Russell Ferguson: 'So You Think You Can Dance' win a "big bonus"
By Christopher Rocchio, 12/17/2009
Russell Ferguson auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance's sixth season to expose America to krump -- and he was able to achieve that and a whole lot more.
"I just was hoping that America would change their views on krump and what it was about so they could be more familiar with it," he told reporters during a Thursday conference call.
"I knew I was going to be able to get that message across. Winning is a big bonus."
The 20-year-old from Boston, MA was crownedSo You Think You Can Dance's sixth-season champion during last night's live finale broadcast, claimed the $250,000 grand prize and became the first ever krumper to win the show's title.
It was an emotional night for Ferguson, who injured his leg during a group hip-hop routine with fellow finalists Kevin Hunte and Jonathan "Legacy" Perez early in the broadcast.
"After I jumped off the stage to krump, when Kevin and Legacy pulled me back up I came down on my leg wrong. Something shifted over my ankle, causing my ankle to swell up -- it was real tight," he explained to reporters.
"So I wasn't cleared to be able to dance for the rest of the night, but I could walk."
Ferguson said he was "crying and upset" after the injury, but added it was because he "wasn't able to perform" for the rest of the finale and not due to intense pain.
"It was very stressful after that because I wasn't able to do the final performances, which to me was one of the most important things of the season," he told Reality TV World during the conference call.
"But I got to dance -- that dance that I injured myself on -- and my dad came back stage and was just talking to me and calming me down. I just went up there with my head high."
While he added he received "ultrasounds, electric [stimulations] and some treatment that definitely helped," Ferguson said it was his father who really helped him.
"He just let me know that everything was going to be okay and he was proud of me," he told reporters.
After Ferguson was revealed as the winner his injury seemed to quickly disappear as he leapt around the stage, however he said at that point he was "pretty much running off of adrenaline."
Ferguson added he was also confident heading into the finale broadcast because he felt all of the Top 6 finalists "definitely had shots at winning."
"It was all in the air at that point, in our eyes," he told Reality TV World. "I felt like everybody that was there deserved to be there, everybody worked hard."
While he was celebrating his victory on stage, Ferguson asked Hunte to join him and explained that decision to reporters.
"Kevin just has been with me through this whole journey. Me and him have been tight, he's just like a brother to me," he said. "I felt like I should share that moment with him because we shared a lot of other moments together. That was very special."
So You Think You Can Dance's judging panel frequently commented this season how Ferguson's style came from the street and he lacked some of the training that the other finalists had.
"I know they know I have some form of training," said Ferguson about the judges.
"But the thing is, a lot of people that do train, that's what they do. That's their dance style, that's their lifestyle. I really did come from the streets. I like to do other stuff, so I know a little bit of it. I couldn't freestyle in it. I've taken classes and I did what I could to be able to get enough confidence to be able pull these pieces off."
While he's been doing hip-hop "all my life," Ferguson decided to take some training to better prepare himself for an opportunity like So You Think You Can Dance.
"I figured if I was going to take on any big dance project I would have to learn other things to be well-rounded in the dance field. I did four years at Boston Arts, so I got a good amount of training," he explained before adding a majority of his routines on the show were new ground.
"Most of them I've never done before, actually, all of them were real new. It was very hard. Luckily I did take classes so I would be able to get through them, but they definitely were challenges."
When asked if he planned to continue with training, Ferguson answered "not necessarily."
"If anything comes my way that requires me to do that I'll do it," he said. "Really, I'm just glad that I got my foot in the door to be able to spread krump the way it's supposed to be spread. That's my main focus."
In addition, Ferguson knows he has inspired people across America to try krump.
"I know looking on TV, seeing something that you love is always inspiring," he said. "So I know the kids out there that are watching, they have hope now. They know they can be the same thing -- even better."
Ferguson said he plans to "invest" the $250,000 grand prize he received, try his hand at acting, and would definitely welcome a return to the show.
"I would love to come back and choreograph a krump routine or a hip-hop routine. It would be an honor," he said.