top of page
  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

7 Memorable Routines from the Last 7 'So You Think You Can Dance' Seasons

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

With Season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance and new epic routines just around the corner, it's a reminder of all of the memorable pieces that have come before. While fans often talk about the early days for dances like "Fix You," "Calling You," "The Chairman's Waltz" and "Gravity," there are the new classics that we give a shout out to.

We decided to take a look at Seasons 9-15 and profile a number that still stands out to this day. Of course, this is only an opinion and each season delivers more than one legendary routine. So feel free to share your favorites with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Season 9:

Lindsay Arnold and Cole Horibe were the hidden gems on Season 9. They were always strong and steady with their work, but they weren't getting all of the attention — until this routine. The Paso Doble choreographed by Jason Gilkison put them on the map. What makes this routine even more special is the fact that Lindsay always delivers a killer Paso for her celebs on Dancing With the Stars — it's one of her specialties.

Season 10:

This Season 10 routine won NappyTabs an Emmy in 2014. It featured the entire Top 20 cast, along with a few fun cameos, and it was all done in one shot. That's not an easy feat and it gives you the best inside glimpse of what the show looks like backstage. (But Jenna Johnson and All-Star/Choreographer Mark Kanemura dancing to "I Am The Best" is a close runner-up.)

Season 11:

This routine is a classic because it's a great reminder of how fantastic Anthony Morigerato's tap choreography is. This male tap duet, "Piano Man," is rugged but emotional, soft but strong. All-Star Aaron Turner and Season 11 finalist Zack Everhart hit all the right notes in this piece.

Season 12:

This season of Stage vs. Street gave us a full season of Phoenix & Pharside choreography. From group routines to duets, this was a breakthrough season for them. It was their Geisha/Ninja routine that sealed the win for eventual winner Gaby Diaz with All-Star Joshua Allen. (This was a tough decision because Phoenix & Pharside's robot routine with Hailee Payne and Virgil Gadson was also a favorite.)

Season 13:

We have made the argument about the benefits of The Next Generation season because it discovered so many young talented dancers. This number proved the extraordinary growth they experienced during the season. JT Church was a controversial pick for mentor Robert Roldan. He received push-back from judge Nigel Lythgoe. Once the duo nailed routines like Travis Wall's Emmy-Winning routine, "The Mirror," all of the critics were silenced.

Season 14:

We watched this routine filmed live at the beginning of the Academy in Season 14. It's a spectacular use of space and movement — it's a signature Mandy Moore piece that showcases her excellent camerawork. All 100 dancers, who auditioned at the Academy, were able to participate in this number. Mandy won her second Emmy in a row, and her first for SYTYCD for this routine.

Season 15:

We are expecting this piece to wind up as an Emmy nominee later this year. (2020 Update: It was nominated for a 2o19 Emmy) Travis Wall continues to push boundaries, not only through his choreography, but with the SYTYCD audiences. "It Takes A Lot To Know A Man" showcases themes of identity and societal views and it's breathtaking to watch. Darius Hickman and All-Star Taylor Sieve delivered the performance of the season.

What was your favorite routine over the last seven seasons of 'So You Think You Can Dance'?


For weekly dance insight that goes beyond the surface, join our Patreon page for weekly dance news, twice-a-week podcasts and dance-industry analysis: Patreon. Need a gift idea for a dance lover? Check out my Amazon page for gift ideas. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn a small commission.

bottom of page