Interview with Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl of "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista and Suzanne

Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl

Interview with Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl of "So You Think You Can Dance" on FOX 7/8/11.

Our volunteer Krista asked questions at this conference call....She says, "It was a great interview. Ashley and Chris are both really nice and friendly. You can tell they are really dedicated dancers and I wish them the best in their futures."

FBC PUBLICITY: So You Think You Can Dance
July 8, 2011/10:00 a.m. EDT
Gina Sorial – FBC Publicity
Ashley Rich - So You Think You Can Dance
Chris Koehl – So You Think You Can Dance

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. 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. Instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Ms. Gina Sorial. Please go ahead.

G. Sorial Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us this morning to speak with Ashley Rich and Chris Koehl. Ashley Rich is from Antioch, California. She's a contemporary dancer. Chris Koehl is from Garland, Texas and his style of dance is hip hop. We ask that you keep your questions limited to one question with one follow-up. And without further ado, here's Ashley and Chris. Brad, you can take it away.

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, our first question comes from the line of Mike Hughes with TV America. Please go ahead.

M. Hughes Yes. I was struck by how, just a few weeks ago, you guys had the best number probably in the whole season, which was that jail number. And so, the contrast going from there to being out a few weeks later, could you just talk a little bit about what it felt like when you first got that jail number and how it felt to get a number like that. And then, what it felt like this week when you had to tackle the salsa?

A. Rich I definitely was excited about that jail dance and I thought it was a real cool opportunity to show a different side to us. I think me and Chris are normally the cutesie ones, so it was kind of fun being a little bit different than we normally are portrayed. This week, I actually loved the salsa. I didn't really think of it as we were doomed. I thought of it as another challenge and that we were lucky to be given another challenge and being able to dance this week. So I'm not trying to think of it as we were doomed. It was a good experience.

M. Hughes Okay, cool. Let me ask Chris a variation that. Chris, I read that you quickly studied, took some dance lessons before the show just to learn some other styles and so forth. Could you talk about it, did you do kind of like a cram session of the styles just before the show started? And what was it like for you when you got the salsa, was that new stuff for you or what?

C. Koehl Yes. I did. I went out. I was trying to get as much training in every style as I could. I found some ballroom teachers that, basically, it was a cram course. We did like an hour of ballroom for like six or seven days straight and they just tried to teach me a little bit of the basics in everything. But unfortunately, salsa isn't really, technically, one of the main ballroom ones, so we never touched salsa. So I walked in without any sort of preparation for that. But it was okay. It was definitely a lot of fun doing it. But, yes, I had no idea as far as what they would be looking for. So I walked in, kind of, blind eye just trying to have as much fun as I could, and just like Ashley said tackle another routine.

M. Hughes Okay. Cool. Thanks.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Lindsay Dreyer with Wetpaint. Please go ahead.

L. Dreyer Hi, Ashley. Everyone's been reading about your style, which is really pure and ... and organic. Do you ever feel like there's any pressure to portray yourself in a sexier manner in order to kind of fit in with the other female contestants on the show?

A. Rich Definitely not. I came into this knowing who I was and I told myself I'm never going to change no matter what. I'm always going to be me and how I dance is pretty much like my personality. So, I think the fun thing about dancing is you do get to change sometimes and change your style and do different things. This week we had our group, our girls’ group routine, we were a little bit sexier, which was fun too. So, I pretty much love every type of dance. But my style is my style for a reason because I love it and so I would never change it.

L. Dreyer Okay, awesome. Chris, do you have any plans to go back to school or are you going to be pursuing dance full-time?
C. Koehl At the moment, I'm going to be pursuing dance. I'll probably be doing some online classes to try to continue my education. In general, it's always good just to keep learning. But, I'd like to also have a backup plan just in case for whatever reason I need more money or whatever. But right now, dancing is definitely my main focus. I definitely can't see myself focusing on anything else.

