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Documentaries & Non-Fiction Series

Dancers Jessica Richens and Rudy Abreu Talk SYTYCD Season 11 and the Tour [Exclusive] 

I’ve been So You Think You Can Dance fan since the series premiered. I was a bit of a dancer when I was younger, so I love seeing what these talented and skilled artists bring to the stage — in terms of technique and personality. The fact that the Top 10 dancers get to tour the country after the season wraps is exciting and I know they enjoying showing audiences what they can do. The dancers return to LA this week and I got a chance to email with Jessica Richens and Rudy Abreu about some highlights from season 11 and how the tour has treated them so far.

Photo Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX

TV GOODNESS: I remember your LA audition. What were you thinking after your got your call back ticket?

Jessica Richens: “After my LA audition I was so shocked that I got through to call back week, I almost couldn’t believe it!”

Jessica’s S11 audition:

TV GOODNESS: You were cursed there for a little bit at the beginning, but the judges saved you when you were put into the bottom. What did that feel like to be saved and to know the judges had so much confidence in you?

Jessica: “After being saved from the bottom, it sparked a whole new fire in me. The judges expected me at my best and that’s what I was going to give them.”

TV GOODNESS: Travis Wall choreographed some beautiful routines for you. Can you talk about your favorite piece and working with him?

Jessica: “He has such a talent mind, I look up to him so much. Working with him was an experience I’ll never forget. His moves just feel right, especially in our top four ‘Equality’ dance.”

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

TV GOODNESS: You came so far in season 11. What was your favorite performance and why?

Jessica: “My favorite performance was the top 7 girls piece ‘My Immortal,’ by Mandy Moore.”

TV GOODNESS: It must be so exciting returning to LA — and close to home, for you. What’s been the highlight of the SYTYCD tour so far?

Jessica: “The highlight of the tour has been waking up in a different city every morning and being able to meet all of our supportive fans each night!”

TV GOODNESS: Tell me about your favorite performance on the road.

Jessica: “My favorite performance on the road is our closing number because it is so much fun and has such high energy.”

TV GOODNESS: Most fun or craziest dance partner?

Jessica: “My craziest dance partner would definitely be Rudy! He had to fill in for Zack at the end of the tour and we had a great time.”

TV GOODNESS: What has this entire experience taught you as a person and as an artist?

Jessica: “This experience has taught me what work ethic is and how to enjoy every minute of this unforgettable experience. It’s made me realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

TV GOODNESS: What are you going to do after the tour wraps? Any chance we’ll see you next season as an All-Star?

Jessica: “It would be a dream to be an All-Star next year! Let’s cross our fingers. I’m going back to LA and auditioning.”

Photo Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX
Photo Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX

TV GOODNESS: Did you find that coming into the competition as a contemporary dancer gave you an edge? Did you feel like that was a good foundation for you to learn other styles?

Rudy Abreu: “Yes, I believe that I had an edge to me on the show not only because I was a contemporary dancer but more so because of my unique style of contemporary. Yes it was a great foundation.”

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

TV GOODNESS: Your Top 8 performance — “Dirty Diana” with All-Star Allison Holker – was amazing. Can you talk about working with Allison and choreographer Ray Leeper on that piece?

Rudy: “Allison Holker is the most amazing dancer and human on this planet. She was such an awesome joy to work with. Ray Leeper was so great. He pushed me to my fullest potential. I went to places I thought I go never go.”

“Dirty Diana” performance:

TV GOODNESS: I always enjoy all the performances: solos, pairs and group dances. What was going through your mind when you were dancing for your life the last time?

Rudy: “My solo felt strong!”

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

TV GOODNESS: Who was your favorite dance partner and why?

Rudy: “I loved working with all my partners but Tanisha [Belnap] wins.”

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/FOX

TV GOODNESS: Which group dance did you love the most and what was it working with that choreographer?

Rudy: “I loved the top 20 Broadway routine performed in the finale ‘Dr. Jazz’ choreographed by the amazing Warren Carlyle.”

TV GOODNESS: Tell me about returning to LA for the SYTYCD tour. What’s it been like on the road and are you excited to be back in LA?

Rudy: “I’m so so excited to be back in LA. I love it here.”

TV GOODNESS: What has this entire experience taught you as a person and as an artist?

Rudy: “This whole experience really taught me how to truly love my art.”

TV GOODNESS: What are you going to do after the tour wraps? Any chance we’ll see you next season as an All-Star?

Rudy: “I’m hoping to join the cast of ‘Newsies’ on tour. It’s a huge dream of mine and I would love to be on that stage. Hopefully I will come back as an all-star. I promise I won’t disappoint!”

Edited for space and content.

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