Contemporary dancer Kurtis Sprung comes to “World of Dance” with an impressive resume: he’s got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography, and he danced and choreographed for Cirque du Soleil. But does he have what it takes to win the million-dollar grand prize on the competition series? NBC shared with Gold Derby an exclusive preview of his Qualifiers performance to “Torches” by X Ambassadors. Watch it above.
Derek Hough thought his performance was “really beautiful.” There was a certain “awkward” quality to the way the dancer shifted his momentum in different directions that Hough liked. Hough even pegged right away that Sprung has a circus background due to his “creature-like” movements. But “I wanted to be more drawn in,” said the judge.
Jennifer Lopez was in the same boat: she told Sprung he was “amazing,” “strong” and “flexible,” but “you’re cutting yourself short.” Ne-Yo agreed, “You’re definitely in your head … I could tell that you felt something, but in order for it to be successful, I need to feel it too.” If he stops overthinking his performance, they argue, he could better convey the emotion of the piece to the audience.
The clip doesn’t reveal whether the judges advance Sprung to the next round. From the praise they gave him, it doesn’t sound like they’ll eliminate him outright, but there was enough ambivalence in their critiques that they might ask him for a callback before they make their final decisions.
And boy does he ever have a lot to live up to. There have been contemporary soloists at the world finals every season of the show so far: Eva Igo (season one), Michael Dameski (season two) and Briar Nolet (season three). Since the judges have already seen a lot of superb dancers in this style, he doesn’t only have to compete with other dancers this season, but with the standard that has been set by the acts that came before. Do you think he’s up to the challenge?
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