Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of chatting with an exhausted Ashleigh DiLello, finalist from season 6 of So You Think You Can Dance
Ashleigh and fellow finalist husband Ryan were just about to head home to Utah for the holidays but she graciously snuck in a few moments to tell me about her whirlwind season of growth. We chatted about her favorite routines with Jakob, her most cherished moments of the season, the family she and Ryan created with fellow finalists, and if she and Ryan would be interested in moving on to Dancing With the Stars
if the offer arose. Hi Ashleigh, how are you doing? Are you exhausted today?
"Haha, I think we all are... I woke up this morning and felt like a bus had run me over."
You must all be, it was an incredibly physical season.
"It was! I think we'll all be very grateful for some rest."
So you had quite the journey this season. Do you have a favorite memory?
"Oh man, it's really hard to pinpoint one. Sharing the stage with
my husband those last two numbers was very special and amazing for us.
One memory that at least was very special for me was Jakob's and my
last week together. A, we got to do cha-cha. My one time this season in
my style. But also, we had the piece, "Time Flies By" by Sonya that was
about that moment in your life when everything is perfect. For me,
through my life experience, to be alive and to be dancing, every time I
got to be on that stage dancing was a perfect moment for me. And to be
able to express how I felt when I danced, while dancing, was a very
special moment for me."
You and Jakob had quite the amazing partnership. Out of all the
dances that you two did, did you have a favorite?
"It's hard. The Sonya piece meant a lot to me.
Jakob always says the cha-cha was his favorite. I loved sharing my
style with Jakob, since most of the time we were in his area. But I
don't know, they were all... I loved... we loved the cane dance, and we
also loved the "Whatcha Say?" NappyTabs number. We really were blessed,
not only with our partnership, but with great choreography to work
with. Every week was really amazing. It was such... we worked so hard,
but it was such an easy journey to do it together. I'm just so
grateful. We had a hard time saying goodbye last night!"
You're experience must have been completely different than anyone else's because you had your husband there, someone you loved but also someone you were competing against. Did you feel like there was competition between the two of you?
know, there really wasn't. It was more of just a great support. Ryan
and Ellenore and Jakob and I, we just kind of became a little family
for those first five weeks, and we'd rent studios together and watch
each other and tape, and help each other out. It just really was so
supportive, and even beyond us, through all of us in the top ten, to
the final six. We always helped each other.
That was one of the most
amazing things about this experience, having grown up in ballroom,
which is so competitive. That's all we'd trained to do. And then being
here, which was such a huge competition, but at the same time everyone
just wanted each other to succeed. And especially between Ryan and I, I
was more overjoyed every night when I would watch him backstage, and he
would have a great night, than even my own succeed. To watch someone
you love grow and do something like that, and be there, was such an
you guys are ballroom specialists, and there is a history of 'So You
Think You Can Dance' ballroomers moving on to that other 'Dance' show
on TV, would you be excited, or would you and Ryan be interested if
that kind of opportunity came around?
"Without a doubt. We've had several friends that have been on, and
are on, and we would love to be a part of that. I think, with So You
Think You Can Dance
and Dancing with the Stars
--or that "other"
show--it's just an incredible thing for dance, for everyone. And we'd
definitely like to continue on with that. With this journey. Yes,
So you and Ryan are going home now. What do you think will be the first
thing you guys do when you get home? Any special plans for the holidays?
"We've talked about how we just want to curl up by the fire and watch movies, and eat just lots of food!"
You've definitely earned it.
"Well, thank you. We're grateful."Thank you so much for chatting with me, Ashleigh. I wish you the
best of luck, and healing with your shoulder, and enjoying your time
"Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas!"