Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder—and the same can be said for most forms of art.
Walk into any museum and you’ll inevitably see someone staring at a piece of work quizzically, and ask: “That’s art?” A Broadway show may have left you unimpressed, or, perhaps, a song on the radio was so irritating that you lamented the so-called good ol’ days of music—which could’ve been the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, or even the ’90s, it depends who you ask.
Dance is no exception, since there’s so many factors at play, potentially giving you sensory overload. Your eyes and ears compete with the music blaring from the speakers and the incredibly athletic dancers on stage. You may love the Cha Cha but aren’t impressed with contemporary dances. You may have an affinity for a particular song but the featured dance doesn’t do it for you, or vice versa. But sometimes, a performance is so good, so mesmerizing, so absolutely shout-out-loud get-up-outta-your-seat superstar outstanding, that all senses bleed into one, blossoming into a singular explosion of sight, sound and touch—yes, you actually feel it with your entire being. It speaks to your heart, whispers to your inner essence, reverberates within the very depths of your soul.
That’s when you know you’ve witnessed something truly special, something truly extraordinary.
Fox’s hit reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance, which has earned 14 Emmy wins and more than 53 nominations in various categories, exploded to life last weekend in Huntington as the top 10 contestants from Season 12 took the stage at The Paramount.
And that feeling—that all-encompassing wave of emotion that only engulfs you at the cusp of witnessing something truly remarkable, magnificent, extraordinary—was omnipresent.
From the fun-fueled solo dances to couple routines and group dances, the 10 dancers from SYTYCD‘s impressive cast did not disappoint. The tour’s Long Island stop had an added buzz, because it was a homecoming for Megan “Megz” Alfonso, who hails from Coram. Throughout the evening, fans screamed “Go Megz!”—which the popular dancer acknowledged by smiling at her adoring fans as she glided poetically across the stage.
The excitement was palpable all evening, as dance fans of all ages—from children and teens to middle-aged adults—enthusiastically cheered for their favorites. Unlike SYTYCD on Fox, this was no competition. It was pure fun, and in some ways, the dancers appeared more comfortable on stage without the pressure of getting booted off the show. They smirked when appropriate and let out triumphant screams to punctuate dynamic moves. And if you think the contestants are impressive on television, it’s an entirely different experience witnessing them live.
The night got off to a strong start with a sprinkling of dramatic group and couple dances interspersed with solo routines. Team Street’s Eddie, also known as “Neptune,” energized the crowd with a powerful solo dance, in which he glided from one end of the stage to the other, all the while gyrating his body like someone was hanging from the rafters controlling his extremities like a puppet.
Megz’s solo didn’t come until after the intermission. The Paramount erupted into cheers as her pre-recorded introduction reported what everyone in the building already knew: She was from “Long Island, New York.”
Team Street may have had people moving in their seats, but Team Stage refused to be upstaged.
Perhaps the most moving dance came after intermission. The collection of dancers performed a moving tribute to the protesters who took part in the March 7, 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, or as it’s known now: “Bloody Sunday.” Both teams danced to “Glory,” the song recorded by Common and John Legend for last year’s Emmy nominated film Selma, with the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after a Confederate general, serving as the backdrop.
The crowd was swayed into silence. Despite the generational gap, the dancers somehow managed to channel the sheer anger, outrage, despair, and utter heartbreak flooding the bodies of the civil rights marchers on that bloodstained day in March 1965. Maybe they were channeling the passion of demonstrators who have taken to the streets amid today’s social unrest in America. Or maybe the stories of that fateful day were hard to let go.
There were other memorable moments. But it was Megz, a Team Street contestant, who gave the doting crowed a moment they’ll never forget.
Paired with partner Edson Juarez from Team Stage, Megz, known for her powerful hip-hop dances, performed a captivating contemporary routine that demonstrated both vulnerability and strength, as the pair dazzled the audience with their cadence. The heart-stopping performance proved that labels can be crushed, as a dancer known for her power and swag soared to new heights.
She owned the stage.
The So You Think You Can Dance Tour embodies one of those rare transcendental moments in life, when the human spirit becomes inextricably intertwined with form, beauty, grace, passion, and fury, somehow tethered to mortality yet somehow unleashed across all eternity, crystallizing emotion, and at once, setting it free.
Can’t wait till next season, or the next tour.
Photo credit: So You Think You Can Dance/Fox)