Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC
During the last week of World of Dance (WOD) qualifiers, a dancer that many people are familiar with emerged with a new fire in his movement. So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) season 12 alum Derek Piquette stunned the judges with his outstanding technique and raw emotion, but it was his personal story that explained why he chose to compete on the World of Dance stage.
Piquette fell in love with dance immediately. He began dancing at the age of 10, and by the time he was 16-years-old he was training 60-70 hours a week. Since his time on SYTYCD, Piquette performed as one of the leads in Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA, where he danced 8-12 shows per week. Unfortunately, dancing at this intense level took a toll on Piquette's body and he began to experience intense pain in his hips.
After seeking advice from a doctor, Piquette was told that his only option for pain relief was to undergo a double hip replacement. As one can imagine, this news is devastating to a dancer. With a double hip replacement comes a long recovery process and the harsh reality that one's mobility will never be the same. So, this opportunity to compete on WOD is Piquette's last chance to show America his true talent.
When I compare Piquette's World of Dance performance to those he did on SYTYCD, I see a dancer who has grown immensely. I remember hearing about Piquette before SYTYCD season 12 even began, and when I saw him dance I was floored by his technique, but was always left wanting more in the emotion category. That was not the case when I watched his World of Dance performance. This performance not only had Piquette's signature flawless technique and amazing tricks, but now his emotions were on the same level.
The judges thought Piquette's performance was tremendous, giving him an averaged score of 95.3. They all agreed that he could improve on his creativity and that his technique was perfect, but JLO also commented that he touched her the most with his heart.
Last month, Piquette was interviewed about his experience on both WOD and SYTYCD by Dance Spirit Magazine and he said the biggest difference between preparing for the two shows was his training. For SYTYCD, dancers have to cross-train, while on WOD, they need to be the best in their own genre. This could also be a factor as to why Piquette owned the WOD stage.
Piquette has a huge challenge ahead of him after his time on WOD, but I think his purpose is really going to fuel some beautiful performances in rounds to come. I already feel like WOD suits Piquette better than SYTYCD, so I expect that he will make it very far in this competition.
Does Derek Piquette have what is takes to go all the way? I would say he is definitely one to watch when the duels begin next week!
Tune in to World of Dance next Sunday at 8/7c for the first week of season 3 duels!