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SYTYCD Season 9: Q&A with the Eliminated Dancers from the Top 20

Granted this took a while and I apologize. was given the opportunity to ask the eliminated dancers: Nick Bloxsom-Carter, Daniel Baker and Janaya French (Alexa Anderson was not available for the conference call) a few questions about their experience on SYTYCD, their exits and endeavors for the future. Since this was a conference call with several media outlets when were able to ask their questions, Nick (who was sick) had to leave the conference call. Below are a few of the questions that were asked:

How has your experience on So You Think You Can Dance changed your approach, if it has, and your perception of dance?

Janaya French: I think it’s helped us to realize how important other styles are and how interesting they are. I was trained in all sorts of different things growing up, but it was more of a structured thing. I had a schedule and people telling me you have to do this style this time, this style this time. And now that I sit on my own in L.A., it’s hard because sometimes, like if I want to go to class, I choose to go to classes I love—the contemporary classes, the jazz classes, the ones that make me feel good.

Now, I just have more of a hunger to go to more hip hop classes though, that maybe even a ballroom call. I just want to know more things. That’s really why I’m sad that the experience ended so soon is because I wanted to get into the things that were so challenging like a bollywood or ballroom, anything of that sort. So I’m excited. It’s going to help me as I need branch out a little bit more. I need to be better about it, so I’m going to go and see how all of those different genres can help me in my career.

Daniel Baker: My approach has definitely taught me to listen and pick things up quicker, to know exactly what the choreographer is asking for, because you didn’t have that much time. So I guess more logical than … you just have to do … and quick to … like them. I have done a lot of that over the past couple of weeks.

Since this is the first season where there is no “results” show, the eliminated dancers were then asked: How all three of you like the new format.

Janaya French: I kind of like the new format. It’s hard, because we didn’t get to experience the old format, so there’s not really much that we can compare it to, but for what we had to experience, we were together as the top 21 within any other season, which is really nice. We got to meet … people and you got to do too much rest than usual. So that part was nice. I didn’t mind it at all.

Nick Bloxsom-Carter: Yes, I also agree. This format was very nice to us dancers, because we were able to perform so many more times, more than once, more than twice. We were on that stage a lot. So I really enjoyed it.

Daniel Baker: I kind of like it. It’s a shame I didn’t get the chance to dance for my life, but it seems like the judges already had their minds made up to—you know, it’s one less chance that America gets to see you dance, but I like the fast pace of it. I don’t know if it felt too rushed, because I wasn’t watching it at home. But I wonder what America thought of the new format. So America seems to not like change, no matter what show it is.

As a counterpoint I asked Daniel and Janaya: Because of the current format where everything is done in one day with the eliminations at the end of the episode, it’s kind of difficult for the television audience to be able to vote on you guys performances because of the one-day format. Had the show been on a two-day format as in previous seasons, do you think that would have benefited you in any capacity?

Janaya French: I agree; it would have been different to have two days. In past seasons, it’s kind of a luxury of time. You get—it’s less in one episode. I feel like it was a crazy world, like, I don’t understand how they’re going to fit so much more in this episode when we did the exact same time frame last week and all we had to do was our duets once.

So it was a lot of stress in like the time crunch so it had to go fast. We don’t get as long as packages, so America doesn’t really get to know us quite as well. We don’t get to show our personalities as long, which is kind of a bummer. I mean I went into this with less camera time. I feel like I kind of just popped up in the top twenty and not many people knew who I was so it was hard to go from the bottom and try and show people who I am.

You only get an hour, so you don’t really get the packages that everyone else usually gets. You don’t get the time, the luxury of time, but it still worked out and it would be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out. With less and less people it becomes less stressful, because there’s less they’re trying to like throw in one in like the one episode. So it would be interesting to see.

I also took the time to ask Daniel: What brought you back to So You Think You Can Dance knowing that you had auditioned previously and now you have to get back into the grind?

