Stephanie and Ezra Sosa audition for 'So You Think You Can Dance.' Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX.
So You Think You Can Dance came roaring on Monday night with its Sweet Sixteen premiere. The show debuted with a new look, new energy and talent that is off the charts.
For viewers who have followed the show since Season 1, the level of technique and tricks are something the first season contestants never dreamed of achieving. The show has helped propel the dance industry to new heights, not only for dancers, but also for choreographers.
To kick off Season 16, we have a bit of behind-the-scenes information that you might not know about the show and the first episode. So let's break down what we saw last night.
The timeline of auditions was different this year because it was structured in three stages instead of two for Season 16. Executive producer Jeff Thacker and All-Star/Choreographer Robert Roldan helmed the three-city auditions in February. They gave out Golden Tickets to the next round in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. After all of the cities were completed, they whittled down those Golden Ticket recipients one more time until they made it to the Judges Round.
The Judges Round took place in the Dancing With the Stars studio on the CBS Television City lot in March. That is where the show debuted the new stage with the 360-camera.
Don't get too attached to this set, though, it is only for the Judges Round. As the show moves into the Academy, you will see a different look at the Dolby Theatre. SYTYCD will then return to the familiar set that debuted in Season 14 for the live shows.
In the first episode, female hip-hopper Dezi Saenz had a familiar SYTYCD face standing by her side in some of the shots. Longtime fans will remember Donyelle Denise (Jones) from Season 2. She is Dezi's mentor and she's also had a very brave battle with cancer. Her story was featured on To The Pointe back in January 2018. Since that episode aired, her cancer has returned. Donyelle is openly sharing her story on Instagram, so send her your wishes for strength and health.
Another familiar face in the Ezra and Stephanie Sosa video package was Tristen Sosa. In Season 14, he auditioned with Jensen Arnold, and last year, he auditioned with his sister. He's working in Las Vegas right now and he recently signed with the Los Angeles dance agency, Bloc, so we will probably be hearing more news from him soon.
SYTYCD took things to another level when they hired Laurieann Gibson and D-trix as judges. While the first episode was incredibly positive, we will be seeing some tough, but constructive, critiques coming in future episodes. These two add a dynamic we have never seen before on the judges' panel, so get ready.
FOX is heavily invested in making Season 16 a successful one for SYTYCD. From the set to the judges to Monday night's premiere party in Los Angeles, the network wants to keep this franchise going. It's a great reminder that the fans play a heavy role in a show coming back from year to year, especially when it comes to social media and online views. If you love this show, keep talking about it, tag @danceonfox and use that very important #SYTYCD hashtag. Enjoy Season 16!
Don't miss Dance Network's 'To The Pointe' episode with 'So You Think You Can Dance' All-Star Melanie Moore: