Celebrity Corner: Alex Ruiz of “Touch” Pops In

10 04 2013

TOUCH fans will recognize him from the episode “Enemy of My Enemy” as Vicente Corliss. He took the time to talk to the fans about TOUCH on Fox and other exciting events occurring in his life.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Your resume mentioned that you started acting at a very young age. Do you remember your first role?

Yes. Well, professionally, it was a Best Buy commercial. I remember I had to read for the employee part but I had grown a thick mustache for a play I was in called The Bald Soprano so they asked me to read for the father instead. It was until afterwards, shooting the commercial, where I found out that one of the main reasons I got the part was because they found my look hilarious with my mustache.

You have been in commercials, on stage and on television shows. Do you have a preference? And if so, why?

Well, it’s a tricky question for me because they’re all different. It’s a whole different atmosphere and work ethic for each one. I love being on camera, that’s what I really really enjoy and I know how difficult and fun and exciting and thrilling and rewarding being on stage can be but when it comes down to it, being on camera in a show or movie is what I really love and embrace.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Within the world of acting, do you have a preference as to drama or comedy that you think enhances your talents best?

Another tricky one. Well, I love comedy and I thought that comedy was what I would excel at. And it has, in a way; certainly in the commercial world. But, throughout the years, I learned how acting, in truth, is really feeling and living and I very much enjoy that. I’m a very private person and it seems that I open up completely when I’m acting, and I do that more often with dramatic parts. I’m not scared of comedy at all and I’m not scared to jump around and go toe-to-toe with comedy because that’s what I do most anyway. It’s like a defense mechanism for me and I use it instinctively in a lot of situations so I’m kinda used to it. But drama is something that really pushes me and makes me discover a lot of things in myself that I wouldn’t’ve noticed before. It’s weird, I know, but I guess other actors might know what I’m talking about.

The role of Vicente Corliss on Touch. Was this an open audition or a part for which you were recommended?

Both, kinda. I was called in after being submitted by my agent and fit the description. I came in, read, and immediately was asked to come in later that day to read for the director. I went to Fox Studios a few hours later and read for the main guys. Apparently, they loved it and offered me the part immediately.

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Alex Ruiz as Vicente Corliss on TOUCH

Had you watched the show before you got the part? If not, did you go back and watch season 1, or did you want to approach the role without that knowledge?

Yeah, I was told to watch the show before I came to read for the part to have knowledge of the premise. I don’t ever watch shows or movies or plays before or afterwards because I want to give my own interpretation, unless, of course, I’m asked to. I feel it’s best if you come with your own idea and choice for the part without any prior knowledge. Only if you have pure understanding of what’s being asked of you. But yeah, I watched two episodes and once I got the idea I stopped. I liked it though. But then again, I pretty much like anything Kiefer Sutherland’s in.  [Editor’s note:  ME TOO!]

What were some unique things that happened on this set that you have not encountered on other sets before?

Professionalism. In every way. I’ve been in a lot of sets and worked with a lot of people and the way everything was handled was so professional. From the way they treated David [Mazouz] to how Maria [Bello] came in and rocked her scene to how I was directed. It was a very boom-boom-boom-check the gate process and before I knew it the scenes were done and ready to go. We rehearsed once on a closed set and once we nailed it everyone was brought in to shoot it and bam, the scene was done. They expect you to come prepared and you appreciate that level of professionalism because everyone respects everyone else’s work and time.

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Maria Bello, David Mazouz, and Alex Ruiz’s scene in TOUCH

I like to think of every experience as a learning moment. Did you learn anything on the set (as an actor or on a more personal level) that you can share with us?

I feel like I learn something on every set that I’m a part of. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint exactly what that is but I know it and utilize it the moment I’m there. I think it’s really just listening. Not only to the director but to everyone around you. Literally everyone. The sound guy putting the mic on you has heard a billion things about everything that’s happened on every set he’s worked with so I listen to what (s)he says. On break I’m drinking coffee and the lighting guys talk about work and I infiltrate their conversation and just listen. I try to learn every facet of my job as possible by listening and being aware of how everything works. From the director, they’re all astronomically different and if you listen carefully and adapt to his world then you’ve got another little safe of knowledge stored in your brain that you can open up and use in another situation. The entire process is learning so I can’t really give something specific when it’s there from beginning to end.

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Maria Bello and Alex Ruiz in TOUCH

You know I have to ask…have you had a Touch-like moment in your life, something you felt was more than coincidence?

Of course! My family and I have an apartment that we stay at in Mexico that used to belong to my grandma who’s been deceased for about 15 years. I slept in her bed one night, which we do every time we’re there anyway, and I had a very strong dream about her. My brother was going through some tough times and I vividly saw her in my dream. I won’t go into specifics but it ended with her saying “he’ll be okay, he’ll be okay,” and I woke up screaming and crying. I’ve never had a dream like that before nor since and I’m totally convinced that it was my grandma talking to me directly. It was definitely Touch-like in the sense that my brother is completely happy and somehow my grandma calmed me by knowing it would be so.

Do you have any current projects on the horizon?

I do. I’m doing a Mexican novela called Dama Y Obrero in Miami right now. It’s a remake from a Chilean novela of the same name which had enormous success in Chile. The anticipation for it is quite big and I have one of the starring roles so I’m very excited for that. It’ll air on Telemundo later this year. I’m also in negotiations to star in a film which might have some big distribution but hopefully I’ll be able to film it after the novela. I also did a short called Best of Both Worlds directed by amazing director Michael Dunker a little less than a year ago which has made a big splash in the festival circuit and it’s getting financed to be made as a feature where I’ll be playing the same character. So yeah, lots of stuff this year, thankfully.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS

What is the most played song on your IPod or MP3 player?

I just looked it up and it’s Cruel Summer by Bananarama. Imagine that. I’m a huge 80’s guy so I guess it doesn’t surprise me.

What is the last book you have read?

I read “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. It’s creepy as all hell because photographs visualize the narrative. Not a bad book. Right now I’m trying to finish “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. A friend of mine recommended it and it’s pretty damn good so far.

Best advice that was ever given to you?

Lots of good advice throughout the years. But the most basic and impactful was my mom saying “oye, ve, y calla,” which means “listen, watch, and don’t say a word.” Works in every situation you’re in if you really think about it.

Sunrises or sunsets?

Definitely sunsets.

Favorite sport to watch?

Basketball. Been a Pistons fan all of my life.

Singing or dancing?

I do a lot of karaoke but my voice is terrible (to me, at least). Dancing I like. I’m talking salsa or mambo or anything that moves your hips without you knowing they’re moving.

Favorite TV show (besides Touch, of course 🙂

The British Office is absolute genius. Anything Gervais, really. I’m also a big fan of Forensic Files and crime shows of that sort.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Thank you so much, Alex, for the generosity of your time and your thoughtful answers. TOUCH fans: Help support Alex by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1991503/?ref_=fn_al_nm_2

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Ruiz/159956814141798?ref=hl

Twitter: @alex54ruiz





So You Think You Can Dance — Top 14 Performance

7 07 2011

Tonight viewers were in for a special treat. Travis Wall, previous contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Season 2 and choreographer for the last few years, was asked to sit in to judge tonight. Is there anywhere Travis does not fit like a hand in a glove? His critiques were deadly accurate with lavish praise for the high points and technical pointers for the weaker points to help the dancers learn. When I heard Carmen Electra was going to judge, I had no idea she had a background in dance. I enjoyed her in “Meet the Spartans.” I loved Cat Deeley’s earrings tonight that had the number 8 on them for season 8.

Tonight we will find out more about the contestants. There are also new choreographers to the show. According to http://www.markmeismer.com, Justin began his training in South Carolina. He was the winner of Star Search and Destination Stardom in Hawaii. In 2001, he worked with the Poz Dance Theater in Seoul, Korea. Soon thereafter he opened a dance company in Dallas, Texas and has been with LA Dance Magic for the past 5 years. Ray Leeper has worked in film and theater and for big names singers such as Cher and Elton John.

Dancers: Boys’ Group Number
Song: “Prague”
Artist: Damien Rice
Choreographer: Justin Giles
Story: The seven stages of grief after a breakup: Shock, anger, denial, depression, guilt, bargaining, and acceptance.

It was a beautiful contemporary number. Chris, unfortunately, was off in his timing with the other dancers. Although the judges are not offering critiques, performances in the group number will be taken into consideration for elimination eve. A warm welcome to Justin. I hope we see more of his work on this show.

