'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.

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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More than a decade ago, Danny Tidwell appeared on the reality show from America – “So You Think You Can Dance”. I looked at him with admiration through the TV screen. I saw a phenomenal dancer with a winning personality. A few years after i participated in the Israeli version of the TV show, we had chats on the social network & we arranged to meet for a friendly evening. About 7 years ago, we met in Tel Aviv for a wonderful evening. He loved Israel & visited here once in a while. He was very friendly, charming, funny & smiling a lot. In parts of our conversation, we exchanged life experiences on stage & backstage. After seeing videos of my choreographies, he was very flattering & even said he would love to participate as a dancer in one of the upcoming events I will create. Last Friday, he died in a car accident when he was only 35 years old. I had the privilege of knowing you my friend. You were an inspiration, a beautiful man & one of the most amazing dancers in the world. Sending love to your family @traviswall @denisewalldance . Rest In Peace ? #dannytidwell #rip

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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.

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.”

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.”

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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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. Because I can’t believe this is real. I can’t believe you’re gone. You were more than my brother. You were my inspiration. I idolized you growing up. Wanted to dance just like you. Wanted to be you! I wish I could jump in your arms again like we used to when we were kids and onstage dancing. We will all remember the joy and passion you brought to everyone you came in contact with through out your journey. A journey cut to short. You are a legend. And I love you so much Danny. Rest In Peace my brother. I can’t believe I’m even typing this . Please pray for my mom and my family during this difficult time. ???

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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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I'm devastated that my Danny, the love of my life, my beloved friend, the artist, the talented angel, fierce mind, legendary dancer, my now late husband, Danny Tidwell died last night in a car crash while his friend was driving him home from work. I'm thinking of Denise, Travis, Scott, Tyler and Shannon, Grandma, his sisters Latoya and Ronda, his friend that was with him, Eddy, that survives him, and all his dance family that is already expressing the state of shock we are all in. We were so lucky to have him, life was so challenging for him. But he was a warrior, and he came back standing, always. We loved each other so much, he was and always will be family. He made me the happiest for so many years, we were able to create so much together, a book and a show, Moving Still, an amazing magazine adventure for 7 years, movmnt magazine, that made us so proud. He had such an impact on the dance world, life gave him so much to deal with from a young age. 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. I love you, I'll forever miss you. You're now in peace, mon Danny, and I know you know how much you were loved. #dannytidwell

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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.

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. 

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