Interview with Jess LeProtto and Jordan Casanova of "So you Think You Can Dance" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Interview with Jess LeProtto and Jordan Casanova of "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX 7/29/11.

Our volunteer Krista asked questions at this conference call....see below!

FBC PUBLICITY: So You Think You Can Dance
July 29, 2011/10:00 a.m. PDT

Kalyn Seymour
Jess LeProtto
Jordan Casanova


Moderator Welcome to the So You Think You Can Dance conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer session and instructions will be given at that time. And also as a reminder todayís teleconference is being recorded.

At this time Iíll hand the conference call over to your host, Ms. Kalyn Seymour.

K. Seymour Hello, everyone, and welcome to the So You Think You Can Dance conference call. Today Jess LeProtto, 18 years old from Little Falls, New Jersey. Heís a Broadway dancer, and Jordan Casanova, 18 years old from Chino Hills, California whoís a jazz dancer. We ask that you keep your questions limited to one question and one follow-up. Without further ado, Tony, can you please take it away?

Moderator Our first question will come from Jennifer Still with Digital Spy.

J. Still So my first question is going to be for Jordan. Jordan, some of the feedback that you had previously had gotten from the judges that Nigel said to you I remember a few weeks back was that he wanted to see something different from you. And this was I think especially after your solo performance that you had. What did you think of that criticism? Do you think maybe you showed enough variety for them? Do you wish that you would have changed things up a bit more in your solo performances, or are you happy with how you performed?

J. Casanova Iím pretty happy with how I performed. I agree I didnít switch it up a little bit and thatís why I went on to the contemporary solo and Ö in. I just had a lot of fun and I left my heart out on stage and thatís all how you really mean it. When it comes down to it, you have to just take the best moves and the best things in your solo and you only have 30 seconds. So I think I did actually well.

J. Still Definitely. For you, Jess, as being someone who is a Broadway dancer, weíve had a lot of discussions before with people who have been eliminated previously about whether or not you feel that being a more not a contemporary dancer or not a hip hop dancer, do you feel that worked against you, that maybe America didnít really get that as much as they may gotten other genres?

J. LeProtto No, I donít think so because for any type of special genre like dancers have, like for me Broadway or for hip hop dancers or especially sometimes tappers or any type of special genres that are featured on the show, but as often as contemporary dancers, I think we the kind of same respect because we are different. Weíre not currently on the show every season and then we come up and then people are so happy, I think people are so happy to see our genres pop up.

So I never feel against it. Itís just like I feel like Iím a part of it now because I fill the slot back up for a Broadway dancer. Thatís what I wanted to do. I wanted to bring back to my old fashioned style, my old Ö beater background to the show, so they could see something different. Season five as in Ö from season five, so I wanted to bring it back.

Moderator Our next question in queue that will come from the line of Deborah Searle with Dance Informa.

D. Searle My first question was what are your plans now that youíre off the show and after the tour, what do you plan to do, whatís you career goals and things?

J. Casanova Iím been dying to get into film and singing and so I would like to take on that challenge and see how far I can get. Iíve always been interested in it, but dance has always been my first love. I think Iím just really excited for any opportunities that open.

D. Searle And Jess?

J. LeProtto For me I think after the tour will bring me back to New York and starting to get back into the whole audition process for shows in New York and something that I wanted to get back and do and then maybe explore other things, including movies and TV, as well as branching out not as a dancer in front of an audience, but hopefully something behind the scenes as more of a choreographer and learning more things, so I can expand my knowledge. Because honestly you never know where life is going to take you, but I always feel like you should be prepared for anything, so I look forward to it. I look forward to the future.

D. Searle My second question was what has the show taught you about yourself or about dance? What have you learned from being on the show?

J. Casanova For me I just learned that it was actually possible for me even to be here. I lacked a little faith in myself because in this industry, itís really hard to book jobs, and you have to have a look and people say no to you. Itís really hard coming from just graduating to the industry and so I had no faith in myself in my dance career and I auditioned for the show.

I think it taught me that you can do something. You can accomplish a goal with hard work and dedication. Being here, I also learned so many different styles. I got a chance to do two waltzes and a rumba and Iíve never done ballroom in my life. So with that, I learned other varieties of dance, and Iím so excited to do that because that expands your knowledge. I think I surprised myself in a lot of ways.

D. Searle Yes, well, you did very well. You were amazing. Jess?

J. LeProtto I think what the show has taught me that you donít have to present yourself a different to attract an audience for sure because when people think of being on the show, that they think theyíre characters, theyíre casted. Itís just like, no, weíre here because we think that America can really appreciate us for who we are. And then trying to make an act out of something is not really what weíre here for, weíre here to show ourselves in the best possible way and just to be ourselves and just grow.

And also with this experience, what this taught me is that I can be so many things that I never thought I could, as well as certain genres. You never know what you can be good at, so it was a fun experience to really see what Iím also capable of doing besides just my regular specialty genre.

Moderator Our next question in queue that will come from the line of Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World.

B. Kwiatkowski So, Jordan, Nigel announced before your elimination that he was basically going with Americaís vote, which seemed to suggest that you were the bottom vote getter this week. Did anyone tell you anything about that? Was that actually the case, or do you have any idea what he meant by that?

J. Casanova Actually we donít know whoís in the bottom at all. Everything that you see is exactly how it happened. I absolutely had no idea that you never know whatís going to happen on the show. Itís full of surprises and thatís what makes it such a great show. So no one had any idea who was on the bottom and I donít know. I donít know if thatís necessarily what he was implying, but if it was, then so be it. Iím just happy to have gotten this far.

B. Kwiatkowski Okay and both of you, Jordan you found the bottom vote getters just as much as Katelyn did, but, Jess, you had never landed in the bottom before while Tad experienced it one time. So with that being said, were both of you guys surprised to be eliminated or did you somewhat see it coming beforehand at all?

J. LeProtto Well, for first hand, you can never say that youíre immune from the competition for sure. Everybody is on pins and needles because they donít know. You never know what the public is going to do. You may think that you danced brilliantly on Wednesday night and people are probably thinking heís got it, heís safe. Itís okay, donít worry about it. But sometimes it doesnít work on Thursday night Ö, so youíre never sure, but you always have to be prepared for it.

I was actually on the bottom the very first week and you never expect it. But I was saying to myself I have to be prepared for anything that happens, worst case scenario and just get it out of my head very quickly, so I can get into my solo mode and just really give an audience a good performance for 30 seconds.

B. Kwiatkowski Jess, just to clarify, did you end up getting any explanation about why you were eliminated after the show from the judges, or is it still a little bit of a mystery to you because it seemed like they only had very positive things to say?

J. LeProtto Well, they never really specified anything, but because the competition is so tight this year and everybody is just phenomenal, I donít think you can have a better group of people who are part of this experience as of this season. Whatever their decision was Iím sure it for a specific reason, but I donít think that matters to me because I think from where Iíve started back in Brooklyn with the auditions, I never saw it. I never saw that I actually get this far.

Itís amazing to find out that I made it to top 20, but then when we made it to top ten, it just like, pinch me. So Iím really happy that Iíve been able to show my talent for so long in the competition and no matter whatever the judges thought about it, it doesnít matter because I know that I danced from my heart and that I know that America has appreciated it for quite a while on the show.

Moderator Our next question in queue that will come from the line of Arin Segal with A Teen View.

A. Segal I was just wondering you both got some cool feedback from Lady Gaga the other night. So what was it like when you guys were standing up on stage hearing that live?

J. Casanova I never would have thought in my whole life that Lady Gaga would sit in front of me and tell me things about the way I dance, so for me, I couldnít believe my eyes. I was so excited and so thrilled that she comes, because she comes from such an interesting background and sheís so interesting. She dresses interesting. She talks interesting. Everything about her is again so interesting, so I was so intrigued by what she was going to say. And once she started giving her comments, I like probably peed in my pants, but you just couldnít tell on stage. Sheís amazing and I was so happy to have her there.

