The first seven seasons of “So You Think You Can Dance,” the finalist landscape was barren in terms of Atlanta dancers. Zip. Zero. Quite shocking to me, personally, given the dance culture that has developed here.
But after winner Melanie Moore (from Marietta) and Mitchell Kelly (from Atlanta) made the top 20 last year, the local floodgates have opened. This year, we have three in the top 20 on the Fox reality show. Here are summaries of the descriptions, much of it provided by Fox. I’ll be interviewing each person, probably next week:
- Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, 22: Currently lives in Duluth and part of the “Dragon House” dance crew, he grew up on the Southside of Atlanta and graduated from Creekside High School in 2008. He started dancing at 8 then stopped to play sports and picked it back up at 15. His style of dancing is animation, popping, and robotics. He currently got signed to Xcel Talent Agency in December of 2011 and he is part of a dance movement to Dubstep music. He is pure charisma, as seen in the audition below out of the Fox Theatre.
- Amber Jackson, 21: Grew up in Atlanta, now lives in San Francisco. Specializing in contemporary movement, she acquired her zeal for dance at the age of 14 at the esteemed Ballethnic Academy of Dance and simultaneously at DeKalb School of the Arts. Later, she enhanced her dance technique at the prestigious Dancemakers of Atlanta studying Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Pointe, Hip Hop, and Jazz. While dancing with Dancemakers of Atlanta she attended various dance competitions that proved very successful. In 2008, at the age of 17 she took home the coveted National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer title at the competitive New York City Dance Alliance dance competition. Upon graduating from DeKalb School of the Arts and winning NYCDA’s title she desired to further her dance training through post-secondary education. In 2008 she enrolled at Point Park University in Philadelphia, PA as a ballet major and later with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet B.F.A. program.
George “Geo” Lawrence, II (19) born in San Diego, CA and raised in Atlanta, GA, is the son of George and Christine Lawrence. Lawrence acquired his love for dance at the age of 11 and was adamant about perfecting his attraction to the art. That same year, he enrolled at Price Performing Arts Center (PPAC) in College Park, GA where he studied lyrical, tap, jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop and acrobatics. In 2010, Lawrence decided to further his technique at Dancemakers of Atlanta, where he not only grew as a dancer, but also as an artist. In the summer of 2010, George was selected to attend the coveted Juilliard School for their summer intensive where he continued to further develop his craft. In 2011, Lawrence graduated from the esteemed Dekalb School of the Arts in Atlanta, GA, with honors. Lawrence made the decision to cultivate his gift through college and is currently a student at State University of New York Purchase, majoring in Dance. He currently holds the sought-after national title for Senior National Outstanding Dancer for New York City Dance Alliance.
According to his introduction during the Atlanta auditions, he said he excelled at track and disappointed his dad by going into dance. “When I perform, I feel free,” he said.
As he did his audition, judge Debbie Allen uttered, “This child is fierce!” Later, she said, “You were born to dance.”
“I’d be proud of you if you were my son,” Nigel Lythgoe said.
Here’s Lawrence and Jackson with two others performing last night:
And here Jackson reacting to making the top 20:
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk