James Alsop was the second dancer to make his last dance on Bravo’s reality show Step It Up and Dance. It was truly sad to see him go because he and his partner in crime, Miguel Zarate (the “Plastics,” as they liked to call themselves) kept a running dialogue of catty barbs and remarks that made the show so entertaining. Unfortunately, however, James was unable to perform the difficult Apache [ah-PAWSH] dance on last night’s episode as well as the judges would have liked, and he was eliminated.
James spoke to BuddyTV today about his first impressions of the other dancers on Step It Up and Dance, the three things he cannot live without, and his advice for other dancers who are trying to make it in the industry. Below, you will find an audiofile and a complete transcript of the interview.
This is Debbie at BuddyTV, and I’m talking to James from Step It Up and Dance. Hey, James, how are you?
I’m doing well, Miss Debbie. How are you?
I’m very good. What were your first impressions of the other dancers when you first met them?
When I first met the other dancers, I kind of was sizing them up. I was like, “Oh, the way so-and-so was dressed, this is probably what kind of dance they do.” But I wasn’t really seeing it as a competition. I was just trying to find the weakest link, I guess. to see who can be preyed on first.
You seemed to really hit it off with Miguel almost immediately, and it was so sad that they broke you two up.
I know! The sisters need to be reunited. How dare they?
Who were some of the others you liked?
I love Janelle [Ginestra] and I love Tovah [Collins], and I adore Adriana [Falcon]. And Nick [Drago] is the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life. He was so cool. Absolutely love him. Adriana, Tovah and Janelle, love those girls. I love all of them.
And who were some that you didn’t like?
You don’t necessarily dislike anyone at first because, I mean, you don’t really know them. But of course, we’re dancers, so we’re catty. [laughs] And just seeing people’s work ethic… I love everyone, but as a dancer it’s a different story, you know what I mean? I love everyone as a person.
Did you have a hard time learning the Apache dance?
Did I have a hard time learning it? Yeah, because it was my first time seeing it ever. It was my first time ever even hearing of it. So being thrown into that and having to submerge myself into something that I had no idea what it was, was kind of hard. But I think I pulled it off well, but obviously, it wasn’t good enough.
Technically, how is the Apache dance different from other dances that you’re accustomed to?
Body-wise, you have to be pretty grounded. Think of it as similar to hip hop because you have to be so grounded, you have to be flat on your feet, and you have to be really strong. But at the same time, the form and the technique of the upper body is just as pivotal. Like, the shoulders and the arms, you have to be so strong. And it’s just really weird, weird performing it.
What style of dance do you like to do the most?
Hip hop and jazz-funk type stuff. That’s my absolute favorite. Stuff where I can really engage in the audience and really reel you in and entertain you and make you smile. And I feel, for me personally, it’s jazz-funk or some kind of hip hop.
Cool. What kind of dance experience do you have, and also performance experience in the past?
I didn’t start training until I was 14, so a little over ten years of training in hip hop. My first class was in jazz, and then I moved from jazz to ballet for two years, but it was so grueling so I quit. I’m not disciplined. But also in hip hop and lyrical and tap. I’ve trained in that also. And on stage, I performed at the Kodak Theater when I first moved to L.A. That was one of my dreams. I was like, “Shut up! I can’t believe I’m performing at the Kodak Theater.” I’ve done similar shows, like with Perez Hilton – yeah! – I performed on one of his shows.
Cool. What are the three things that you can’t live without?
In regards to dance, or just period?
Well, how about in regards to dance, and in general.
Ooh! Three things I can’t live without…any kind of Janet Jackson music. I have to have her on a daily basis. A computer. This so I can YouTube other dancers and other choreographers and see what I need to work on or to see what I’m up against when I go to an audition. And my high-waisted, wide-leg pants. I love them. In general, I can’t live without my cell phone. I just need my cell phone to keep in touch with my family and everybody on the East Coast. I would die without my brother. I have a twin brother and I have to talk to him every day. If I didn’t, ooh, that would be crazy. And what else? Let’s see. My Will and Grace DVD collection. I have all the seasons.
Great. What advice would you give to other aspiring dancers?
Do not let this industry beat you down. I’ve been here for a year and a half, almost two years, and I still haven’t had grand success, but that’s because I’m still putting in my time. You have to put in your time. Like, the dancers who really book live in Los Angeles for like four to five years and that’s when they start to get recognized. So just be patient and make sure you’re ready for all aspects of it, the horrible aspects, the great aspects, the in-between aspects. You have to be focused and not let it get you down. It’s such a mental game. But just be ready.
Okay. And finally, what are your plans now?
Actually, I would love to dance in a film. I’m reaching more towards that aspect of film. I love music videos, and I would love to do a video and I would love to tour, but I really, really want to be in a film. I’ve just been assisting now. I’ve been assisting choreographers on different jobs, but I’m really gearing towards movies. I want to be on the big screen.
Great. Well, best of luck to you. I hope to see you on the big screen someday.
Thanks so much, Miss Debbie.
-Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Image courtesy of Bravo)