#SYTYCD Book Pitch: Season 10, Top 20 (@DANCEonFOX)


Last year I did a little feature on my blog where I took some of my favorite routines from the television show So You Think You Can Dance and pitched books based on them. This seems a bit random, but after I heard authors like Victoria Schwab and Myra McEntire talk about how SYTYCD affected their books, I realized how interconnected all art is, and how artists all tend to take inspiration from each other. Music, photographs, paintings, dance, poetry, film, books…they all come from the same creative spirit.

Also, I love, love, love this show, and this gave me an excuse to talk about it on my blog.

It all started with this post, which was so much fun to write and let me revisit many of my favorite routines from seasons past. It got a huge positive response, so I turned it into a weekly feature. Every week, I’d pick a dance and pitch a book inspired by it. I’d also pick an author whose voice and skills I thought suited that story, but I’m not going to do that this yearMostly because my author knowledge is finite, and I used many of my favorites last season, and besides, that’s really not the point of doing these posts.

Last year, I posted faithfully the day after the show (which airs Tuesdays at 8:00 EST). This year…I’m not going to do that. Because I’ve gotten so erratic in my posting, and because sometimes ideas need a few days to stew, I’ll just promise to put posts up sometime before the next show airs. Which, in the case of this week, is going to be mere hours before the next show airs.


Guys, I am super-psyched about this year’s Top 20. So very many good dancers! I haven’t been this excited since Season 7 (which I know many people didn’t like, but I luuuuuurved. Kent! Lauren! Billy! ROBERT!). I’ll get into my opinions on this year’s crop of dancers in a minute, for those of you who care. I’m guessing most of you just want me to get to the book pitch.

Which I will do in just a second.

First, I just need you to watch the opening number from the Top 20 performance show. It doesn’t tell a story, but it is in my top 3 SYTYCD group dances ever. The other two are Comanche (S6) and Ra (S7), if you’re interested. With an honorable mention going to Ramalama (S2).

…I’m getting sidetracked.



I’d apologize for all the caps I keep using, but you should know by now I just have lots of all-caps feelings about this show.

(For those of you who don’t watch the show and are confused by the random…more mature…participants in this dance, they’re the choreographers and judges.)

ANYWHO, BOOK PITCHES. (Disclaimer: It is highly possible in any given week that you will watch the dance, then read my pitch, and have no idea how the two are related. If so, I am sorry. I promise it works in my head, but my head is a strange, strange place.)

Here we go!

Song: Elsa by The Valerie Project

Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

Dancers: Amy and Fik-Shun

Pitch: While awaiting her execution for the murder of the royal family — her family — a princess-turned-assassin escapes from prison, with the aid of a guard who believes she is innocent. With the kingdom’s armies in pursuit, they must help each other as they brave a vicious wilderness neither of them is prepared for. Meanwhile, the guard begins to question the princess’ innocence, and his own role in her story, as she is haunted by the memories of her dead family.

What do we think, friends? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Does this dance give you something totally different? What other dances from last week inspired you?

And for those of you who care, I have many people I’m pulling for this season. For the guys, I’m a fan of Tucker*, Aaron**, and — although he was not impressive in last week’s show — Nico***.

For girls, Jasmine M, Makenzie, and Amy are my frontrunners. Amy astounds me.

I’m also watching the show with my two daughters (ages 7 and 4), and I told them they could each vote for one girl and one guy. They took this responsibility very seriously, making notes (or in my four-year-old’s case, drawings) of their favorite dances throughout the show, then making me rewind so they could watch the recaps at the end three times, before settling on their favorites.

Anyone want to guess which couple this is? Hint: Not the couple she voted for.

My seven-year-old’s favorites are Malece and Paul. The four-year-old voted for Jenna and Fik-Shun.

Between the three of us, we’re sure to pick some contenders.

If you’re watching and voting, who are your picks? Are you as excited for this season as I am? And if you’re in Nashville, WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE TOUR WITH ME? Because I’m already pretty sure this is a tour I’ll want to see.

P.S. I’m totally posting a book review tomorrow. I promise.

* Tucker is from Nashville — I think I might have driven by his house the other day. At any rate, they had a gigantic sign in their front yard cheering him on. Next time I drive by, I’ll take a picture.

** Who else is SO HAPPY that he squeaked into the show? Please, please let him get farther than the last time I liked a tapper this much and was so very disappointed by his early elimination. *Nick Young cough cough*

*** I’m hoping he redeems himself this week, because he absolutely stood out to me in the Meet the Top 20 show, especially in the Top 10 guys dance. But I’m prepared for him to be this year’s Dancing Gosling Matt Kazmierczak, who I loved and had a similar style (to my untrained eye), yet never really wowed the judges or the voters.

