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So You Think You Can Dance
Season Five — Top 20 Intro

By Dr Matt 

Here are the weekly Recaps from the Top Twenty Dancers to the Final Four:

Intro       Top 20       18       16       14      12       10       8       6      Final 4

Hello Dance Fans:

Here's the Top 20 Twenty for Season 5 Five of So You Think You Can Dance:

The pairings are crucial: Some Dancers will benefit from "the luck of the draw." However, the Producers will try to take "luck" out of it: They will pair-up the dancers that they think will win the hearts of America the most. For example: pairing Katie and Joshua was pure magic last year — as was the pairing of Chelsie Hightower and Mark Kanemura.

Benefiting from the "luck of the draw" last season was Jessica King and Kherington Payne. They rode the coat-tails of judge-favorite Will Wingfield and people-popular Twitch, all the way to the Top 10 Tour. Here are photos and brief bios of the Top 20 Twenty Dancers . . . Wah Hoo!

Top Ten Girls— SYTYCD Season 5 Five

Randi EvansDance Specialty: Jazz  Age: 23
        Hometown: Orem, UT
        Currently Resides: Springville, UT

Evans began dancing at an early age and performed in the closing ceremonies at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. She currently attends Utah Valley University where she is majoring in elementary education.

Karla GarciaDance Specialty: Jazz/Contemporary  Age: 23
        Hometown: Oxon Hill, MD
        Currently Resides: Brooklyn, NY

Garcia is a graduate of New York University. Her early dance experience included learning traditional Filipino folk dancing. Garcia performed on Broadway in “Hot Feet,” danced in the ensemble of the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” and went on to tour with “Wicked.” She is a member of “Boogie Bots Crew.”

Caitlin KinneyDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 21
        Hometown: Annapolis, MD
        Currently Resides: Annapolis, MD

Kinney graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts in 2005. She danced at North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice for two years and is an experienced gymnast. After beginning as a competitive gymnast, Kinney found her way to dance though an acrobatics program at “C&C Dance Company”. After graduating from Baltimore School for the Arts in 2005, she then joined North Carolina Dance Theater, first as an apprentice then later as a second company member.

Asuka KondohDance Specialty: Latin Ballroom  Age: 23
        Hometown: San Francisco, CA
        Currently Resides: Irvine, CA

Kondoh loves swimming, golf and tennis and has played piano for 13 years. She is a graduate of University of California, Irvine, and has worked as a Latin Ballroom instructor for the last two years.

Janette ManraraDance Specialty: Salsa  Age: 25
        Hometown: Miami, FL
        Currently Resides: Hialeah, FL

Manrara began performing in musical theater at age 12, and started her formal dance training at 19, studying Ballroom, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz and Hip Hop. She currently attends Florida State University.

Jeanine MasonDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 18
        Hometown: Miami, FL
        Currently Resides: Pinecrest, FL

A recent graduate of the Ransom Everglades School, Mason plans to attend the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall. She began her dance training in Ballet and Lyrical and then went on to study Jazz, Acrobatics, Hip Hop, Modern and Contemporary.

Kayla RadomskiDance Specialty: Jazz/Contemporary  Age: 18
        Hometown: Aurora, CO
        Currently Resides: Aurora, CO

Radomski has been dancing for most of her life, and participating in SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is one of her most rewarding experiences. She is grateful to her amazing mother who has supported her love of dance for so many years. Radomski also enjoys acting and singing.

Melissa SandvigDance Specialty: Ballet  Age: 29
        Hometown: Los Alamitos, CA
        Currently Resides: Los Alamitos, CA

Sandvig has been dancing for most of her life. She has danced with the Milwaukee Ballet Company, LA Opera, Long Beach Ballet and Helios Dance Theater. A highlight for Sandvig was performing “Le Coeur Illumine” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Paris TorresDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 19
        Hometown: Issaquah, WA
        Currently Resides: Issaquah, WA

Torres is a graduate of Skyline High School. She began dancing when she was 6 years old and now teaches at a studio near her home. She was also a Miss Washington Teen pageant winner, and was a Seattle Storm and Seattle Sonic Jr. dancer from 2000-2003.

Ashley ValerioDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 22
        Hometown: Mesa, AZ
        Currently Resides: North Hollywood, CA

Valerio has been dancing for most of her life. She is a graduate of Mountain View High School.

Top Ten Guys — SYTYCD Season 5 Five

Kupono AweauDance Specialty: Lyrical/Contemporary  Age: 23
        Hometown: Honolulu, HI
        Currently Resides: Kailua, HI

Aweau graduated from the Kamehameha Schools and has been dancing since he was 16 years old. He loves his home state of Hawaii, and is an avid collector of home furnishings.

Tony BellissimoDance Specialty: Hip Hop  Age: 20
        Hometown: Buffalo, NY
        Currently Resides: Buffalo, NY

Bellissimo has been dancing for most of his life. He is a graduate of Frontier High School, and played on the school’s soccer, football and lacrosse teams. He likes to write short stories and poems, and his favorite professional dancer is Barry Lather. He finds inspiration working with children in a local pre-school and mentoring young kids between the ages of 6-12 in an after school program.

