The amazing husband and wife choreography team, Napoleon and Tabitha D’Umo, are taking the hip-hop routines on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to an all new level. What is completely different about their routines is that they are no longer just tricks and hitting hard; they mean something. There is a story to be told, emotions to be felt, and a floor for viewers’ jaws to hit.
Each week, my favorite routines have either been their contestants or included their contestants. One week it was a soldier leaving his wife to go to war, another routine was a pair doing a jailbreak, and a husband leaving his wife to go to work, but it was breaking her heart.
Tonight was the first time I had heard the term, “lyrical hip-hop,” but it struck me as a profound category. Some of my favorite routines on the show have been the free-style genres, like jazz, hip-hop, Krump, and the occasional contemporary. What was always lacking from hip-hop and Krump was any sort of audience connection, other than pushing pants lower and turning ball caps to the side and screaming wildly. I admit that I can get plenty riled up with a great hip-hop, but it’s purely for the “wow” factor and the energy level. Emotions are cool, though.
The hitting is still there, and the popping is just as strong as any dance routine, but there is an emotional bond between the performers and the audience. Gone are the days where the viewers will be satisfied to have seen a bunch of hot tricks and steps strung together…
That’s how it is in my book anyway.