So You Think You Can Dance S10 Detroit Auditions

22 05 2013

SYTYCDLogoThe judges at the Detroit auditions were Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Nigel Lythgoe, and Mary Murphy.

Jade Zuberi, Dearborn Heights, age 21

I think he is our Cyrus for this year. The muscle isolation involved in his movement is one of the new wonders of the world. The judges gave him a standing ovation. He is going to Vegas.

Amy Yakima, Northville, MI, age 19

After inviting her father up on stage it is clear who wears the dance shoes in this family–Amy. She reminds me a little bit of winner Melanie Moore with the passion and emotions that she channels through her dance steps. She is lost in her dance, and I was lost with her in that dance. I got goosebumps. She received a standing ovation from the judges. She is obviously through to Vegas.

Morgan “Mo” Williams, Chicago, age 22

I did not feel that his level of dance was up to par with what we have grown to expect from people on the show. He has had some training, but he has a long way to still grow. Nigel wants to see him in choreography but Mary overrules him with a ticket to Vegas.

Will “Sysko” Green, Detroit, MI, age 27

Sysko specializes in a local dance called the Detroit Jit. I have never seen that type of dance before. It was like a smash up of jitterbug meets b-boy. It was entertaining, but did look unpolished during some moments. I bet you he goes to choreography. Mary goes on stage to get a hip-roll dance from him. Okay–that will get him to Vegas! Nope! They all send him to choreography. Ultimately he is sent home because he tried to freestyle during his partnering dance and put his partner in danger.

To show people that you never stop learning as a dancer, tWitch treated us to a popping, locking hip hop that we so adore in him. He was a little Pac-Man with the music that was playing that reminded me of the game! I’d like to be the ghosts chasing after all that yummy goodness. Yes, I said it. I think I have added something to my Bucket List.

In his self-described style called “panic”, Garrett Frye, age 26, from Bowling Green, Ohio, showed that he has some flexibility and rhythm–he should think about getting some professional lessons. It is a “no” to the competition, but it sure did make me smile.

Tyrone Cobham, Jr.,  Toledo, Ohio, age 18

This is the first tapper they have shown us during the auditions do far. He has some very complicated, impressive moves. The judges are all standing. Nigel and Mary say that he really had the best performance in all 10 seasons. VEGAS BABY!

The best part of tonight’s show was the grandmother doing gangham style with her granddaughter after she was given a ticket to Vegas. The judges came up on stage and joined in.

Last up was a group of young men doing exotic dancing for a living. The first young man, Darryl “Smilez” Harrell has a terrific sense of humor. He has some great talent and threw some krumping into the mix. They let the rest of the group audition including DeFonte “Prince Charming” Thomas. His dancing was so different and bizarre. It looked like his head belonged on another body. It was fascinating. These two were staying for choreography. Smilez had trouble learning the dance and partnering but Prince Charming gave it his best try. It was not perfect but he is going to Vegas.

Next: LA Auditions Day 2





Celebrity Corner: Chatting with Michelle Krusiec

16 04 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Science fiction fans will know Michelle from her early work on Deep Space Nine (“Time’s Orphan”) to her recent appearance as shape-shifter Nadine (also named “Seven”) on the cult-hit Fringe. That only barely begins to touch the surface of this veteran actress who has done everything from hosting a show on the Discovery Channel (Travelers) to playing the lead in the film “Saving Face”, from a recurring role on a soap opera (General Hospital) to doing guest spots on television shows and television movies, and writing and performing her one-woman show, Made In Taiwan, which sold out at FringeNYC 2010 (unrelated to the show Fringe, although a cute bit of irony). You will be able to catch her on this Thursday’s episode, “Lost and Found” on the new hit Fox series Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Michelle Krusiec

Can you share with us a little about your character, Lanny Zheng, on Touch?

Lanny is someone who knows what she wants in life but finds herself “touched” and moved by a set of extraordinary circumstances. It’s basically the premise of the show for all of these people whose lives will intersect in magical ways.

When you are preparing for a role, what is your process for remembering lines? Do you learn the emotions/motivations of the character first or do you remember the lines first and then fill in the emotion?

