Contemporary dancer Maddie Peat and jazz dancer Stephen Perez were so close, yet so far away, to securing their place in the coveted Top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance last night.
They were joined in the bottom six by urban dancers Blond and Patric Kuo and jazz dancers Renelle Jones and Lauren Seymour. For Lauren, it was her first time in the bottom six.
This week saw Maddie teamed with Ashleigh Tavares in a contemporary routine by Jason Winters with mixed comments from the judges, Jason Gilkison said: “I didn’t feel that you were able to give your passion and emotion the way that it really needed.”
Stephen performed a technically-terrifying Argentine tango with Sam Malseed. With a deep connection to the tango, Stephen dedicated the performance to his grandfather who passed away dancing the tango. Shannon praised him saying: “Everyone is proud of you buddy. I saw the fire, the intensity, it was great. I’m speechless and happy that you got to do this for your grandfather.”
We caught up with Maddie & Stephen this morning to chat over their experiences on the show …
Can you describe your journey on SYTYCD?
Stephen: It was awesome – you never get to experience anything like you do on the show in the normal world so it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Maddie: I just loved every second of it!
Stephen the judges were often a little critical of your performances … did that help or hinder you?
Stephen: I drew the short straw at times on this show, but it really motivated me. It just made me want to do better and I took their advice in the most positive way.
Maddie, was there anything that really got to you from what the judges said?
At the beginning I thought ‘okay’ but as the weeks went on I kept getting criticism that really only Stephen was getting as well, I kind of took it to heart a little bit but mostly it just motivated me! I think when they say something negative they have a massive influence on the Australian public so when it’s not good feedback then the public end up thinking that you’re not as good as you are. But I think it was a really great learning curve.
What is your training background?
Stephen: I originally trained at Glenda Yee and then went to Brent Street Full Time.
Maddie: I have a long list … most of my life I trained at K&V and then when I was 15 or 16 I went to Ev & Bow for a year and then I finished off with full-time ballet at Tanya Pearson’s.
Which choreographer’s did you enjoy working with most?
Stephen: Working with Paris was awesome and Rafael Bonachela was definitely a highlight. When you get to work with the creator of those amazing pieces from Sydney Dance Company, it’s awesome. But there was so many amazing choreographers this season that we got to work with it was like an audition every time. They’re going to remember your work ethic and how you’ll work with them for the rest of your career so it was a great thing!
Maddie: I think definitely Rafael … and definitely Sarah Boulter again … LOVE HER! And Chris Scott was amazing – I loved everything he did!
What was your motivation to try out for the show?
Stephen: Just to test my boundaries and challenge myself I think! It was pushing myself to the limit and going into those different genres and things I’m not comfortable with and having to deliver after only a certain amount of hours of rehearsal … that really changed me as a dancer!
Maddie: For me, because I’ve done three years of full-time ballet, I just wanted to get out of that stereotype of a ballet dancer and I was really challenged to do all the other genres to show people that I can do more than a leg mount!
Maddie: I really hope I can get into a contemporary company but any work is good work… get more experience, get out there and do as much as a I can while I can!
Stephen: I guess, continue where I left off before the show but also I’d love to go to the States … its just a matter of getting my visa and starting that journey of my life – I’m excited where the future might go!
Who do you predict will make the top 4?
Stephen: I would love to see Blond in the Top 4 just because of his work ethic! Someone that I believe truly truly deserves it so much is Blond! He works SO HARD. When he doesn’t get something he will practice for HOURS on end … he won’t stop until he’s perfected it!
Maddie: I couldn’t agree more!