J. LeProtto I think Lady Gaga, the first time that we had Lady Gaga on the show, it was just a rumor. So we were all like, uh huh, yes, okay, all right. But this went by week after week and we found out Lady Gaga on the show, it was like, wow, they really got her on the show. So I was really excited. And for a public who knows her so well, you never know. You can never know what sheís going to dress like. And when she made that entrance on Wednesday night in that flamboyant outfit that everyone is so used to seeing her dressed just like that, it was crazy. It was absolutely nuts.

I think her presence on the show is very professional. She is coming from a background from humble beginnings to where she is now, sheís a humongous super star, so she knows so much about this business. She knows so much about performing that her critiques and comments were so useful and helpful to us throughout the night. So I was really fortunate to be in the same room as Lady Gaga.

E. Segal Then I also asked this question pretty much every week, but are there any charities or organizations that either of you are involved with right now or plan to become involved with?

J. Casanova Actually, my junior year of high school, I entered in the Spotlight Awards, this music center in LA. Itís an organization that works on keeping the arts in school because of budget cuts and money problems, people have been taking out art classes and singing classes. It frustrates me because thatís what we love and thatís what we love to do. It should be appreciated just as much as academics and so Iím a big part of that and I would love to get more into it and really work on keeping the arts in school these days.

J. LeProtto I think Iím not part of the charity now, but I think what Jordan said is true. I think any type of charity that supports the performing arts is especially important that I would love to be a part of and many other charities as well. I know Nigel has talked about the Busy Feet Foundation so much on the show and I feel like itís a great charity that so many people should be a part of. So hopefully Iíll like to be part of that charity and you never know. You never know. Itís just others through life is just a joy and a privilege.

Moderator Our next question in queue that will come from the line of Henry Hanks with CNN.

H. Hanks I just wanted to say you are two of the most unique dancers on the show, so itís great to talk to you. I was wondering do you have a particular routine that youíre proudest of that maybe took the hardest work to do and that to master?

J. LeProtto I think probably the two hip hop routines I think I was the most proud of because that during Vegas week, it wasnít a pretty sight for me doing hip hop for the very first time. As the competition went on, I knew to myself that was going to be hip hop, I knew they were going to throw hip hop at me. And then when they did it twice to me, first with Christopher Scott and with Tabitha and Napolean, both of them were a joy. And it was just tremendous choreographers and with great concepts and just understanding the whole hop hip swagger is something that I wasnít so used to. So that was probably the most I was proud of, as well the very first was my Broadway routine, Deep Shirt, but because thatís my genre, so I was happy to do it and show America my genre for the very first time.

J. Casanova For me I think I'm proud of all of dances because I did get almost every genre that is possible on that show. So I would just have to say that Iím proud that Iíve made it this far by being able to do every genre but my own. And I canít even explain what it feels like to accomplish a waltz because I was so scared and actually ended up doing a waltz twice, so thatís something Iím very proud of.

H. Hanks When you got critiqued by judges during the season, where there any time where you felt like, wow, that was really difficult to take or were you ever felt like that it was pretty harsh or anything at any time?

J. Casanova No one really likes to hear negative comments and critiques, but then again, we are dancers and this is what we do everyday. You live the life of getting critiqued. And thatís what makes you better and I think that even the negative comments are good because it pushes you to strive for better critiques for next week and so on and so forth. And having them say something to you in general is just good, because they can sit there and they donít have to say anything at all. They donít have to give you a critique or a compliment, so I just think Iíve very appreciative of everything that theyíve said because it really has pushed into where I am now.

J. LeProtto With any such a hard critique like Jordan said, itís hard to hear them, but thatís what happens. It can make you stronger and make you stronger so much even throughout a competition like this or even in just my dance career after the show is done, so I think thatís the thing. Itís just like the majority of the time you are critiqued and they see something in you and they want to help you out, which is always what I think.