Every character is different. I don’t have a technique for memorizing per se. I just work on what the character needs and look at the words on the pages as ideas. Memorizing can be tough if you just memorize words, but I think I generally look for motivations first and the words as ideas.

The premise of “Touch” expands the Chinese legend of the red string of fate of soul mates into a larger theme of tying the destiny of people together. Do you believe in destiny?

I do, but I think it’s self determined. I used to think that you were pre-destined or fated in life, but now I don’t think that. I think each day, each moment, we are given choices to change and become who we are destined to become.

Do you have your own “Touch” story?

I do. I think the biggest one being that a fortune teller told my Mother my future when I was still inside her womb and it made a big impact on both of our journeys. I’m a bit superstitious as a result.

At the end of the pilot episode of Touch, Jake says, “”Will these words be used to hurt or to heal?” In episode 2 (“1+1=3”) the peanut vendor tries to restore karma back to the time when things started falling apart for him. Do you believe in karma? Do you have an example from your own life of a positive or negative karmic experience?

I do believe in karma. Here’s a good one. It’s long!

I was filming on location in Argentina on Travelers, a Discovery channel show, I co-hosted and when we first landed we lost all of our luggage, so the producer took us shopping. I looked awful. I was wearing a real military coat that I used to love because I loved the industrial look back then and I was at this mall in Buenos Aires and there was this HOT, I mean, one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen, working at one of the stores. He spoke no English and I didn’t speak any Spanish so it was impossible. I tried to explain that I looked awful and needed clothes, because I lost my luggage and he just kept nodding and smiling. Finally, one of the co-hosts showed up who spoke Spanish and talked to him and she said that he thought I was trying to tell him that I was a flight attendant. That made me laugh, because I realized I must have looked ridiculous in that coat.

Anyhow, this hot guy proceeded to tell her that he wanted to give me his number, but he vehemently refused to give it to me if I did not promise him that I would call. He looked me in the eyes and said passionately, “promise me you’ll call.” (My friend translated!) I was so taken by this guy. I was wearing glasses; I had zits all over my face; I looked hideous. I asked my friend who was translating for us, what am I gonna say to this guy on a date? She looked at me and said, “sweetheart, look at this man, you do not need to do any talking with this person.” So, I took his number but fretted about breaking my promise. I thought he was way out of my league and too hot for me! Finally, I decided to call him, but because I made no money at the time, I tried to call from the pay phone across from our fancy hotel because I didn’t want to pay for the phone charges. So I pulled out the slip of paper with his number and began to cross the four lane highway and that’s when a gust of wind blew that slip of paper out of my hands never to be found again. I guess I was right…he was way out of my league.

My sad karma story.

You just finished writing your play “Made in Taiwan” into a screenplay and said it was now off your bucket list. What else is on that bucket list?

Traveling to Antarctica, completing a major mountain climb, singing “On my Own” as Eponine on Broadway or really ANY song without fear of tomatoes pummeling me in the eye, performing a MJ dance piece as part of a flash mob in some place like Grand Central or Times Square, directing a film in Asia, private dinner with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, being a lead dancer on a major video for someone like Prince, honored at the Kennedy Center, taking my parents to the Oscars.

I see you’ll be working with Joan Chen again (Saving Face) on “Relative Insanity” (the contemporary interpretation of Chekhov’s “The Seagull”). Has that started filming yet?

No, it has not.

You’ve worked in so many different areas. Is there one medium you prefer over another (for example, movie versus TV, TV versus stage acting, TV series versus soap opera)?

I prefer process over non, so it’s more that I like showing up on set and having a creative collaboration with a director. If I can get that from doing one great scene in TV than I’m a happy camper, but if I’m on a job where I’m just expected to hit a mark and go home, that’s not so interesting to me. Usually, films afford you more of a process, but since every production is hurting for money, you can show up on a film set and still have that impersonal experience. Stage really and truly is the actor’s medium, so if you want a full process, that’s the one to experience. I always go back to my stage show or back to theater because it’s where I grow the most as a performer. I’ve had 2 months to prepare for my next film project and it’s been a luxury.

