On a night of spectacular performances to global number one hits, urban dancer Yukino McHugh and super-smiley jazz dancer Chris Tsattalios had their journey to become Australia’s favourite dancer cut short. After lacking the votes of the Australian public, they were sent home in the fourth double elimination of the season.
This week marked the third time Yukino had found herself in the bottom six and Chris’ second time. Joining them were jazz dancer Renelle Jones, contemporary dancer Maddie Peat and urban dancers Blond and Jay Johns.
Each dancer performed their duo and had one final chance to perform their solo. From there, the judges made the tough call, with Aaron Cash assuring the six: “You were all outstanding and have earned your place in the competition. This is rotten.”
For their duo, Yukino and partner Stephen Perez performed a Hunger Games-inspired routine. They were praised by the judges for “finally showing up as a team”, however, the performance wasn’t “as clean” as they were expecting.
Chris had to channel his bad boy alter ego for his jazz routine with partner Maddie Peat. Last week the judges criticised their lack of connection. This week they stepped it up and were told by Jason Gilkison that it was the “best performance in the competition for both of you”.
A teary Chris said: “Every second has been phenomenal. All I wanted to do in the competition was to grow as a dancer and I feel like I’ve accomplished that. I’m excited to go back to class and teaching. Thank you for everything.”
Yukino said: “Thank you to the show for allowing me to be creative – I’ve realised that’s why I was here. I’m so grateful that I got to show that, because how many opportunities in my life will I have to showcase myself to Australia?”
We caught up with Chris & Yukino on Friday for a quick chat …
How was your experience on SYTYCD?
Yukino: ‘It was very interesting, it was so full on and I guess it was surreal! There were so many moments that were amazing and we just learned so much about ourselves and about the Industry and how to be a better dancer, a better actor … the works!’
Chris: ‘I feel like it was just the most incredible thing that could ever have happened for me personally! I just took anything and everything I could from it and I feel like a just grew as a performer and as a person as well. I feel so lucky to have experienced it!
Which choregraphers did you enjoy working with the most?
Chris: ‘They are all so different and we had the most amazing experience with each of them, but if I had to choose one I think I would say Jason Gilkison because he is just phenomenal to work with and I can’t believe I got to! He was amazing in the rehearsal room … the knowledge that he would pass on to us was incredible!’
Yukino: ‘My ffavourite would have to be Chris Scott from America – he was just so creative and the way he uses music and props is something that is next level. I’ve never really seen someone work like that – he’s quite Hip Hop based as well so it was really inspiring for me to see a Hip Hop choreographer be that artistic. Who he is as a person was inspirational as well – he has no ego which is refreshing!’
Do you feel like you were thrown out of your comfort zone a few times?
Together: ‘Yeah, every second!’
Chris: ‘I think the worst was doing your own genre because it was SO MUCH PRESSURE! When I was doing other styles I was so free and just went with it! I think the best thing for performers though is to to things that scare you – you grow so much faster and become so much stronger because you’re not comfortable and you’re pushing yourself. If I was just chilled all the time I probably wouldn’t have taken anything from it but I feel like I absolutely pushed myself and feel so much better about that!’
Yukino: ‘The whole competition was an out of comfort zone thing for me! I wasn’t used to opening up and talking that much about my life and then just being told to be in one character and then the next week being something completely different! You have to take yourself out of it, and realise that it’s not personal, that it’s just a character!’
What do you hope SYTYCD has done for your career?
Yukino: ‘I’m really just seeing where life will take me … what I’ve realised is that I love being creative and choreographing so I’ll definitely keep doing that!’
Chris: ‘I am excited to get back into teaching. I want to continue to inspire dancers and show people what hard work can do for you. I would love to go on a world tour with an international artist some day – that’s my dream!’
Who do you predict will make the TOP 4?
Chris: ‘I would love to see Lauren there! She is a good friend of mine and I know how much she’s been through and how much she lives and breathes dance!’
Yukino: ‘It really is a hard one! I have a feeling that Michael Dameski might be up there! He’s not normal! I keep telling myself that he’s not human!