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Reality TV Interview

'So You Think You Can Dance' Clarice on Bollywood, all-stars, reaching her goals

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SYTYCD Season 8: Top 20 finalist: Clarice Ordaz

© Fox

Known as one of So You Think You Can Dance's most elegant dancers, Clarice Ordaz impressed judges and viewers with her grace in all genres of dance. While never finding herself in the bottom three, things changed this week for the 19-year-old jazz dancer when she took to the floor for a Nakul Dev Mahajan-choreographed Bollywood routine which didn't go over well with viewers and, unfortunately for her, she was sent home during Thursday night's live results show.

Here's what Clarice had to say about her time on the show...

You'd never been in the bottom before. Was it a surprise to you when your name was called for elimination?
"I think that at this point, all of us are great dancers and anything could happen. I actually didn't expect anything at all. You can't really expect anything in that position 'cos you don't want to be disappointed. I just went out there and did my best and what I practised and hoped for the best. Even being eliminated, it's sad but at the same time I'm really looking forward to the tour and being part of the Top 10 was really special to me. I wasn't shocked because there was the fact that someone had to leave. At the same time, now I just want to root for Jordan and Ricky and see how the show goes."

Nigel didn't have much advice for you. Was it frustrating not to get feedback on why you'd been sent home?
"It was a little bit hard to take because I'm always wanting to better myself but at the same time, he gave us a great compliment and said that we're all great. I can grow in other ways, so I'll take that and figure it out!"

You've been trained in many different types of dance. Was this your first time doing Bollywood?
"It was my first time doing such an intricate piece of Bollywood, though we did do Bollywood for the group piece a few weeks ago. I was still really nervous that Bollywood would not be as popular and that people wouldn't connect or get it. I took the basics that I learned in the group dance and practised and made it my own. I'm really pleased with how it turned out at the end."

Do you think there's any truth to the idea that more unconventional dance styles like Bollywood or Broadway are less popular with viewers?
"I think that more out-of-the-box styles are definitely hard to put through to viewers sometimes but everyone has to do it and it's just something that you have to try and bring out. I think that's the challenge, you know? We just have to make it entertaining and I think this week might have hurt me a little bit and it was time [to go] but I really enjoyed that performance. It was a great challenge and I was very happy."

What inspires you to dance?
"I grew up at a studio. I was a kid at one time and looked up to those older dancers who were in all those senior groups and that kept me pushing myself to get better. Now that I'm at that point of teaching those kids now, it just really drives me to push them to be at the level they want to be at, whatever it is."

How disappointing is it to have come so far only to be cut now?
"The Top 10 was my big goal and I can't believe that I've made it that far - it's just been surreal. Getting to be so close to [my fellow dancers], it really is like a family. I'm happy that I made it that far. Being eliminated is hard because for a few weeks we won't be able to get up on stage and perform... but we have the tour to look forward to."

The dancers seem to have become particularly close this year. What was your relationship like with your fellow competitors?
"I was partnered with Jess the first few weeks and that really gets you close to someone as an individual that you can really open up to. I think that even after we were split up this past week, we kept checking up on each other and make sure things were going good... I also think roommates help you out a lot and that's good. It's just a big supportive family and I feel lucky."

Were there ever any fights that broke out between dancers? You guys were in a pretty high pressure situation!
"The first five weeks we bonded with each other and realised that yeah, we're partnering with one another but we're all competing. Just trying to find that balance to keep things together was hard, but overall, everything was fine. At the end of the day we feel that we're still friends and a family. We try not to go overboard but we do know when to be serious and we always make sure that we have our partnership together and have fun."

What was it like to work with the all-stars this week?
"It's a different energy that the all-stars brought to rehearsals. They were part of the family like we are now and they just brought that spirit. Robert gave me some great advice about being on a TV show. We had a great talk and I think it was great to have the all-stars and I'm glad that I was part of that."

Is there anyone that you're rooting for and would like to see win?
"Actually, no! I think all of the Top 10, or even the Top 20, were all great. I think that anything can happen. It's all up to the voters in the first half and the judges in the second. I would be happy for any of them out there who are working so hard. I'm so glad that I got to know each and every one of them."

What do you have planned for the future, besides the tour?
"'I'm going back to school to get a degree and then any jobs that I can get... Really, anything I can get a hold of. I'm planning on getting an agent and booking jobs. Just anything that's part of the commercial world, I just really want to be a part of that and can't wait to get started!"

So You Think You Can Dance airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox

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