L. Dreyer Awesome, thank you both. You were both really wonderful on the show.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you so much.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Beth Kwiatkowski from Reality TV World. Please go ahead.

B. Kwiatkowski Hi, how are you guys?

A. Rich Hi. Good. How are you?

C. Koehl Doing good.
B. Kwiatkowski Good. So Ashley, Nigel said he hadn't seen you peak yet in the competition, although, you were always dancing at a high level of proficiency. Did your elimination come as a surprise to you? And what do you think the judges were expecting to see from you, meaning like, how do you think you could have reached the peak that they said they were looking for?

A. Rich Well, I think, in this kind of competition you have to stay at, basically, at you’re a game at all times. You can never really slack off. So I think they just wanted more which, of course, I appreciate that. That's a compliment. I didn't really think of it as a negative thing. They just wanted me to be better than I already was. So I respect everything they have to say because they're saying it for a reason, but of course, I would've probably gotten to stay longer if I would have been able to show more. But it's a competition and I'm so happy that I got to be a part of it. So it was good.

B. Kwiatkowski Okay. great. And Chris, you've been in the bottom three with Ashley last week, but Ryan and Ricky were also in the same position as you because they had also been in the bottom three before. So, were you surprised to be eliminated over Ricky and did you somewhat see it coming? And also, what do you think Nigel meant by saying you hadn't always fulfilled what the choreographers asked you to do?

C. Koehl I think the main difference between me and Ricky would have to be just the technical training. Ricky, he just took a different journey through life. He has so much under his belt. And so, I think, with all the training he has the judges feel that he's going to be able to pick up some of that choreography in the future runs better than me. I definitely didn't see it coming. But I tried to prepare myself, either way. I went out there, and I think we both gave amazing solos. I think we both worked really hard in every single routine that we had. It was just somebody had to go and it happened to be me. As far as reaching the expectations of the judges, I think that there's always room for improvement and I think I grew each and every time and I'm extremely proud of where I've come. But I guess the judges just wanted and felt like they needed a little bit more from me in order to stay on the show and I just wasn't quite there yet, which is okay because I'm still pleased with what I was able to do.

B. Kwiatkowski Alright. Thanks a lot, guys and good luck with everything.

A. Rich Thank you.
C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Casey Navarro with Please go ahead.

C. Navarro Hi there, guys.

A. Rich Hi.

C. Koehl Hey.

C. Navarro I'm so sorry you guys are in this position today. You both are absolutely terrific.

A. Rich Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much.

C. Navarro My first question is for both of you, actually. Last week, during the results show, Nigel confused you, Chris with Robert and the woodpecker routine. We were just wondering what went through your mind at the moment, did the judges or Nigel ever speak to you about the mistake later?

C. Koehl Yes, I was a little thrown off. I didn't know whether I should correct them or just stay quiet or what. But, no, it was later explained to me that he had just said the wrong routine. He had meant to say the jail routine. Although, the judges clearly enjoyed both of those numbers. So it was just a little slip up. It was no big deal.

C. Navarro And Ashley, I know you were offstage at the moment, but what was going through your mind? Did you even hear it?

A. Rich Oh no, I definitely heard it. I was just a little confused. It just caught me off guard. But I just figured, oh, he just made a little mistake. It's no biggie.

C. Navarro Okay. Thank you, guys.

A. Rich Thank you.

Moderator Next question comes from the line of Arin Segal from A Teen View. Please go ahead.

A. Segal Hi guys. I was just wondering what advice you guys have for younger dancers because most people that visit my site are younger. So what advice do you have for people who might want to end up on the show like you one day?

A. Rich Well, I would - you can go first, Chris.

C. Koehl Okay. Well, I particularly love this question because, for me, I auditioned three times and I had to find what I needed to make on the show. I didn't originally have it. And at least for me, what I needed is confidence not only in my dancing but confidence in me as a person. And so that's one of the things that I really harp on when people want to know what it does take to get to that next level. It's you've got to believe in yourself. You've got to believe that the training you have is good enough. I mean, you can always be better in everything but you have to recognize it's what you have.

