The dance community is mourning the tragic loss of Danny Tidwell, who sadly passed away on March 6 at the age of 35. His brother Travis Wall confirmed the news on Instagram today. “My heart is broken,” he wrote. “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. I 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.” Danny competed on season three of So You Think You Can Dance? in 2007, and finished as the runner-up on the show.
SYTYCD judge, executive producer, and co-creator Nigel Lythgoe said in a statement, “What terrible news. Danny was easily one of the best dancers we have ever had on SYTYCD. To hear he lost his life is heartbreaking. On behalf of everyone at So You Think You Can Dance, we send our deepest condolences to Travis, Denise and his entire family.” The dance legend also took to social media to share a personal message, “We have lost one of the most brilliant dancers we have ever had on SYTYCD. God bless you Danny Tidwell. May your talent shine as brightly in Heaven as it did on Earth. RIP,” Nigel wrote. Debbie Allen also took to Instagram to share her condolences. “Danny Tidwell our beautiful dancing genius ‘Prince amongst Paupers’ you are in God’s Ensemble. We will always speak your name with love and respect. See you on the other side. Love, Mama D.”
The news of Danny’s tragic passing reverberated through the wider dance community, with Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler commenting on Travis’ post, “i’m so sorry sending my love”. tWitch aka Stephen Boss who appeared on the 2008 season of SYTYCD and later found even bigger fame as a DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, sent his love to Travis and his family, writing “we love you”. Cats star Robbie Fairchild wrote “Trav. I’m so so sorry,” and New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck commented, “Sending thoughts and prayers”.
It’s clear Danny had a widespread impact on many in the dance community, however his childhood was not easy, and his career actually started when he was at an after-school program for at-risk kids. He joined a woman named Denise Wall’s dance studio, and they developed a special relationship. Danny moved out of his biological mother’s house, where he lived with his two sisters, when he was ten years old. He moved in with Denise’s family, and she officially got custody of him when he was 12. Denise had four sons of her own: Travis, Shannon, Tyler and Scotty, who Danny quickly considered his brothers. Our hearts go out to all of his family and friends.