'So You Think You Can Dance' eliminee Curtis Holland: I'm not actually dating my partner Hayley Erbert
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/02/2013
So You Think You Can Dance eliminated Curtis Holland, a 19-year-old tap dancer from Miami, FL, during Tuesday night's live show on Fox, which determined the tenth season's Top 12 contestants.
Curtis, along with Alexis Juliano, an 18-year-old tap dancer from Coral Springs, FL, were eliminated by So You Think You Can Dance judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as well as guest judge Anna Kendrick after they found themselves in the week's bottom-six dancers based on home viewer votes cast for the Top 14 finalists immediately following last Tuesday night's show.
During a Wednesday conference call with reporters, Curtis talked to Reality TV World about his So You Think You Can Dance experience.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to get eliminated, or did you sense it coming beforehand at all?
Curtis Holland: I don't think that I knew that it was going to happen, but I definitely -- I considered it just because I considered the fact that I wasn't able to show the judges anything this week because of my injury. I prepared myself for going home, but I always try to be optimistic and look for the better parts in things.
Reality TV World: As a tap dancer, how much, if any, training did you have in all the other dance genres that are featured on the show? How difficult was it to learn and pick up on all the other styles throughout the season? Do you feel like the tappers had it especially hard?
Curtis Holland: I've had training. I trained at a studio that my dad actually owned since I was four, so I just liked [tap] more. It wasn't specifically hard, but it was just certain techniques and certain things that I usually did not get exposure to because I trained in tap more diligently than I did in the other styles.
So some of the moves were specifically hard, but I think with the work ethic that I have, I was able to try and pick up as much as I could.
Reality TV World: It was obviously revealed that you asked your partner Hayley Erbert out on a date. I guess, was that just a random idea to really just build on your connection as dancers? Or were you kind of feeling like you both had mutual romantic feelings for one another throughout your time on the show and maybe you felt it was finally time to explore that?
Curtis Holland: Oh, no. It was just for our connection onstage. It was definitely just for our connection onstage, because our... piece was about a relationship, and in order for us to actually pretend that we were in a relationship, I felt like we needed to go out on a date and be in a relationship. So it was all for the piece and it was all just for the piece.
Reality TV World: Okay, so clearly nothing romantic going on now, it sounds like? (Laughs)
Curtis Holland: No. (Laughs) She has a boyfriend, actually.
Reality TV World: Gotcha. So, one critique that you kept getting was about your core strength and an issue with your shoulders. Does that relate to being a tap dancer, since it's obviously a lot of the lower body that you use more? Was that something that you really tried hard to correct during rehearsals and performing or were you focused on other things you thought were more important?
Curtis Holland: I don't even think it was because I was a tap dancer, but I wasn't usually told when I was dancing about my core. So when I got here and I was told about it, definitely I took that into consideration and I tried to work on that.
That actually was one of my main focuses whenever I was practicing. I was always trying to just focus on my core and focus on my shoulders and just make sure that everything was solid.
But when you get onstage and you get nervous, sometimes you tend to forget things. So as I walked away from the show, I just remember to always keep key things like my shoulder and my core in my head as I perform. That was always on my mind.
Reality TV World: I just want to ask you a little bit more about your shoulder injury. We didn't hear much about that on the show. What happened there, and how bad was it?
Curtis Holland: I sprained my rotator cuff in rehearsal about two, three days ago. I went and I got an x-ray and the x-ray says that there was no bone fracture, so I have to get an MRI, so I'll be getting one soon. Then we'll be able to see from there. It was just bothering me. And it was a point of pain that I could not ignore and I could not push through, so I wasn't able to dance because of that.
Reality TV World: Nigel was pretty tough on you last week, especially saying something like it's almost like you "forgot how to perform." I just wanted to get your reaction to that. Did you think he was a little too hard on you at times, like in that instance for example?
Curtis Holland: No, I think that it's all constructive criticism. Honestly, I never take criticism as a batting session or anything like that. So I can't honestly say that he was out to get me or anything like that. All of the criticism, no matter how bad people think it is, I always take as a chance for me to grow.
Reality TV World: Why did you originally want to try out for So You Think You Can Dance? How many times did you audition until you actually got onto the show and into the Top 20?
Curtis Holland: I know that I didn't intend on auditioning for the purpose of getting on the Top 20. I was just auditioning just to do it. I think that I just wanted to try it because I was in college and I was bored of it. So I said why not and I went and auditioned and look where I ended up.
Below are some additional highlights from Curtis' call with reporters.
It seems like, traditionally, tappers tend to leave the competition early. I was wondering if that's something that you were worried about as you headed into the Top 20.
Curtis Holland: I think that Top 14 is a big feat. I think that, sometimes, tappers do get the lower hand, but I think that we've had an amazing run because of the dancers and the choreographers that we've been able to work with.
So I don't think that our run was specifically bad, and I don't think, this year, tappers have gotten a bad rap. I just think that with certain circumstances, two people had to go and they just both happened to be tappers.
I really loved watching you whenever you would get contemporary. I was wondering if you had a favorite style or choreographer that you got to work with.
Curtis Holland: I think my favorite piece was -- I actually loved them all, I can't even pick one. Probably my hip-hop, Chris Scott, because I feel like that was the time that I really got into the groove on the show. That was my first piece.
My other favorite piece would, I think, be Dee Caspary's... piece, just because I feel like I had to reach a farther place than I usually like to go. Dee helped bring out something in me that I knew was in there but I was afraid to touch. So it was good.
Tappers usually don't make it super far in the competition, but this was a pretty good season for tappers, and there's been a pretty strong showing with three of you there. How proud are you of tap's strong showing this season and the role that you had played in that?
Curtis Holland: I think that it's such a great thing when you go into a competition and you're not the only one of your style there because you feel like you have other people by your side. I feel like we've all been able to help each other grow.
That's why, especially in our solos, we've been able to help each other. I think that's why we've been able to make it as far as we did, because we had the support of others in our same style.
The question I have for you is, which routines that you've done throughout the season up until your elimination have pushed you the most -- be it emotionally, mentally, or technically?
Curtis Holland: I've had two pieces that have pushed me. The first piece was Dee Caspary's... piece. It pushed me emotionally because it made me go to a place where, you know, I don't usually explore and feelings and thoughts that I don't usually like to think about. So it made me be able to be vulnerable and to dance from my heart.
The second piece would have to be, although I didn't perform it, the Argentine tango, with Leonardo and Miriam. Technically, it's very, very, very tough because it's the Argentine tango. I really just had to get grounded in the flow and pick up on the technique very quickly. So it was tough. I was doing well, but my shoulder gave out on me.
Because there were three tapping in the season, and all of you have such unique styles, how would you describe each other's tapping style?
Curtis Holland: I think that Lexie's style is very fast -- very fast and very clear and crisp. I think that she's very smooth and poised with what she does. She never looks like she's about to break a sweat and I think that's a great thing.
What are your plans now that you've been eliminated? For the short-term, and then, consequently, for the long-term after the show is over?
Curtis Holland: I'm the same way, I just want to dance. For now, I'm going back home to Miami and I'm just going to teach and dance from there. Then, hopefully, I'll just get a call and I will just go wherever I'm needed.
What have you taken away from being a part of this process and being a part of the show?
Curtis Holland: I'm definitely taking away a lot of confidence, also, just in myself and... I think I'm taking away a lot of self-evaluation about myself. I'm learning a lot more about who I am, what I can do, what I cannot do, and working on what I cannot do.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for Alexis Juliano's interview.