Young star of 'So You Think You Can Dance' show embraces touring lifestyle
The stage version of Fox Television’s long-running juggernaut, "So You Think You Can Dance," comes to Reno on Nov. 18.
The 14th season of So You Think You Can Dance wound up on Sept. 25 with 19-year-old Lex Ishimoto’s dramatic win, and the show’s dancers wasted almost no time afterward, hitting the road Oct. 5 for a 44-city tour of the U.S. and Canada.
The troupe includes recently crowned winner Ishimoto, runner-up Koine Iwasaki and third-place finisher Taylor Sieve, as well as top 10 finishers Robert Green, Logan Hernandez, Dassy Lee, Kaylee Millis, KiKi Nyemchek, Sydney Tormey and Mark Villaver. Also joining the finalists are season 14 competitors Jasmine Harper and Marko Germar.
It’s a whirlwind for all the young dancers from Fox’s 14-time Emmy Award-winning show, including 19-year-old Sieve, who just a year ago was a senior in high school in her hometown of Maple Grove, New Jersey.
“It’s pretty crazy,” she said. “People are like, ‘Don’t forget me when you’re famous,’ and all that, but it’s like, I’m still here, I’m still the same person, and you don’t have to treat me any differently. It’s pretty funny. But all my friends are really supportive. It’s really been awesome.”
The tour showcases multiple motifs, and the dancers perform in a variety of styles. The live show features some of season 14’s most popular routines, from both Team Stage and Team Street, along with original works created specifically for the tour.
It’s been fun to watch the show evolve as the dates stack up, Sieve said: “It definitely gets a little easier every time that we do it. One of the hardest parts is the quick costume changes. Sometimes, we only have 30 to 60 seconds to change an outfit and get back on stage. And every time we’re in a new theater, the size of the stage is always different and all of that, so that’s a challenge. But it’s getting easier every time.”
It’s a dream come true for the dancer, to be sure, but it didn’t happen overnight.
“I’ve been dancing basically my whole life, since I was 3 years old, if you can call that dancing!” she said.
She cut her teeth at the Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood, Minnesota. The studio, founded in 1950 by Shirley Larkin, is still family run and continues to consistently produce dancers who move on to Broadway, touring companies and acting careers.
“Their training is hardcore, and it draws in talent from all across Minnesota,” Sieve said. “There are dancers now driving and hour and-a-half or two hours to get there, which is insane, but that’s just how good Larkin is.”
Living her dream
Although her high-profile third-place finish on season 14 of "So You Think You Can Dance" will without question boost her fledgling career, there’s been little time to make plans for her next step.
“I’ve realized that tour life isn’t that bad, and it’s kind of fun to get to travel around,” she said. “So, that would be awesome if I made a company and got to do another tour. But I don’t really know, I’m pretty open to anything right now.”
For the next couple of months, the tour bus is her home. It’s been an adjustment for sure, but she’s finding time to enjoy the benefits of touring.
As she travels, she’s come to realize that she’s in a pretty sweet spot: She’s just 19 and she’s living her dreams. It’s still something that catches her off-guard.
“I guess I just that I never really expected any of it,” she said. “And I never expected to get the reaction I get from people. They come up and tell me how inspiring I am, and how I much I affected them — people who are not even dancers — and that I made them feel something emotional. It’s just something that I never expected to do. And It’s really cool that it’s happening, but it still doesn’t feel real. It’s really cool, but it’s just weird!”
Her success on the TV show has been a boon for her confidence, which is a must for any young performer hoping to make her way in the entertainment business.
“Now that I’ve done this television show, I feel like anything is possible if I put my mind to it and work hard enough,” she said.
Tickets for "So You Think You Can Dance, Season 14 Tour" cost $50 to $325 and are available online, at 775-789-2000, or at the box office at 2500 E. Second St.