‘So You Think You Can Dance’: Darius Hickman tackled gender expression in this Travis Wall ‘masterpiece’ [WATCH]

Travis Wall dug deep for a routine he choreographed on “So You Think You Can Dance” for the live show on Monday night, August 27, when the Top 6 contestants performed. Contemporary dancer Darius Hickman was paired with a “SYTYCD” all-star, season 14 finalist Taylor Sieve, for a bold, risk-taking routine to Damien Rice‘s “It Takes a Lot to Know a Man” that challenged standards of gender expression. Watch their performance above.

Wall’s choreography was inspired by his own experience of coming out of the closet as gay, after which he experienced bullying and ridicule. So in his dance Darius embodied a more traditionally feminine form of gender expression, while Taylor played the more masculine role, representing the negativity, rejection and toxic masculinity that Darius must fight against to live as his more authentic self. After Darius thwarted Taylor he reapplied his lipstick to close the performance, demonstrating his self-acceptance.

“No matter what happens on this show, I feel like you have a long career ahead of you,” said judge Vanessa Hudgens. Twitch went even further, telling both choreographer and dancer that the routine “transcends the competition. This is literally a work of art. In one word, it’s a masterpiece, Travis.” Mary Murphy considered it “the most important and most powerful piece of the night.”

So it came as quite a blow at the end of the show when Darius and Jay Jay Dixonbey were eliminated from the competition just shy of the finals. This week’s results were based on America’s votes from last week’s show, so America won’t get a chance to vote for this performance. But I have feeling that this will be a part of Travis Wall’s 2019 Emmy reel for Best Choreography, so the television academy will get a chance to vote for it.

Watch Darius and Taylor’s performance above. And watch our recent interview with Travis Wall below about his current Emmy nomination for “SYTYCD.”

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