Nine-year-old jazz dancer Savannah Manzel wowed the “World of Dance” judges during the Qualifiers with her incredible flexibility, range of motion, and acrobatic athleticism, but Jennifer Lopez wasn’t sure a dancer so young would have the emotional presence to really connect to her music. Well, the judges didn’t go easy on her during the Duels. They pitted the pint-sized soloist against 305, a large Latin dance troupe. And Manzel was almost tripped up during her routine by her own equipment. Did she have the composure to withstand those challenges? Watch her routine above.
Manzel’s tricks were so fast and furious that her microphone pack came loose from her costume and dangled precariously from her leg while she was in the middle of a spin. It could have caused injury if it tripped her up during one of her more dangerous maneuvers, so they had her stop to resolve that problem before finishing her routine. And to the young dancer’s credit, she wasn’t fazed, not by her competition and not by the trip wire she had swinging around her ankles.
Lopez admitted her initial concerns about Manzel’s youth, but told her, “Right now, that fight you just had, it made me see that you don’t only have it, but you have it spades, and that you can not only feel it, but you can also express it. And that was amazing.” All three judges were impressed by her perseverance, and though they all thought Manzel needed to add more dancing in-between her acrobatics, it wasn’t a surprise when she was named the winner of her duel against 305.
So Manzel is moving on to the Semi-Finals on the main stage. A dancer so small could get lost under all those bright lights, but somehow I don’t think that’ll be a problem for her.
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