While we weren’t surprised to see Karla Garcia be eliminated on last week’s So You Think You Can Dance, we were disappointed. In spite of her short time on the show, Karla left an undeniable impression of professionalism and passion for dance, as well as performing my favorite routine of Season 5.
The multi-genre specialist of the season, we were looking forward to watching Karla wow the judges and audience with her dance chops — showing them how it’s done in Broadway, hip hop, contemporary, tap, and jazz. Unfortunately, and as we all know now, that’s not how it happened. In spite of her best effort and one of the strongest Quicksteps in recent memory, Karla and her second partner Vitolio fell victim to the curse of the Quickstep.
Karla and I chatted about her favorite So You Think You Can Dance memories, both on and off stage, how difficult it was loosing Jonathan and starting over with a new partner, and how being So You Think You Can Dance was like riding a meteor. I asked a few of your Twitter questions, though I left out a Twitter marriage proposal, which Karla seemed bummed to have missed. Read the full interview below.
Before joining the show, did you have a favorite So You Think You Can Dance contestant?
I really admired Melody from Season 1 because she was a fellow Filipina and I also admired Donyelle from Season 2 because she just seemed so mature.
Out of all the dancers, it seemed you had the most varied background as far as styles and training. How did you decided to audition as a contemporary dancer rather than say a hip hop dancer?
The first time I tried out for SYTYCD two years ago, I auditioned as a tap dancer. I was cut immediately in Vegas. This time, I came to the auditions with confidence and more experience. I studied how I could best be noticed by the judges, and I figured that I should just be true to myself. I believe I can do different styles well – contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, but contemporary can actually incorporate many of the other styles.
What is the favorite routine you danced?
Definitely the contemporary piece to “Falling Slowly” by Stacey Tookey.
Please tell me about dancing the contemporary piece by Stacey Tookey, my favorite of the season, which is still giving me chills! Was it an emotional piece to dance? Did you realize in practice what a powerful dance it was?
I think dancing that piece was worth every heartache and every joy of being in SYTYCD. If I can be remembered for dancing just that, then I have triumphed. Stacy worked with us every step of the way – she challenged us, and we gave it our all. I was not about to let her down, especially when this was her debut on American television. The music is timeless and moving. And it inspired both Jonathan and me -the two of us found a connection in dancing it, and I believed it showed. Jonathan and I really started to bond at this point.
How many hours a day did you dance?
6 hours on the average. And that includes on our day off.
Which choreographer are you most disappointed you won’t be working with?
Tabitha and Napoleon. They have such positive attitudes, and they showcase their dancers’ strength. I would have loved to do one of their hip hop duets. I love their use of isolations, musicality, and story-telling!
How do you feel like genres and choreography affected your elimination and performance in the competition?
I have the utmost respect for the choreographers that we work with not only in the couple routines, but also for the group numbers. Good choreography inspires good dancing. It’s also easier if the routine is something that is in your realm of capability. A dancer must work harder if the choreography is not the most dynamic and if the genre is not something they are familiar with. But I always try to give it my all -100 percent.
There are many factors that go into performance and result in elimination. Dancers are given the genre, choreography, costume, make-up, tv time, even editing – we have no choice in these. I guess some couples are luckier than others. All we can do is dance our hearts out!
Was it more difficult to receive criticism on your hip-hop routine, seeing that you are also a hip hop dancer? (Question Courtesy of BuddyTV_SYTYCD Twitter Follower: ImaPPEP)
Definitely. When you dance as a couple, you work as a couple. Jonathan is not a hip-hop dancer, but I can tell you that he worked very hard in learning the Dave Scott routine. Finding a hip hop “groove” and personal sense of rhythm is hard enough to achieve on one’s own. For two completely different dancers, finding the same EXACT groove in a few days is not easy at all. I also wish I could have showcased more musicality and dynamics as a hip hop dancer in that routine, but we can only do what we are told.
