Top 10 Hip Hop Routines on So You Think You Can Dance

The fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance has come to an end, declaring Jeanine the winner. It was a pretty lackluster season, with very few memorable routines. One thing that was definitely lacking this season was solid hip hop routines. There was not one hip hop piece that stood out for me, eve though they brought back talented choreographers Shane Sparks, Napoleon and Tabitha and Dave Scott. It could be because there was only one hip hop dancer who made top 20 and the dancers just couldn’t pull it off. However, in its 5 year history SYTYCD has many memorable hip hop routines. After thinking back on the past 5 seasons, I have created a list of the top ten hip hop routines in SYTYCD history.

10. “U Sexy Girl” from Season 3 choreographed by Dave Scott
This may not be a piece that many people think of when they think of great hip hop on SYTYCD but I really loved this one. Danced by Jimmy and Shauna on my favorite season, it was the first stepping routine ever on the show. These two contemporary dancers smashed it and made it a fun performance to watch.

9. “Skippin” from Season 4 choreographed by Dave Scott
In a take on Frankenstein, Joshua and Courtney went right in to their roles. With a song with such a hot beat, they hit every step perfectly. It was another great performance by Dave Scott, a choreographer I believe doesn’t get the props he deserves on the show. He appears on this list a lot.

8. “Make it Work” from Season 3 choreographed by Shane Sparks
This performance put Dominic and Sabra on the map and officially made them my favorite couple of season 3. This Shane piece had very simple movements (so simple I can do this dance) but what made it so memorable was the connection and chemistry between the two dancers. And that freeze at the end? Crazy! They really sold it and made everyone believe that they were in love. It was one of the many great performances of season 3.

7. “Toma” from Season 1 choreographed by Brian Friedman
Season 1 so often gets overlooked. Many people believe the show started with Cat Deeley and Benji but before them there was Lauren Sanchez and Jamile and Kamillah who danced this piece. I believe it was the only hip hop routine Brian Friedman ever choreographed on the show. It was a fast, sexy routine that had so much energy. The dancers put everything in to it. It’s still a routine I love to watch.

6. “Fuego” from Season 3 choreographed by Shane Sparks
Sometimes referred to as the transformer dance, this piece danced by Lauren and Pasha was nominated for an Emmy. With very intricate moves, musicality, and brilliant choreography its no wonder it was so well received. It was definitely one of Shane’s best pieces on the show.

5. “Bleeding Love” from Season 4 choreographed by NapTab
Going in to the top 5 is the piece about a man addicted to his job and his girl who wants him to pay more attention to her. Danced by Mark and Chelsie it was an emotional piece that told a story. Both dancers had the facial expressions down perfect, we could all feel their pain. I love Napoleon and Tabitha’s choreography because it hits every single beat in the music. My favorite part of this piece is the heartbeat section where he takes her heart with him. It was brilliant and is nominated for an Emmy this year.

4. “Sexy Love” from Season 2 choreographed by Shane Sparks
This was definitely one of the most memorable dances from season 2, danced by two of its most memorable dancers Alison and Ivan. It was probably the first ‘lyrical hip hop’ routine on the show, before anyone knew what ‘lyrical hip hop’ was. Using the umbrellas and then throwing them aside and hitting all those beats, the piece had its slow, sweet moments and then the hard hitting movements that made it a real hip hop routine. Its one of the best.

3. “Forever” from Season 4 choreographed by Dave Scott
I really believe that this piece is one of the BEST hip hop routines ever to grace the SYTYCD stage. Danced by Comfort and Twitch, two hip hop dancers, and choreographed by Dave Scott and danced to an amazing song, this piece had it all. No other two dancers could have pulled it off like these two did. It had popping, glides, and slides. It hit beats in the music that I hadn’t even heard until I saw the movement. And what I loved about it the most was the look of pure joy on both dancers faces to finally be dancing in their comfort zones.

2. “Shake” from Season 1 choreographed by Shane Sparks
From the forgotten season 1 is this piece danced by Jamile (my favorite dancer from season 1) and Destini. This piece was 100% hip hop and blew everyone away. No one was expecting them to come that hard and they smashed it. When I think of season 1, I think of this piece and how great it was. When I met Shane, I told him that this was my favorite piece he’s ever done and he nodded like he’s heard that a million times. He probably has.

1. “No Air” from Season 4 choreographed by NapTab
Of course, this piece takes the number one spot as the best hip hop routine in SYTYCD history. Danced by the winning male and female of the season Joshua and Katee, telling the story of a man getting shipped off to war, it was perfect. It was one of the first routines NapTab choreographed on the show and I was skeptical going in to it. But watching them hit every single beat, the emotion that went behind the movement and the song, to this day it’s still my favorite song, it shocked me. To come out on the first performance episode of the season and smash it like that, they were guaranteed for the finale.

That’s my list. There is nothing from season 5, but hopefully with season 6 starting up in September there will be stronger hip hop routines. Are there dances on this list that so don’t belong up there? Did I miss anything? What do you guys think?


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