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Dance Fever

Memphis hosts auditions for So You Think You Can Dance.



Clusters of people — some dancing choreographed routines together, pirouetting and jumping in sync — lined downtown sidewalks Monday from the Cadre Building to AutoZone Park. The hundreds of people were waiting for one thing: their chance to try out for the fifth season of So You Think You Can Dance.

Memphis was one of five cities holding auditions this month, along with Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Seattle. On Monday, dancers performed free-style in front of the show's producers.

"We're looking for a dancer who is unique, memorable, and entertaining to watch," executive producer Jeff Thacker said, "and we are looking for anything and everything."

Dancers auditioning ranged from ages 18 to 35 and came from all over the United States for 30 seconds in front of the judges and a chance at fame.

"Dancers don't think, we just flow," said Justin Thomas, an 18-year-old from New Jersey who brought his mother along for support.

Natasha Payne, 30, Melody Benford, 28, and Terrika Mitchell, 27, all journeyed from St. Louis to audition. Friends since meeting on a dance team in college, they say they challenge and push one another to do better as performers.

Though that trio has known each other for years, other dancers were making new friends while waiting to audition.

Nick Ramey, a 25-year-old from Boston, was sitting with Joi Chen and Jessica Lin, two cousins from Little Rock. As they waited, they listened to pop music and chatted about why they like to dance.

"It's the performing," Chen said.

"The gratification," Ramey added.

Callbacks were held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Orpheum, where dancers performed in front of judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Tyce Diorio.

So You Think You Can Dance begins with a two-hour premiere May 21st.

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