‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Alum, Danny Tidwell, Dies In Car Accident – His Amazing Career

FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance have given hundreds of dancers the chance to show the world that dance is a true form of art and entertainment. The show has given many a platform to take their dance careers to the next level. One of the most memorable dancers from the franchise is Danny Tidwell, who competed early on in the show’s history.

Danny Tidwell
Danny Tidwell via Twitter

Tidwell poured his heart into his performances week after week, bringing many to tears and a standing ovation. Sadly, his life was cut short on Mar. 6 when he died tragically at the age of 35 in an automobile accident. Tidwell left his mark on the dance world, having performed with many of the greats and on some of the most famous stages around the world.

Danny Tidwell on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Tidwell made his television debut on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance when he auditioned in season 3. Tidwell began training at a young age. He initially focused on jazz before changing to ballet when he was 15. He performed with the American Ballet Theatre.

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Despite his extreme skill in dance, his attitude came off as less than humble and was a turn off to Shane Sparks during the audition process. Sparks was a guest judge and famed celebrity choreographer. The argument over Tidwell’s perceived arrogance became a theme throughout his time on the show.

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A New York Times article about Tidwell titled, “So He Knows He Can Dance: A Prince Among Paupers”, praised Tidwell’s dancing technique. In regards to his attitude, the feature read,

“If Mr. Tidwell is different from the other dancers on the show, the distinction has as much to do with his dignity as with his impeccable line and his ability to infuse slight choreography with authority…He never mugs for the camera. It’s sad, yet hardly a surprise, that such behavior could be taken as superciliousness.”

The New York Times

Still, he was an instant fan favorite, excelling at every dance genre each week. He was paired with Anya and did well but shined the brightest during his solo performances. Renowned choreographer, Debbie Allen specifically took a liking to Tidwell. He later won the approval of Sparks who retracted his previous statement about Tidwell’s arrogance, calling Tidwell “one of the greats.”

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Tidwell was the runner-up of the season, losing to Sabra Johnson. 

Post So You Think You Can Dance, he worked as the Artistic Director of Movmnt Magazine and was also a soloist dancer with Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo.

Prior to the show, he was featured as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch and also appeared on the cover. He was also listed as one of Pointe Magazine’s Top 10 VIP.

Friends, family, and fans mourn the loss of Danny Tidwell

News broke that Tidwell died after his brother, Emmy award-winning choreographer Travis Wall, announced his death on his Instagram page, calling Tidwell a “legend.” His caption read in part, “My heart is broken. Yesterday I lost a brother. And we all lost a gift. I’m not ready. But I never think I will be.”

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Tidwell’s husband, journalist David Benaym, shared his own touching tribute and revealed that Tidwell was killed in a car crash on his way home from work.

“He had such an impact on the dance world, life gave him so much to deal with from a young age,” he wrote. “I will write more about you Danny, tell your story, continue your legacy, make sure that you are not forgotten, that you are celebrated. An angel with no wings you said you were, you were flying all along, and you’ll be our guardian angel from now on.”

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Those who worked closely with Tidwell, including Allen, Abby Lee Miller and other alums of So You Think You Can Dance – such as Joshua Allen and Allison Hooker – all expressed their condolences.

“This is how I will always see you Danny Tidwell. We speak your name,” wrote Allen with a video of one of his famous solo performances from So You Think You Can Dance.

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Tidwell’s husband shared that a memorial in Tidwell’s hometown of Norfolk, Virginia will take place on March 12. The celebration of life will be held at the performing arts venue where Tidwell spent much of his time.