After the Top 11 dancers found out they were on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance, they moved to Los Angeles and took part in a press day of photos and interviews. We caught up with each dancer and they opened up about how they’re feeling, what they’re nervous about, and what they want the fans to know about them.
How does it feel to be in your shoes?
ADECHIKE: I am pumped! It’s my first time in L.A. and my first time on the west coast. I’m the only New Yorker here so it feels good, man. I’m here to represent my entire city. I’m nothing but excited. I’m a little sore though. They had me doing some crazy jumps earlier, but I’m feeling good, man! The photos are great, the interviews have been fun, and I’m on such a high right now.
ALEX: I’m really, really, really excited just because I feel like today is the start of everything. And we’re getting this crazy treatment today – like going in and doing wardrobe, having them dress you, cut your hair, do your makeup. The photo shoots were so amazing. I’m overwhelmed; this is just so surreal to be here and I’m on a high.
ALEXIE: It’s unreal. I keep telling people I feel like it’s all an elaborate hoax and some is gonna come out and be like “Just kidding!” But no, it hasn’t happened yet, so thankfully I’m still here. And it’s such a reward because I’ve auditioned so many times and it’s amazing to see that hard work can pay off and that if you really want something and you’re specific about it and you work hard for it, it can happen.
ASHLEY: I’m feeling awesome! All of the inside jitters are just coming out and you can probably see it in my face, but when I went through hair and makeup and just getting into wardrobe and taking photos makes me feel ecstatic right now.
BILLY: I feel a little bit of déjà vu, but in the best way possible. It’s a completely surreal feeling, and it’s just surreal as it felt last year, and I am looking forward to it so much. I just can’t wait!
CRISTINA: I’m very excited. I still don’t believe this is happening. Having all these people around me doing my makeup and my hair and my outfit, I’m just so excited and happy to be here and to take this opportunity and to be with all these people is very exciting.
JOSE: You know it’s amazing, it’s unreal. I never thought I’d even make it to this point…The whole process has just surprised me and it showed me something I never knew I could do. Something that I never thought was possible for me, so it has definitely made me way more confident in person, even in my style of b-boying, I’ve become even better. I think it was just opening my mind to all the different styles of dance and moving in different ways made my movement in my original style of dance better because of the expansion of your mind.
KENT: Good. I’m feeling great. I’m ready to go!
LAUREN: I just feel a little bit of awestruck, overwhelmed in a good way. Everything is so new and exciting so I just feel good.
MELINDA: It feels real finally. It’s been a lot of waiting, which has been a really good test for my patience, which is good because part of the reason why I’m doing this is for a character building experience. I’m really, really honored to be a tap dancer and represent such a great art form and I don’t think tap dancers have gotten this far in the history of the show. I’m really excited to bring tap dance to such a huge show on television that has so many viewers. I’m really passionate about tap dancing and I’ve had a lot of really great mentors in the tap community. I’m a musician, I’m not only a dancer, and that’s what’s really exciting about tap dance. It has a really big history attached to it, but also at the end of the day it’s just really entertaining and I think America needs to see some great tap dancing.
ROBERT: I’m really excited, I’m here doing the photo shoot. I’m really, really, really excited. It’s all actually happening, so it’s kind of hitting me for a second so I’m getting crazy.
What are you most nervous about?
ADECHIKE: I’m not too nervous. I’m just so excited. Every time I get on stage there’s a little bit of nervous energy. I may be nervous when we do the full group routines when it’s the all-stars and us and there’s like 23 people in one room trying to learn choreography. That might get a little overwhelming. And hopefully, since I’m short, I’ll be able to be in front so I can learn everything. But I’m ready; I’m so excited and ready to dance! I think I can dance and I’m ready to show them that I can dance.
ALEX: I’m most nervous about doing different forms of dance, even though that’s what I came here for. I’m most nervous about hip hop and ballroom just because they’re not my specialties. And because I’m a ballet dancer, I’m never in my own genre which is kind of sad, but maybe they’ll do ballet on the show.
ALEXIE: Performing in front of America, but that’s inevitable. I think learning the ballroom dances and doing ballroom there’s a lot of different little nuances and technique that I’m not used to. I’ve taken classes but that’s the type of thing that you need time to really master and get down.
ASHLEY: I’m most nervous about competing. [Laughs] I know this is a competitive show, but when it gets down to the actual judging I’m really nervous about what they’ll have to say. But I love what they say and I love getting critiques because that’s how you learn as a dancer. I don’t want to disappoint them, so I’ll be upping my A-game now.
BILLY: I’m most nervous about the “kiss of death” – it’s the Quickstep. No one wants it. Nobody wants to be close to it and no one wants anything to do with it. I feel like it always gets people the first negative comment and then it goes downhill from there.
CRISTINA: I’m nervous about choreography. It’s going to be tough; it’s not an easy show to do. You have to give all that you have. I think that I need to enjoy it in order to give my best.
