So You Think You Can Dance Canada: Lauren and Rodrigo's exit interview
If you were worried about Lauren Lyn and Rodrigo Basurto after they were eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance Canada last week, don't be. The 24-year-old salsa dancer and the 26-year-old hip-hop dancer, both from Toronto, sounded like they had their heads on straight when I interviewed them the day after their ouster, ready to take what they'd learned on the show and plow it into their careers. Here's an edited version of our talk:
LL: I feel better today, still sad, but better.
RB: Still sad? Get over it (said with a smile).
LL: Oh hush, you are so insensitive (also said with a smile).
DY: You're Mr. Smiley.
RB: You have to smile.
DY: It's sad, right? Because you're leaving people you've become really close to in a short time and, obviously, you want to keep dancing.
LL: I think we both had a lot more to offer and just weren't given that chance, but yeah, you'll definitely see us around.
DY: So let's talk about what you feel like you've gained out of being on the show, even if it was only for a couple of weeks.
LL: I think we made a lot of really good friendships and connections, with the cast as well as the crew, who are really amazing ... working with choreographers and even having them see us, it opens so many doors for us and we're gonna take those friendships and connections with us ... as well as the experience of performing onstage on a TV show. So it's really good exposure for us, working with cameras ... which is really important for dancers such as myself and Rodrigo who want to work in the commercial industry ...
DY: You've done music videos before, I know, from reading your bio, but is this very different?
RB: Oh yeah, definitely, it's so much different because now people scream to you ... you're no longer a backup dancer, you are the artist, you are the star, so the feeling is a completely different feeling. It's such an amazing feeling to dance on that stage, to be honest ... to be part of the show is just an amazing thing, like everything, just makeup, hair, wardrobe. Every single little thing, it counts ... it's so enjoyable to be part of that and feel a little special ... because not just in Canada, around the world, people don't take dance as seriously as it is, you know what I mean? Thank God we have now shows on TV and movies and all that stuff. Even (then) they still don't get it 100 per cent that it can actually be a career and a job.... This is what we do and we do it in a professional way.
DY: I know one of the things the life of a dancer involves is injuries. Had you ever had a concussion from dancing before? (Rodrigo hit his head the first time he danced for his life and got a mild concussion.)
RB: No I never did. No, it was just one of those things.... Injuries, they're always gonna be there, it's not something that you can prevent, it can happen at any time. Someone stepped on her foot the other day at practice. She wasn't even dancing.... You really need to be careful because one injury can be the end of everything else, just like soccer players, so that's really important, to really take care of yourself and eat well and work out and stretch.
DY: Your body, that's what you've got, that's what you use.
RB: That's it, that's our tool. You constantly dance from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
DY: Every dancer I've ever interviewed who's been on this show, I know they're just going constantly and if you're not dancing you're getting your hair done or you're doing interviews, you're always doing something.
LL: And when they're doing your hair you're probably eating at the same time or trying to work out a solo in your head ... we're lucky if we get a 20-minute nap, which rarely happens. Sometimes you just lie down and they're like, “Lauren, we need you in makeup." "Okay, I'm coming." And I fell asleep while they were doing my hair with the hot irons. I've never fallen asleep sitting up like that ... it was a mess.
RB: This competition, I really recommend it to every professional dancer. It's one of those things you really need to live, you have to do it ... even making the audition, it changes your life as a dancer. Made it to the show, woah, I can't even describe what it feels like, but even make the first week of the finals and make top 40, like myself, I made top 40 two years and it changed myself as a dancer and put me where I am ...
LL: While we're at finals week, sometimes when you're training it's hard to really push yourself when you don't have something to push towards. When we have the show and we were coming into finals week we were all pushing because we're, like, we all want this. And then when you get there and you're surrounded by all these other talented dancers you get pushed even more in that competition.... We have lots of friends we made from finals, not just the top 22 ... and we all stay in contact and we all work together.