Theyíre not trying to bash you in any shape or form. They want to note, take something that is so important for us to use as our dance careers continue. So I always think of it that way. And I always feel like every time I go on stage, I always think I have to do my best and I know that I come off stage feeling that I did my best. So I think whatever the judges say, you just have to just go with it and just take it as just take your notes as much as you can.

Moderator Our next question in queue comes from Steven Bryan with Yahoo! Contributor Network.

S. Bryan I wanted to touch on something that you mentioned earlier in the call. You both expressed if I heard correctly an interest in being on a TV show. Is that correct?

J. Casanova Yes.

J. LeProtto Yes.

S. Bryan Okay, my question is would you like to join the cast of an existing show or would you like to maybe have a show developed for each of you?

J. Casanova Thatís a good question.

J. LeProtto Yes, that is actually a good question.

J. Casanova I think it would be cool to do both. Any opportunity that you can get in this industry I think you should take it. Itís always good to try something new because you never know where that will take you in life. I think that if I was ended up getting casted in someone elseís place, I think that would be cool, because you get to do something new. And then if you had a show based off of just yourself, thatís cool, too, itís just good opportunities is the way that I look at it.

J. LeProtto For me I think for any type of TV show to be a part of is a pleasure, but also because I have an old Ö so Iíve watched a of variety shows, so thatís going back to like Dean Martin and Carole Burnette and all those variety shows that maybe an audience is ready for something like that again. Maybe a nice variety show that Iíd love to be a part of, just something new, something fresh and just expose something thatís been gone for a while. So I would love to do a weekly variety show. Iím on it, yes, that would be fun.

S. Bryan So maybe the Jordan and Jess variety hour.

J. Casanova Yes.

J. LeProtto Why not?

J. Casanova Thatíd be great.

S. Bryan Okay, one last quick question would be I know thereís been a trend in movies to take Broadway musicals and adapt them for the movies. So which Broadway musical would you guys like to see and possibly star in if they actually came up with another musical to put in the movies?

J. Casanova I donít know. Thereís so many that I love. Jess, you go first.

J. LeProtto Wow, well, I donít know. I donít know, but I think with any type of movie musical, thereís always a person whose there whoís either a person whoís for any reason is not as known as many other people, itís a great opportunity to show new talent that comes from the stage and who can make themselves a star just by a movie musical. So many people have done that and I think with any type of movie musical that Iíd love to be a part of, Iím sure that I get the chance to just show my talent that I would have from the stage and use it for a movie, so I think with any show. Itís hard to pick just one.

J. Casanova Yes, I agree with Jess. Thereís just so many amazing shows out there. We are dancers and we love to play characters. So with that being said, any character would be awesome to play. Thereís just so many amazing shows out there, I canít even pick one.

Moderator The next question will come from Krista Chain with the TV Mage Site.

K. Chain My question is to both of you. I just wanted to know if you could talk a little bit about how you got interested in dance and how you started to dance.

J. Casanova For me I always wanted to perform, so any chance that I could get. When I was three years old I started standing on top of my coffee table singing to my family and putting on shows. I begged them to put me into dancing and it was always, oh, soccer, baseball, when youíre a kid, you play all those sports. Finally they put me in dance and I was hooked. It was like the moment I set foot in the studio, I was like, okay, this is it. This is where I want to be. So for me it was just a natural interest inside me that I just wanted to get into it and I did, so thatís why.

J. LeProtto For me I started out because my sister started out. She is three years older than I am. My story Ö to one of the characters of the show Chorus Line. My mom would take me to her dance studio and I just looked under the door crack and I would just watch her dance. And then I just got the bug from there and then my parents were like, okay, weíll give this a shot and see if he likes it. And then I was three back then, so 15 years later, I am Ö, so I think it has come pretty far.

