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So You Think They Can Talk?
June 2, 2011  | By Theresa Corigliano
 

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Injured dancers, cancer scares and Fourth of July parties -- Theresa Corigliano delivers more behind-the-scenes quotes from the makers of So You Think You Can Dance, the unlikely Fox hit that livens up summer nights.

She got the scoop from the entire creative team while personally sitting in on two days of auditions -- read that column here.

JEFF THACKER, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ON CHOOSING SYTYCD CHOREOGRAPHERS

I recruit them, accept recommendations, sift through tapes that are sent in, and like to meet all of them one-on-one. The demands of the show, the time constraints the choreographers are under, not knowing whom they are going to be setting pieces on week-to-week, means it is not for everyone. It's like I'm contracting for a carpenter, giving them some plumber's tools, and asking them to build a brick wall. You have to somehow make it work.

CAT DEELEY: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN HOST

Q: Why do you think there are so few female hosts on television?

A: I actually don't know why . . . As a sweeping generalization, we're very good at taking care of people, we're very nurturing, we're very supportive. Maybe as women in entertainment, we have a shorter shelf life . . . There are so many hosts out there that I could name, but I won't, who can hardly bear to touch people, let alone hear their stories or communicate with them on any level or embrace that kind of human element. I think there is nothing better than when two human beings properly connect and listen to each other tell their story. That's when something magical happens. I love finding out about people, what makes them tick, hearing about their sadness, their joy, their passion. I don't run away from people. I don't shake their hands and use anti-bacterial. That's just not me. I will give you a squeeze, I'll eat your breakfast, I will wear your shoes, and take you back home to my Mum.

Q: What makes you such a good multitasker on live television?

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A: I have been doing this for 14 years in England. I did a three-hour live show every single week, 52 weeks a year for eight years, so basically everything has happened to me, from falling over, dropping a mic, to Slash talking very inappropriately about groupies. When you do a live show, lots of hosts feel nervous, because it's a thing of 'What if this happens?' It's that fear of the unknown. I don't have that. It's not that I'm full of myself; it's just that I've had more practice. If I fall over, I can darn well get up, make a joke about it, being self-deprecating and taking the Mickey out of myself.

Q: What have you learned from the dancers?

A: The biggest thing I learned is that they push themselves physically beyond belief. When I was a kid I used to get taken to the ballet at Christmas or whatever. It would be very beautiful, but it never really connected properly with me. I didn't fully get it. Doing this show, I have found there are very special moments that happen, every once in a while, when it's the right dancer, right choreographer, right costume, hair and music, that something magical happens. It literally gives me chills and makes the hair on my arms stand on end just talking about it. When it's done beautifully and exquisitely, it becomes a work of art.

Q: Do you socialize with the dancers off camera?

A: They come right to my house on the Fourth of July. We have hot dogs and hamburgers, margaritas for those who can, sodas for those who can't. They swim in my pool. I'm English; I shouldn’t even be bloody celebrating the Fourth of July.

JUDGE MARY MURPHY: EMBRACING HER INNER WOO-HOO

I'm doing really good. I'm cancer-free now and working on my health. You hear news like that it and it gets your full attention. I found out a few years ago when my father had cancer. I got busy, I didn't take care of myself. I was supposed to be in there every six months. I didn't go to my checkups. It's never a good sign when it starts growing. I was told [the tumor] wasn't cancer . . . that it was encapsulated, then it wasn't, so I had a little roller coaster for a while -- everything's great, oh yeah, oh no. I'm still having a hard time; my vocal chords are still irritated. Down in Atlanta, I managed a few little woo-hoos, but I won't be screaming.

CO-CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER NIGEL LYTHGOE ON LAST SEASON'S INJURIES

I didn't think there were a great many injuries last season. We had dramatic injuries, certainly with Alex Wong. [The Miami City Ballet dancer and front runner ruptured his Achilles tendon. Thacker puts Wong's recovery at 60 percent, Lythgoe, at around 80 percent, but neither could confirm if or how he might return this season.] But cracked ribs and broken toes are a dancer's life. I think I've cracked everything that you can crack. What we didn't do last season was a ballet barre every morning, a warming-up process . . . we're going to have to do that, even if [the dancers] are not working immediately afterwards. We need to monitor how much work they are doing because it's a really tough competition.

 
 
 
 
 
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