RB: We're just the same person, we all think the same, we're dancers ... like even, she's salsa, I'm hip hop/contemporary, different styles, but we all think the same.... You feel really connected with these people. We live with these people almost for a month and I know it sounds really short, but you spend 24/7 literally with everybody, you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with them and you have practice with them. You're upset and they're there; you're happy, they're there... It's not about being close, it's just about yo, I love you and I just met you yesterday - as a friend, not like a relationship.... It's really cool to be that united. Every Tuesday sucks, but this competition is hard. It's a really hard competition, it's not easy. People might think oh, it looks easy, but hell no, it's 20 times harder than the auditions, not just because of the show, just because we have six hours to learn the routine for the Saturday (when performance shows are taped).
LL: Less, four and a half hours.
RB: Four and a half to five hours to learn one routine of a minute and 30 seconds, which is not a lot, but I mean you want to make that dance be the best and it's partnership, so it's double hard, the chemistry. We practise on our own ...
LL: We practise until 2 (a.m.).
RB: I'll meet you at 10 at the gym and we practise until 2.
LL: The first time I think we met at midnight and I got back to the room closer to 3.
RB: And the next day, your call time is at 8 a.m. So no sleep. It feels good, but what I'm trying to say is it's hard, so the people they pick, the top 22, the top 20, that is the reason why we're there because we're strong enough to handle that.
DY: I get that. I have no doubt that you guys just work like crazy. What are you going to take into your careers, in terms of training that you're gonna seek out or attitudes or whatever it might be?
LL: As far as, like, the attitude, I think me and Rodrigo going in we have a really good attitude about it. We're very professional and we're both positive and we both work really hard.
RB: We're mature.
LL: We're mature dancers and mature people.
RB: We're not doing this just for the show, we've been doing this for years. We're still young enough, we just want to keep going, so now it's time to work. We have worked with amazing artists. (I) danced for Lady Gaga on the MuchMusic (Video Awards). I danced for Rihanna four years ago. I did Taio Cruz's video, choregraphed one of his first videos, so we've been in the industry. I guess it's time for us, now let's just step (it up) a little more, let's do now bigger things.... Of course, training is one of the things we're always gonna keep, no matter how matter how far or how big you are ...
LL: Also being on the show with all the genres that you do get ... I want to continue to train in all of them and that's kind of what my thing is. I love studying everything and so I want to continue taking classes in all styles and keep training so that when I get a job it's not always just a salsa job or it's not always just a hip-hop job, I can book anything and that's kind of what I want to work towards ...
RB: I'm trying to get into movies and acting as well ... dancers, we're so capable to do so many things. We can do acting, we can do modelling.
LL: Dancers make great models.
RB: Kenny Wormald from L.A.: he's one of the biggest dancers in the whole industry and there's a movie (trailer) right now in the movie theatres (Footloose) ... he's the main actor and when I saw that, I went to see Transformers and I saw the trailer and I was like wow, this guy took his dance to the next level ... so that's what I want to do, not just because of money or whatever, but I want to take my career to just the next level.
LL: We both like entertaining people and working in all branches of that, maybe not singing, I'm not a singer, but I would definitely be interested in trying out my hand in acting. I've done some modelling before and it's really fun to work wth photographers because ... we can make something different than what a typical model would bring to the table. We can bring something maybe a little more abstract; we contort our bodies in different ways.
RB: Every photographer loves to work with dancers ...
LL: I think that's because of the stage presence that we bring ... we know how to project ourselves in a different way ...
RB: We love to talk, sorry. Answering your questions, we want to keep working ...
DY: You're bringing the interview to the next level.
And speaking of next levels, that's what the remaining 18 dancers will be trying to reach on the next episode of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Monday at 8 p.m. on CTV. Check here for the recap and more videos of some of my favourite dancers from that night's show.
(The photos of Lauren and Rodrigo are courtesy of CTV.)