A. Rich Okay. So my answer to that question is just to never give up and always put your best foot forward and stay true to yourself, because I think that the thing about dance is that you don't necessarily have to be like everybody else. You can be yourself and bring your own special quality to it. So I think staying true to yourself as a dancer I think is my most important thing for advice.

A. Segal Are there any charities that either of you guys support or plan to support in the future?

A. Rich Well, I definitely have in my heart a passion just to try to make sure that everybody always has a chance to dance. So, I definitely in my future would like to maybe make an organization or something for kids who are less fortunate to be able to dance because I know dance can be pretty expensive. And I feel like everybody should have a chance to be able to dance if they want to. So that's definitely a passion.

C. Koehl Yes. I don't have an individual organization off the top of my head. My motto has always been, if you see me fill a need. And so, whenever there are dance issues who needs some things and I try to donate money. Or a lot of times I'll go out and I'll give master classes and I won't take anything. And so, that's kind of my way is just giving not only of my money but trying to give of my time, and just anything that I have, share with others because not everybody can afford to go out and get the best classes and all that. So, just trying to be there for other people and give as much as you can in every aspect.

A. Segal Awesome. Thanks, guys.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Steven Bryan with Yahoo! Contributor Networks. Please go ahead.

S. Bryan Good morning, Ashley. Good morning, Chris.

A. Rich Good morning.

C. Koehl Good morning.

S. Bryan I want to direct this to both of you. From where I was sitting last night watching the results, it seemed like Nigel was taking you each to task for bringing your A game to the Dance for Your Life segment. Is that how you felt?

A. Rich Oh, definitely, I mean, whenever you have to dance for your life you definitely have to do your best. There's a lot of pressure. But you can't really let that affect you. You just have to give it your all.

C. Koehl Same question?

S. Bryan Yes.

C. Koehl Yes, most definitely, anytime you're on that stage it is a blessing and you never know when that time's going to end. So we always bring our A game, even if you're not dancing for your life we always do our best. But definitely, when that moment kicks in you give it your all and I feel that me and Ashley both did and I'm definitely pleased with what ended up happening, as far as my performance I'm very happy.

S. Bryan Okay, and then one follow-up. I feel like the conspiracy theorist on these calls, but do you both think there's a couples curse going on? This is like the fourth elimination and the fourth couple out the door.
A. Rich I don't really think of it as that. I just think the judges know best and they know who they want in the competition. And they know what we go through everyday and we're working hard, so I feel like it's ... it ends up being. I don't think there's a conspiracy behind it.

C. Koehl Yes. I don't know that there's a conspiracy behind it at all. It's just the way that the show happens to be going this year. I find it interesting. But yes, just like Ashley was saying, the judges, they know what they're looking for. They know what's best for the show. This is their eighth season and this is just how the cards are falling out this time.

S. Bryan Well, thank you both. It's been a pleasure watching you both dance and I hope to see you again sometime soon.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you so much.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Keshanta Morton from Pop it ... com.

K. Morton Hi, Ashley and Chris. Thanks for taking our call.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thanks for calling.

K. Morton I just wanted to know what's the greatest thing you've learned about yourself as a dancer, as a person, from the show?

A. Rich Chris, you can go first.

C. Koehl I'm thinking. The greatest thing that I learned about myself? I think the greatest thing I learned is how much more I have to offer. You know, when it comes to dancing it's a really tough journey. There's a lot of competition and there's a lot of obstacles you've got to fight as far as injury and just constantly working hard. And I didn't realize how much I could put out and this show, each week, bringing a new challenge that was just so foreign to my body and always trying to push through the best I could. I don't know that I necessarily knew that at the beginning of the show I had that in there. I like to think I did. But coming out now, I feel that I realize that there's so much more that I have. And I feel like I can do anything as long as I just keep pushing forward.

