Friday, July 13, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Shauna Noland & Cedric Gardner (FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance")

On last night's live elimination episode of "So You Think You Can Dance", we said goodbye to a couple who had its ups & downs since coming on the show. 18-year-old contemporary dancer Shauna Noland and her partner, 23-year-old hip hop dancer Cedric Gardner danced for their lives but it wasn't enough to save them. The duo sits down with RealityCheckByGina to talk about their experience on the show & why they weren't surprised it was their time to go.

RC: Shauna, can you tell me a little about your dance training & background?
Shauna: I got started dancing when I was, like, three. My mom put me in a little combo class. Of course, I loved it so I continued. It grew on me since that age and I never really stopped.

RC: Cedric, you have no dance training. Where did you learn your dancing abilities?
Cedric: I copied people, learned how my body moved, and tried to understand how I move as an individual … and watching cartoons.

RC: Was it intimidating coming into this competition without the training?

Cedric: A little bit, because everyone is really good. Even the dancers that people think don’t have training do. I was the only one that I felt had no training.
RC: Is this your first year trying out for “So You Think You Can Dance”?
Shauna: Yes, I was finally old enough!
Cedric: Yes, it is.

RC: What was the audition process like for you? How were you received by the judges early on?
Shauna: When I first auditioned in L.A., I got cut before my solo round. I went to Atlanta and ended up making it through there. In Atlanta, they said positive stuff but they also said they weren’t sure if I was what they were looking for but they wanted to see what I had to give in Vegas. I felt, in Vegas, it was really hard to make yourself seen. I danced for my life in Vegas & I felt that was the first time the judges really noticed me.
Cedric: Mary Murphy screamed at my audition. To date, Hok & I are the only people she screamed for in auditions. The actual audition process was a lot of fun.

RC: It has been a roller coaster of a journey for both of you since making the top 20. How did you stay positive throughout your time on the show?
Shauna: I try to think of everything in a positive way. The times I got down or stressed, I would stop and think: the reality of it is that I’m on a television show. This could eventually open up more doors for me.
Cedric: First of all, roller coasters are fun! The way I look at it is like a teacher being hard on a student. People think the judges were mean to me but they saw I could take it. They knew I could handle it. When you see something in someone, you really want to bring it out.

RC: Shauna, were you surprised that you went home?
Shauna: Actually, not really, to tell you the truth. I had a feeling earlier that day that it might be me. I have no idea why but the vision was blurry & it didn’t seem like this was supposed to happen.

RC: Cedric, Nigel said the judges saved you twice. They wouldn’t save you a third time. How do you go out there & dance for your life, knowing it probably is you going home no matter what you do?
Cedric: I looked at it like this: I said, “Well, I know I’m going home because Nigel told me that & he told the nation that”. To go out there & just stand there … that would be stupid.

RC: Is there a competitive spirit among the dancers or would you say it’s more supportive of one another?
Shauna: Everyone is so supportive of each other. Of course, everyone wants to do well but at the same time, it’s our little family.
Cedric: The competitiveness just kicked in last week. Before that, everybody was just like, “Oh I’ll help you” but now it’s competitive. They’ll support but it’s like playin’ your cousin on the basketball court. You love him but you wanna beat him.

RC: Shauna, Lacey in particular looked upset that you were leaving last night. Were you two close?
Shauna: Lacey was my roommate so that was hard because we’ve roomed together since day 1. That’s the saddest part of leaving: not being involved in their lives anymore at this point.

RC: Which dance piece did you find the most challenging to pull off?
Shauna: Definitely the mambo was the most challenging for me because I’ve never done it before but I’m so happy I got to experience that.
Cedric: All of them were difficult. I’d say Mia’s piece was the hardest. The real choreography was the most difficult thing, the most physical. It wasn’t a usual Mia Michaels piece.

RC: Do you have a favorite piece that another couple performed?

Shauna: I liked so many of them! I really liked Lauren/Neil’s piece that they did with Wade. I liked the contemporary by Mandy that she did for Dom & Sabra.
Cedric: Hok & Jaimie’s piece – the hummingbird. It was very innovative the way Wade put that together. I like different things instead of things that are normal.

RC: Will you look to pursue dance professionally?

Shauna: Yeah, definitely. Before this, I had done some professional jobs & I’d like to continue pursuing that & training.
Cedric: I was dancing professionally before I joined the show but in my genre. I just want to learn a lot more & be confident in doing that.

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

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