Many have probably debated amongst themselves whether or not the (God forbid former) FOX hit So You Think You Can Dance still has any life left in it. Left in the dust without a dedicated tour from a debatably lackluster sixth season, one can only hope season seven revives what was once such a successful and great show.
Season seven can be argued to hold a crucial part in SYTYCD‘s future, taking place right after the lowest viewed season since the first; was it the sudden fall-shift of the schedule that led to the loss of viewers, or has America simply had enough of ‘dance’?
Three young male dancers may soon answer that question. Alex Wong. Billy Bell. Brandon Dumlao.
Season seven might as well be dubbed the comeback kid season. Alex Wong, 23, whose stint during season five’s Top 20 reveal stabbed hundreds of hearts across America, is back and ready to compete for another spot in the Top 20. Billy Bell, whose journey on season six was short-lived due to an illness, is healthy and ready to compete with Vegas’s Top 100 dancers. And there’s Brandon Dumlao, whose unexpected replacement for Billy gave him brief exposure last season but is now back and ready to secure his own spot in the Top 20.
“I have no idea what to do,” describes Wong freshly after his Top 20 rejection due to a contractual issue with Miami City Ballet. “After the first few weeks, I tried not to think about it, but it inevitably came back into my mind when I re-watched my elimination video. It made me cry every time.” Feeling let down with his dreams crushed, Wong sank into an angry midst but soon found inspiration through Debbie Allen.
“At first I felt like I wanted to quit, but I knew that everything happens for a reason. I remember Debbie Allen telling me to return with a good heart and a positive spirit, and that’s exactly what I decided to do.”
Wong, already an accomplished principal soloist with the Miami City Ballet, expressed during season five that although he was satisfied with ballet, the other styles featured on SYTYCD greatly intrigued him. MCB is primarily a repertoire company, meaning it revives past works that were created for others in its performances. “As much as I love doing repertoire, I also want to make my own mark in the dance world and have things created on me and be remembered.”
Since his initial audition, Wong has concentrated on honing his ballet skills while appreciating them more. He returned to MCB with a good heart and a mission to tune into what his heart was telling him. It wasn’t long after until he decided he would come out to audition for So You Think You Can Dance again.
Some may worry that Wong’s contract will once again keep him from competing if he makes the Top 20, but he assures skeptics that he has spoken with his director. They agreed Wong would not re-sign his contract for the next season so that he would be free to audition and in the end hopefully compete.
“Meaning I’m out of a job!” Wong jokingly, but worryingly, states. “When this season finishes at the Miami City Ballet, I will be hopefully continuing onto new challenges in my life with exciting changes and hurdles to overcome. I really hope to make it to season seven of SYTYCD as I’ve put everything I’ve worked for on hold to try and pursue my dreams. I want to explore my limits. I want to show the world what ballet dancers are capable of doing. I want to be a part of helping the new generation appreciate ballet, appreciate dance and appreciate the arts. This coming season means everything to me, and I can only hope I made the right decision.”
Coming up: Part II – Billy Bell
Photo credit: Lucrecia Diaz, Sayre Berman