We’ve less than a week to go until So You Think You Can Dance comes to the Canadian Tire Centre, so I’m giving myself permission to get a little excited. (Reality: SO. PUMPED. UP.) It’s next Friday! At 8! Are you going?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know two things: a) I love me some Dance! Show!, and b) I am too lazy to seek out sponsorships/interviews/special perks of blogging. But when I bought my tickets to the live show, they were pretty far back, and I felt like I wanted things to be a little more, I don’t know, special. So I thought to myself, hey, I’m a blogger, and bloggers get stuff all the time, like cars and coffee makers and tickets to things, so I rather boldly called up the Canadian Tire Centre and announced myself as a Dance Show Blogger Extraordinaire, ready to do whatever it took for whatever they were willing to give me.
And they thanked me very much and then nothing happened.
But then! The SYTYCD PR team wrote to Allison, asking if she would be interested in interviewing some of this year’s Top 10 dancers as a publicity thing, and she was all, “Um, haaaaaave you met Lynn?” And thus, I was IN. For absolutely no compensation whatsoever, other than the glory of getting to be a total geek-out fangirl, I got on the list. SWEET.
I got to choose which dancers I wanted, and I picked out Jacque (the ballerina) and Bridget (the only contemporary girl to make it to the top 10) because I had some specific questions for each of them, although truth be told, I would have been happy to talk to ANYONE, SQUEE. Jacque and Bridget, however, were just so nice and thoughtful and well spoken and it was an absolute pleasure talking to them.
So here’s how it went down – I talked to the two girls via phone while they were on a break in Minnesota. Unfortunately the line was a little crackly on my end, and I didn’t have a recording device, so most of this won’t be direct quotes, but at least my brush with fame can be your second-generation brush with fame, you’re welcome.
Me: How are you doing? I imagine you’re exhausted.
I still actually imagine they are exhausted, but both girls said that although they are now on their 13th show of the tour, they’re still finding it a thrill. They’re excited and really enjoying being on stage and getting to see a few new places.
Me: We don’t often see the tour here in Ottawa, so can you tell us a bit about the show?
I thought the live show was a mixture of the Top 10 and all-stars, but no, it’s just the Top 10, plus four “special guests” selected from the other 10 dancers this season (they are Carly, Marquette, Emily, and (…crackle…) (guess that last one will have to be a surprise, although I would think it is Serge, as they need a classical ballroom guy in the mix). They’ll be doing some of the numbers from the show, but there are actually several brand new numbers choreographed just for the live show, including several group routines, so that’s cool. Each of the Top 10 gets to do a solo as well, and Jacque mentioned that there are some cute and funny videos sprinkled in, too.
Some of the all-star numbers will be recreated with other dancers filling in for the missing all-star, which is good because some of those routines were SO GOOD, however, I assume this means we will not be able to see Jacque and Chehon’s ballet in person as no one else could recreate that, which is sad. SAD FACE. (Still pumped, though.)
Me: I felt like both of you – Bridget with Emilio, and Jacque with Zack – had the kind of special spark that makes a couple stand out, and that this chemistry propelled all four of you into the top ten (as well as Valerie and Ricky). Was this something you lucked into, or did you work at it?
Okay, so I kind of cheated here – if you look back at my posts from this season you’ll note that I was not always 100% sold on the Zack-Jacque pairing. But I meant what I said about Bridget and Emilio, though – I think their spark helped get them both into the top 10.
In any case, Bridget said that although she didn’t know Emilio at all before they were paired up, they clicked right away. She has three older brothers, and he’s a few years older than her, so they quickly fell into a joking/poking/affectionate brother/sister dynamic that really worked well for them. She said that they never got tired of each others’ company the entire time which I think is really sweet.
Jacque had similar things to say about Zack – that she didn’t know him at all before the pairing, but was excited to have him as a partner because she’d seen him dance and knew he had the skills, and not just in tap. She said that Zack was a fantastically supportive partner, and always knew how to calm her nerves and reassure her before a performance, which helped them both do well (awwwww!).
Me: Question for Bridget. It’s really unusual for there to be so few contemporary girl dancers in the top 10 – you were the last one standing (and lived through some tough elimination rounds). What do you think was the key to your success?
Here I may have also geeked out and mentioned that Bridget was my favourite of the contemporary girl pack. Remember when I actually pegged her for the win? Good times, good times. I really thought she was a stand-out.
She talked here about how her whole approach to the competition was to be really open to anything, and to commit fully to any crazy new style she was given. She didn’t think much about the competition part, but rather just tried to embrace the experience. It sounds to me like she was really able to set aside nerves, and just run with whatever was thrown at her, which I do agree is a real secret to success on this show – once you start thinking you can’t do it, then you can’t.
