Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo

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Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo
Tabitha Dumo.jpg
Backstage (bowwwww) after the So You Think You Can Dance season four finale.
Born (1968-10-17) October 17, 1968 (age 50) [Napoleon]
(1973-09-11) September 11, 1973 (age 46) [Tabitha]
Residence Sherman Oaks, CA[1]
Nationality American
Other names Nappytabs
Alma mater University of Nevada, Las Vegas[2]
Occupation Choreographers, dance teachers, creative directors, fashion designers
Years active 1996–present
Agent McDonald Selznick Associates[3]
Known for Developing lyrical hip-hop
Home town Las Vegas, NV
Children None
Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
2011 So You Think You Can Dance
Website www.nappytabs.com

Tabitha A. D'umo (née Cortopassi born September 11, 1973) and Napoleon Buddy D'umo (born October 17, 1968), known together as Nappytabs, are Emmy Award winning married choreographers who are often credited with developing the new style of hip-hop dance known as lyrical hip-hop. They have been working together in the dance industry since 1996 and are best known for their choreography on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Since being with the show, their choreography has received both positive and negative criticism. In addition to So You Think You Can Dance, Tabitha and Napoleon own Nappytabs urban dancewear and are supervising choreographers on America's Best Dance Crew.

Tabitha and Napoleon grew up on opposite coasts of the United States and met in the early 1990s as students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. They began their dance career together while still in college choreographing industrial musicals for large corporations with the hip-hop dance company Culture Shock. They were married in 1998 and continued to work in Las Vegas but eventually decided to move to Los Angeles to expand their opportunities. After moving in 1999, they started teaching hip-hop dance at the Edge Performing Arts Center in North Hollywood and found extra work choreographing for professional sports dance teams and back-up dancing for musical artists. In 2003, they joined the faculty of Monsters of Hip Hop dance convention.

Their work was introduced to mainstream audiences in 2008 when they became supervising choreographers on America's Best Dance Crew and resident choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance. It was on the later show that their lyrical hip-hop style gained exposure. The pair's career progressed to providing creative direction for tours and live events, where they worked with Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Celine Dion, Kayne West, and Jennifer Lopez. They continued to develop their dancewear line by breaking out of its previously online-only presence and opening a physical store location in 2010.

From television and concerts, their move into theater occurred gradually. They had a modest start in Las Vegas and later in Los Angeles with Monsters of Hip Hop: The Show. In 2010, they directed the JabbaWockeeZ's MÜS.I.C. stage show and began to work with several productions of Cirque Du Soleil. They choreographed Cirque Du Soleil's Viva ELVIS show and were contributing choreographers for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. They also choreographed three Cirque guest performances: Viva ELVIS on Dancing with the Stars, LOVE on the NHL Awards, and on America's Got Talent. In 2011, they continued to establish themselves in television as choreographers for the flash-mob themed reality show MOBBED. Aside from their choreography, creative direction, and dancewear line, Tabitha and Napoleon have been involved with charity work for organizations that support the arts. They continue to teach hip-hop classes at both dance studios and on the convention circuit.

Life and career[edit]

1968-1996: Early life and education[edit]

Napoleon was born October 17, 1968. While growing up as one of three children[6] in Victorville, California,[1] he learned b-boying, locking, and popping by traveling to Los Angeles and frequenting the b-boy scene; he was eventually cast as an extra in the movie Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo in 1984.[7] After Napoleon graduated from Apple Valley High School,[8] he joined the army[9] and worked as a surgeon's assistant while stationed in Germany.[1][10] Once discharged, he attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he majored in molecular biology.[2] In college, Napoleon started taking jazz and modern dance classes. He eventually received a full scholarship as a member of the university's cheer and dance team.[7]

Tabitha was born September 11, 1973 and grew up as an only child[6] in Galloway, New Jersey.[11] Her mother enrolled her in jazz dance classes when she was young.[7] As there were no hip-hop classes, Tabitha learned by watching music videos and participating in her school's cheer and dance teams.[7] She cites Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Paula Abdul as influences.[7] While cheerleading at Absegami High School,[7] Tabitha earned "All-American" status at the National Cheerleaders Association camp and got the opportunity to perform in the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii.[12] After Tabitha graduated, she moved to Nevada in 1991[13] to attend UNLV where she majored in communications and started taking formal hip-hop dance classes.[2] It was there at a party that she met her husband Napoleon.[12] While hanging out with her cheerleading and dance team friends, she invited Napoleon and his bodybuilding friends to come to a casual practice session and do stunt work them. Napoleon and his friends eventually attended a formal practice session on campus and the coach was so impressed with their work that they all received full scholarships to join the team.[12]

