15 of the best dance routines ever from So You Think You Can Dance

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“Gravity” (Kayla & Kupono, season 5) – Contemporary

Choreographer: Mia Michaels

The reason So You Think You Can Dance has lasted for 15 seasons now is because of choreography like this. Mia Michaels choreographed this gut-wrenching contemporary routine about addiction way back on season 5, and if you watch it, you’ll know why it’s on this list.

Kayla plays a woman wrestling with her addiction. Kupono carries her and seductively rubs her body, but he won’t let her get away. Whenever she seems like she’s getting away, he grabs her and pulls her right back into it. Paired with Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity,” it will give you goosebumps — especially the moment when Kayla goes to reach out for help, and Kupono grabs her by the arm and forces her back down, just as Bareilles’ sings “keeping me doooooooown!”

The routine ends with Kupono looking menacingly into the camera as Kayla looks into the distance, dazed. This routine is a perfect example of telling a story through dance. Some people may not understand how people get so emotional watching two people dance, but SYTYCD has proved so many times over the years that dancers are storytellers just like any other artist.

This routine was somehow not nominated for an Emmy, and that is truly a mystery. Both Kayla and Kupono played their roles so perfectly, with Kayla as the struggling addict and Kupono as the addiction she struggles with. Mia Michaels has been nominated (and won) several other Emmy Awards for her SYTYCD routines, but it’s still quite an upset that this powerful piece was snubbed.