K. Chain My other question is who are the dancers that you most look up to?

J. Casanova Thereís so many amazing dancers and I actually look up to everybody on that show. But if I had to take one in particular, it would probably be my teacher in Ö, Donna Shepard-Wood. Sheís been there for me since I was 11 years, training me, giving me the best advice. And not only is she an amazing choreographer and teacher, but sheís an amazing person and I find that really important when you look up to someone is to see that the person who they are for themselves. And she has just done so many amazing and tremendous things for me, so she is who I look up to.

J. LeProtto For me, yes, I think everybody from the show is so inspiring because we all come from different backgrounds. We come from different sites and we have different genres, so we learn from each other. But as an idol, so somebody I look up to, it probably would be Gene Kelly who I can really say I look up to the most.

His style is just something that I discovered when I was around ten years and just watching his movies and watching his style in dance is something that Iíve always was inspired by. I think everything that I watched from him has made me the person that I am today and I hope heís proud of me. I know heís probably looking up from heaven now, but I hope heís proud of me that I made it this far on the show and that I brought back a style thatís been forgotten for some time.

Moderator Our next question in queue that will come from the line of Mike Hughes with TV America.

M. Hughes First of all, I apologize. I got my time zones mixed up and called late, so if someone asked this, just tell me. But, Jordan, if I recall first of all Ö really called you a naughty, naughty girl and so forth, youíre really a hot dancer. And then you confessed you still sleep with your pillow pets. Is that right?

J. Casanova I do, actually, Iím holding one right now.

M. Hughes Okay, tell me that. Thatís just a fun detail. Why do you still sleep with your pillow pet and what happens when you mention to people that you still sleep with your pillow pet?

J. Casanova You know what, Iíve gotten the funniest reactions. I really do. I have two pillow pets. One is a Ö and the other one is a purple hippo. I donít know. My friend bought me one for Christmas and I just fell in love with them. I think theyíre the cutest things ever.

When I mention I slept with pillow pets, I was worried about the feedback I was going to get because pillow pets are like funny and for little kids. Actually Iíve gotten a lot of tweets about people wanting to buy me pillow pets as presents when I go on tour if they see me. And so Iíve embraced and Iíve just welcomed it and I made a promise to myself that if any person ever gave me a pillow pet, that I would name the pillow pet after them, because I name all my pillow pets. And so just think itís great and I love them and theyíre such fun little pillow pets.

M. Hughes Jess, I just wanted to ask you briefly, youíve loved Broadway forever, but have you seen in your generation more interest in Broadway in the last five or ten years, shows like Glee and so forth that have just finally rekindled peopleís interest and plus movies like Hairspray and so forth; is there more interest in Broadway than there used to be?

J. LeProtto Oh, absolutely. I think todayís age, itís the beginning of bringing in the whole musical life back thatís been lost since whenever movie musical back from the í50s and Ď60s, I think that was probably where Broadway and movie musicals had its peak. But now I think itís coming back as shows like Glee and movie musicals are coming back now, like Hairspray and now Footloose and all these great movies and all these great shows are coming out and movies, so I think people are getting addicted to it now more often.

Thatís what I try to do on this show is just that when I was asked to be part of the top 20, it was an amazing opportunity to show America who I am as a person, who I am as a dancer. Itís something that they havenít seen in a couple of seasons, Iím sure. So just to bring something thatís been forgotten now and ith everything going on with Glee and so many shows on Broadway, so many movie musicals coming out, itís just like I think itís climbing back up step by step and I think people are going to be very interested in it and show another time.

Moderator We do have a follow-up from Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World.

B. Kwiatkowski So, Jess, just to follow up on my question, Nigel said you had grown so much as a dancer and you had sensational character. So as I said before, he only had great things to say about you and you did mention how you didnít get much of an explanation after your elimination. So do you have any insight as to why they eliminated you?