Daniel Baker: Well, I was getting older. I’m still young, but it happens so fast, and if I wanted to play … I felt I had to do it while I was young and I still have my hair and … the industry. I just wanted to try it while I was young and I can always get back to ballet. So I was just going to take the next year to see if I’m capable of working in that industry and then if not go back to ballet. I just thought it was time to … go back to the show, and my friend Alex Wong, we had both auditioned Season 7, and then I decided not to go. Then, we were just having a conversation and he said, “Oh, you should go back.” I thought about it for a while and I thought it was my time to come to…

Another interviewer had asked: So what are you doing to relax or have fun, just for even a day before you jump back into the mix?

Janaya French: Right now, I’m at a beach house with my family in Long Beach. They have been here all week. They watched me for the past two weeks of the show. So it’s nice to come to where it’s not my home quite yet. I don’t have to go back to reality. I’m just hanging out with family and then I go to the beach and lay out so … I’m looking forward to.

Daniel Baker: I’m renting a car and I’m driving to Mexico just to get some space into my head and figure out what’s next.

Nick Bloxsom-Carter: I’m sitting at home in Oak Park with my family. My brother is actually making breakfast, not for me though. I got to eat alone. No, but I do mind to be able to tell I’m sick and this show, like now that my body is done with all the stress it’s relaxed, but that means I’m getting more sick. So I’m trying to get over that, so I’m definitely trying to rest.

And finally: Do you guys have any future plans or hopes for where you can go from here?

Janaya French: I just hope that with this experience it’s, obviously going to help. I was already out in L.A. trying to audition with jobs that way, and so I hope that networking with the people I got to work with on the show, I never would have had the chance to work with in such an intimate setting if it weren’t for this opportunity I was given. So like from here on out I just hope I have more opportunities to work with them and to work with more people. I’m going to go back to what I was doing, because I’m still going to dance, but nothing about this changed my mind about that. If anything, it kind of lit a fire underneath me to realize that this is exactly what I want to do. I’m excited to get back into things and see where my career takes off from.

Nick Bloxsom-Carter: Yes; as far as what I’m doing, I was going to school, studying business management and ballroom dance. So I am definitely going to keep auditioning and since I’ve worked with Jason Gilkison so much, I’d love to work with him on Burn the Floor. Definitely more ballroom … Burn the Floor, maybe, Dancing with the Stars as a pro, but that’s later in the future. I’m definitely going to keep training, but I’m also going to work with my business management to try to start in production as well and seeing producers of shows and producers of things. Now that I’m a dancer and I’m learning the other side of it, I can have the best of both worlds and I know what people need to put on a good show here.

Daniel Baker: For me, I’m just exploring the commercial dance world and hoping to get an agent this week and go on auditions. I have a job or two lined up in the future and I am also choreographing to the New York Choreographic Institute, which is part of the New York City Ballet, coming up this year. So I’m kind of excited about that. Then I just want to see where all that takes me.

July 24, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

SYTYCD Season 8 Finale – Melanie, Sasha, Marko, Tadd, Judges

Post SYTYCD Season 8 finale interviews with Melanie Moore, Marko Germar, Sasha Mallory, Tadd Gadduang, Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and Tyce Diorio. Congratulations to everyone, and to Melanie for being named America’s Favorite Dancer! Video Below 🙂

August 12, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD Season 8 – Week 5, Melanie and Marko Extended Interview

Check out this interview with Melanie and Marko where they talk about the transformation from dress rehearsal, the final lift at the end of their performance, and the difference between the “moth dance” and the “statue dance”! From week 5 of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) Season 8. Scroll down for video 🙂

July 14, 2011 I Written By

Interview with SYTYCD Bollywood Choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan

I’m really excited to bring you Pure So You Think You Can Dance’s first interview of a So You Think You Can Dance choreographer. This interview was an email interview with Hollywood’s Favorite Bollywood choreographer: Nakul Dev Mahajan. He’s the man responsible for first bringing Bollywood to the So You Think You Can Dance stage last season.

Since this was an email interview Nakul is able to duck some of the harder questions, but I think fans of So You Think You Can Dance will enjoy learning more about Nakul and Bollywood. My questions are in bold.

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Chandni Chowk To China

How did Nakul Dev Mahajan end up on So You Think You Can Dance?
The producers invited me to choreograph Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) to add a new style of dancing and introduce America to Bollywood. Fortunately for me, they were following my professional dance career!

What were you doing before you joined So You Think You Can Dance?
I have collaborated for the past two SYTYCD seasons, in addition to choreographing various other TV programs, including The Office, Passions and MTV’s Next. I am also the founder of America’s first Bollywood dance studio in the nation: NDM Bollywood Dance Productions & Studios, teaching more than 5,000 students to-date! I am also the acting director/principle dancer of the NDM Dance Troupe, which has been honored with more than 50 awards and performed for more than a 100 productions.

Do you feel any pressure trying to represent Bollywood on such a visible US dance show? How do people in India feel about your choreography?
Pressure is natural in every job but for me it’s accompanied by a sense of responsibility and pride. My work on So You Think You Can Dance and other projects that have ‘aired’ in India have been complemented and well received by the viewers.

Now that you’ve seen the performance by Caitlin and Jason, do you think you tried to put too many difficult steps into their choreography for the first week?
I felt that Jason and Caitlin did a fantastic job, given that show rules allowed them only 5.5 hours to learn the entire piece. The routine was a little complex for week 1, but what a way to start the season!

One of my readers asked, “I’m no expert in Bharat Natyam, but what’s your reaction to all the harsh criticism about your choreography last week?”

Bharat Natyam is a classical form of Indian dance that traces years back and requires intensive training. I wanted Jason and Caitlin to be challenged, and since this art form is one of the elements of Bollywood, I decided to include it in their piece. I haven’t heard any harsh criticism, but rather constructive feedback.

Who deserves credit for Caitlin’s handstand moment? How’d you come up with that? It was incredible how her feet mimicked the Bollywood forms and will certainly be one of the most memorable moments of this season for me.
Caitlin is a gymnast. The minute I found out, I knew she would be able to do a handstand. I’ve always wanted to fuse an acrobatic move with Bollywood and this was the perfect opportunity to showcase it.

What should someone new to Bollywood watch for when trying to judge the quality of the performance? What’s the difference between a novice and professional Bollywood dancer?
Like any other style of dancing, there is a sense of synchronization and energy in Bollywood dancing. Bollywood is the fusion of different dance styles, both eastern and western. What makes one a good Bollywood dancer is the ability to adapt to the different styles while making it look easy. A professional dancer would be one who is well versed in all styles, where as a novice might not be familiar with as many genres.

Which dancer on So You Think You Can Dance has been your favorite to work with? and why?
In week eight of last season’s (Season Four) So You Think You Can Dance I had the opportunity to work with the Top 10 dancers, both for the opening number and the tour. This season I’ve only worked with Jason and Caitlin, so far. They are all wonderful and respectful dancers and each one is special in their own way.

Where can fans of your choreography and Bollywood find more of your work?
Our website,, offers a gallery of past performances as well as updates on upcoming projects and events.

What do you think will be the future of Bollywood in the US?
This is just the beginning – Bollywood is here to stay! Slumdog Millionaire globalized Bollywood dancing and strengthened interest in this genre of movie making and dancing. But there is more to be seen and many more aspects that of this art form that have yet to be revealed to US audiences.

Do you think we’ll ever get to see a So You Think You Can Dance India?
India already has their own versions of various American shows. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of a future So You Think You Can Dance India.

Can we expect to see more Bollywood on So You Think You Can Dance? Possibly a group routine?
You will have to tune in this season to find out…

Was the kiss between Caitlin and Jason planned, real, suppose to be hidden? They don’t usually kiss in Bollywood.
In modern Bollywood movies kissing has been shown. However, it’s still taboo which is what my piece was all about. I’d like to keep the ending kiss open for interpretation and not reveal my intentions.

I want to thank Nakul for taking the time to answer some questions and share some of his thoughts with fans of So You Think You Can Dance. My next interview looks like it’s going to be with Nappytabs.

June 18, 2009 I Written By

Just call me Charlie...but where are my angels?