Which Style of Dance Does Best on 'So You Think You Can Dance'?
Which Style of Dance Does Best on 'So You Think You Can Dance'?
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jazz, ballet and tap. Years ago, or at least when I was a young dancer, these were the main three styles of dance. Now, there's a variety of styles, including ballroom, contemporary, hip-hop, street, club and musical theater, to name a few. And all the styles have been featured on So You Think You Can Dance. A tap dancer has won. Several hip-hop dancers have won. And contemporary dancers have won. The judges also have their favorite preferred styles. So which style does best on America's favorite dance show?


So You Think You Can Dance Season 14 Premiere Recap: The Dancers Strut Their Stuff in Los Angeles>>>

Contemporary Seems the Safest

Contemporary always seems to be a safe bet during auditions. Contemporary can encompass a number of different styles, including jazz and ballet, which is why I feel it works the best throughout the show. It's probably also a harder style for someone with more of a street or hip-hop style. But if a contestant can master it, and be able to tell a story through their performances, he or she could possibly bring tears to the judges' eyes, or at least Mary Murphy's eyes. Some of the earlier season winners on So You Think You Can Dance, such as Nick, Benji and Sasha, are contemporary dancers.

Street Creds

Street style or hip-hop is also popular and is usually a fan favorite. It is also a style that can be challenging for classically trained dancers. As far as the judges, I think as long as they are entertained and see talent throughout the performances, hip-hop can be a favorite of theirs too.

Several winners were also from the hip-hop genre, such as Fik-Shun in season 10 and Joshua in season 4.

Street vs. Stage

There is a reason season 12 was street vs. stage. These two styles, hip-hop or street and contemporary, seem to do very well among all of the contestants, as well as among the winners. In the end, a tap dancer won the season. 

I think in the end, contemporary really does well throughout the series. Most of the winners are some sort of contemporary dancer (jazz, ballet, tap.) Hip-hop is a close second.

What Do the Judges Think?

If you ask Nigel, the whole competition should probably be tap dancers. He loves his tap dancers, which is why he was thrilled when Gaby won season 12. Mary Murphy loves her ballroom, but also the ones that make her cry. Guest judges, such as Twitch and Jason Derulo, loved the hip-hop styles, while Paula Abdul favored the contemporary, poppy numbers. It's definitely a good thing that all of the judges have different favorite styles to give each contestant a fair chance.

Quiz: Which So You Think You Can Dance Judge Are You?>>>

It's All a Challenge

Regardless of what style a dancer has focused on in the past, it's their ability to adapt to different styles that makes them stand out among the judges. The best contestants are the ones who take each critique and make changes to their style and routines. For instance, in the kids' season, season 13, winner Kida took all of the advice Nigel gave him and really applied himself. And while he wasn't my favorite dancer in the beginning, he slowly rose through the ranks in my eyes and deserved the title. He is a hip-hop dancer who learned how to apply those skills to different styles, such as contemporary and Broadway.

So which is your favorite style of dance? Does on style have an advantage on So You Think You Can Dance? Do you think the judges fairly critique the dancers even if they favor a different style? Let us know in the comments below.

So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Like BuddyTV's So You Think You Can Dance Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of FOX)