Issaquah's Paris Torres is a Top 20 contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance"
An interview with Issaquah dancer Paris Torres, who has made the Top 20 in the Fox TV show "So You Think You Can Dance." Torres, a Skyline High School graduate, has taught at Issaquah's Dance Premier and also danced for the Storms and the Sonics in Seattle.
Seattle Times staff reporter
"So You Think You Can Dance"
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Issaquah is in step with this season's "So You Think You Can Dance."
The TV dance competition features local dancer Paris Torres, who has risen to the Top 20. Torres, a Skyline High School graduate, started learning jazz, ballet and tap at the age of 6. She studied at the Eastside's Turning Pointe Dance Centre and Seattle's Westlake Dance Center, and has taught at Issaquah's Dance Premier. A Miss Washington Teen Pageant winner, she also danced for the Storm and the Sonics.
The Seattle Times talked to Torres, 19, during a rehearsal break in Los Angeles.
Q: What was it like growing up as a dancer in Issaquah?
A: Growing up, my dad would pick me up from school and we used to head out an hour away during rush hour and stay out at the studio until 10 o'clock and get home at 11. Just you know, long nights. ... There was never time for social time.
Q: How would you describe your style of dance?
A: It's contemporary; however, I add a little bit of funk to it. It's "puppeteerist" ... kind of like the windup dolls, where you wind them up and they start to move.
Q: Why did you audition for "So You Think You Can Dance"?
A: This is my second year auditioning. Last year, I just had so much fun with it. I met great people. I got to work with some of the amazing choreographers. But I guess my initial motivation to audition for the show is that I live at home with my parents. I teach at a dance studio nearby my home, and I don't have enough money to move out here to L.A., where the heart of the dance scene is. So, I thought by auditioning for the show, and making the show, I would get some exposure and be able to start my career as a dancer.
Q: Was it easier the second time around?
A: It was a lot more stressful. The first year ... I was doing fine until the very last round when I got cut during contemporary round, which is my specialty. So, I got really down on myself, but with the support of my family members and the loved ones I have, they pulled me back up and said you have to try this again. 'You were so close last time. You have to give it another shot.' So I worked so hard and got here. ... I was so nervous and stressed out, because now they've seen me. They've seen what I can do. They have that layer of expectation.
Q: What's it like being on the show?
A: It's crazy to be the center of attention, the person where everyone asks, are you looking good, let me fix this for you, let me do that for you. It's that star treatment. I'm not quite used to it yet, but I think I'm getting there. It's quite comfortable.
Q: What is the schedule like?
A: The rehearsals are so intense. We get a short amount of time to learn a full length routine. The producers say, OK, that's a wrap for today, but you go home and you're thinking, I need to be practicing, so you'll be up all night practicing. You wake up early to practice, and you're back to work. It's like you never get a break. You maybe get couple hours of sleep and you wake up and it's on again.
Q: How do you balance it all?
A: Breathe in the moment, because you can't be anxious of something that's going to come two to three hours ahead. You need to be able to focus and be still in the moment that you're in, so then when the next moment comes, you can concentrate on that.
Q: There's always characters on these reality shows — what are you like?
A: Very outgoing, kind of a little crazy. I like to have a lot of energy around me and I like to give off a lot of energy. I'm loud some of the times, but I can always snap it back and focus when necessary.
Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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