K. Morton Ashley?

A. Rich I feel like I have grown as a dancer in every way. I feel like I have more confidence as a dancer. I'm not really nervous to try anything new now. I kind of feel like I can tackle anything, any style of dance, so I just feel like, all around, I'm just a better dancer and I'm grateful for it.

K. Morton Okay and one last question. Who are you guys rooting for to win?

A. Rich We're rooting for everyone. We love everybody. I would love to see anyone of those dancers win. I love them all. They're all amazing in their own way, so I would be happy with whoever wins.

C. Koehl I was just going to say ditto. It's the same thing. I love every single one of them and they’re all extremely talented and deserve to be there. And they all deserve to be there until the end. But only one person wins, so I'll be happy for whoever makes it there.

K. Morton Alright. Thank you and good luck to ... future.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thanks.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Mike Hughes with TV America. Please go ahead.

M. Hughes I wanted to repeat the question that the fellow asked a minute ago, because I think you missed the gist of it. What he was saying was that when you dance for your life you would tend to try to pack in that 30 seconds what you do best. But then Nigel would turn around and criticize you because he'd say, "Oh, you're just repeating yourself." So what do you think of that, that temptation of what to do in those 30 seconds? Do you do your very best or do you have to avoid repeating what you did last time?

A. Rich Well, I think of it as that's my 30 seconds to just do my thing as best I can. We always listen to what they say, but I use that 30 seconds to just show my heart and just, hopefully, that they can see where my heart is when I'm dancing. That's always my most important thing. I always want to make sure somebody's touched by my dancing. When I dance, I don't really think of it as I've got to do this in 30 seconds. I think of it as just another opportunity to dance for you guys.

M. Hughes Okay. I wanted to ask Chris just one philosophical thing because I was interested in reading how you grew up dyslexic, in a big family and you're apparently a very, very active kid. Do you think that stuff all goes together? In other words, being dyslexic you didn't do as much, you weren’t as bookish and didn't do as much reading and that's what made you such an outgoing and active guy?

C. Koehl No. I think I'm outgoing and active just because that's who I am. It's my personality. The dyslexia, I think, the main thing that it did more than anything is it was a big wall that I wasn't able to knock down for a long time. And for me, I've always been one of those people who wanted to conquer anything that came in front of me, at least to some degree, so it was kind of, for awhile, something that held me back and it was the one thing that I had kind of given up on. But I definitely don't think it had anything to do with my personality. Now, from friends and some family pushing me forward, I feel like that wall has been knocked down and that's part of the reason why I am able to be on the show because I feel stronger and I feel like I can believe in myself. But I've always just been crazy active Chris from just a toddler.

M. Hughes That's great, and you did great. Thanks a lot.

C. Koehl Thank you.

A. Rich Thank you.

Moderator And we have a follow-up question from Beth Kwiatkowski from Reality TV World. Please go ahead.

B. Kwiatkowski Chris, you already touched on this. So I wanted to ask Ashley, what are your plans for the near future?

A. Rich In the near future, I definitely want to dance. No matter what, dance will always be a part of my life. I think this is just a great opportunity and a beginning of great things that me and Chris can accomplish. So, right now I'm pretty open. I'm just trying to see where this is going to lead me.

B. Kwiatkowski Okay. And this question is for both of you. Do you think a degree of difficulty should be factored into the judging? Because many dancers end up randomly selecting genres out of their comfort zones while others get to perform a routine in their preferred style of dance.

A. Rich I think it's just a luck of the draw. You never know what you're going to get. One week you might be lucky but the next week you might not. So, I think, I just try to stay positive no matter what.