I have to say it’s a shame we didn’t get to see Bridget perform more in her own style. I forgot to mention this during the interview, but her contemporary with Stanley in the first week “meet the dancers” show was a highlight of that night. Check it out if you’ve forgotten it:
Me: Question for Jacque. You had some great numbers that I was hoping to see in the finale, but didn’t get chosen. What number of yours was your favourite?
Jacque surprised me by picking her Sonya jazz routine that she and Zack did in week 3 (Back to Black) and also mentioned the hip-hop they did in Week 2 (Stay With Me). In truth I think she kind of liked everything, and didn’t have a bad word to say about any of her numbers.
I had to jump in here, though, and mention my own personal two favourites (both of which I was so sure would be picked for the finale, but were not, because they totally messed up this year’s finale, GAH) – her ballet with Chehon, and her 99 Red Balloons number with Will. Then we got into a talk about Sean Cheeseman, who did the 99 Red Balloons number, because he’s Canadian (he and Jean-Marc, ROCKING IT). So that led to a discussion of the crazy African Jazz number she did with Zack in week 1, remember all the rainbow-coloured body paint and backdrop? And Jacque said that the African Jazz actually may have been her favourite, because it was so out there, and so different from anything she’d ever done, and there was a great audience reaction. I am sadly guessing we will see none of these three in the show as they require too much costuming/makeup/mad ballet skills, but they were all three some of the best this season so I’m glad we got a chance to talk about them.
Me: Speaking of favourite numbers – let’s talk styles. One thing this show is great at is pushing you outside your comfort zone and forcing you to try new styles. Jacque – I thought you were surprisingly good at hip-hop, which is about as far away from a ballerina as you can get; Bridget, I just loved your jive with Emilio, it was one of my absolute favourites of the season. What was your most surprising new style? What did you dislike the most? Do you think you’ll continue to explore new styles?
Jacque was super happy to hear that I liked her hip hop, because it was clear that that style had made her the most nervous. She talked about her number with tWitch (what was that, like top 6 maybe?) and how nervous she was ahead of time, and I assured her the audience absolutely could not tell. (In fact – don’t tell Jacque – I believe I predicted that number would be a mess, and then she totally pulled it off and I was forced to admit that I was wrong, wrong, wrong.) Jacque talked quite a bit here about the All Stars in general, and how their advice and encouragement and ability to empathize went a long way, and made the top 10 weeks much more fun and bearable. She again mentioned the African Jazz as being one of her favourite new styles.
Bridget agreed with me that the jive she did with Emilio was great – she said she had so much fun working on it and loved the energy and pep of the number. She said she was really excited to learn the style as she’d never done it before (which surprised me because I always think the dancers look at ballroom as The Worst). Then we got into a talk about Bollywood, which is what Bridget got in the top 10 week (the week she was eliminated), and I ranted a bit here about how Bollywood is THE ABSOLUTE WORST, and should be bumped from the show. And Bridget was very gracious and said that yes, it was one of the hardest for her and she was kind of sad it was the last thing she did on the show, but at the same time it is fun and has good energy and she had a good time dancing with Brandon.
But Bollywood still SUCKS, Dance Show. TRUST ME.
Did either of you get injured on the show? What do you do if there is an injury?
Both girls were happy to report they were relatively injury free throughout the competition and tour so far, although in a dancer’s world, “relatively injury free” is possibly not defined quite the same way as for you or I. Jacque had some ankle issues during the show but got regular physical therapy (remember the Big Injury Season, when Alex had to quit, along with a few others? Sounds like the show is being better about preventative therapies now). She also had an infection on one of her feet but it’s better now.
Bridget actually has been dancing on the tour with a broken toe and sprained ankle. She didn’t seem to think this was a big deal – just some of her shoes for various costumes had to be swapped out. Some people are more hardcore than I am!
What are your plans for after the tour? Would you like to come back as an all-star?
Bridget is in school, college (I think she’s 20 or 21), and she still has a year left. So after the tour she’ll be going back to school in Philly and finishing her degree, then considering her options after that. Jacque is only 18 (but will be turning 19 next week, in Canada, WOOT) and is looking to stay on the dance track for the immediate future – not sure if that means looking for a performance job, or going to dance school, but definitely something in the field.
Both girls would love to come back as all stars – they loved their experience on the show and really valued the experience and advice from the all stars they worked with. Jacque said she’d love to pay it back by being a mentor like that for dancers to come. Which is AWESOME.
So that’s it! I’m off to the show next Friday night. I’ll be the one screaming loudly in section (I think) 101 if you want to come by and say hi (that includes you, Bridget and Jacque!). Dance! Show! Forever!