You also have great comedic timing. Do you have a preference between comedy and drama?

Thank you! I love both, genuinely. They each satisfy a different appetite and they’re both so different. Sometimes, I can go from one job and think I’m definitely a comedic actress and then work on a drama and just sit in the “pain” of it all and think, oh, yeah, I’m a drama girl, definitely drama all the way. I’m very lucky I can do both, so I do really try and hone both genres. And truthfully, in life, I really am light and dark, very serious but then really goofy. I think maybe a little “bipolar” runs in my family?

What charitable organizations do you support?

The primary one I am most closely connected to is Center for the Pacific Asian Family. I completed their state certification program to work with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault survivors as well as volunteering as a SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) advocate. I am currently developing a stage show not unlike the Vagina Monologues focusing on the children of domestic violence survivors. My goal…if you can believe it or not, is to make it entertaining. See, there’s that light and dark again.

Where can we see you in the upcoming future?

I’m about to begin filming a project with Sandra Oh called A Helping Hand and you can see the comedy series Nice Girls Crew, dramatic feature Sunset Stories, both at the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival. Shuffle a magical film about a man living his life out of order will be released later this year.

Random Thoughts

I’m most creative….?

I’m most creative when I’m well rested and well fed.

I often imagine myself….?

I often imagine myself as a big clown with a sad face but happy nose.

I really wish I knew how to….?

I really wish I knew how to make shoes.

I’d love to spend a lazy Sunday…?

I’d love to spend a lazy Sunday with my entire family laughing and telling stories.

My secret talent is…?

My secret talent is calling people by the wrong names.

Best spontaneous decision was…?

Best spontaneous decision was buying my condo in NYC. I just flew to NY on a Friday and bought it on Monday.

Best way to express myself is….?

Best way to express myself is through dance. I love to dance.

The best advice someone gave you was….?

1) Don’t wait to be picked.

2) Smile in the mirror and then grab that smile you see and eat it. Every day. And make sure it goes down to your belly where your passion lives.

3) Find out what you do best in life and then do it like Hercules.

Michelle Krusiec’s biography:  Writer/Performer

The “Chinese American Sandra Bullock” (NY Post). Michelle Krusiec is best known for her starring role opposite Joan Chen in the romantic comedy Saving Face, directed by Alice Wu. The role garnered her a Chinese language Oscar nomination for Best Actress in the 2005 Golden Horse Ceremony.

Ms. Krusiec is sole creator and performer of her original solo show Made in Taiwan (MIT). The show is a darkly comedic coming of age story based on Krusiec’s own family. The show has been workshopped at theatre festivals all over the country including the 2002 HBO Aspen comedy festival, the 2007 New York Asian American Theatre Festival and most recently at the 2010 NY City International Fringe festival. MIT was featured on CBS News as a festival highlight and experienced a sold out run and extension into the Fringe Encores, playing Off Broadway at the prestigious Lucille Lortel Theatre.

Born in Taiwan and raised in America by her Taiwanese aunt and American uncle, Ms. Krusiec works in Los Angeles, New York and Asia. Michelle is known for her intense character portrayals and her uncanny ability to shift seamlessly between comedy and drama. In features, Ms. Krusiec has starred opposite the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Sean Bean, Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Drew Barrymore, Eva Mendes, Ben Stiller, Reese Witherspoon, Cristina Ricci, James Cromwell, Christian Slater, Ray Liotta, Donald Sutherland, Anthony Hopkins. In television, Ms. Krusiec globetrotted to over 50 destinations as the host of the popular travel series Travelers for the Discovery Channel. She starred on the NBC sitcom, One World and has graced critically acclaimed shows like Touch, Fringe, Community, Blue Bloods, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Dirty Sexy Money, Nip Tuck, Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, Mind of the Married Man, Monk.

Ms. Krusiec works closely with CPAF, Center for the Pacific Asian Family, in hopes of advocating on their behalf in issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is currently writing her next stage play Nakid on the subject matter. Michelle’s next features are Relative Insanity with Helen Hunt, David Duchovny, Joan Chen and Maggie Grace and A Helping Hand with Sandra Oh.

