DANCER OF THE SEASON: JAJA VANKOVA

For the first time in all of the seasons of SYTYCD a street dancer has captured my heart, so I’m definitely rooting for her to win.

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JAJA VANKOVA – DANCER ON SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (Fox)

With my two favorites, Jaja and Gaby, in next week’s finale, I must say that one of this week’s routines set the winner, for me at least. Throughout the SYTYCD years I’ve consistently fallen in love with some of the wonderful stage performers, such as Katee Shean, Brandon Bryant and the ultimate dancer Melanie Moore, but this year for the first time a street performer, an animator, krumper and a hip hoper, has captured my heart. Jaja Vankova, from the Czech Republic, has done so by bringing a brilliant performance after a brilliant performance, week after week. No matter the genre, she’s put her heart out on the dancefloor and not only that, she’s proven to be an actress in her dancing. That has been the key that unlocked the door to my heart, because for me those two elements, dancing and acting are connected, whether it be a Broadway routine, a hip hop number or a contemporary piece.

So in this week’s show she took it to another level altogether. Those first bars of music with her sitting on that stage, with her breathing, her subtle animation and her exquisite storytelling, is beyond beautiful and it just keeps on going. This piece choreographed by Tessandra Chavez, highlights the horrible disease that is Alzheimers and Jajas performance illustrates that elusiveness of remembering and forgetting your loved ones and it’s totally and utterly heartbreaking. I bawled like a baby the first time I saw this. This is so touching, so mesmerizing, so bloody exquisite that I have a hard time believing she actually is a krumper. So I definitely am Team Jaja.

Here’s another brilliant Jaja moment, when she danced with last year’s winner Ricky Ubeda in an amazing Broadway routine, choreographed by Al Blackstone. Once again, the acting is connected to the dancing, in alignment with her musicality.

Already the first week she provided a stand out performance in this hip hop number by Chris Scott, with fellow contestent, the ballet dancer Jim Nowakowski.

Finally, her out of worldly wonderful audition to this year’s season.

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