Tabitha and Napoleon started dating in 1994[13] but their professional partnership and dance career did not start until 1996 when they began teaching hip-hop classes together at the Las Vegas Athletic Club.[13] Since the beginning of their career they have always worked together including their first choreography job and the first dance class they taught.[14] It is very rare for them to work apart.

1996-2005: Marriage and early career[edit]

While Tabitha and Napoleon were still in college they auditioned for, and were accepted into, the dance company Culture Shock where they met members of the JabbaWockeeZ before the JabbaWockeeZ became a crew.[13] In addition to going to school and being a part of Culture Shock, they both maintained part time jobs. Napoleon worked as a personal trainer during college[10] while Tabitha worked at the Rio Hotel and Casino.[13] During their time with Culture Shock, they choreographed a variety of industrial musicals for casinos and corporations such as Nike, Levi, Redken, Matrix Hair, and MAC.[7][15] They stayed with the company and eventually worked their way up from dancers to become artistic directors.[16] As their college graduation was approaching, although Tabitha was planning to take a job in public relations and Napoleon was planning to attend medical school, they both decided to change their plans and pursue a career in the dance industry.[7]

Tabitha and Napoleon were married April 19, 1998. In 1999 they moved to Los Angeles to expand their opportunities.[7] Upon arriving in L.A. they taught hip-hop classes at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood.[17] They found extra work as back-up dancers for Beyonce, Toni Braxton, Missy Elliot, Monica, Destiny's Child, Timbaland, and Sisqó.[18] Their move from dancing into choreography occurred gradually. Jobs included choreographing performances for NFL and NBA dance teams including the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic, as well as choreographing a dance scene for the movie Legally Blonde.[18][19] In 2003, Napoleon started teaching classes with Monsters of Hip Hop dance convention.[20] He was later joined by his wife Tabitha and they are now permanent faculty members.[21] In addition to Monsters of Hip Hop, they still teach classes at The Edge Performing Arts Center.[22]

2005-2007: Dancewear, creative directing, and fitness[edit]

File:Nappytabs.gif
The Nappytabs dancewear logo.

In 2005, Tabitha and Napoleon started Nappytabs dancewear, which they design. Nappytabs is the first line of hip-hop dance apparel. They claim the lack of appropriate dancewear for the urban hip-hop dance community as inspiration for the company.[23][24][25] Early in its production, Tabitha stitched the clothes herself.[26][27] The Nappytabs logo is a yin and yang like symbol with an "n" and a "t" overlapping in the middle. The word itself—Nappytabs—is a combination of Napoleon (Nappy) and Tabitha's (Tab) nicknames.

Although Tabitha and Napoleon began creative directing after they moved to California, their first directing job brought them back to Nevada. They directed the "Steve Wyrick: Real Magic" show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas (formerly the Aladdin Resort & Casino).[18] In 2006, they served as assistant directors for Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics Tour.[3] In 2007, they were also assistant directors for Ricky Martin’s Black and White Tour.[3] Both tours were directed by Jamie King who is known primarily for his work with Madonna.

Tabitha was the host/instructor of an exercise DVD by Prevention Fitness Systems titled Drop it with Dance.[28] The video is split into six 10-minute routines that gradually increase in difficulty; movements from all six routines are combined in the finale "Showtime" segment.[29] She also appeared in Rock Your Body, another dance fitness DVD hosted by Jamie King.[30]

2008-2009: Dance shows, lyrical hip-hop, and international exposure[edit]

Tabitha and Napoleon have been supervising choreographers for America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC) since season one in 2008.[31][12] They are responsible for choreographing group routines, coming up with dance challenges, and assisting the crews as needed with polishing their performances.[32][33] Napoleon served as a talent scout for the show traveling to Atlanta, New York, and Chicago to see dance crews audition.