B. Kwiatkowski Chris, anything on that?

C. Koehl Yes. I think the judges do an excellent job. As far as when you go out of your style I think they realize that you're not a professional ballroom dancer or whatever style that you do get. And so they do look more on the performance end of it and how you end up selling it because they realize the technical end won't necessarily be absolutely perfect. And then when you do get your own style, they do step it up and they do judge harder. So I think the judges do an excellent job of what they do. They're there for a reason. That's pretty much it.

B. Kwiatkowski Alright, great. Thank you, guys.
A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator And we have a question from the line of Sammi Turano from TV Grapevine. Please go ahead.

S. Turano Hi, good morning to both of you.

C. Koehl Good morning.

S. Turano My first question for you is are there any other styles of dances you would like to learn now that you're off the show that maybe you like and you want to learn more about?

C. Koehl Can I go first?

A. Rich Sure.

C. Koehl I am so excited about moving forward and dancing. I really wanted to do contemporary on the show. It's something I've admired so much and I think almost every contemporary team up there either gave me chills or made me want to cry based off of the story. So that is something I really want to expose myself to. But even more than just that, there's a lot of choreographers as well that I would like to work with like Napoleon and Tabitha and Travis Wall, and I could keep going. There's so much out there.

A. Rich I would like to dive a little bit more into ballroom. It's not like I don't want to change my whole direction into ballroom. But I definitely would like to learn a little bit more about the salsa because I had a blast doing the salsa. So I would definitely like to get a little bit more ballroom experience under my belt.

S. Turano Okay, and are you planning to do any more dance shows or is this it for you?

A. Rich Chris, do you want to go first?

C. Koehl Oh, no. Go for it.

A. Rich Oh, thank you. I'm just open right now. Of course, I love dancing and I am a dancer. So any opportunity to dance I'm always open for.

C. Koehl Yes, the same. Honestly, I was just living in the moment with So You Think You Can Dance and it was such a blessing to be there. I don't know what the future has in store. But I know I'm going to love it and give it my all.

S. Turano Okay. Well congratulations to the both of you. I'm extremely proud of both of you and good luck with everything.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you so much.

Moderator We do have a follow-up question from the line of Casey Navarro with Please go ahead.

C. Navarro Hi, again. I just wanted to ask one more question. If you guys had a chance, I know Chris you mentioned Tabitha, Napoleon and Travis Wall, any choreographers that you didn't get a chance to work with what would be the one that you guys missed the most?

A. Rich I would have liked to, let's see, Chris, do you want to answer it? I'm trying to think of who I would want to work with, there's so many.

C. Koehl Definitely, there's so many. Honestly, to work with any of them that I didn't work with or any of them a second time would be just amazing. But I would have to say probably because I'm hip hop I've always wanted to work with Nappytabs for years. So I'd really like to do a project with them one day.

A. Rich I think that I would definitely want to work with Mandy Moore just because she is just an amazing choreographer and I know she pushes for what she wants. I would have just been so excited to be challenged by her. So I think that's definitely my number one pick.

C. Navarro Great. Thank you, guys.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator And we do have a question from the line of Jennifer Still with Digital Spy. Please go ahead.

J. Still Hi, guys. How are you?

A. Rich Good morning. How are you? We're good.

C. Koehl We're good.

J. Still Good. Just one thing I wanted to touch upon is that you guys do nothing but praise for your fellow competitors and it seems so obvious on the show that you guys have gotten very close. Tell us a little bit more just about the experience of what it's like and what a close-knit family you guys have sort of become over the time that you've been in the competition?

A. Rich Well, we've been around each other for 24/7 for the past month or so. So we definitely fell for each other pretty quick. We all love each other. We're all ... We're probably all going to be best friends for life. It's just something that happens when you have to - when you're plunged into this kind of situation you're kind of forced to be close because you have to support each other. And it is a hard competition. We're dancing a lot. We're competing against each other and we're dancing all day. So I think it's just been an amazing experience seeing all these dancers improve every week and being a part of this experience with them and being able to be around all these amazing choreographers. I just think it's such a great blessing.