J. LeProtto No, they really havenít said anything specifically on why they eliminated me I think because the competition is so tight now. I think being a part of this top ten, being a part of this season itself is so incredible. And with the guys on this show, weíre so unique, weíre so different, I donít know what their reason was. But I know that Iím not disappointed, I donít regret anything for sure. I think when I did my solo, I knew that you never know. This may be my last time on stage doing my solo side and end it with a bang. So I think coming off that stage, I had no regrets and nothing to look back on Ö.

B. Kwiatkowski Nigel said he was disappointed with your dance as he was with Katlynís as well, though. So why do you think he said and how do you feel your solo went? Do you think you held back at all or do you think you gave it your all? Whatís your thoughts on that?

J. Casanova Iím just so grateful that Nigel is a very honest judge and heís fair in what he says. I just really felt that I left my heart out on stage and I did my absolute best. I donít regret anything and Iím very pleased with how far Iíve gotten on the show and I surprised myself. So honestly, Iím not disappointed in myself at all. Iím excited about tour.

B. Kwiatkowski My last question is both of you guys. What was it like to dance with your all-star partners? Was it a big change for both of you from when you paired up with fellow contestants?

J. Casanova The all-stars are amazing. They bring such a different element to the show. Theyíve been here and theyíve done it, so theyíre really comfortable and they really know how to calm you down if anything goes wrong. Theyíre so inspiring because you kind of get shocked. Youíre like, oh my gosh, this all-star is going to be my partner. I get to dance with this person and Iíve watched the show, so seeing that these people are now standing next to me is completely unreal, but theyíre awesome.

B. Kwiatkowski Okay, Jess, do you have anything to add?

J. LeProtto Yes, I think the all-stars that I had the opportunity to work with are some of the amazing talented superb dancers in their styles. I think for all of us, I think everybody whoís partnered with all-stars, it ups our game because we know that we have to bring it 100% and the judges and America are looking for a connection and just seeing that weíre having a good time with our all-stars.

I think in the two weeks that I had with my all-stars, I think I had an amazing time to work with them. Lauren Gottlieb and Kathryn McCormick they are just amazing, superb dancers and they love their craft. And being a part of their experience on the show and just having fun with them was a joy, so I had a great time with them.

Moderator We also have a follow-up in queue from Mike Hughes with TV America.

M. Hughes The question about the dance for your life reminded me, I wanted to ask Jess if in some ways your dance for your life last night was one of the most well thought out ones Iíve ever seen. It seemed to be beautifully timed to the 30 seconds right to the second, you hit the floor just at exactly as the 30 seconds was ending. Does that happen by accident or how long did you have to prepare that one? Did you have stopwatch going with you a lot to make it work out so well?

J. LeProtto Ö timed out to 30 seconds, I never feel like I should ever inprov so much as if itís going with the music and enjoying it. This was a show that Iíve had for so long and I know that I wanted to share on this show. So I think Ö Thursday was a great opportunity to show this Ö whatever the outcome was. So do it in 30 seconds and just show it and give it out to the audience is something that Iíll always treasure. And then Iíve gotten to use this solo as one of the reasons I was on the show, so Iím very happy that Iím able to use Mack the Knife.

M. Hughes So youíve done it before, but did it take to trim to make work so perfectly with the time limit? Was that hard to do? How long did you have make it work perfectly like that?

J. LeProtto We do have cuts that we really want in the specific times that we have, 30 seconds. So we always want, okay, what should we use, because I did this solo, which is a little bit longer than 30 seconds obviously. So I wanted to really show the peak of it, the climax of it as much as I could, so I wasnít building up to it right away. So I think from where I started to where I ended was a great thing for me to show off, the climax of my solo than Iíve done originally, which is longer, so I knew that I wanted to use that specific part and Iím thrilled that I got to do it.

Moderator We have no additional questions in queue. At this time weíll turn the conference back over to Ms. Seymour.

K. Seymour Thank you, everyone, for joining us.

J. Casanova Thank you.

J. LeProtto Thank you so much.

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