Also in 2008, the couple took on hosting duties for Rock the Reception on TLC. On the show, they created wedding dances for engaged couples and their wedding party to perform for the guests at the reception.[34] The participants were real life couples with no dance experience.[35] The show premiered on July 15, 2008.[34] A day before the premiere, Tabitha and Napoleon appeared on The View in order to promote it.[36][37] In addition to ABDC and Rock the Reception, they joined the choreography and judging team on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).[38] It was on this show that their lyrical hip-hop style gained mainstream exposure. Lyrical hip-hop is a fluid and more interpretive version of standard hip-hop most often danced to downtempo rap music or R&B music. The term itself was coined by choreographer and producer Adam Shankman in reference to a routine choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon to Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love".

This is one of the great things about this show is that we've really explored a totally new thing which is lyrical hip-hop and [Tabitha and Napoleon] nail it... It shows you that hip-hop [has] completely become a really legitimate beautiful genre in and of its own and you can tell such beautiful and heart breaking stories.

— Adam Shankman, [39]
File:DanceTeacherNappytabs.jpg
Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo on the November 2008 cover of Dance Teacher magazine.

"Bleeding Love" was nominated for a 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography.[40][12] After the season ended, Tabitha and Napoleon went on to direct the So You Think You Can Dance Tour.[3] They continued creative directing several other concerts throughout the remainder of the year. They were assistant directors for Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark Tour.[3] They teamed up with Jamie King again and served as assistant directors for Celine Dion's Taking Chances Tour. They directed Monsters of Hip Hop: The Show at El Portal Theater in Los Angeles,[41] and America's Best Dance Crew Live which featured dance crews JabbaWockeeZ, Super Cr3w, Fanny Pak, ASIID, and Breaksk8. Yahoo.com gave the concert positive reviews citing that the five crews represented a good mix of styles and the concert brought the best parts of the show to the stage.[42] In November 2008 Tabitha and Napoleon made the cover of Dance Teacher magazine. Dance Teacher wrote "The solidarity they share translates not only to their marriage of 10 years, but also to their work as two of today’s most renowned choreographers and instructors."[7]

In January 2009, the Nappytabs dancewear website launched which began the start of online clothing sales.[43] Prior to this, their line was sold exclusively at selected regional dancewear outlets and major dance conventions. Their dancewear website also serves as Tabitha and Napoleon's official website with news updates about different projects they're working on. The site is designed and maintained by Ryan Cyphert's 3nine Design media company; Cyphert is also a professional dancer and fellow faculty member with Tabitha and Napoleon at Shock the Intensive dance convention.[15]

In April, Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed two couples' routines and a group routine for the second season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia. The "Arab Money" hip-hop routine that they choreographed received positive reviews from the judges but their "Dead and Gone" lyrical hip-hop routine which was performed later on the same episode received the most praise.[44] Bonnie Lythgoe called it the "top routine of the night".[44] Jason Coleman added "the choreography [was] absolutely spectacular" and Matt Lee went on to say that it was "...probably the best routine in the series."[44] While in Australia, Tabitha and Napoleon were judges at the 2009 Australian Hip Hop Championships in Sydney with native Australian b-boy Don and fellow Monsters faculty member Jillian Meyers.[45] Other guest appearances included teaching at Project 818 in Moscow, Russia[46] and speaking on the Choreography Media Honors panel at Dance Camera West film festival.[47]

In September, Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed the opening dance sequence on the season seven premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[48] The routine featured both DeGeneres and the top 10 dancers from season five of So You Think You Can Dance. They went on to direct the succeeding So You Think You Can Dance Tour.[3]

Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed for several television specials later in the year. The first of which was Sean Kingston's "Fire Burning" performance at the Teen Choice Awards.[1][49] At the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, they choreographed a routine honoring dance that featured alumni from So You Think You Can Dance, America's Best Dance Crew, and Dancing With the Stars.[49] Dancers included Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, from Dancing With The Stars; Katee Shean, Mark Kanemura, and Joshua Allen, from So You Think You Can Dance; and four members of Quest Crew—the winners of season three of America's Best Dance Crew. They finished the year with choreography for Carrie Underwood's All-Star Holiday Special,[11] and Jennifer Lopez' performances at the American Music Awards[50] and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.[11]

