Each week on SYTYCD I interviewed the contestants and wrote up their blogs.
Sunday night was the first night the judges saw J.D. having fun, one of the missing elements in my other dances – J.D. the fun dude. Although, at the same time, I was pretty terrified, with the pressure from the judges and from Australia, but I kept reminding myself that I deserved to be here, that the nation believes in me, and that I need to just let go. The thing that I kept telling myself is, it’s not how you feel, it’s what you do. At the end of the dance it was like a huge, huge release; a huge weight off my shoulders. It was great to get some positive feedback after the last few weeks. I really appreciate what our choreographer Adam Williams did – he really slapped me around and got J.D. out of his shell. He really pushed and stretched me beyond what I was currently doing in rehearsals.
Being in the bottom three wasn’t really a surprise, mainly because last Sunday’s performances were all amazing, everyone really stepped up their game. I had prepared a Dance For My Life piece, something special I choreographed and put together in Chicago, which expresses my love of music and how dance makes me feel. The biggest thing I learnt after what judges said was about the different levels of intensity between a live performance and television, which I’ll take away and develop. Although I know it was Jason’s opinion of how he perceived my choreography, I know inside it was a great performance and something that represents me.
It was sad to see Suri go, however I know he’ll do great things for his community. He’s already represented and inspired many Aboriginal people to follow their dreams and what he achieved was extraordinary.
For the first time, the group performance was something in my element and something that I really felt comfortable in. I had a lot of fun, especially when Graeme and Anthony threw me in the air and I nearly hit my head on the speakers! The only thing I remember is the audience piercing my ears and being so expressive in their enthusiasm, and screaming ‘J.D., J.D., J.D., J.D.!’ I was like, ‘Ahhhhhhh!’. Hi-fives all round…
This week I definitely feel an increased sense of pressure and expectation, especially with the new challenges we’ve been given this week. Not only do we have a couple’s routine, we have a new challenge, I have a new DFYL, plus the group opener – four routines, double what we’ve been doing the last few weeks. This is the new game, the game of new challenges.
This week especially I feel we really have to prove our worthiness of Top 10 as it represents halfway to winning and being Australia’s favourite dancer. Despite all this, I’m constantly remembering to have fun, be true to myself and believe in myself. I’ve learnt it’s not really about the competition, it’s about what comes up for you in times of mental and physical pressure or stress – these are moments we are tested. I guess we can relate this to life in general. My main focus is not the outcome of the competition, and becoming the favourite dancer and the prizes, it’s about the being and the doing. Being courageous, doing what is needed, doing the challenges, whatever they are.
Last Friday night was great – the dancers all went out together and let our hair out (even though I don’t have any hair!). It was good to relax, chill out, listen to some music I wouldn’t normally listen to. It was quite an experience – because there was the whole group of us, we got mauled everywhere we went. Everyone was so excited to see and meet us. I felt overwhelmed, and once again got present to how much people really appreciate the show.
I guess to finish off, the biggest thing about this week was going from a breakdown to a breakthrough. It supports the fact that whenever there’s a breakdown, there’s a breakthrough just around the corner, and something to be learnt. Breakdowns are all about growth, they’re not end of the world. Plus what I will take with me is my biggest embarrassing moment to date in 2008, going blank in front of the nation… A good story to tell!
In high school I was: I hung out with the bad ass crew of De La Salle but was really an undercover geek.