C. Koehl Same question?

J. Still Yes.

C. Koehl I completely agree. When you're in a competition like this and there's so much stress from the public, from the judges, the choreography, you're mentally and physically giving your all. The competition falls sideways and really everybody just does everything they can to lift everybody up, and it was like that from the beginning. We're around each other, like Ashley said, 24/7, even at our apartments. We're all in the same general location, same apartment complex. And so, we’d go out to the hot tub and just chill and relax together. We got to know each other not just as dancers but as people. And it was just one of the best experiences that I've ever had because some of these people, even the ones who left week one, I felt like I've known them for years because there's just so much that goes on so quick you become really, really close to these guys, and I know for sure that we're all going to stay in contact. We've stayed in contact with those who've already left before us. And it really is a big family.

J. Still Great. Thank you so much and best of luck to both of you.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator We do have a question from the line of Krista Chain from The TV MegaSite . Please go ahead.

K. Chain Hey, guys. How are ya'll?

A. Rich Good.

C. Koehl Doing good.
A. Rich How are you?

K. Chain Doing good. My question is to both of you, how did you first get interested in dancing?

A. Rich I started dancing when I was three. So it wasn't so much my interest, it was my mom's. So she put in dance probably to keep me busy ... And I just loved it. I never felt like my mom was pushing me. I always was like begging her, "Can I go back to dance class?" So definitely, I'm grateful that my mom put me in dance.

C. Koehl My first dance experience was actually kind of funny. I was at a small school and we had a period where we had to pick an elective and all they had to offer was three different book clubs, a ballet class and a jazz class. For those of you who know, I've struggled a lot with my reading being dyslexic, so at that time I really, really did not want to do a book club, and I wasn't going to do ballet because I was kind of a little bit of a jock and a little bit too proud for that at the time. So I was like, "So what's jazz, mom?" And she's like, "I think it's like hip hop." And I had already started to love hip hop just from watching some videos on the TV and I was like, okay cool, I'll do hip hop. I'll give that a shot. And I walked in and so my first dance experience was actually jazz. And it hit me hard because it wasn't hip hop. I was like, what is this. But it was good because it opened me up to so much more than hip hop. And as time went on I took that one class and I started doing hip hop on my own because I realized how much I liked dancing. And at the time it started with hip hop. But it's definitely grown over the years now through ... and dance. I just love dance, in general. But it started off way back then just trying to avoid taking some reading classes.

K. Chain Okay. Thanks. And my follow-up question is,who are some dancers that inspire you or that you aspire to be like?

A. Rich I would definitely say all the dancers that I encountered in the top 20. All of them are inspiring, all amazing. I've never been around that many great dancers in one place, and not just because they're great dancers but great people. So I’d definitely ... they are so inspiring and so great and I wish them all the best.

C. Koehl Oh gosh, there's so many. I feel that every dancer who's being true to themselves has something different and something worth admiring in them. So I have so many friends back home who I admire and I want to be able to do what they do. And there's so many dancers here that are beautiful people and just beautiful movement which comes from their heart. There are so many things that I aspire to, definitely the top 20, so many dancers from previous seasons like Philip ..., anyone from Quest Crew. Quest Crew, watching them growing up, they're the guys who inspired my how to flip. I freaked out that I got to meet them a few weeks back when they performed on the show. I'm always looking up to everybody because I think everybody has something else to offer.

K. Chain Great. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

C. Koehl Thanks for calling.

A. Rich Thank you.

K. Chain And best of luck.

C. Koehl Thank you.

A. Rich Thank you.

Moderator And at this time there are no further questions. Please continue.

G. Sorial Alright. We are going to wrap our call today. Thanks, everyone for joining. A transcript will be available on Monday and a playback will be available immediately after the call. Thanks so much.

A. Rich Thank you.

C. Koehl Thank you.

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude your conference for today.

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