The shrieking didn’t quite reach the level of an appearance by Elvis or One Direction. But “So You Think You Can Dance” has built a loyal and devoted fan following, as was evident from the cheers of a full house at the show’s fall tour stop in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Sunday night.
The tour, featuring last summer’s Top 14 dancers, is like a greatest-hits episode of the talent contest, with solos and some of the most popular routines created for dancers who come from different genres and expand their skills over the season. After months of rehearsals, they’re also far more polished now.
Hip hop dancer Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall and jazz dancer Amy Yakima get a little extra attention on the tour as the winners, titles they earned from impressive dance moves and strong, bubbly personalities. They were paired in the early weeks of the season and re-created several routines. The same was true of tapper Aaron Turner and contemporary dancer Jasmine Harper, the runners-up who are strong dancers and terrific actors.
Series creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe welcomes the crowd via video, as do several of the choreographers, who introduce some of their dances.
But transforming a TV show into a live stage tour requires a bit more than the 90-second routines featured during the series. Those dances are short and filled with flashy moves and flips or overstuffed with condensed emotions.
As fun as it is to watch favorite routines live, it would be nice to see some of them expanded, the way Christopher Scott built on his “Sand” routine, which he originally created for the male dancers. It now includes all 14 performers who create a sand storm of whirling movements.
The second act does offer more range, beginning with an impressive roughly 10-minute package set in an old Hollywood hotel bar, where a variety of group and duos routines are performed. They include the explosive bell-hop routine performed around a luggage cart by Amy and Fik-Shun to the song “After Party.”
The show also includes Spencer Liff’s routine featuring Aaron as a detective trying to solve the murder or Jasmine, who appears as a ghost, and a Amy and Nico Greetham duet to “Wicked Game.” The whole cast takes part in Tyce Diorio’s doll-like moves set to themes from “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Jasmine partnered with Hayley Erbert (in place of the original Comfort) for a rousing biker-chick routine to “Run the World.” And Aaron (see how they all become just first names) joined tappers Curtis Holland and Alexis Juliano for a group tap segment that was a bit hard to hear over the pre-recorded music.
The emotional highlight was one of the final routines, “Medicine,” created by Travis Wall originally for car-crash survivors Tucker Knox and past contestant Robert Roldan. It’s about two brothers in different places in their lives supporting one another. Paul Karmiryan takes on Robert’s role with sensitivity and helps to creates an inspiring moment.
Over two hours, the dancers move rapidly from sensitive ballads to hip-swiveling ballroom scenes, like those featuring Alan Bersten and Jenna Johnson.
Amid all the sound and the flashing spotlights, it gives the tour audience a sense of what it might be like in the studio, with a little less nervousness and more skill.
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE 2013 TOUR
Reviewed Oct. 27. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.