Friday, July 20, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Anya Garris and Hok Konishi (FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance")

Last night may just be the worst night to get eliminated from "So You Think You Can Dance" and no one knows that better than Anya Garris & Hok Kinishi. Leaving the competition in 11th & 12th place, they narrowly missed making it onto the national tour. One was surprised at the elimination while one saw it coming. Find out which is which as Anya & Hok sit down with RealityCheckByGina to discuss their time on the show.

RC: Can you tell me a little about your dance training & background?
Anya: I’ve been dancing for 15 years, doing ballroom dancing. Along the way, I took ballet. Most of the time, I was concentrating on ballroom.
Hok: I started dancing when I was 15, I believe. Back then, I was in school & doing judo & violin. I just knew dance was what I wanted to do. I went to a hip hop studio & started learning dancing once a week for an hour, that was it! I went to that studio for 2 years but then, I felt like I should just practice by myself and do whatever I want. I went on by myself, started doing movements, and whatever I felt.

RC: When did you come to the United States & what was that experience like for you?
Anya: It was in 2001 & it was a very different experience, coming here with no family. I was a teenager & I didn’t know the language. It was definitely a challenge! I was fortunate that people brought me out here to represent them in dance.
Hok: I went to a college in Japan and they had a foreign exchange program. I decided to do 2 semesters out here in 2004. After doing those 2 semesters, I realized that going back would be pointless. I decided to quit my school and transferred to a school out here. It was a hard decision but I really wanted to live in a different country and see how far my dancing could take me.

RC: Anya, is this your first year trying out for SYTYCD & what has the experience been like for you?
Anya: Yes, it went by so fast and then you wait and then you wait. You don’t know what’s going on because you’re always running somewhere. You had to stay focused & have your concentration.

RC: Hok, we’ve seen you try out before. How was it to finally make the top 20 dancers?
Hok: It felt really good & it was such a blessing. Last year, I was still debating if I should take my career as an artist or as a dancer. But after last year’s experience, I cried and that was the first time I had ever cried with dancing. I saw that it was really what I want to focus on. When I’m way older, like 50, and my body doesn’t function right, I might start painting.

RC: What have the judges consistently critiqued about you throughout the competition?
Anya: My solos but they can understand why because being a ballroom girl, it’s hard to dance well on your own.
Hok: They always told me how I’m not technical compared to the contemporary dancers and so-called trained dancers.

RC: Were you surprised that you ended up going home last night?
Anya: I’m not going to hide it, yes I was surprised. I felt through the competition, I always got really good feedback from the judges. I thought I brought everything to my performances. Hok: I actually did see it coming, as sad as it is. I was doing the math and from what the judges were saying to me this week and the previous week, you could see the picture and see what they’re going for.

RC: Do you have any words for your former partners on the show?
Anya: Being a ballroom girl, I was nervous to have a new partner, because I danced with Pasha for nine years. Danny was the one person I met in New York when I auditioned. We’ve known each other since day one. Danny is such an amazing & talented dancer. We had really great chemistry. It was magical to perform together.
Hok: I feel a little sorry that Jaimie had to work with me because it must have been really hard for her. She’s really used to working with partners. For the guys, you do have to be confident and she’s used to working with guys like that. Compared to those people, I think I lacked with a lot of stuff. I do feel a little sorry. At the same time, I had a great experience.

RC: Will Jaimie & Danny be dancing together next week?
Hok: No, next week, they’re changing up the partners.

RC: Did the judges speak to you last night & what was said?
Anya: I honestly & unfortunately did not have the chance to talk to any of them. Usually, we have time but last night was the night of people making it into the top 10 so it was a very important night.
Hok: Nigel & Mary said their regular stuff: “Sorry, you were good,” and things like that. Wade said, “We’ll be seeing each other pretty soon”. I respect him so much

RC: What are your future plans? Will you keep training & pursuing this professionally?
Anya: I have been pursuing this for the last 5 years. Pasha & I have performed in competitions & teaching in NYC. I truly don’t know because I think I really want to use this experience. I truly believe I’ve grown as a performer & changed as a person. It was such an amazing time.
Hok: Definitely, this is just the beginning! I’m just going to work harder than ever & if possible, I want to travel the world. It’s really nice to show my dancing on tv but I would want to show people what my dancing really is & inspire people. That’s why I started dancing.

So You Think You Can Dance airs Wednesdays & Thursdays on FOX


Linda H said...

Thanks for the interview Gina!
I feel so bad for Hok :( He was so close to being Top 10.

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