Danny Tidwell came in an era of So You Think You Can Dance when the dancers only needed one name... Danny, Benji, Travis, Heidi, Allison, tWitch, Lacey. The list of those early seasons of the show goes on and on, and for dance fans, no last names are needed in referencing any of those contestants. That's how deep the legacy of the show goes.
The loss of Danny is a loss to the dance community and beyond. He's one of the contestants who helped set the stage for Season 17 to even exist. Back then, the show had the luxury of being on twice a week for the entire summer. Those result shows helped us get to know the contestants and their back story.
In Season 3, it was no secret that Danny was related to the Season 2 runner-up Travis Wall. His story was one of struggle and triumph, not only in real life, but also on the show. While judges sometimes criticized his attitude, Danny fought back to prove his talent and his mindset were 100% in the game.
His technique was so sublime, it warranted its own New York Times article in 2007 entitled, "So He Knows He Can Dance: A Prince Among Paupers."
"If Mr. Tidwell is different from the other dancers on the show, the distinction has as much to do with his dignity as with his impeccable line and his ability to infuse slight choreography with authority, rare on such a talent show," wrote NY Times dance critic Gia Kourlas, who criticized SYTYCD in the article, but had high praise for Danny.
His career post-SYTYCD took him to Broadway in the show, Memphis, to the stage at the National Ballet in Oslo, Norway and to Dancing with the Stars in a Macy's Stars of Dance duet with Tiler Peck, choreographed by Travis. In 2014, he married journalist David Benaym and together, they continued their creative projects merging their love of journalism and the arts.
In 2020, the legacy Danny leaves behind in the dance community is significant. The memories live on — his dancing left for all of us to see on YouTube. In the era of Danny, Benji, Travis, Heidi, Allison, tWitch, Lacey is now missing one of its key players, and we all feel that loss today.
This week's 'To The Pointe':