You can follow Michelle’s blog at http://theprocess.michellekrusiec.com/

Her website: http://www.michellekrusiec.com/projects.html

Michelle’s Twitter: @michellekrusiec

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michellekrusiec

Thank you, Michelle, for taking time out of your hectic schedule for this interview.  Don’t forget to watch Michelle’s episode of Touch on April 19, 2012 “Lost and Found.”  Check local listings for times.





Life Without Regrets

30 11 2010

Ever since I was 17 when I walked out of an abusive foster home after my foster mother attempted to choke me, I made a pact with myself that I would never look back. I was now finally the captain of my fate and could decide my own destiny. Whatever the consequences, good or bad, they would be experiences from which to learn and grow.

As I was driving today, I realized that next year would be the 30th anniversary of that life-altering decision. Have I honored that commitment?

Everything that has happened along the way, all the way back to the time I was born, has made me the person I am today. I would not be human if I didn’t admit that it would have been nice to have gone through life without some of the horrendous situations, like the abuse I experienced as a child. But even those situations had positive side effects. Let me give you an example. If I had not been eventually abandoned by my mother, I would not have been placed in a foster home. Had I not been placed in the foster home, I would have never met my friend, Patty. If I never met my friend, Patty, I would have never met my future husband now of 18 years. Although you cannot imagine it at the time it is happening to you, good can come from evil. You can overcome tragic circumstances and have a happy and fulfilling life if you are willing to put in the hard work to change behaviors, stop the cycle of abuse, and commit to finding out what is “normal” when you’ve lived such a dysfunctional life. It truly is a matter of choice.

Having said that, there are a few things that still make my regret list:
1. Having come from a place in my heart of good intentions, my actions hurt a friend. Although she has forgiven me, I have not been able to forgive myself.
2. Helping someone I barely knew get home, a decision that had consequences I still deal with today even after therapy.
3. Hitting a few off-key notes at my vocal recital at Hamman Hall at Rice University. I know, it sounds like a silly one, but I never sang in public again.
4. Watching “Man of the Year” starring Robin Williams. I will never get that time back.

With the exception of that movie, the good news is that I still have time to fix the others.

The second part of living a life without regret is not having a long bucket list. While I have a variety of things I consider just “wishes”, there is only one item currently on my bucket list: I would like to go swimming with dolphins in the wild. After watching “The Cove” I could not in good conscience swim with dolphins in captivity, so I must venture to the open sea to fulfill this wish. I’ll have to remember to bring plenty of Dramamine.

None of us knows when our lives will be over. Live your life in the moment without regrets for the past. You cannot overly worry about the future either. If you find yourself saying, “if only” or “what if” too often every day, you cannot focus on the pleasures and sorrows of the here and now. Although I thought I knew this lesson well, having my son with severe autism (and other disabilities) only deepened my understanding of what that truly meant. In order to build a bridge to reach him, I had to be present with him. I would sometimes spend hours with him in our playroom we built just for him to make some sort of connection. There were times he appeared catatonic and would only briefly look up and around. I had to make myself his favorite toy in the room. I noticed that if I was looking up at the clock or worrying in my head about all the things I had to get done in the house, he would be less responsive to me. Somehow, he knew. There was no faking out this child. It took a long time, but we built that bridge. I repeated to him verbally quite often that if he felt that his world was safer for him that I was going to be totally 100% okay with that. I was not trying to fix him; I was sending him an invitation. He eventually RSVP’d a “yes” response.

Yes, he has challenges. Yes, life will not be easy for him as he ages. Yes, there have been many sacrifices that this diagnosis came with, including my health. He has been my greatest blessing and my life teacher. How many parents can say they still find magic in their kids making eye contact with them 15 years after they were born? How many parents pull their hair out during the teenage years when their children start rebelling, yet I would give my life just to have 24 hours to have a real conversation with him. I learned to never take anything for granted. To live my life as free as possible of regret one minute at a time.