‘So You Think You Can Dance’ fills the bill with Chapman University’s Mariah Spears


Mariah Spears ’16 advanced into the Top 20 contestants for season 10 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Another Chapman University student has danced her way onto the hit Fox show
So You Think You Can Dance

Mariah Spears
’16 advanced into the Top 20 for the show’s 10th season during the final round of contestant selections held last week in Las Vegas.

Spears impressed the celebrity judges with her dynamic performance and krumping, a high-energy style of hip-hop dance characterized by jabs, stomps, arm swings, chest pops and mock battles.

Dale Merrill
, dean of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) at Chapman University and a leading dance educator, says Spears will make an excellent contestant.

“I worked with her on American Celebration and she was just an outstanding performer. She was one of the few freshmen chosen for the show,” Merrill said.  “Mariah is an incredible, versatile dancer, and because of her training I’m sure she’s going to be a really successful contestant. We’ll be rooting her on to success.”

The first episode aired Tuesday, June 18, and Spears’ introductory duet can be seen in the video here:


This isn’t the first
So You Think You Can Dance
adventure for a Chapman University student. Spears, who hails from Chandler, Ariz., is the third Panther to make it to the finals, and several others have continued into the regional final auditions of this and previous seasons. That track record speaks to the strength and diversity of the dance curriculum taught in CoPA, Merrill said.

“One of the things about
So You Think You Can Dance
, and which judge
Nigel Lythgoe
always talks about, is that you have to be incredibly diverse to be successful in the dance world today. You have to have many different styles. Our kids are trained in that rigorous tradition. It’s nice to see that they’re excelling.”

To participate in the fan voting during subsequent episodes, visit the
So You Think You Can Dance Website

Dawn Bonker


  • I’ve been a fan of Mariah since her season 9 audition – before I knew she was a Panther. That speaks to her charisma and skill. Now that I know she is a Panther makes all the more proud of my alma mater and will make me pick up the phone to vote!

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