2010-2011: Stage productions, brand expansion, and MOBBED[edit]

In 2010, Tabitha and Napoleon returned to So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) for season seven and started to work with three different productions of Cirque Du Soleil. In February, they provided choreography for Cirque Du Soleil's Viva ELVIS show at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas.[51] They also choreographed a Viva ELVIS guest appearance on Dancing with the Stars[52] which Dance Spirit magazine called "fun" and "energetic".[52] On SYTYCD they choreographed routines for the contestants as well as a guest performance for the cast of Cirque du Soleil's Beatles LOVE.[53] They worked with LOVE again at the NHL awards[54] and with their sister Cirque production for a guest performance on America's Got Talent.[3]

Aside from choreography, Tabitha and Napoleon continued to develop and expand their dancewear line. In May, they opened the Nappytabs store and dance studio in the North Hollywood Arts District.[38][55][56] Although they design their own clothing, they commissioned some print and t-shirt designs from Alex Lodermeier who has also designed for Propr,[57] a clothing line owned by Ben Harper, David Arquette, and David Bedwell.[58] Through Nappytabs, they also started sponsoring The Pulse on Tour dance convention[59] and the Industry Voice online newsletter.[60] Their clothing appears in independent R&B singer John Gillette's music video for his song "All Bad". Tabitha was a featured dancer in the video and Napoleon made a cameo appearance at the end.

Also in May the JabbaWockeeZ' MÜS.I.C. (muse-i-see) stage show, which Tabitha and Napoleon directed, opened at the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel.[13] MÜS.I.C. is the first hip-hop dance stage show on the Las Vegas Strip.[61] The original music for the show was produced by DJ collective The Bangerz and their costumes were designed by Kara Saun.[62][63] The show was 90 minutes long involving dancing, comedy, and magic.[64] The premiere included four members from Super Cr3w on stage masked as the JabbaWockeeZ.[65] Although scheduled to end in June, the show was later extended through August.[66] In October, MÜS.I.C became a permanent headliner at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.[67] At the Monte Carlo premiere, the JabbaWockeeZ brought Tabitha on stage for a cameo appearance.[62] Later in the year, Tabitha and Napoleon appeared as guest choreographers on Everybody Can Dance! / Танцюють всі!, the Ukrainian version of SYTYCD.[68] They also appeared in the independent dance documentary Move.[11][69] The film is about dance as an art form and how notable choreographers were able to go from dancing as a hobby to dancing as a career.

In February 2011, Tabitha and Napoleon made their music video directorial debut with the song "All These Boys" by Jasmine Villegas.[70][68] In addition to directing the video, they also served as choreographers. In the Spring, they returned to working in television with two projects. At the invitation of Nigel Lythgoe, they joined the production crew on the tenth season of American Idol as staging and movement coaches.[71][72] Lythgoe is the executive producer for both American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.[71] They also choreographed the Howie Mandel produced television show MOBBED which premiered after American Idol on March 31, 2011.[73] The pilot episode was actually shot in September 2010[74] but after drawing 10.8 million views it was picked up as a series.[75] In April, they started work on the film COBU 3D starring Derek Hough and Korean pop singer BoA.[76][77] Due to scheduling conflicts with the production of the film, they did not return to America's Best Dance Crew as supervising choreographers for season six.[33][78] After filming was complete, they did return to Cirque du Soleil as two of ten choreographers for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.[79]

On Christmas day, 2011 Napoleon announced on their Twitter page that Tabitha was pregnant.[80]

Choreography style and teaching[edit]

Tabitha and Napoleon's choreography is primarily hip-hop; however, it varies across genres depending on what project they're working on. On America's Best Dance Crew, the group routines they have choreographed have all been hip-hop. On So You Think You Can Dance, they've choreographed hip-hop, breaking, lyrical hip-hop, and pop-jazz routines. With Cirque Du Soleil, their work has been a combination of jazz dance and acro. In general, their choreography emphasizes big visuals, which they attribute to their cheerleading past,[12] and is "...largely centered on storytelling and physical comedy."[7] The style they are most known for is lyrical hip-hop.

