Aug. 28--Amy Yakima, 19, of Northville advanced Tuesday night to the two-woman finale to compete for the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" on Fox TV's "So You Think You Can Dance."
Yakima stood with her eyes closed on stage during the live broadcast Tuesday, holding hands with her two other competitors, as her name was announced. Her parents, Mary Beth and Dan Yakima, were in the audience in Los Angeles.
The 2011 Northville High graduate made it to next week's finale based on viewer votes from her live dance routine on the show Thursday. She will compete for the title against Jasmine Harper of Rochester, N.Y., during next Tuesday's show. Viewers will vote afterward by text, phone or online. The winner will be announced on the Sept. 10 show.
The show crowns both a male and female top dancer. Each will win more than $100,000.
The men's finalists are Fik-Shun, a hip-hop specialist from Wichita, Kan., who has often partnered with Yakima on duets during the season, and Aaron Turner of Las Vegas.
On Tuesday's show, each of the remaining six contestants performed a solo and two duets before the finalists were announced. Yakima did a contemporary dance solo, and then partnered in a duet featuring Bollywood-type moves, and then a sexy hip-hop number with Fik-Shun.
Complimenting Yakima's hip-hop performance afterward, celebrity judge Nigel Lythgoe suggested that performer Miley Cyrus, who outraged many with an award show performance Sunday night widely criticized as vulgar, could take a lesson from Yakima's dance.
"Just goes to show, you don't have to put it in someone's face to be sexy, Miley Cyrus," Lythgoe said.
For Yakima, the Sept. 10 show will cap a run of acclaimed dance performances that started with "SYTYCD" auditions earlier this year in Detroit.
If Yakima wins the title, she would be the first person from Michigan to win a nationally televised performance talent competition since the debut of national network talent competitions ushered in by shows such as "American Idol," "America's Got Talent" and "SYTYCD."
Yakima took lessons at a Dearborn studio, Noretta Dunworth School of Dance, from ages 3-17. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop and danced in competitions until she was a high school graduate.
When Yakima was 9, she beat out hundreds of applicants for the coveted role of Clara in "The Nutcracker," part of the Rockettes' "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at Detroit's Fox Theatre. She danced there for three seasons before being cast in the Rockettes' New York production.
On Oct. 1, Yakima and other dance finalists will kick off a multi-city "SYTYCD" tour. It starts at the Wharton Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.
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