Dancers: Melanie & Marko
Song: “Americano”
Artist: Lady Gaga
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Story: Young Latin couple whose families have been fighting like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, now run off and want to get married.

Marko had auditioned before but had not won over the judges until this year. He is from Guam and most of his family became lawyers and doctors. There were not many dance opportunities on the island. The one job he had was on a cruise ship and the hazing ritual was dressing up as a girl (in homage to the drag queen show where he was not–and he repeats was NOT–the drag queen). Melanie is from Marietta, Georgia (woo-hoo, my sister lived there for many years), but she left to attend Fordham University in New York City, majoring in art. Her boyfriend, Mitchell, whom she has dated since the 10th grade in high school, came to see her perform last week, the week of the Marko kiss.

There was a moment at the beginning of the dance where I thought, “Oh my” with regards to hand placement. She had to be deadly accurate or risk incapacitating her partner!

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Hand placement must be precise!

It was a fantastic way to start the show off on a high note. Cat Deeley says Marko looks like a sexy fireman in that outfit. Travis tells Melanie she is, by far, his favorite dancer in the competition. He also comments that he has been taking Ray’s class since he was 9 years old (great way to make someone feel old, Travis!). Mary loved their passion and heat. I enjoyed this number a great deal. This was Ray’s first appearance on SYTYCD as well and a hearty hello to him as well. Nigel reassures Marko that he is a fan now.

Dancers: Sasha & Alexander
Song: “To the Moon”
Artist: Miguel
Choreographer: Shawn Evaristo
Style: Hip-Hop
Story: A first date and Alex wants a kiss at the end of the night from Sasha.

Sasha spoke lovingly of her family, especially of her sister and having her sister with her through her journey on SYTYCD. She comes from a large Trinidadian family who now lives in Bakersfield, CA and there is always a party going on–lots of food, drinks, dancing, and singing. It sounds like Sasha’s family knows how to live in the moment and express joy of just being alive. Dancing began for Alexander at the age of 17. Instead of going to college, he was accepted into a ballet school where he fell in love with ballet. He grew up in Alhambra. His father used to be an actor on such shows (that I remember) as Barney Miller, TJ Hooker, Hill Street Blues, shows Alex says he has never heard of. Psssst. Alex. I probably saw your dad at some point on those shows and not on the reruns.

Alex is swagger-challenged. One might say because of the natural of ballet, it is trained out of them because posture has to be perfect, lines have to be straight, etc. However, one day ballet dancer Alex Wong walked into our lives and performed one of the best routines ever in the history of SYTYCD with Twitch, choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. Click here to watch. Alex Wong made a bold statement that ballet dancers CAN do hip-hop. Compared to the level of what we’ve seen in the competition thus far, this was below the bar. I think it will put them in danger. Carmen articulated it best when she was not feeling them as a couple. When I see Alex in his natural environment, he seems like a different person than he is on stage. The “ballet face” comes on when he dances on stage and because Sasha is operating from a different point of view, trying to get into whatever character she needs to be, that is where the disconnect is happening.

Dancers: Jordan & Tadd
Song: “Nocturne”
Artist: Secret Garden
Choreographer: Toni Redpath
Style: Smooth Jazz
Story: Jordan is a siren, a black widow spider of the deep sea.

Jordan’s story brought tears to my eyes as she shared the depth of her family’s sacrifices so she could dance and the level of appreciation she has for it. After seeing the fun side of Jordan, it was moving to see she has a vulnerable side. She hopes that this is a reward for them as well after all they have done. Tadd grew up in Salt Lake City and because of the lack of Filipino culture there when he was young, grew up thinking he was Caucasian. Once he got to meet extended family in San Francisco, California, his world grew much bigger.

Let’s think of Jordan being a siren of dance (not voice, LOL, sorry babe, your talent is in dancing, not singing). I loved the hair extensions; I don’t think I would have recognized her on the street with them. Her costume was beautiful; she did look like a goddess from the sea. Being a hip-hop dancer, Tadd did a super job. His posture was superb; his arms were high. He died well.

Dancers: Clarice & Jess
Song: “Light Through the Branches”
Artist: Celeste Lear
Choreographer: Justin Giles
Style: Contemporary
Story: A super intense love affair that is coming to an end.