Brandon BryantDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 19
        Hometown: Miami, FL
        Currently Resides: Salt Lake City, UT

Bryant began dancing ballet at age 10. He is a graduate of Coral Reef Senior High School and now attends Miami Dade College. His most memorable dance experience was performing for Madonna at her daughter’s birthday party.

Phillip ChbeebDance Specialty: Popping  Age: 20
        Hometown: Houston, TX
        Currently Resides: Los Angeles, CA

Chbeeb has had no formal dance training, but began dancing when he was 15 years old. At age 16, he founded the Marvelous Motion Studio in Houston. He is currently an engineering physics major at Loyola Marymount University.

Jason GloverDance Specialty: Lyrical/Contemporary  Age: 21
        Hometown: Fresno, CA
        Currently Resides: Fresno, CA

Glover began dancing at age 12, studying Tap and Hip Hop. He is a graduate of Bullard High School, and his favorite dancer is Michael Jackson. Tapping onstage with Gregory Hines, in one of his last shows, changed Jason’s life.

Vitolio JeuneDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 26
        Hometown: Pétionville, Haiti
        Currently Resides: Miami, FL

Jeune began dancing at age 18, and is a graduate of Florida’s New World School of the Arts. He loves motorcycles, and his favorite dancer is Desmond Richardson.

Max KapitannikovDance Specialty: Latin Ballroom  Age: 26
        Hometown: Moscow, Russia
        Currently Resides: Brooklyn, NY

Kapitannikov has been dancing for as long as he can remember. He comes from a dancing family, and his mother is a ballet teacher. He also enjoys sculpting and playing the guitar. He attended the Manhattan Comprehensive High School.

Evan KasprzakDance Specialty: Broadway  Age: 21
        Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
        Currently Resides: West Bloomfield, MI

Kasprzak graduated from Wylie E. Groves High School and currently attends Illinois Wesleyan University. He has been dancing since he was 6 years old, and his most memorable dance experience was performing in a Gregory Hines tribute with Hines’ family in the audience.

Ade ObayomiDance Specialty: Contemporary  Age: 20
        Hometown: Chandler, AZ
        Currently Resides: Orange County, CA

Obayomi has been dancing since he was 6 years old. He is a graduate of Corona Del Sol High School and currently attends Chapman University. A dance highlight for him was performing at Radio City Music Hall.

Jonathan PlateroDance Specialty: Salsa  Age: 21
        Hometown: Jonathan Platero
        Currently Resides: New York, NY

Platero was a gymnast before he began dancing at age 16. He is a graduate of Seminole High School, was a World Salsa finalist in 2006-2007 and performed as a dancer and acrobat in “High School Musical.”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Psychological Insights by Dr Matt:

Melissa Sandvig, Jeanine Mason, Ashley Valerio, Ade Obayomi, Jonathan Platero . . . all had minimal mention in the Top 20 announcement show. This puts them at a disadvantage in the first popular vote. All dance performances being equal, it will be the dancers with the most TV time that should do the best

Watch to see if any of these "minimal-exposure" contestants are paired with each other? This will point to the fact that the producers are setting up a particular couple for early departure. Nevertheless, ANY couple can end up staying on the basis of fantastic dance performances.

The contestants with the MOST TV time going in are: Brandon Bryant, Phillip Chbeeb and Evan Kasprzak, who all got good exposure this year as well as a fair amount of TV Time one season ago; Kupono Aweau is a Mark Kanemura carbon-copy and is memorable; Caitlin Kinney enjoyed TV exposure through the "will the sisters make it" drama; Janette Manrara is this year's Florida Salsa girl.

Whoever gets teamed up with Brandon Bryant, Phillip Chbeeb, Evan Kasprzak, Kupono Aweau will be girls that the Judges think are the best of the best — because these men are likely to have enough popularity to pull their partners through the first few rounds.

BUT if certain couples get just the right music, and just the right dance style . . . then a couple with NOT-SO-MUCH prior TV time can get a leg up on the competition, and create their own popular momentum. The producers can control this somewhat: They can randomly pull out of a hat, exactly what is needed to promote particular couples (in other words, the dance styles chosen only appear to be random, and the Producers are pulling the strings from the get-go).

Dr Matt


Here's the SYTYCD Pairings for Season 5

Ashley Valerio & Kupono Aweau 


Jason Glover & Caitlin Kinney 


Evan Kasprzak & Randi Evans 


Ade Obayomi & Melissa Sandvig 


Tony Bellissimo & Paris Torres 

Asuka Kondoh & Vitolio Jeune 


Max Kapitannikov & Kayla Radomski 


Karla Garcia & Jonathan Platero 


Phillip Chbeeb & Jeanine Mason 


Brandon Bryant & Janette Manrara 

Weekly Recaps from the Top Twenty Dancers to the Final Four:

Intro       Top 20       18       16       14      12       10       8       6      Final 4


The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

"Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim),
and the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!

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