Exclusive Interview: Cedric Gardner, Top 14 Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance
Exclusive Interview: Cedric Gardner, Top 14 Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance
The story of the season so far on So You Think You Can Dance has been Cedric Gardner.  The most unique dancer So You Think You Can Dance has ever seen, featuring a mesmerizing combination of hip-hop, freestyle, and contemporary, Cedric's solo routines are nothing short of astonishing.  The problem: he has no formal training and had never danced with a partner prior to the season.  The judges fell in love with Cedric's potential, yet were disappointed week after week with his partner routines.  Yet, week after week, the judges sent Cedric to the next round on the basis of his potential.  Potential can only go so far, however.  Cedric was eliminated last night, but not before receiving heaps of praise from all the judges.  Cedric spoke with us earlier this morning about his time on the show.

Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.

You have an extremely unique style, probably the most unique of anyone that’s been on the show thus far, can you tell us a little about where that came from, how you cultivated your whole dance style?

It comes from a lot of different places.  Definitely, just watching other people and just being inspired, it comes from a little bit of like popping and little bit of contemporary even though I'm not good at it, and it also comes from cartoons, juts trying to disobey the natural laws of dance, so most of it comes from cartoons.

What made you want to try out for the show, were you a fan beforehand?

I loved the show, what made me try out for the show, actually was Ivan, like watching Ivan last year.  I was just awed by the way he moved, just like, man it was just cool that he was like a hip-hop person who was actually from the Monsters of Hip/Hop, which I'm from, and that he made it so far.  That was one reason, the other reason was just the study, just study as many different dance styles without, I know it sounds bad, but without paying for them. Because it can be really expensive to pay for dance everyday, all day long.

During the audition process and into the Vegas week, how difficult was it for you to do all the partnering stuff that was so new to you when everyone else was just kind of experienced in it?

I'd say it was actually easier than the actual competitions, a lot easier and people would say, “of course” because I have the other things in there you like know the pressure.  It wasn't that difficult, the audition process, because you knew that you're auditioning for a show, so that you might go home, you already know that you can get it or you won't get it.  You don't really go in thinking that you’re going to get it.

So did you feel pretty confident that whole time that you had a shot of getting in the top 20?

No, no that’s what I was just exactly saying, kind of go in just half and half.

Once in the top 20 you got a lot of criticism for your couples routines, obviously you weren’t very experienced in that, is it difficult hearing the criticism from the judges, especially like Mary Murphy a couple weeks ago, how tough is that to handle?

It's not tough at all, because I know those judges and I know that they just want me to be a better dancer so it's not tough, it's just like you being on a basketball team and your coach is riding you because they know that you can do what they want you to do.

How nice was it then on Wednesday to get all the praise from the judges?

That felt incredible, that felt incredible.  I think that’s what allowed me to take this experience, like leaving the show, so well.  Because if I had left any other week, I would have had so many regrets.  I would have been so upset with myself, but because I left on a positive note it just made me feel really, really good, like I’m excited for what’s next because I know that I can just go ahead and do it. I can go ahead and just learn anything I want to.  I might not be the best right away but with time I can possibly be really, really good at it.

What was your favorite routine that you danced this season?

My two favorite group routines was definitely Tuce DiOrio's tribal dance, I don't know the name of it, but it was the tribal dance because the way that Tyce said that everybody was important, there weren't any like highlighted people.  The other dance was of course the Hairspray dance because of the same thing, we're all just dancing to have a good time, it's not about who's the best dancer its about all of us and those are the two I loved the most.  When it comes to our duets, my favorite duet was with Shauna, this last one which was the Mambo, that was fun.

Two weeks ago when Debbie Allen was the guest judge she said you could come and be a member of her dance studio and learn there, are you going to take her up on that?

Yes I'm going to pursue that, the dance academy.

Besides that, you've got anything else coming up in the future that you'd like to talk about?

Yeah, actually I'm going to go ahead and take this toy company up on an offer to go study with them, so I’m just going to do everything that comes my way and just try to learn, like right now I'm in this stage in my life were I want to learn as much as possible, it doesn’t matter what it is, but as long as I'm just growing I'm going to be happy.

(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)
(Image Courtesy of FOX)