Back in the summer, being disappointed with the current season of So You Think You Can Dance, I decided to review every season. You can find links to the resulting series at the bottom of this post. As the year winds down, it seems only appropriate to come up with a list of the best of the best.

For each broad category, I have listed a top five. These are, of course, very individual choices. To be in my top five, dances had to be a perfect combination of choreography, dancers, and music; however, more importantly, they had to be dances I could watch over and over again. After each top five, I have added honorable mentions for individual styles and categories.

Top Five in Ballroom

Heidi & Benji in “Black Mambo” (Season 2)

Lindsay & Cole in “Unstoppable” (Season 9)

Lacey & Danny in “Hip Hip Chin Chin” (Season 3)

Caitlin & Jason in “Minnie the Moocher” (Season 5)

Eliana & Ryan in “That Man” (Season 9)

After those above, the best in each style…

Best in Argentine Tango: Allison & Ivan in “Libertango” (Season 2)

Best in Cha-Cha: Janette & Brandon in “Hush Hush; Hush Hush” (Season 5)
Runner-Up: Ashleigh & Jakob in “Cha-Cha Heels” (Season 6)

Best in Jive: Anya & Danny in “Girlfriend” (Season 3)
Runner-Up: Tiffany & Benji in “What I Like About You” (Season 9)

Best in Paso Doble: Heidi & Travis in “Plaza of Execution” (Season 2)
Runner-Up: Jeanine & Brandon in “Tetsujin” (Season 5)

Best in Rumba: Melissa & Ade in “Emotion” (Season 5)

Best in Samba: Donyelle & Dmitry in “Hey Mama” (Season 2)

Best in Foxtrot: Tiffany & George in “I Wanna Be Loved By You” (Season 9)
Runner-Up: Clarice & Jess in “Fly Me to the Moon” (Season 8)

Best in Quickstep: Iveta & Nick in “The Ballroom Blitz” (Season 8)

Best in Viennese Waltz (tie): Mollee & Jakob in “Ordinary Day” (Season 6) and Lacey & Danny in “Keep Holding On” (Season 3)

Best in Waltz: Asuka & Vitolio in “Dreams Are More Precious” (Season 5)

Top Five in Broadway, Contemporary, or Jazz

Jaime & Hok in “The Chairman’s Waltz” (Season 3)

Courtney & Mark in “The Garden” (Season 4)

Kayla & Kūpono in “Gravity” (Season 5)

Ellenore & Ryan in “Razzle Dazzle” (Season 6)

Amelia & Will in “3326” (Season 9)

After those above, the best in each style…

Best in Broadway: Janaya & Brandon in “Bring on the Men” (Season 9)
Runner-Up: Kathryn & Robert in “Cool” (Season 7)

Best in Contemporary: Allison & Cole in “Possibly Maybe” (Season 9)
Runner-Up: Tiffany & George in “Turning Page” (Season 9)

Best in Jazz: Janette & Brandon in “Ruby Blue” (Season 5)

Best in Animation (of Women): Makenzie & Paul in “Mannequin” (Season 10)

Best Dance with a Table: Sabra & Neil in “Sweet Dreams” (Season 3)
Runner-Up: Ellenore & Legacy in “Machine Gun” (Season 6)

Best Dance with a Prop: Heidi & Travis in “Calling You” (Season 2)
Runner-Up: Audrey & Matthew in “Unchained Melody” (Season 9)

Best in Birds: Jordan & Tadd in “Brotsjór” (Season 8)
Runner-Up: Ellenore & Ryan in “Arcadia” (Season 6)

Best in 80s: Lauren & Tadd in “Another One Bites the Dust” (Season 8)

Best in Booty: Randi & Evan in “Koop Island Blues” (Season 5)

Best in Midwest: Melanie & Sasha in “Heart Asks Pleasure First” (Season 8)

Best in Dark Matter: Caitlyn & Marko in “Heavy in Your Arms” (Season 8)

