• Kristyn Burtt

‘SYTYCD’ Los Angeles Auditions Draw Some Familiar Dance Faces

Updated: Apr 30



Photo credit: Dance Dish/Kristyn Burtt

One of the most compelling parts of So You Think You Can Dance is the dancers, who get cut right before the live shows and come back with a vengeance the next season to earn their spot. On Monday, it was great to see some familiar faces in line looking to become a part of the Season 15 cast.


Ballroom dancers Allen Genkin and Magda Fialek were ready to take on the preliminary audition after getting cut during Academy Week last season. But longtime viewers will also remember Genkin’s untimely injury from Season 12 during the audition rounds, so there’s even more at stake for him.


More: The Season 1 'SYTYCD' Winner Received a Cash Prize & This Unusual Reward


“For me, it’s about not stressing over anything and mentally being prepared and taking it one step at a time to enjoy the whole process,” said Genkin.


“It’s a little different for me this year because I have two partners [Genkin and Marcus Nyemchek],” said Fialek. “I’m kind of in my head because I have two routines to work through, but I’m trying to enjoy the moment. Last year was about feeling it out — what’s going to happen, what’s the process like — it’s easier to enjoy now.”


Nyemchek, whose second daughter was born five weeks ago, has a small advantage when it comes to asking for advice — his brother, Kiki, came in fourth place in Season 14. 


“He said to have fun in the moment and to hold nothing back — just go balls to the walls,” laughed Nyemchek. “He’s given me full support from beginning to end, so I’m stoked.”

Nyemchek isn’t the only protégé of Dancing With the Stars pros Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy who is auditioning this year. Cole Mills, who also studied with the Chmerkovskiys, is returning to SYTYCD after being cut during Academy Week in Season 14.


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“After doing a solo Paso Doble last year, I have a partner for my Cha-Cha this year,” explained Mills. “This will be the first time I’ve danced with a partner onstage in a long time — since Sway [Maks and Val’s show]. The partner thing is a game-changer. Kiki told me to dance with a partner. He was in the finale, so I’m doing what he says.”

Mills also spent the past year training in hip-hop and acrobatics for the Season 15 auditions. He has a few tricks up his sleeve including a “layout step out” and a “B-twist” that he’s ready to pull out if needed.


There were other familiar faces at the Los Angeles auditions, including World of Dance star Madeline Mihacevich and returning Season 14 contender Alexis Gilbert. Another dancer on everyone’s radar is Jensen Arnold. She auditioned in New York City this year and sources on location said she nailed her solo in front of the judges.


More: Will COVID-19 Impact the Casting Process for 'SYTYCD' & 'DWTS?'


Season 7 contestant and All-Star Robert Roldan was there to encourage this year’s pool of talent and chronicle the day’s events on social media. He’s had tremendous success in Season 13 and 14 with JT Church and Taylor Sieve because he knows the show is more than just technique. He dubs himself a “proud dance dad.”

“I know that this show is also about the heart. I think both Taylor and JT had that,” explained Roldan. “So contestants need to remember that you are supposed to be here, it’s your time — stand in that, own that and believe in that.”

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