi to the highest level we had seen during her time in competition. Mia is a genius with props on the show as she's used them brilliantly in this number and many others throughout her tenure on SYTYCD.
3. The Bad: Wadi And Missy's Pandora's Box Routine
It just didn't work. The idea was there, both dancers were supposed to be in Pandora's Box, but the prop was used sparingly in a very disjointed way. It felt as though the choreography around the box was only created so that breaker Wadi could flip around it. That's about it.
4. The Bad: Adechike And Courtney's Bar Routine
The routine was just overall boring. There was nothing really wrong with it, and nothing really exciting about it either. And the bar and barstools props were really only there to create an atmosphere that didn't stick (and, of course, to let Courtney writhe around). Unfortunately, this routine was just kind of... blah and even slightly uncomfortable at times.
Images: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX