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August 28, 2015

'So You Think You Can Dance' -- Exit Interviews With Victor Smalley and Karen Hauer

by Sharon Knolle, posted Nov 30th 2009 3:01PM
We caught up with 'So You Think You Can Dance's Victor Smalley and Karen Hauer, the two dancers who just narrowly missed making the Top 10 after being eliminated last week. They talked about their chemistry, switching partners and whether Karen was just too darn sexy.
We caught up with 'So You Think You Can Dance's Victor Smalley and Karen Hauer, the two dancers who just narrowly missed making the Top 10 after being eliminated last week. They talked about their chemistry, switching partners and whether Karen was just too darn sexy.

On how he felt about being cut
"Of course everyone is unhappy when they get cut, but I was happy with myself. I felt I'd danced my life out and I had no regrets. If I would have held back or messed up on my solo, I would have been upset, but there was nothing more I could have done. Plus, what Nigel told me [that he had voted to keep Victor over Nathan] made me really happy. I wasn't expecting to get cut after the things he told me, but when one door closes, another one opens."

On whether Nigel Lythgoe was right that he should have stayed
"I think Nathan [Trasoras] and Ryan [Di Lello] are two very talented dancers. Everyone is at such a high caliber. You don't walk into an art galley and go, 'Oh, well, this painting is better than that painting.' Each artist is very talented and we're all equally talented; you can't say one is better than the other. We were all in the Top 20. I had a great experience and if I had to go, I'm glad i left on that note."

On Karen as a partner
"She's great. She has so much passion when she dances and confidence. From the moment she steps into a dance room, she knows what she wants to do and she's such a powerful dancer. I mean, she was on the same page with me. We both had partners that were eliminated and had little time to connect, but just by her body language, she was telling me, 'Victor, we're going to do with this.'"

On having to switch from partners Bianca Revels to Channing Cooke and then to Karen
"Yeah, it's hard getting a bunch of different partners. Everyone in the Top 10 right now has had their partner since the beginning, so they understand exactly how their partner works. When I had Bianca, I was married to her, so when she got cut, I was devastated. Then you get married to your next partner and then, boom that person gets cut, and then I got another partner. It's tough, but that's what you've gotta do. A good dancer is expected to dance with everyone."

On his last two partnered dances
"The tango was my favorite. I was dying to get a ballroom throughout the whole show. I've been barefoot the whole time, even during my jazz routine, so this was my first week having shoes on. It's easier to impress the judges when you're a contemporary dancer and doing something that's not in your style, as opposed to the other way around. I was excited to show them I could do other styles. When I heard the music and the concept, I fell in love with it and the feeling I got onstage with Karen. The tango was one of the top five dances I've ever done in my life."

On whether he and Karen would have benefited from one more week as partners
"I think it would have made a big difference. People just saw us together for the first time. I wish they'd been able to see what more we can do and offer. It was a very good partnership and it was a strong partnership, it looked like we were dancing since the beginning of the show."

On which choreographer he would have liked to work with
"I wish I would have gotten in more ballroom. Also Sonya Tayeh, she does the jazz. I would have loved to have worked with her."

On bonding in Spanish with Karen
"My mom is from Venezuela, so I understand Spanish. My Spanish is very sloppy but I can speak it fluently. Whenever my mom and Karen would get together, they would talk on and on and on in Spanish. Other than that, we just connected because we had a lot of chemistry, that Latin passion I guess you could say."

On what's next for him
"I'm just very blessed to have come this far and to be in the Top 20. This isn't the end for me, this is just the beginning. It was my first big job as a dancer and it's a great way to start. It's never too late to follow your dream and start dancing. I just want to motivate all the dancers out there to go out there and dance their heart out."


On Nigel's comments that maybe she was too sexually intimidating for younger girls to relate to
"I was just being myself. I am who I am. It's all about putting yourself out there and I didn't feel I was doing anything outside of my own personality. I was just being myself and you should always embrace who you are."

On her favorite dance
"I had two favorites: The first was the hip-hop with Kevin [Hunte] and the second one was the tango with Victor."

On her chemistry with Victor as opposed to Kevin
"Kevin and I met in New York previously and we danced together in Vegas. And then it was such a coincidence that we became partners because we were making believe we were. The connection was instantaneous with Kevin. With Victor, I didn't speak to him much, but then there was also a spark, but at a higher level, because the technicality that Victor has is at another level. They were both amazing to work with."

On how she started dancing
"My family came to America when I was 8 years old and my father abandoned us a year later, so it was during that time that I found dance. I was picked up out of a schoolwide audition, it was a program called Arts Connection. Dance got me through the good times and bad times and that's why I am who I am today. Dance gave me a way to release all the emotions that I had and to bring new light into my life as well."

On the judges' criticism of her Broadway dance with Kevin
"We both felt we did extraordinarily good and I guess we had to bring something else but we didn't know what else. We were shocked that they were asking for more, but we did our best. We were both happy and I was really happy with my performance. I gave what I had to give and people either take it or they don't."

On not making the Top 10
"It's like a tease. But just the exposure and the amazing people we got to work with was so great. Everyone wants to make the top 10 and go on tour, but to have made it this far out of thousands of dancers, I am extremely happy with how far I got in the competition."

On whether solos are tougher for ballroom dancers
"I've been dancing with a partner for the past 10 years. I did do some contemporary, but 10 years of solid ballroom training to be in sync with another person is a lot to work with and all of a sudden you're out there on your own. It's not an excuse, I thought I did very well in my solos, but I wish i had more time to prep. I just went out there and danced my heart out every time."

On whether she and Victor might be "special guests" on the tour
"Oh, I would love that, that would be amazing. I came so close and that would really be neat, definitely."

On how she spent Thanksgiving
"Victor was here with his mom and I had my family around here as well. It was so nice to see family. I've never been this homesick in my life. I can't wait to go back and just hug everyone."

On whether she'll stay in touch with Kevin and Victor
"I'm definitely staying in touch with them. I'll see Kevin when I get back to New York and Victor is more than welcome to stay with me whenever he's in the area."

On what she wants to do next
"Maybe Broadway, maybe a tour. Definitely dancing and teaching and continuing to spread the word of dance. This was an a amazing opportunity and I am here as an artist to amaze, thrill and inspire and show people you can do it and you will do if you put 100 percent into it."

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