Monday, May 28, 2012

Exorcist-Style Dancer Surprises and Moves Audience To Tears

SYTYCD contestant Hampton Williams
Last summer, I wrote about how surprised I was when dance performances on the Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) made me cry.

Since then, I've reflected on the moments in the show that I found most emotionally charged, and I detected a fairly predictable pattern: a few weeks into the season, after I've begun to appreciate the contestants and their personal struggles, someone dances a beautifully choreographed contemporary piece that reenacts a devastating heartbreak (like the one linked here), and I get weepy.

None of those of conditions were present during the SYTYCD season 9 debut last week, which is why I was so completely surprised to find myself moved to tears when a man named Hampton Williams performed a routine in his original "exorcist" style of dance.

Hampton's unusual style of movement is difficult to describe, but if you imagine an over-caffeinated drug fiend dancing a ballet-inspired hiphop routine, then you're getting close. The total commitment of every inch of his body to this unique genre is partially what makes this performance work, and the element of surprise he brings adds something too. But more than any of that, I was touched by Hampton Williams' ability to convey something honest and devastatingly painful through his movement, his face, and his eyes.

As one Twitter fan of SYTYCD said of the performance, "I don't even know why, but I was crying at the end."

I won't spoil any more for you, but suffice it to say that after viewing this, you will owe a humble young man named Hampton Williams a debt of gratitude for his willingness to so beautifully put his private pain on public display.

To get the full effect, I recommend that you turn up the sound and click the title bar at the top to view this full screen.


  1. You really know how to make a girl cry. I just watched this again, sobbing. It's so powerful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It's amazing - the power of art. Thanks for the comment Kyle.