Lyrical dance is a studio based dance style that uses a combination of classical dance techniques from jazz and ballet to tell a story through movement.[81] With jazz and ballet, technique alone can provide a good performance but in lyrical dance expressing emotion is emphasized just as much as technique.[81] Hip-hop is an urban dance style that is characterized as hard-hitting involving isolations—moving certain body parts independently from others—and musicality, the body's sensitivity to changes in music. Hip-hop can incorporate movement from its substyles locking, breaking, popping, and boogaloo to add a different movement quality but conveying emotion does not have to be present as the dance is more about swagger (i.e. bravado) and personal enjoyment. Lyrical hip-hop combines the nuances of lyrical dance with the vocabulary and foundational movements found in hip-hop. In lyrical dance there is a name for every dance step. Examples include pirouette (turn), chassé (a type of shuffle across the floor), jeté (leap), and pointe work (pointed toes). In hip-hop and in lyrical hip-hop there is not a name for every dance step and the previously mentioned dance moves, although standard in lyrical dance, are not common or standard in lyrical hip-hop. In lyrical hip-hop there are still isolations, gliding, and body waves just like in standard hip-hop but the movements are smoother and more fluid rather than hard-hitting and, like lyrical dance, emphasis is placed on storytelling and conveying emotion through the choreography.[82] Tabitha and Napoleon are credited with developing this style.[1][38][83][50][11]

Although Tabitha and Napoleon have a solid career in choreography and creative direction, they spend a significant amount of time teaching classes at dance studios and conventions. They have stated that teaching helps their choreography because it keeps them current on newer emerging hip-hop substyles.[7] They are faculty members at DancePlug.com,[84] Millennium Dance Complex,[21] and the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood.[22] They also teach hip-hop dance classes at iHollywood[85] and Monsters of Hip Hop[86] dance conventions. On occasion they travel to different venues as guest teachers. In the past they have taught at Shock the Intensive,[15] Coastal Dance Rage,[87] the Dance Teacher Web Conference and Expo,[88] Xtreme Dance Force,[89] and Triple Threat Dance conventions.[90] In 2010, they taught classes in Singapore for Danz People and Boogiezone's "United We Boogie" event.[91]

Critical reception[edit]

The JabbaWockeeZ, performing in 2008 at Vivid Nightclub in San Jose, CA.

MÜS.I.C.[edit]

The first run of MÜS.I.C. at the MGM Grand received mixed reviews. Las Vegas Weekly said that the JabbaWockeeZ entertained the audience before the show officially started and that MÜS.I.C had "game-changing potential" because it's the first time dance has headlined a show in Las Vegas.[92] In contrast, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) criticized the show as being "repetitious" and for having a bare stage for the first 20 minutes.[93] LVRJ also criticized the use of masks as not appealing to a casual viewer because it inhibited the dancers personality: "Even if a generational split is in play here, it would be tough to hear the creators argue that the show would suffer if, after 20 minutes or so -- gasp! -- makeup or clown-face replaced the masks to expand the original concept."[93] In October 2010 the show was moved to the Monte Carlo. Changes to the original show included a bigger stage, a new set, and added dance routines.[94] CraveOnline.com called the new show "amazing"[63] while Zap2It.com described it as "a vibrant, frenetic and multi-genre extravaganza of visuals, sound and movement."[62]

So You Think You Can Dance[edit]

Most criticism of Tabitha and Napoleon's choreography has come as a result of their work on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). Over the five seasons they've been with the show, they have received mixed reviews.

Seasons four, five, and six[edit]

"[Katee and Joshua] did a routine to my song, “No Air,” and it was crazy to see how they moved to it. It was beautiful and I totally saw the story. I got chills."

Jordan Sparks[95]