Clarice also appreciates the sacrifices her family has made for her.  Although she grew up in Hollywood, California, she now studies dance at California State University at Long Beach. After a long day, she drives her sister to dance and then teaches dance later on after that. Clarice enjoys spending time with her family after a long day. Jess grew up in Little Falls, New Jersey with family members who are also entertainers. Jess’ father was an actor, but is now a teacher. While many of us would like to forget our high school experience, Jess has wonderful memories, being part of all the performing arts clubs.

Clarice is a contemporary dancer and Jess is used to Broadway. My eye was drawn to Clarice during the routine. Jess is growing as a dancer in this area but I would compare his performance to Tadd’s in ballet. Although not his style, he did try to rise to meet the challenge. Unlike Alex and Sasha, Clarice and Jess are developing chemistry between them and that shone through during the routine. In this routine, it demanded that it did or it would have fallen apart. I agree with Travis that it is my favorite routine they have done all season. Carmen and Mary said they felt the anger they were feeling. Maybe that was true in the studio. As a TV viewer, I saw the anger between the two of them, but they did not bring me along for the ride.

Dancers: Ashley & Chris
Song: “Mambo Beat”
Artist: Tito Puente
Choreographer: Liz Lira
Style: Salsa
Story: None, just fast, lots of tricks, etc.

From Antioch, California, Ashley grew up as the daughter of a deacon, surrounded by music and dance her entire life, her mom being director of the dance program. She loves to cook (perhaps we will see her on a future episode of Masterchef). Chris comes from a large family in Dallas which gives them always something to do and always something to clean. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and credits his parents for him graduating high school because the challenges for him were that difficult.

I understand the choreographers wanting to do a challenging dance, but they also need to take into consideration the level of ability of the dancers. Latin dances need a strong male partner who is sure of himself and Chris even verbalized his awkwardness in this style. I was worried for them seeing the rehearsals. The actual dance was better than rehearsals. You could see Chris thinking all the steps so he could complete the dance without his partner getting hurt, but because of that, the heat was missing. Ashley did a nice job and it was so lovely of her to tell him how proud she was of him as they stood next to Cat Deeley. Sadly, I think this is going to put them in the bottom 3. I’m certain that if this is the case, Chris will be the guy going home because of the comment Nigel said last week about him needing to grow faster, and because of the off-timing in tonight’s group routine.

Dancers: Ryan & Ricky
Song: “Fashion”
Artist: David Bowie
Choreographer: Chucky Klapow
Style: Jazz
Story: Two members of a cult of fashion. Following what was hot and hip eventually “did them in.” They got hit by a car they were so into themselves they wouldn’t even take the time to look left or right to cross the street. Elaborate story.

Ryan was raised in Morgan Hill, California. She went to Sacramento and got an opportunity to work with Mia Michaels during a convention. Because of economic hardships, Ryan had to give up dancing for awhile. She reunited with Mia Michaels on the “House” episode “Bombshells.” Ricky is from Miami and loves the beach because it allows him to spend time with his family. When he was 15, his mother said they were moving to Tampa (and they made it sound like it was such a horrible thing to happen. I lived in St. Petersburg for a year of my life; Tampa is not a bad place). But apparently there is not a lot of dancing in Tampa (ah, code word for a lot of old people live there). He was not only the first male cheerleader at his new high school, but also became co-captain.

This dance was “Ghouls Gone to Vogue Hell” to the PERFECT song choice. It was so enjoyable. It made me want to learn the steps so I could follow along. How do you judge such a thing? Fun? Check. Did I believe they were zombies? Check. Did I believe they were once fashion icons? Check. When they were required to dance in sync, did they? Check. Bonus points: It was quirky; I adore quirky. They are absolutely safe with this one.

Some trivia about Chucky Klapow. He was one of the main dancers in Michael Jackson’s tour “This Is It” and has been Kenny Ortega’s co-choreographer in the High School Musical movies. Kenny Ortega did a season of judging on SYTYCD. He also choreographed another Fox show, Bones, “The Girl With The Curl.”

Dancers: Caitlynn & Mitchell
Song: “To Love You More”
Artist: Celine Dion
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Style: Contemporary
Story: A couple falling in love.