#SYTYCD Book Pitch – Season 9 Week 8 (@DANCEonFOX)

It’s Final Four time! I can’t say I’m in love with this top 4, as only one of my favorites is left standing (and since there will be two winners this season — one guy and one girl — I really wanted one of my male favorites to still be in it), but there were still some awesome routines last night.

Interestingly, I guess if you go by the routines I’ve picked for these book pitches, Chehon actually is one of my favorites, because I’ve selected his routines several times. But my heart still misses the ones who were eliminated.

I don’t know if we’ll see anything new next week in the finale — probably a new group routine, but normally the finale is an opportunity to revisit season highlights. But I’ll probably do a final pitch next week, even if it is a dance from a prior week, just so I have an excuse to do one more.

Anyway, here’s my pick for this week.

Song: Leave from “Once”

Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

Dancers: Chehon and Allison (Season 2)

Pitch: A boy and a girl grow up together as part of a small colony on a remote planet. Finally, as teenagers, they admit to the growing attraction they’ve both been feeling. But no sooner has their young romance blossomed than a ship shows up to take the girl’s family back to Earth, a plan that had been in place since before she was born. By the time the ship makes it back at relativistic speeds, everyone who remains back in the colony will be long dead. The girl is forced to make a choice: Stay with the family she relies on, or the boy she could love?

Suggested Author: Diana Peterfreund

What did you think of the final four’s performances? Did any of the routines particularly inspire you? And who do you think our two champions will be?

Past Pitches:

“Counting on You” Music Book Pitch

Week 6 & 7 Book Pitches

Week 5 Book Pitch

Week 3 Book Pitch

Week 2 Book Pitch

Week 1 Book Pitch

The original SYTYCD Book Pitch post

#SYTYCD Book Pitch – Music Edition! (@MikeyWax @DANCEonFOX)

So you remember yesterday when I promised another SYTYCD-related treat today? Well this is it!

I was approached* by Kelly, the publicist for musician Mikey Wax, about doing one of my book pitches based on Mikey’s song “Counting On You.” You may know it better as the current guys’ elimination song on So You Think You Can Dance. Here, I’ll jog your memory.

So of course I agreed. I was thrilled someone actually reads my book pitches. And likes them. I tend to think they’re rather nifty, even if you don’t watch the show. I like imagining what these stories would be like. But it’s nice to know I’m writing them for more people than just me and my few loyal commenters.

Plus, you know me. Any excuse to enter “So You Think You Can Dance” into the YouTube search engine is good in my book.

Anyway, I’m happy to help out an up-and-coming artist using my tiny little corner of the Internet, because even though my music degree is sitting on a shelf gathering dust (under a pile of books, of course), I’m still a musician at heart. And even though my tastes over the years have gotten weird (and even though this has been my favorite music video for the last twelve years**), so who knows what I know, I personally really like this song.

Anyway. I’m getting distracted.

While the 50-second clip used on SYTYCD is fun, I thought you may be interested in the whole song. And if you love it, you can check out Mikey’s website, where he has options to purchase this song as well as the album it comes from, Constant Motion. And his other albums too. So here’s the full version:

And here are the lyrics:

Who knows
Crazy as life goes
We’ll write a story 
We’ll tell til were very old
So let’s live lost in the moment
Taking it all in as we go.

You know I’m counting on you not running
Stay with me let it keep on coming
You and I need to hold on through
As the world is in constant motion
You stay with me through this strange emotion
You and I, we will make it through

Lets go into the unknown
Letting our lives flow
Together we’ll lose control
I know that lately
I’ve been acting crazy
We gotta let this feeling roll

You know I’m counting on you not running
Stay with me let it keep on coming
You and I need to hold on through
As the world is in constant motion
You stay with me through this strange emotion
You and I, we will make it through

Close your eyes and dream
Feel the wind on the open highway
All I need is the breeze and your love

You know I’m counting on you not running
Stay with me let it keep on coming
You and I need to hold on through
As the world is in constant motion
You stay with me through this strange emotion
You and I, we’ll make it through

Oh you and I, we will make it through

I would like to state for the record that I listened to this song approximately eleventy billion times on repeat while writing this post, and it will now be stuck in my head for the rest of my life. Good thing I like it.

I tried to take into account the words of the song, in addition to the feel, when considering this book pitch. Here’s what I came up with:

Book Pitch: High school sweethearts Zoe and Hoban*** have the perfect fairy-tale romance, until Zoe’s dad accepts a job on the opposite side of the country. Heartbroken, Zoe tries to adjust to single life at a strange new school on the East coast, but when she meets social misfit Inara, it doesn’t take long for the girls to hatch a plan to run away to California. But while Zoe savors their new-found freedom and imagines her romantic reunion with Hoban, Inara spends their road trip looking over her shoulder, afraid someone might discover her secret.