Lyrical hip-hop gained exposure and popularity during Tabitha and Napoleon's first season with So You Think You Can Dance (season four) on the first performance episode after contestants Katee Shean and Joshua Allen performed a lyrical hip-hop piece to the song "No Air" by Jordan Sparks. This routine received positive reviews was later chosen as a "Judges' Favorite" by judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe to be performed again during the finale.[96] BuddyTV.com wrote that the routine deserved an Emmy nomination.[97] Although Tabitha and Napoleon were not nominated for "No Air", they were nominated for "Bleeding Love", another lyrical hip-hop routine performed by Mark Kanemura and Chelsie Hightower, which the San Francisco Gate called a "great drama from hip-hop choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'Umo, danced with chemistry and theatrical flair."[98] This routine was picked as a "Judges' Favorite" by choreographer and judge Lil' C.[96] In June 2010, TVSquad.com named "No Air" and "Bleeding Love" two of the ten best routines from all seasons of SYTYCD.[99] A third Tabitha and Napoleon lyrical hip-hop routine choreographed to Alicia Keys' song "Like You'll Never See Me Again" did not receive as much critical praise or attention as "Bleeding Love" or "No Air"; however, Nigel Lythgoe confessed when giving feedback on the dance that season four was the first time he had been emotionally affected by hip-hop routines.[100]

Seasons five and six brought less praise for Tabitha and Napoleon. During season five's Top 8 performance episode, Lythgoe commented after a hip-hop routine choreographed by Shane Sparks "It's wonderful to have Shane Sparks back this season. He brings something else... I've been a little disappointed with our hip-hop this year."[101] Out of the 11 hip-hop routines (both couples and group routines) choreographed on season five previous to Lythgoe's comment, Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed seven. Although Lythgoe did not enjoy most of the hip-hop in season five, the routine they choreographed to the song "Mad" by R&B singer Ne-Yo was picked as a "Judges' Favorite" by Adam Shankman on the season five finale episode.[102]

The most significant less favorable comment came during season six in response to "People are Strange"—a routine about how aliens would attempt to dance hip-hop. None of the judges liked the routine. Lythgoe said the routine placed concept (theme) over substance (dancing).[103] All the judges felt that the dance was weird and that the choreography was more to blame for the dancers' performance than the dancing itself.[103] Of the routine "Give it to me Right" that Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed on a later season six episode, TVSquad.com wrote that many parts were awkward and that the dance only became enjoyable once the dancers "stopped cavorting around the desk and got out on the floor."[104] In contrast to the mediocre to bad reviews, two other routines they choreographed were picked as "Judges' Favorite" during the season six finale: "Beggin'" (chosen by Lil' C) and "I Can Transform Ya" (chosen by Mary Murphy).[105]

Seasons seven and eight[edit]

Tabitha and Napoleon received their best reviews on So You Think You Can Dance during season seven after a performance they choreographed to the song "Outta Your Mind" by Lil Jon. Creators magazine said the routine "brought the house down."[106] Pioneer Local called the number "powerful... It's been so long since [Tabitha and Napoleon] have had a showstopping hip-hop number on SYTYCD. Not since Season 4 when they had Katee, Joshua, tWitch, Mark and Chelsie have they pulled out hip-hop this good."[107] The routine was performed by ballet dancer Alex Wong and "All-Star" hip-hop dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss from season four. The concept is about a psychologist (tWitch) who teaches a dancer (Alex) to let go of his technique and inhibitions and just dance. After the performance, tWitch and Alex received a standing ovation from both the crowd and all three judges—Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, and Adam Shankman. So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley commented "I have never, never, in 'So You Think You Can Dance' history, heard a roar from a crowd like this - ever."[108] Lythgoe called the concept "brilliant... This is about a ballet dancer doing the most incredible hip-hop... If this routine and you are not up for an Emmy with Napoleon and Tabitha next year, I don't know why not. It's probably one of the funnest, best hip-hop routines we've ever had on this show."[109] In slight disagreement the Wall Street Journal noted that "Outta Your Mind" may in fact be nominated for a Emmy but it's unlikely to win because past winners have all been lyrical, very emotional routines.[110]

File:EllenTwitchSYTYCD.png
A screenshot from the SYTYCD season seven finale showing Ellen DeGeneres and hip-hop dancer tWitch performing "Outta Your Mind".