Best in Boys (tie): Billy & Ade in “Mad World” (Season 7) and Kent & Neil in “How It Ends” (Season 7)

Best in Girls: Jeanine & Kayla in “The Four Sections: IV” (Season 5)
Runner-Up: Melanie & Sasha in “Game On” (Season 8)

Best in Adele: Katee & Joshua in “Hometown Glory” (Season 4)
Runner-Up: Caitlyn & Mitchell in “Turning Tables” (Season 8)

Best in Second Amendment Rights: Eliana & Alex in “Bang Bang” (Season 9)
Runner-Up: Sasha & Mark in “Raise Your Weapon” (Season 8)

Top Five in Hip Hop

Comfort & tWitch in “Forever” (Season 4)

Jeanine & Phillip in “Love Lockdown” (Season 5)

Kayla & Jason in “They’re Everywhere” (Season 5)

Kathryn & Legacy in “On & On” (Season 6)

Alex & tWitch in “Outta Your Mind” (Season 7)

After those above, the best in hip hop and other styles…

Best in Lyrical Hip Hop: Katee & Joshua in “No Air” (Season 4)
Runner-Up: Chelsie & Mark in “Bleeding Love” (Season 4)

Best in Funk: Janette & Ade in “Love Sex Magic” (Season 5)

Best in Animation: Cyrus & tWitch in “Like A Criminal” (Season 9)

Best in Animation (of Women): Eliana & Cyrus in “Toxic” (Season 9)

Best Dance with a Table: Sasha & tWitch in “Misty Blue” (Season 8)

Best Dance with a Prop: Allison & Ivan in “Sexy Love” (Season 2)

Best in Birds: Miranda & Robert in “Break Ya Neck” (Season 8)

Best in 80s: Amelia & Will in “The Lovecats” (Season 9)

Best in Booty: Donyelle & Benji in “2 Much Booty (In Da Pants)” (Season 2)

Best in the West: Lauren & Twitch in “My Chick Bad” (Season 7)
Runner-Up: Jasmine & Aaron in “Gold Rush” (Season 10)

Best in Dark Matter: Robert & Dominic in “Scars” (Season 7)

Best in Boys: Nick & Jamile in “Young’n” (Season 1)
Runner-Up: Marko & Ricky in “Bad Boy for Life” (Season 8)

Best in Girls: Jasmine & Comfort in “Run the World (Girls)” (Season 10)

Best in Bollywood: Katee & Joshua in “Dhoom Taana” (Season 4)

Best in Disco: Janette & Brandon in “Loving Is Really My Game” (Season 5)
Runner-Up: Kamilah & Nick in “You Make Me Feel” (Season 1)


Favorite Winner: Jeanine (Season 5)

Favorite Couple: Allison & Ivan (Season 2)

Favorite Final Four: Season 2

Favorite Top Ten: Season 5

Favorite Top 10 Group Dance: “Rama Lama (Bang Bang)” by Wade Robson (Season 2); Runner-Up: “The Moment I Said It” by Mia Michaels (Season 3)

Favorite Top 20 Group Dance: “Comanche” by Wade Robson (Season 6)
Runner-Up: “Architect of the Mind” by Christopher Scott (Season 9)
Honorable Mention: The Top 11 and the All-Stars in “Fame” (Season 7)

Five Somewhat (or Wholly) Irrational Favorites:

Lacey & Kameron in “Dancing” (Contemporary, Season 3)

Sara & Danny in “Push It” (Hip Hop, Season 3)

Karla & Vitolio in “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (Quickstep, Season 5)

Pauline & Peter in “Little Green Bag” (Jazz, Season 6)

Sara & Pasha in “The Rockafeller Skank” (West Coast Swing, Season 3)

So much joy.

Which dances over the years have brought you the most joy?

To see more dances from any season, I highly encourage you to check out the YouTube playlists that Luan Derick has created.

For previous posts in this “Best of SYTYCD” series, see Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, Season 8, Season 9, and Season 10.