JOSE: Ballroom! [Laughs]. Ballroom is just so controlled. It’s like your posture, and then you have to control the woman, and you need to know the steps at the same time. For me, I just see it as a lot of different factors you have to worry about while you’re trying to perform. It’s not as free as other dances, where once you get the choreo you can almost feel it through. I think it’s difficult because it’s a really controlled dance, and in my style it’s really free: just jumping around, footwork, and tricks.
KENT: I’m nervous about ballroom, although I guess everyone is nervous about ballroom. Just meeting the all-stars for the first time and getting over that awkward stage, you know, “Hi, I’m Kent. Okay now we have to touch.” Just doing that, and I just don’t want to disappoint people. I want to surprise people; that’s the main thing.
LAUREN: I’m definitely most nervous about judges’ commentary after the dances. It sounds weird, but I’m not necessarily as nervous for the dances as I am about their critiques, what they’re going to say afterward, and how they perceive it.
MELINDA: I’m nervous about the ballroom dances, which I think a lot of us are. I didn’t train in ballroom growing up. Socially I did some salsa and some samba – my mom’s Colombian so I grew up with a lot of that Latin dance around – but not as far as the competitive ballroom dancing. That will be really exciting; I’m excited to work with an actual choreographer who is really great at it and they can give me tips to how I can better execute it.
ROBERT: I’m a little nervous to do ballroom. I’m not gonna lie. I’ve never taken a class before, but I think it’s going to be a great learning experience. Anya is unbelievable. She’s amazing, and I’m excited to work with her.
What do you want your fans to know about you?
ADECHIKE: I want them to know that AdéChiké is awesome. That I feel like I can be friends with anyone and I hope that my personality exudes through my dancing anytime I grace the stage. I feel like I’m a very generous person, and I feel like you could see my generosity in my dancing. And I just hope that I can connect with the viewers and if I can make one person’s day after they watch me, that’s all that matters.
ALEX: I’m a goof. I’m always joking around and I like joking around a lot. I work hard and I try to be the best dancer I can be and I try to be the best person I can be. I’m so bad – in the rehearsals in ballet as a kid I’d be laughing in class the whole time. Nothing would happen but I’d joke around, and still I’m that kid. It’s in my nature; I’m a goof!
ALEXIE: That I am very blessed, I’m a happy person, and that I love to see the good in people. I am always fighting for my dreams. I am very passionate about doing what you love. Also, I love to eat!
ASHLEY: One thing I want my fans to know about me is that I love what I do and I feel like if they have something they want to do, to never give up. Go for your dreams. It doesn’t matter who you are and what you go through in life, I feel like you need to stick it out and go with what you believe in and that’s what I do no matter how hard life is. You just have to go for what you want and it will come to you.
BILLY: I’m a nice person! [Laughs] When it comes down to cats and dogs, you’ve got to pick the dogs. And all be the annoying person that really likes the little ones. I really like the rat looking ones that people are like, “That’s not a dog, that’s a mouse,” and I’m like, “That’s not a mouse, it’s the best dog ever!” So, between cats or dogs, it’s totally dogs. I’m a dog person. Boxers of briefs? Totally briefs. And I’m loud!
CRISTINA: I love to hear music – in the car, in the bathroom – and of course dance! I’m always dancing. I love to paint and just learn new stuff and read more. I love to be with my family and just hangout with my friends and go out to dinner and just have fun. My family lives all over, but we talk every day – like seven times a day. They’re going to come out and watch me so I’m excited.
JOSE: I want my fans to know that deep down inside I am a humble person and I have a deep respect for my dance, but I’m very confident in myself and I believe in my abilities. I’m smooth, but explosive.
KENT: That I’m just like them. I don’t have a resume; I’m nothing different from them. I was them last season. I was them watching the show. I was them thinking “Oh my God, how can I ever be on that show?” And I just want them to realize that I’m a normal kid from a small town and that you don’t have to be from this huge city and you don’t have to be trained with the best and you can still be on the show.
LAUREN: I would like them to know that I appreciate them a lot, and I will work hard and dance my best for them.
MELINDA: I’m a Renaissance woman. I love all sorts of art. I love being creative. I’m also a musician – I play guitar, piano, ukulele, drums – I’m an actress, I sing, I write music, I love making things, I love painting. I just love art. I think it’s a great way to express yourself. I’m really passionate about arts education and putting music and dance into schools again. I think it’s a really great outlet for people and our society needs more art right now.
ROBERT: I’m just a goofball. I’m a guy that love to smile and just isn’t afraid to make fun of myself. I love to do bad dance moves. Channing Cooke, she was on the last season, she’s my roommate and we just film each other doing bad dance moves and doing stupid things so I just want people to know that I’m a goofball, I’m who I am, and I hope they see my soul.