What was it like having to change partner’s mid season? What did you enjoy most about working with each of your partners?
I was very emotional after Jonathan was eliminated. I felt that we had begun to have a connection, then suddenly I had to start all over again. I did not realize how attached we had actually become until that first rehearsal without him.
Vitolio is a very strong dancer, and at that point in the season, both of us were determined to show everyone what we have to offer. Especially when we got the Quickstep: after looking around and seeing that everyone else got the genre they were good at.
Besides Jon & Vitolio, was there anyone you were hoping to eventually be paired with? (Question Courtesy of BuddyTV_SYTYCD Twitter Follower: pochaccopnai)
I thought it would be really cool to be paired up with Jason at some point, because he’s a really strong contemporary and hip hop dancer. Actually, all the boys are excellent partners and I’d be excited if I could work with each of them!
It seemed like the dancers this year were one big happy family, what’s your favorite memory of life in the dance house? Who did you become closest to?
One favorite memory is taking a trip to Rite Aid with Jeanine to buy two tubs of ice cream to relieve stress. I also enjoyed having a glass of wine with Melissa and Caitlin as we decompress after rehearsal. Janette always happened to catch me in very “airhead” moments, and I thought that was funny. Hanging out with the three musketeers Jonathan, Brandon, and Ade was super fun.
Jonathan and I definitely became super close. We spent countless hours together perfecting our duets, and we naturally developed a special chemistry. I miss him!
How did being on So You Think You Can Dance compare to being on tour for a Broadway play like Wicked?
Being on the tour of Wicked is like an astronaut on the space shuttle, going to the moon. You train really hard for it, and you get chosen from many others as qualified. There are steps and procedures to follow, and the production support is phenomenal. You play to packed houses nightly, plus you get paid very well. Everyone wishes they could be on the ride.
Being on So You Think You Can Dance is like riding a meteor. You get chosen from others as qualified. You shine bright and strong on the sky, everyone sees you on national tv, then PFFttt! you get eliminated. Everyone wishes they could be on this ride too.
Either way, it’s a great ride.
What is your favorite memory from you time on So You Think You Can Dance? Your least favorite? (Question Courtesy of BuddyTV_SYTYCD Twitter Follower: ImaPPEP)
My favorite memory is dancing the contemporary piece “Falling Slowly” by Stacey Tookey. It was exhilarating and I will never forget it.
My least favorite moment is when my partner Jonathan got eliminated. I knew the journey would not be the same.
What are your plans now that you are done with your So You Think You Can Dance journey?
I’d like to spend a bit of time with my family. They’ve supported me 100 percent all throughout my career. I know these weeks have been stressful for them – but they went along and have been my true inspiration. You know, I never went the “sad story” route on this reality tv show. During the Las Vegas auditions when the Top 20 was chosen in April, my dad had a stroke, at the exact same time my mom was in the Philippines burying my lolo (Grandfather), who I had last seen at Christmas. I know my lolo has been keeping watch over me up there this entire time. My dad is fine now – just with a bit of residual on his left side, but he would take it easy on Thursdays when the results would come in. His lawyer training made him more analytical than emotional.
I think I also want to try my hand at acting. I will be fine. I’m hopeful my experience at SYTYCD will definitely open many doors for me. The day I got eliminated I got 3 offers in 4 hours. I hope they keep coming!
Is there a dancer you’ll be rooting for now that you’re out of the competition?
I love and respect them all.
Lastly, your judges are Twitter crazy, as are many So You Think You Can Dance fans (a number of these questions, and one marriage proposal, were submitted for you by twitter users), will you be joining Twitter?
I do have a Twitter and will be updating it periodically. But with our crazy schedule, I’d rather spend every small bit of free time resting my body and thinking good thoughts. Tweeting would be stressful.
So, who wanted to marry me? I think I missed that.
It was BuddyTV_SYTYC Twitter follower EddiesUniverse, Karla! If we’d known you were interested, we would have certainly posed the question.
–Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)