Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX.
OK, Team Ballroom, we hear you loud and clear! You are cross-trained, you are prepared and you are fighting hard for a place on Season 16 on So You Think You Can Dance. It's an impressive sight to see seven — we are including salsa dancer Melany Mercedes in this number — of the Top 20 spots reserved for ballroom contestants.
When the audition process began in February, there were some key players Dance Network identified early on — Stephanie & Ezra Sosa, Vlad Kvartin and Sofia Ghavami. Stephanie and Sofia had auditioned for SYTYCD before and made it to the Top 20 — Stephanie in Season 15 and Sofia in Season 14. Vlad was coming off of the fall season of Dancing With the Stars and Ezra was finally age-eligible for the show.
The thrill of seeing so many other ballroom contenders step up to the plate has made this season even better. SYTYCD fans have become so used to contemporary dancers dominating the Top 20 field, it was exciting to see the shift after all of these years.
However, it's also when we mourn the loss of the Top-20 format for the upcoming shows on the SYTYCD stage. We know cuts are coming to whittle it down to a Top 10 and there has to be a balance of styles.
What we can celebrate is the fact that ballroom is proving to be a style that dance studios offer regularly, the conventions are taking note and bringing in top-level teachers for the next generation and the impact of DWTS, SYTYCD and even, World of Dance, is far-reaching.
On the flip side, ballroom dancers have also watched contemporary, tap and hip-hop dancers start to take ballroom lessons. To keep up with the commercial dance scene, ballroom dancers have made sure that their level of training is equal to their peers.
How many ballroom dancers will make that Top 10? On Aug. 5, SYTYCD will reveal the full Season 16 cast, and on Aug. 12, the contestants will get ready to show the viewers why they are America's favorite dancer.
Top 10 Guys
Bailey Munoz: B-Boy
Brandon Talbott: Contemporary Ballet
Benjamin Castro: Contemporary
Ezra Sosa: Ballroom
Vlad Kvartin: Ballroom
Nathan Cherry: Hip-Hop
Aleksandr Ostanin: Tap
Gino Cosculluela: Contemporary
Bryan "Clocks" Volozanin: Animator
Eddie Hoyt: Tap
Top 10 Girls
Anna Linstruth: Hip-Hop
Sophie Pittman: Contemporary Jazz
Ashley Sanchez: Ballroom
Sofia Ghavami: Ballroom
Nazz Sldryan: Ballroom
Madison Jordan: Contemporary
Melany Mercedes: Salsa
Stephanie Sosa: Ballroom
Sumi Oshima: Popper
Mariah Russell: Contemporary
Don’t miss Dance Network’s ‘To The Pointe’ interview with ‘Homecoming’ and ‘SYTYCD’ All-Star Jasmine Harper: