This summer's SYTYCD cast had some of the most talent the show has ever seen. I got to chat with the Top 3 about their time on the show and life after SYTYCD. First up, 3rd place winner Robert Roldan!
[Photo courtesy of Mathieu Young/FOX]
Gawker.TV: What was your reaction when you found out you and Billy Bell were both going to be on the show as part of the first top 11 ever?
Robert: When I found out that I was gonna be on the show it was a huge shock, but when i found out Billy and I both made it and they said there is gonna be a top 11 it was like Christmas morning! I was so happy and excited that we were both going to be on the show.
For the first time ever, the finalists were all contemporary dancers. Actually... this season was heavily dominated by contemporary. How did being trained in contemporary better prepare you for the other genres of dance? What do you think made you stand out over the other contestants to make it to the top 3?
Being a contemporary dancer I think prepares you for almost any genre on the show because contemporary is a bit of every genre. I don't think you can classify contemporary into one style now a days. I think its a blend of all types of dance! Making it to the top 3 was a huge blessing and accomplishment for me, and what I think what made me stand out and make it that far as I did was my determination to get there and how I never gave up even though I was put in the bottom a lot. Also I think that the show helped me grow in many different ways as a dancer and also as a person so I think that people also saw that.
How has your life been since the show ended a few months ago?
My life since the show has been completely different, even though tour came right after the show it has changed completely. Seeing all the people that come to the tour and support the show is unbelievable and the biggest blessing in the world.
What was your favorite dance from the season? What made it so special to you? What was your least favorite?
My favorite dance from the season would have to be "Fix You" choreographed by Travis Wall and danced with Allison Holker. The reason why its my favorite is because the story behind the dance is very similar to what is happened in my life. As soon as I found out what I was doing and with who I had to take a second and stop because I didn't think it was actually happening, haha. The first day of rehearsals when I started learning the dance something in the rehearsal room just clicked. It felt like everything fell into place for me. My least favorite dance that I did on the show was probably the quickstep that I did with Ashley only because it was the "Quickstep". I loved working with Ashley and Jean Marc but it was just so hard to pick up and I kept on tripping on Ashley! Haha!
Having watched the show from start to finish, it's an understatement that you grew throughout the competition. Was there a specific moment that you felt yourself transform into the dancer you are now? If so, what was it?
For me, I don't think that there was any specific that it switched over, but I think with every challenge that was given to me each week made me mature and grow as a dancer. Even though some weeks I got my style or a genre close to my style there was never a dull moment that made me feel like I was improving on my dancing and who I was as a person, because every choreographer gives you something to learn from and improv on every week.
Which choreographer do you felt pushed you the hardest?
Jean Marc [Généreux], I think, pushed me the hardest because I had [him] twice and I think he expected a lot from me the second time we worked together. He choreographed both my Argentine Tango and Quickstep. He helped me so much and had fun but made me work for it!
What was it like working with the all stars vs. the other contestants? What did you learn from working with alumni who had been in your shoes just a few years before?
Working with the all stars was so incredible because there were already so wise, because they have gone through the process and they understand what you are going through to a certain degree. They always made me feel comfortable with them and made sure I was OK with the ending product of the routine. Working with a contestant was a little different because both of us were nervous about what genre we were going to get but it was also awesome because we were both in the same boat and we would always build each other up if something was wrong!
I'm assuming by now you've had a chance to watch the episodes. Looking back, what, if anything, would you have done differently?
The thing I would changed was how excited and crazy I was when I first got onto the show, other than that I don't think I would change anything because that's the way things were meant to be.
Out of all of the judges' praise and criticism, what words have stuck with you the most?
I think the words that stuck the most in my mind would have to be either when Nigel said "For the first time I wouldn't mind who won because they are all fantastic." Or when Mia said to me "I'm proud of you." There are a lot things that stick out in my mind but i think those are the phrases that pop into my head first.
What has been the craziest part of this whole experience? Best? Worst?
I think the best experience of this whole thing is making it to the top 3 with Lauren [Froderman] and Kent [Boyd]. That last week was really hard and I don't think I would have made it out alive without them. they have become two of my closet friends. I think the worst thing was pulling ballroom out of the box all the time. I love watching ballroom but actually learning and performing it is so hard! There was a plus side on pulling ballroom though, I got to dance with Anya [Garnis] twice :)!
How is the tour going? Do you have any funny stories to share?
Tour is so incredible. Its like a dream come true, I have been loving every second of it. A funny story......one city we were in (I can't really remember which on) it was right before Halloween. Allison was dressed up as Storm from X-Men and I was doing an interview, for TV, and she was walking around in the background making crazy poses and I started laughing and had to stop the interview! Haha.
Finally, what are your post-tour post-SYTYCD plans?
I plan on staying in LA and take up acting and singing as well as dancing. One of my biggest goals in life is to be a character on Glee!