Boston, So You Think You Can Dance?

The longstanding Fox hit series swings by the Boston Opera House to scope out local (and not-so-local) talent.

so you think you can dance boston

“It’s wicked cold but we’re about to bring the heat!” chanted one group. (Photo by Regina Mogilevskaya)

February has been pretty good to Boston’s TV enthusiasts: Last week, the Today show hosted a live broadcast from Faneuil Hall, and just this morning, Fox’s hit dance competition, So You Think You Can Dance, took over Downtown Crossing. When Fox picked up the show for a 10th season at the end of December, production moved quickly as audition dates were set for Los Angeles, Austin, Detroit, Memphis, and of course, Boston, where Season 6 found its winner, Russell Ferguson.

With no idea of how many people were actually going to audition, 18-year-old Liesl Jaye, a Long Island native, showed up outside the Boston Opera House with her father at 1:30 a.m. They were the first in line. As 4 a.m. rolled around, other dancers trickled in, wrapped up in heavy-duty sweatpants and blankets. By 7 a.m., the line continued to grow down Washington Street (despite the cool 24-degree breeze). The dancers, who hailed from as far as Florida and as near as Franklin, kicked, spun, and break-danced for the Fox cameras, chanting and cheering one another on while waiting for the doors to open at 8 a.m.

“It’s a total dream job,” longtime host Cat Deeley says. “My favorite part is the actual process from start to finish. It’s always interesting to see how people develop from being in the line, from being almost a diamond in the rough, raw and unpolished, to then going to Vegas and going through this intensive process, to going to Hollywood where [the] show is live. You see them progress and progress, and that’s what’s so interesting to me: the journey.”

Today’s round could be considered one of the hardest for dancers as they cannot rely on a pre-rehearsed routine, but must freestyle to music selected by producer Jeff Thacker. “It’s the worst thing that a dancer can do because they can’t choose their music,” Thacker says. “We start the pressure as soon as they come in.” To add to the stress, Thacker says he can generally tell whether “they’ve got something or not” within the first 10 seconds of an audition. That “it factor” needs to come out strong, and it needs to come out fast.

Below, check out some sights and scenes from this morning’s So You Think You Can Dance audition:

so you think you can dance boston

Dancers attempt to stay warm with a long conga line of pliés and kicks. (Photo by Regina Mogilevskaya)

cat deeley

Host Cat Deeley smiles for the camera as auditions get underway. (Photo by Maggie Burdge)

so you think you can dance boston

A breakdancer embraces the Boston asphalt as his personal stomping ground. (Photo by Maggie Burdge)

so you think you can dance boston

A group strikes a pose. (Photo by Regina Mogilevskaya)

so you think you can dance boston

Rossibel Kuiz from Rhode Island finds a creative way to stay warm. (Photo by Maggie Burdge)

so you think you can dance boston

We think they’re excited or something… (Photo by Regina Mogilevskaya)