Suggested Author: Stephanie Perkins

What do you think? Like the song? Like the pitch? Have your own idea for an awesome story inspired by this song? Let me know your thoughts!

Past Pitches:

Week 6 & 7 Book Pitches

Week 5 Book Pitch

Week 3 Book Pitch

Week 2 Book Pitch

Week 1 Book Pitch

The original SYTYCD Book Pitch post

* I was not compensated in any way for this post. It just sounded like fun.

**I just watched it again, and the girlfriend is definitely Shiri Appleby from Roswell, which just made me love it even more. I realize I probably should not be talking this much about a Bon Jovi video in a post about a Mikey Wax song, but I can’t help it.

***10 points if you get the reference.

#SYTYCD Book Pitch – Season 9 Week 6 & 7 (@DANCEonFOX)

Today’s going to be a double-header!* I wasn’t able to get to it last week, since I was getting ready to travel down to New Orleans for my brother’s wedding, which went off wonderfully well in spite of many Isaac-related complications.

So for today, I have a pitch from last week and one from this week. ALSO, stay tuned for tomorrow, because I will have a very special SYTYCD-related surprise, a little bit different from what I’m doing today! ARE YOU EXCITED?

P.S. I am SO ANGRY about the guy who was eliminated last night. I do not approve. Not even a little. But I’ll try not to let my bitterness bleed into this post.

Anyway, first let’s look at a dance from last week, shall we?

Song: Possibly Maybe by Bjork

Dancers: Cole and Allison (Season 2)

Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh

Book Pitch: Every night in her dreams, a girl meets the same boy. At first, she assumes he’s just a figment of her imagination, but when he shows up at her school one day, she realizes he’s real…and possibly not quite human. Her dreams begin to descend into chaos, and soon she doesn’t know if he is there to help her, or to keep her trapped in her nightmare forever.

Suggested Author: Brenna Yovanoff

And then moving on to this week:

Song: Eli, Eli (A Walk to Caseara) by Sophie Milman

Dancers: Chehon and Kathryn (Season 6)

Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Book Pitch: Upon their release from Auschwitz after the deaths of their parents and destruction of their home, a brother and sister struggle to put their lives back together.

Suggested Author: Ruta Sepetys

What do you think? Would you read either of these books? Did you come up with an idea for a book pitch based on any of the dances this season? I’d love to hear it!

Past pitches:

Week 5 Book Pitch

Week 3 Book Pitch

Week 2 Book Pitch

Week 1 Book Pitch

The original SYTYCD Book Pitch post

*That is pretty much the only time you will ever hear me make a baseball reference.

#SYTYCD Book Pitch – Season 9, Week 5 (@DANCEonFOX)

I skipped this feature last week because all the routines were rehashes of old routines (which…not a giant fan of that, gotta be honest). Plus, one of the routines already inspired a book. If you want to see the re-interpretation, here you go.

But anyway, after the two-week hiatus and then skipping last week, I feel like I haven’t done one of these in forever. Fortunately, last night’s episode had several fantastic dances to pick from.

[Getting away from the point of this post for a second, I just want to go on record as saying that I. Love. All-Stars. Especially after my favorite dancer was eliminated last week, and I now don’t have a serious emotional investment in the competition, the main reason I was looking forward to this week’s episode was to see who they brought back as All-Stars. And oh my goodness. Kathryn McCormick. Jakob Karr. Brandon Bryant. Alex Wong. Yes yes yes YES.]

So there were a lot of fantastic and emotional routines last night, and the one I’m picking wasn’t necessarily the best one (although I really enjoyed it), but it’s the one that most screamed “story!” to me. And it doesn’t hurt that the All-Star was one of my top 3 guys to ever compete on this show. I could watch him dance every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. Seriously.

Song: Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow) (Fosse Original Broadway Cast)

Choreographer: Spencer Liff

Dancers: Lindsay and Jakob Karr (Season 6)

Book Pitch: When a teenage outcast stumbles upon a spell to bring her shadow to life, she begins to plan the perfect crime. But when her shadow develops a conscience, her plot may be thwarted by…herself?

(I honestly don’t know how my brain went from that dance to “crime,” but there it is. My mind is a strange, strange place).

Suggested Author: This one kind of needs a creative genius because the concept is so weird, so I’m going to play the J.K. Rowling card. I may wind up regretting using a lifeline so early, but we’ll see in the coming weeks.

You know what other video goes really well with that dance? This one. 

If So You Think You Can Dance and Lindsey Stirling ever want to combine forces, I think the universe may explode, in a good way.

Week 3 Book Pitch

Week 2 Book Pitch

Week 1 Book Pitch

The original SYTYCD Book Pitch post