Caitlynn was a tomboy growing up in Moses Lake, Washington and loves engaging in outdoor activities from snowboarding to fishing. Her father works overseas and is home only every other month. Thank goodness she lives in an age where there is Skype and other type of networking; back when I was her age there was two methods of communication: Telephone and snail-mail. Mitchell’s backstory made me cry. His father died when he was 2. When he was 8, he and his mother moved from Chicago to Atlanta and wound up sleeping in their car for a full year. They were homeless. His mother was able to find a job and wanted Mitchell to fulfill his dreams there. His mother is so inspiring. It is so difficult to break out of the cycle of homeless and there is such a horrible stereotype about the face of the homeless, people mischaracterizing the group as lazy, not wanting to work, etc. I know that just is not true and to hear people’s ignorance when they speak of such things irritates me greatly. Mitchell, to his credit, could have turned to a life of drugs or gangs, but did not. It says a lot about his personal character as a mere 8-year-old child. He is such a great role model.

Wait, what? Caitlynn spills secrets that Marko reads romance novels. Too funny.

Remember that Mitchell is still trying to recover from his injury from week 1, but he continues to push through to stay in the competition. Caitlynn has complete trust that he will be there for her as her partner. They have the coveted last spot of the evening, so I’m preparing to be wowed. I love this song and the romantic in me loved this dance. It was my favorite of the evening. I know it is a wonderful dance when I’m breathing with the dancers. It was absolutely PERFECT and Mitchell knows they NAILED it. He is overwhelmed with emotion.

Dancers: The Girls aka “The Beasts”
Song: “My Discarded Men”
Artist: Eartha Kitt with Bronski Beat
Choreographer: Ray Leeper
Style: Jazz
Story: Seven girlfriends ridding the world of evil men. (Hmm, femme fatales?)

It was a great dance and everyone worked well together as a group. A nice way to end the show.

So based on their dancing tonight, I think Sasha and Alexander and Ashley and Chris are in trouble. But Sasha has a lot of Adam Lambert fans voting, so I’m not sure if they will be in the bottom 3. I’m not sure who the other couple would be. I am certain Chris is going home Thursday night if he is among the bottom 3 males.

Who were your favorites? Who do you think will be in the bottom three?





So You Think You Can Dance — Altanta/San Francisco auditions

1 06 2011

I have watched SYTYCD since season 2 (much like American Idol). There have been amazing dances that have left me sobbing, made my heart race, given me goosebumps, and made me get up and dance. I cannot get enough of this show.

Since Adam Shankman is off doing a movie, they are going back to two fixed judges (Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe) with one rotating judge. Mary Murphy was greatly missed last year, but I also adore Mia Michaels.

The Atlanta auditions brought out Lil’C, Mary Murphy and Nigel. I’ve never seen faster moves in Colombia salsa dancing than Bianka Hinklerian. Dean and Damon hip-hop dance was a lot of fun. Marko Germar’s story of being shot in the arm after he was robbed at gunpoint was inspiring. But the standout for me on day 1 of the Atlanta auditions was Melanie Moore, a contemporary dancer majoring in art at Fordham University. She hails from Marietta, Georgia, where my sister formerly resided. She brought me in and I found myself breathing when she did. She had some awesome beautiful lines and extensions. Along with her bubbly personality, she is adorable with that retro 50’s look with her pin curls. This show is not all about dancing; the contestants need to make connections with the audience.

A day two favorite of mine was Kimalee Piedad. She had a lot of acrobatic moves. Kyre Bustiste’s grandmother was a lot of fun as she was called up to help in the judges’ panel of her own grandson.

On to San Francisco with judges Tyce Diorio, Toni Redpath and Nigel Lythgoe and where the contestants brought their hearts to the stage. Amber Williams, a slightly insane contemporary dancer, is someone to watch with interest. Timothy Joseph performed great hip-hop but dropped out of the competition during choreography. Danielle Ihle’s story of going from a middle-income family to being homeless was, at the same time, sad but inspiring. This young lady has had to overcome a lot of obstacles. She was sent on to choreography where she then earned her ticket to Vegas. Ashley Rich is another contemporary dancer to watch. Jeffery McCann did such an excellent hip-hop routine; it earned him a ticket straight to Vegas. Back again after being in the top 24 last season was Ryan Ramirez. She said she debated coming back to audition, but I’m glad she did.

We were introduced to a new style of dance for the show called “turfing.” It involves 1) swagger; 2) feet work; 3) pantomime; and 4) storytelling. Levi Allen glided across the floor, but failed to impress in choreography.

Who are your favorites so far?