Jean Marc choreographs spicy dances for SYTYCD
“Summer? What summer?” jokes So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge Jean Marc Genereux from Montreal. “I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to even notice!”
But even if he’s not sitting poolside, he’s still enjoying the summer months, and excited about the dances he recently choreographed for the U.S. SYTYCD.
“I just love choreographing for the kids down there,” he says.
He and his wife and dance partner France Mousseau created four pieces for Season 7: a paso doblé for salsa dancer Cristina Santana and all-star Pasha Kovalev, an Argentine tango for contemporary dancer Robert Roldan, and all-star Anya Garnis, a cha cha for contemporary jazz dancer Lauren Froderman and Pasha and a quickstep for Robert and contemporary dancer, Ashley Galvan, right before she had to withdraw from the competition due to a rib injury.
“It’s very interesting,” he says of the new format, pairing the Top 11 dancers with an all-star each week. “The quality of the dancing is really up there.”
“When you’re watching the show, there can be less anxiety and tension than if both dancers are doing something they haven’t done before.”
And it’s not just different from an audience’s perspective. Jean Marc says his entire approach in the studio has also changed. “The way you communicate with ballroom beginners and the way to communicate with professionals is different. But now they’re both in the same room, dancing at the same time.”
Even though there are fewer dancers, Jean Marc says it’s still a very tight family. “They’re very generous with their emotions and with each choreographer. I got so attached to each of them.”
“Obviously, it’s still a super fast crazy rehearsal process – that hasn’t changed,” he adds.
But the dynamics of working with the pair is different, he says. “Really, it’s a choreographer’s dream – you can do so, so much because you’re at least 50 per cent of the way there. You can really push things choreographically.
“You focus a lot on just the one dancer, the competitor, and the other one, you don’t have to worry about – you know they can do whatever they give you. For example, if you have a partnership between a guy all-star, you’re going to put in tons of lifts because you know the guy is going to be able to do it!”
One huge advantage for the competitors, Jean Marc notes, is that they are able to draw on the all-stars’ expertise and experience. “Both their professional dance experience and experience on the show,” Jean Marc notes. “They can really pass on all of their knowledge.”
He really enjoyed working with Robert. “He’s a very sensitive and loveable young man, even if he acted overconfident a lot of the time,” he says of the contemporary dancer, but adds his favourite number so far was the cha cha he choreographed on Lauren and all-star Pasha.
“I really, really liked the dance. It was pretty spicy!
“Lauren could have kept her feet a little more grounded, but in terms of the rest of it, her hips, legs, ankles and emotion and commitment, I’m telling you, she was scary good!”
He credits France’s expertise in helping Lauren find her spicy side. “Lauren’s young. She’s only 18, but France is an amazing teacher and got her into the feel of the dance.”
With the four U.S. dances under his belt, Jean Marc is hoping to sneak in a little bit of summer before the Canadian premiere (August 15th!).
“We’re going to head east to Toronto,” Jean Marc says about his family vacation. “So far, we’re planning to go to Canada’s Wonderland, Niagara Falls and hang out in downtown Toronto.
“I spend so much time there and it’ll be fun to have the whole family and the kids with me. We’re going to do all the museums and attractions for the kids before the madness of So You Think You Can Dance Canada starts!”