Pauline Mata knew 'So You Think' quickstep would put her in "danger"
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/13/2009
Pauline Mata feels performing the quickstep with partner Peter Sabasino was a double-edged sword since it is often called So You Think You Can Dance's "kiss of death" but also because they received positive feedback from the judges for the routine.
"I was actually thinking we actually could be in danger because it's the quickstep. Because it's hard for the audience and America to relate to the quickstep... And the fact that we did really well, like it was a shocker to both of us because it wasn't a train wreck like [judge Mary Murphy] said," Mata told Reality TV World during a Thursday conference call.
"So coming into the results show, I was like it could be really good because they gave us good feedback. But at the same time, it can be bad because of the whole quickstep, the kiss of death and how people are always like, 'Oh, no, it's the quickstep, the hardest thing ever.' It's kind of hard to relate to people with the quickstep because if they've never done the quickstep, then they don't really know how hard it is to do it."
The 19-year-old jazz dancer from West Covina, CA and Sabasino became the fifth and sixth finalists eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance's sixth season during Wednesday night's results show of the Fox reality dance competition.
The couple was ousted from the competition by the show's judging panel after finding themselves among the bottom three couples based on home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's performance episode broadcast.
Mata said when she and Sabasino randomly selected the quickstep, she thought it had the potential to be "really bad."
"Coming into the rehearsal, our choreographer started teaching us and it wasn't bad at all. The whole movement, it was just really fun and just really energetic," she explained.
"I didn't feel like there's one dull moment in that rehearsal, but I did feel some sort of dread in it, some sort of like, 'Oh, no, this is the quickstep. This is what everyone doesn't want to draw out of the hat.'"
While she knows another style might have shown more of her "strengths" rather than revealed her "weaknesses," Mata said she's happy with her final routine before her elimination.
"It just shows America and it shows the judges that I am capable of doing other styles and I am capable of picking up choreography and making it my own. So it will fit my body and it will showcase me in the way that," she explained.
"I don't want to say I can fake it, but basically that's what it is because obviously I'm not a ballroom dancer. So the technique will be a little off, because I was never trained, but I did what I could. I think if I would have gotten hip-hop, I think that would have showcased a lot more than me getting quickstep and waltz."
Mata's So You Think You Can Dance journey was never an easy one -- as she was cut on the cusp of making the fifth season's Top 20 before making it to "Las Vegas Week" this season -- where she subsequently injured her ankle.
"I know what it was like to go through it and see the ups and downs. So when it finally came to me having that ankle injury, I actually thought that I was going to get cut and I didn't think they would take me. When they did, that was like another shock," she told reporters.
The hardships didn't end there, as her first partner Bill Bell was forced to withdraw from the competition due to illness -- so she got his replacement Brandon Dumlao, who was cut during the first week of the finals.
"I had Billy as a partner and then having him gone was stressful. But when I found out who the replacement was, I was actually excited because I actually knew him from the previous season and this past season. And then having him gone and then having Peter come in and step in as a partner, it was just all stressful," she said.
"But in my head, I was always saying things happen for a reason. Everything happens for the better and Billy, he was contagious and sick. He had to leave for a reason because then it would have gone to me. So basically just things happen for a reason and god has his plan for everyone."
Mata said So You Think You Can Dance helped her "grow in many different areas" and she's ready to continue that growth despite being off the show.
"I do have plans. I'm going to go back and teach at the studio that I grew up at, so that should be fun. Actually, it's kind of funny because I want to tour dancing. I want to tour like teaching in other countries and around the U.S.," she explained.
"But at the same time as I was on the show, I was working with wardrobe and they were putting stuff on me. They're adjusting stuff. I've always had this fashion sense in me that I wanted to be a fashion designer or something in that area. I was thinking about it last night and I was like, 'Maybe I should get into fashion and go back to what I was thinking of before just as a side thing, aside from dance,' so I can get into that industry and be creative with the costumes because it was really fun."