In the second week of So You Think You Can Dance Max and his partner Kayla danced a funky pop-jazz routine and Ashley and Kupono danced a hip hop routine, or at least tried to. Both teams ended up in the bottom and it caused the judges to make a tough (not unanimous) decision to send Max Kapitannikov and Ashley Valerio home. The duo chatted with reporters in a conference call about how their partners will fare together, how hard the 30 second solos actually are and the challenges of understanding Lil' C.
First up, Max.
When did you learn ballroom dancing, and what were the other kinds of dancing you found difficult?
Max: I started ballroom when I was 13 when I came to the U.S., and when I came on to the show the styles were pretty difficult.
On Wednesday, Mary said you were on the hot tamale train. Did you expect you were going to be in the bottom? Did you think you were going to be safe?
Max: During the Pop-Jazz there was definitely something ... and I didn't really know what to expect. I had some good remarks from the judges. They were surprised to see me, I guess, do that routine. I wouldn't do anything different about anything that I did on the show. Looking back, I think I did the best that I could.
Do you think there's going to be someone who's going to fill your void as the house-dad/wife in cooking for everyone?
Max: No, I'm not worried about that. It's just funny.
What were you thinking about the moment you learned you were going to have to leave the show?
Max: Well, I kind of predicted that I was going to leave when the judges were giving us their comments and it was just between me and Kupono. Jason and every other guy actually... They deserve to be there.
You come from a dancing background, a dancing family, your mom did ballet. Did she ever kind of take you to ballet classes as a kid or introduce you to everything?
Max: Yes, definitely. Growing up -- in fact in Russia we would go to the school where she would teach, so I had to join the class and spend a lot of time at the facility, so that gave me some background. Well it was kind of different when a parent teaches a kid as opposed to just a parent teaching just a regular student, you know?
As a ballroom dancer, you're always used to dancing with a partner. When it came time for you to get your dance solo do you think that you were sort of at a disadvantage?
Max: It's only 30 seconds and I think doing the jazz routine you could show a lot of things and show your performance during that time. So I don't think it's really difficult for a ballroom dancer to do a solo, for 30 seconds especially.
Who are you rooting for now?
Max: I am rooting for everyone. I think everyone has an equal opportunity to win the show, so may the best one win. I'm going to keep watching and voting for the one who stands out.
Next up, Ashley.
Were you happy with the dance? Where do you think it went wrong?
Ashley: You know what, I actually felt like me and Kupono performed that dance the best that we possibly could. I re-watched it just to kind of see where we went wrong and what we could have done better. I think there's always room for improvement, but I think we looked great. I really don't have any regrets about what we did. I got a lot of good comments, a lot of good feedback from other professional dancers that thought that the dance was really, really good and high energy. Some people like you and some people don't and it's all a judgment game and you can't please everyone.
How do you think Kayla and Kupono are going to do now that they're teamed up?
Ashley: I think Kayla and Kupono are going to be phenomenal together because I know working with Kupono he was a great, great person and great partner. He always made me smile, we were always laughing, and I think he'll bring out the best in Kayla.
Lil' C's comments are always very loquacious and eloquent but I'm wondering if as a dancer you're really able to take something from the deep responses that he often offers.
Ashley: It's nice because I'm kind of a very intellectual person. You know when he speaks, I'm not like the most brilliant person but he gets me a little bit. I kind of get him. It's just exciting because he gets really deep and sometimes I can get a little deep too, so it's great and I can take a lot of great, great things from him.
The Wade Robson people seem to really love you guys and the Shane Sparks one it seems a little bit harder to show you guys off in. Is there a lot of luck of the draw in that kind of thing?
Ashley: Most definitely. I think that the pieces that you're given are crucial to your position on the show. I think that Shane's piece was awesome. I really do. Unfortunately, dance is a judging game, you know? Like some people can absolutely love something and the next person can absolutely hate it. It's all about other people's views. So, you can't please everybody and I really felt like we did a great job. But it's true. It's a big part of that. So if you have great choreography and if the choreographer showcases you, you have better chances for sure.
You started your solo with a little posing, the trouble is when you did that then you only had 20 seconds for your solo. Is that kind of a little bit frustrating that there's only 30 seconds and why did you decide to do such an interesting start?
Ashley: Well, you know, growing up I've always just kind of been in my own world when I dance. I don't like to do what's expected of me. I don't like to lift my leg up and do a million turns. I think that gets tiresome. I just really wanted to be me and just kind of do what I do when I do solos. I didn't want to sell out and do something that everybody wanted me to do. Do you know what I mean? I just really wanted to be me and that's what I do and I loved it. It was fun.
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