Saturday, October 3, 2009

Breast Cancer Tribute

Originally published in July 2009

On Wednesday's episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," contestants Ade and Melissa performed a contemporary routine inspired by breast cancer to Maxwell's cover of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work."

Before the performance, choreographer Tyce Diorio explained, "I just felt compelled to talk about breast cancer and a friend who was faced with it." The piece moved the entire judging panel to tears. Nigel Lythgoe proclaimed that it reminded him why he loved dance so much and, "If this isn't a [an Emmy] nomination next year, I'll be hugely surprised." Nigel called the powerful lifts and leaps amazing, and admitted he completely lost it when Melissa pounded her fists against Ade's chest.

The anger and frustration portrayed in that one move was all too familiar for Nigel, who has several friends who have fought and are still fighting cancer. Funnywoman and guest judge Ellen DeGeneres felt privileged to have witnessed the performance, and Mary Murphy praised the couple's beautiful dancing. Emmy-winning choreographer and judge Mia Michaels, who was visibly moved by Tyce's routine, was reminded of her own father's battle with cancer and said, "It was really not about the dancing, though it was a perfect portrait of what was being said."

'SYTYCD' Top 8: Melissa & Ade's Contemporary Performance @ Y! TV

Tyce has been getting tons of emails, calls, and messages since the piece aired, but hasn't yet had the chance to talk to the person who inspired him to create the routine. His friend Michele Larkin, who he's known since he was 14 years old, has been fighting breast cancer for the past year. Michele teaches dance out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Tyce is committed to seeing her through her battle and felt that he had no choice but to do the piece in honor of Michele. "She's the strongest person I know," he added.

As for Ade and Melissa's part in this special moment in the show's history, well, who could ask for better dancers? Tyce thought that everything from the choreography to the dancers all came together on stage perfectly last night. He's proud of the two contestants and proud to have had the opportunity to bring the important issue of breast cancer to the public's attention through the show.

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