On a later episode Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed a lyrical hip-hop routine to Alicia Keys debut single "Fallin'." Of the dance, judge Mia Michaels stated "That to me felt more real than any contemporary piece, honestly because it came from such a raw raw space and place. That was absolutely unbelievable and it was like watching a dance film."[111] Lythgoe stated that the dance reminded him of "Bleeding Love" and "No Air" from season four and added "Somehow Napoleon and Tabitha have this ability... to put emotion into hip-hop routines and it really is a real talent."[111]

The positive reviews continued throughout the rest of the season. Of Tabitha and Napoleon's "Scars" routine about angry clowns, Lythgoe called the piece "stunning" and Michaels described it as "hip-hop theater".[112] After the episode aired, LATimes.com wrote that season seven had been "Nappytabs' best season".[113] On the Top 3 performance episode after their "Power" routine danced by eventual champion Lauren Froderman and "All-Star" tWitch, Michaels commented "Nappytabs what a season you have had, my God. It's been like home run after home run after home run...".[114] Shankman echoed this comment on the finale by calling Tabitha and Napoleon "the MVPs of the season".[115] Four of their routines—"Fallin'", "Scars", "Battle for the Beat", and "My Chick Bad"—were chosen as "Judges' Favorite" during the season seven finale broadcast.[116] Due to an injury sustained by Alex Wong, "Outta Your Mind" was not picked as a judge's favorite. Instead it was performed by tWitch and special guest Ellen DeGeneres as a tribute to Alex just before Lauren Froderman was declared the winner of season seven.[116] Almost a year later after the start of season eight, Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of the "25 Best Performances Ever" on the show. "Outta Your Mind" was ranked number one.[117] On September 10, 2011, Tabitha and Napoleon won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for three routines they choreographed on season seven—"Scars", "Fallin'", and "Outta Your Mind".[118]

Season eight brought back mixed feedback. Early in the season, Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed a lyrical hip-hop routine "Coming Home" about a veteran coming back to his wife after returning from his deployment. The routine generated positive while emotional responses causing both guest judge Debbie Reynolds and permanent judge Mary Murphy to cry while giving feedback.[119] The Star Ledger placed "Coming Home" at number three in its list of the top five routines performed during season eight.[120] On the Top 8 episode, Lady Gaga appeared as a guest judge in which three hip-hop routines were performed. Although Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed two of them, she criticized their work while giving feedback on all three. She indirectly criticized them after a lyrical hip-hop piece choreographed by Marty Kudelka in which she referred to the dance style as "dated".[121] Of the two routines they did choreographed, she criticized their use of props in both of them.[122] A flower was used in the first routine "Take a Bow" about a cheating boyfriend asking for forgiveness. Several props including trash cans, rags, and brooms were used in the second routine "Bad Boys for Life" about waste management workers. Aside from disliking the props, she described their hip-hop choreography for "Bad Boys for Life" as "contrived".[121][123][124] On the finale "Coming Home" was not picked as a "Judges Favorite" but two other routines they choreographed, "I Got You" and "Break Ya Neck", were chosen instead by judges Nigel Lythgoe and Lil' C respectively.

Charity work[edit]

Tabitha and Napoleon have donated money and their time to different organizations. Most of the charity work they have done has been related to dance or the Arts. In 2009, they made an appearance at the Life Changing Lives Gala, the proceeds of which benefited the Wounded Warrior Project, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Boys & Girls Clubs.[1][125] At the event, Katie Shean and Joshua Allen from SYTYCD season four performed the D'umo choreographed "No Air" lyrical hip-hop routine about a soldier telling his girlfriend he is being deployed.

In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Tabitha and Napoleon held a week long fundraiser from online sales of their dancewear line.[126][127] The money raised was donated to Artists for Peace and Justice who in turn gave 100% of their donations toward humanitarian relief efforts. For a separate fundraiser, they donated Nappytabs merchandise for a silent auction held by the organization Art4Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.[128]

In partnership with Nigel Lythgoe's Dizzy Feet Foundation, Tabitha and Napoleon created a short dance routine for people to view and download from YouTube to promote the creation of a national dance day.[129] On July 31, the proposed "National Dance Day" (the last Saturday in July), they led a flash mob in a performance of the dance at the Los Angeles Music Center Plaza. They were joined on stage by Adam Shankman, Derek Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Mia Michaels. At a press conference in Washington, D.C. congresswoman Eleanor Norton, introduced a National Dance Day resolution to promote dance education and physical fitness across the U.S.[130] She later hosted her own flash mob on the National Mall. The following year in 2011, Tabitha and Napoleon created another routine for National Dance Day which fell on July 30; flash mob dance events were held at several Six Flags amusement parks across the country.[131]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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