Choreographer’s Corner: Ballroom Great Jason Gilkison
Since Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance, choreographer Jason Gilkison has been spicing up the stage with sassy sambas and dreamy waltzes. Read on to learn more about the Australian ballroom champ.
Little Jason was literally born into the world of ballroom dance. His grandfather opened a studio in Perth in 1931, after moving to Australia from Scotland. His five kids, including Jason's mother, took over the school, and Jason spent his childhood weekends there, imitating the dancers with little Peta Roby. By the time they were seven years old, Jason and Peta started dancing together for reals ... and went on to compete around the world for the next 35 years. Crazy!
Jason and Peta were the first Australian couple to win the world championship in Latin dance. What's more, they were the undefeated Australian Latin champions from 1981 to 1997. Wow. Today, Peta is an assistant producer for Jason's critically-acclaimed project, Burn the Floor. This exciting show takes the ten competitive dances of ballroom and places them in a theatrical setting. The production has been touring over a decade, with performances in large arenas, more intimate venues, and even Broadway stages.
In 2008, Jason became a choreography regular on the Australian version of SYTYCD, before joining the U.S. program a few months later.
Here are our top three dances from Jason's American SYTYCD repertoire ... see if you agree!
3. "Filet": Katee Shean and Joshua Allen
First off, Katee and Joshua? Hello, best partnership ever. This paso doble also includes a few other of our favorite things: namely, Joshua in jazz pants and Joshua shirtless. Mostly, though, we loved the fiery Season 4 number, a perfect introduction of Jason to the American audience.
2. "Ordinary Day": Mollee Gray and Jakob Karr
We seriously had no idea Viennese Waltzes could be so captivating until we met Jason. Just this season, we've seen some gorgeous ones from Melanie and Pasha, as well as Tadd and Jordan, but our favorite has to be this Season 6 classic. That lift at the end ... breathtaking.
1. "Ven a Bailar (On the Floor)": Iveta Lukosiute and Pasha Kovalev
Our number-one pick for a Gilkison routine, however, does come from Season 8, via Iveta's Top 20 ballroom-medley debut ... so hot! We loved the what's-next factor and the J-Lo music. It didn't hurt that Pasha was up there either.