I bought the tour tickets mostly because I wanted to see Danny Tidwell dance live and I wanted to see some of my favorite routines especially ballroom ones danced live.
We arrived at Continental Airline Arena, where the event was held, one full hour early. The line was already 200 people long. About 20 minutes later, we looked back and the line behind us was like this:
80% of the goers were young girls about 20 and under, or at least it felt like that way. I had a feeling that there would be lots of screaming once it starts.
Boy was I right.
I have been to live ballet performances before. It was at New York City Center, where the room was about 100 people capacity. Throughout the performances the crowd was dead quiet. The only time they gave an reaction was the applause after each dance. The entire experience was artistic and soul inspiring. I really loved it.
I have also been to live professional sports games in a 20,000 packed stadium before. The loud-as-if-you-are-deaf music, the dark moment in the beginning when all lights went out and all beams of lights started swirling over the crowd, the crazy voice of the public announcer, and the roaring thunders of the crowd when the athletes came out of the tunnel. I loved all that, too.
This, the So You Think You Can Dance live tour in New Jersey on a Saturday evening, was much, much closer to the latter than the former.
Everything felt like the NBA games I’d been to, even though this time only half the arena was used. It was still fully packed with about 9,000 people (remember, 80% of them were girls).
Right after the PA shouted “Aaare Youuuu Reaa-dyyyy”, all lights went out. The beaming lights were everywhere, the trademark music of the show filled the entire arena, the big screen hung above the center stage started playing the show’s beginning clip, and the crowd, literally, started roaring. It was deafening.
It was deafening but in a totally different way from what you usually experience in a pro sports game, because here the roaring were actually collective screaming coming from the higher pitched, all FEMALE voices. The effect was very, very unique, and the resulting, crisp sound, as it turned out, was actually slightly more pleasant than the all-male roars.
You have to be there to really know what I’m talking about.
So I was really surprised and got excited myself too. The whole atmosphere just gave you goosebumps. What a great start. This is why you come to see it live!
The dances they selected were very good picks. And because this is New York I think they added extra dose of ballroom to it. Pasha and Anya even danced a Samba routine that wasn’t on the show. And almost all my favorite ballroom routines were included. Loved the Viennese Waltz by Danny and Lacey the most, which was indeed like “ice dancing” at some point. The most fluid, stylish Viennese Waltz I have seen. And seeing it live in a big stadium like this was an incredible feeling. The music filled in the air and kind of forced you to completely immerse into the dance. At a few points during the performances I got chills just watching. The speed of the dancers’ movement was amazing, which was something that you can’t really appreciate watching on TV.
And Danny Tidwell was fabulous to watch. You can’t take your eyes off him while he is dancing. What a gifted dancer. I hope someday he makes it big so people get to see him more. And he seems really passionate about dancing. When you have gift and passion, the rest is just hard work.
In the beginning weeks of the show, there were some backstage bits where every contestant was asked what dance means to them. I remember Danny’s answer was, “dance to me is a form of communication”. I never quite understand what that really means. Then I came across this quote of Ruth St. Denis and finally got a hold of its true meaning, or so I hope:
“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words.”