The Way You Move

How This African Jazz Routine On 'So You Think You Can Dance' Has The Power To 'Unite The World'

We need more of this.

In an episode of So You Think You Can Dance that began with a disco routine (set to a Bee Gees classic), highlighted an incredible step troupe (the subject of the aptly-titled documentary Step), and had styles from all around the world, it was an African jazz routine that stole the show. Choreographed by Sean Cheesman, and danced by Koine Iwasaki and Marko Germar, one judge said it showed how dance can "unite the world."


Following up their romantic performance from last week, Iwasaki and Germar showed a more animated side to their talents. Cheesman described the concept of this African jazz — sometimes called Afro-jazz — piece as depicting "the mysterious life of an insect." The duo danced to Sheila Chandra's "Speaking in Tongues II" and gave us a simple yet intricate performance that had sharp movements and never seemed to take a break.

As head judge Nigel Lythgoe points out, Cheesman — who has appeared in music videos such as Michael Jackson's "Bad" and choreographed for the likes of Janet Jackson and Britney Spears — is a Canadian (with parents from Trinidad and Tobago), Germar is from Guam (and is of Filipino heritage), Iwasaki is of Japanese heritage, African jazz is "based on the music and rhythms" of the Caribbean, Africa at large, and South Africa more specifically, and Chandra is from Britain but of Indian heritage.

"It just shows you how music and dance can unite the world," Lythgoe explains.

Not only did this African jazz routine show us a styles outside the realm of what we tend to see with contemporary (such as with Sydney Tormey and Paul Karmiryan's performance) or hip-hop (like with Kaylee Millis and Cyrus Spencer's performance), but we saw a Bollywood routine from Inyoung "Dassy" Lee and Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun" Stegall as well as an Argentine tango from Lex Ishimoto and Gaby Diaz.

Cover image via Tyler Golden / Fox

Watch Koine and Marko's full routine here:

Cover image via Tyler Golden / Fox

The Way You Move celebrates dancing and choreography videos that showcase fancy footwork in genres as diverse as ballet, hip-hop, tap, ballroom, and more. Learn a new routine the first Thursday of each month, and throughout the calendar when you get the urge to move.


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