Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance Taping

So today, I went to the live taping of SYTYCD. Which was amazing. Such a fascinating experience! I'll write up the whole story and my observations, and then I'll actually go watch it on TV. Because it's late, and I'm tired, and I don't want the watching of the episode to change all these initial reactions.

So lets start at the beginning. I hear from my friend who's staying with me that her friend got tickets to the taping. My friend and her sister are going with her, and would I like to join them? Well, yes. Obviously! I'd love to!! But then my friend + sister can't make it... so sad!! But I still want to go, and the girl still has the tickets, so even though we've never actually met... I'm going to So You Think You Can Dance with her!! Yayyy!!!!

She got in line around 12:30 and I joined her a little later, around 1:30. We sit and chat and whatnot for an hour and a half, which went by pretty quickly! Then some people checked came by to check that we all had tickets. And then we got to go inside!

Well, sort of. They sent us in through the gates and past security to a holding area. There were two sections of benches: the first section was where they held the--how can I put it... the people they didn't want featured on TV (mostly older folk, not the teens/20-year-olds). The second section was where the rest of us went, myself included. But they sorted us onto the benches with some sort of logic. The first bench had a lot of really pretty girls and a couple of TV-worthy boys, the rest were sorted fairly randomly onto the other benches. I was on the 3rd bench, which kind of sucked since we were there so early, but it really didn't matter at all because we still would be pretty close to the stage.

After maybe another hour, we got to go in! The space is really really cool. It looks SO MUCH SMALLER than it does on TV-obviously! But it was so cool to be able to see everything and watch some of the technical stuff that goes on. You can read all the facts of how it happens, but it's way better to be there in person.

Which I was.
And you (probably) weren't.

Anyway, we got put in spots all the way on the end, house right. So I was the opposite side from the judges, but we were right next to the lip of the stage. So whenever Cat Deeley was on the stage left side talking into the camera, or the dancers were there before they danced their solos, we were literally inches away from them!! The girl I was with actually talked to Cat for a few seconds and she seems SOOOO SWEET!! Ahh I love her. I blew her a kiss... she didn't see me, but that's OK. I saw Lauren at one point during Robert's solo-she was waiting behind the audience to get onstage. My friend told her she loved her (and who doesn't? She's so sweet!) and I blew her a kiss!! And she "caught" it!! Hehe that might have been the highlight of the evening for me!

Even though we were standing for a good 2 hours, it went super fast. I didn't realize it was almost over until they were telling us there were just 3 more routines before the review videos. Of course, the fact that I lacked both my watch and my phone made it hard to keep track of the time. They took our phones away from us, which was expected. I'd had an interesting situation earlier though.

So we're told not to bring purses, which is fine. I brought a bag to sit in line with, which had my book, some snacks, my wallet, things like that. I figured I'd run to the car before we went in and put it away. But we got checked in and then were told that there wasn't enough time to actually run to the car and put it away. So I'm stressing because I have all my stuff and I'm not supposed to. Will they confiscate it? Will we be forced in the back of the room because we aren't supposed to have it? Oh noes!!! Turns out we can just hide it under the bleachers and grab it before we go. So it's literally no big deal. I didn't need to stress at all! Silly Katherine.

We were standing in the "pit" for a little under an hour before the show started, so there was a lot of time to look around and observe. I watched a good number of the people walk in. We had a good view of the seated audience, so I saw a lot of the SYTYCD "celebs" come in. Kherington from 2 season ago (I think) was there pretty early, with her mom (I assume). We saw many of the choreographers, which meant we knew the genres of many of the dances. We saw Alex, Alexis and Courtney, and they seemed to be really relaxed and having fun. And then I saw Billy, who's in the show right now... and I realized there was ANOTHER injury! Sheesh, what's up with this season?? So I knew beforehand this tidbit, which is cool... I guess.

When the judges entered, it was also very amusing. They were having a grand old time and seemed quite relaxed and friendly. Adam Shankman seems super goofy and I want to be his friend. Just saying. I liked watching the judges who weren't speaking when another one of them was talking. Basically, during the show I just tried to watch the stuff that isn't shown on TV, since I won't have this experience again anytime soon. Unfortunately I was too far away to really see the judges at all, so I spent much of the critiques watching Cat and the contestants. Actually, I mostly ended up watching the All-Star, since they were on the end and that's all I could see. That and the top of Cat's head--she's very tall. Hehe!

Because I'm so short, I had a really hard time seeing a lot of the dances, which actually was really frustrating. I was behind this group of kids who were there for one girl's birthday. During one of the commercial breaks they played some music and two of those girls actually danced some hip hop. They were so adorable!! They left after that, so I had a front-row view and could see absolutely everything onstage, which was amazing. Alas, it was only for the last 3 numbers, but whatever. I was still happy.

So usually I watch the show and am not a huge fan of the solo numbers. I just never get as engaged watching them. But being so close to them and seeing it live was definitely an amazing experience. Instead of waiting for them to be over, I felt much more engaged in their dancing. Seeing it live definitely makes a huge difference. Not to mention all the energy in the crowd makes it so that you really WANT them to do well-whereas on TV, you aren't quite as invested in everyone's performances. You root for your favorites and enjoy the rest. But in person, you really want to see them do well.

A few of the routines really stood out as amazing to see live: the contemporary piece that Jose did, the hip hop routine that Ade did and the stepping dance that Kent did. Jose's contemporary piece was amazing just because I could hear them breathing! They took such deep, intense breaths that were truly heartfelt. When you can hear them connect with the breath like that... oh, it's just so intense. The dancing was lovely-what I saw of it-but their breathing was what caught me.

Ade's hip hop was one that I could tell would be really strong just from the opening video. And for what I caught of it, I was really moved. It was strong, hit hard, and the emotion was so overwhelming! Alas, SO MUCH of that piece was stage right... which I could barely see at all. So I'm going to have to watch that one on TV for sure. But at the very end, when Comfort was on my side of the stage, the pain stretched across her face was enough to cover for that whole piece.

Kent's stepping number was also really fun. This was one of the few that I could see really well, and I'm so glad I did! I loved being able to hear the a cappella section, all the hits and thumps and sounds they made. It was fast and intense and awesome. That was just a lot of fun.

Lets see... I'm trying to think if I'm forgetting anything. Well, I'm sure I am, but anything noteworthy?? Kenny Ortega was there as a judge, and he just seemed like the biggest super-fan of this show!! Haha. Commercial breaks went by quickly. They usually told us to move around, either to keep within the blue lines or adjust for the set pieces they moved in for Cat to stand on or for the dancers to dance on, through the middle of the audience. Whenever those occurred (I think it was twice), I literally could not see a thing. In fact, in one of the recap videos I said "I didn't know they did that!" because I hadn't seen it! Haha. Commercials were actually amusing, because they had an entertainer guy there to talk and tell us to bend our legs (to avoid passing out, you know. Actually, while sitting on the benches we talked to one girl who fainted at one of the tapings last year. So that was amusing). He was a funny guy. He gave out Chipotle gift cards to the rowdiest audience members, and my friend won one. =)

It was the 150th episode!! Sheesh, that's insane! They didn't do anything special, as far as I could tell, but it's cool nonetheless.

During each commercial break makeup folk would come out and make sure everyone was looking good. I found it amusing, for some reason. It's a lot of work to look this pretty!!

I think that's pretty much everything... I'll edit the post if I remember anything. Anyway, that was my So You Think You Can Dance experience!!! All in all, a really good time! HOORAY!

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