My TV

24 February 2014

My TV Award Nominees: Q&A w/ Allison & tWitch

By // TV

375011_571186336248460_838449136_n_2Before we announce the winners of the 2013 My TV Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series. On December 10, two of America’s favourite dancers got married at a vineyard owned by reality TV poohbah Nigel Lythgoe (the executive producer of the show that brought them together). Over ten years of So You Think You Can Dance, there have been very few performers who have captured the hearts of the viewers quite like Allison and tWitch, despite the fact that neither of them actually won their season.

In season two, 18-year-old Allison Holker showed up with outrageous technique and soulful acting to raise the bar for contemporary dancers in the Top 20 while partnering an untrained hip hop dancer in the show’s first successful marriage of the two styles. Seven years later, she married (in the non-metaphorical sense) the most popular dancer (hip hop or otherwise) ever to appear on the SYTYCD– season four’s Stephen Boss, a freestyler known as “tWitch” whose unique style, adaptability and unthinkable charm redefined the role of streetdancers on the show forever. They both became All-Stars in season seven, returning as experts in their respective styles to help show off the new contestants. Perennial favourites of judges, choreographers and viewers alike, when they started dating Allison and tWitch became the storybook SYTYCD romance. When tWitch’s character-perfect proposal went viral, fans balanced their heartbreak that the hunky comic book nerd and beautiful single mom were off the market with their glee at the loveliness of their partnership.

Season 10 saw the engaged duo both in expanded roles choreographing and judging in addition to performing, and when reports of their dance-tastic wedding hit newsstands this winter, we couldn’t help but nominate the pair as Best TV Couple. All the other nominated couples are fictional but, even if we’d invented them, it’s hard to imagine any pair more talented, engaging and perfectly matched than Allison & tWitch.

You two have such different dance origin stories. Tell us again how each of you got started dancing.
Allison: I had the pleasure of watching my sister Jessica Holker, dancing for Mia Michaels’ first original dance company RAW. And the passion was so strong, and the movement so athletic that it inspired me so much that I knew at that moment that dance was going to change my life. I wanted to inspire others just how it inspired me.

tWitch: Dancing has always been a part of my culture. At birthday parties, we danced. At church, we danced. Family reunions, at home listening to the radio, backyard parties, etc etc. So dancing is the thing I have always been passionate about. No sports, just dance. Growing up I used to go to a theater program at one of the local colleges — Alabama State University. There, I was cast in the musical The Wiz as a dancer. From that moment, I knew I wanted to dance as a career. It’s funny how things work out upon the moment of decision, because not too long after I was cast, I heard my high school was having tryouts for the dance team. I tried out and made it, which led me to a dance studio to take class, then onto community college, and then to transfer to Chapman University in Southern California.

Why did you decide to audition for So You Think You Can Dance?
A: My dance teacher told me about the audition — she said I was perfect for it. She said it would showcase all of my strengths and give me my start into the dance world. So me parents drove me from Utah to Los Angeles to audition. And my teacher was absolutely right, SYTYCD has changed my life.

t: I was actually on the set of a music video as an extra the night I decided to try out for SYTYCD Season 3. I heard from a couple of other dancers that they were going to try out the next day, so I thought “Why not?”. Well, I had no idea the journey I was embarking on. In Season 3 I went right down to the last choice of a guy to be in the Top 20, and they went with the other guy (Shout out and respect to Hok!!). So then, my fire for season 4 was ignited.

Did you watch Allison on season two?
t: I did watch Allison on season 2. Small world, I’m actually good friends with Ivan, her partner from Season 2. Ivan was the poster child for a lot of us as street dancers to go on to a show like this and thrive. But back to the topic, I absolutely watched her and thought she was incredible.

Allison, did you watch tWitch’s season?
A: Yes I did, and let’s be real, who could forget it? tWitch is absolutely incredible. And seeing his growth as a dancer and as a person, to now being my husband had been such a wonderful unique experience. I’m forever grateful.

Allison, in season two you memorably danced a Tyce Diorio contemporary routine with Ivan Koumaev to “Why?” by Annie Lennox. That’s often remembered as the show’s breakthrough moment in marrying a hip hop and contemporary dancer. Was that a bit of foreshadowing for your future career on the show and your personal life?
A: I can absolutely say that dancing “Why” with Ivan, and my whole experience with SYTYCD was preparing me and leading me into what now is my present life and future. I learned so much from having to work with a partner who was outside of my field. I had to learn patience, communication and how to love all qualities of a person. Which translates into my life today. SYTYCD not only made my dancing stronger, but it has shaped me into the woman I am today. I am a wife and a mother and I try to give them as much love and understanding as I can everyday.

tWitch, you were on a game-changing season for hip hop on So You Think You Can Dance with two street dancers in the finale, the first non-contemporary or ballroom winner, and the introduction of Tabitha & Napoleon. How do you think that season has shaped those that came after it?
t: I think our season shaped the rest of the seasons the same way those before ours helped paved the way. Like I said before, it was very encouraging seeing how far a B boy, popper, or a hip-hop street dancer could go — like Ivan, Dominic, Hok, Jamile, Ashlee Nino, Sara and many others. So in retrospect, I think it was a long time coming and we just happened to be there at that time. By Joshua winning, it was a clear statement that IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT GENRE YOU DANCE, everyone has a shot at being America’s favorite dancer.

How else has the show changed over the years?
A: I feel the choreographers have had the most growth in the show. Every single season, the choreographers are pushing themselves and the dancers into a place of dance like I’ve never seen before. It’s so inventinve and motivating, and seeing them share their personal stories is what makes the show so great.

t: The talent has evolved with the times. Choreographers are more daring. The judges and audience members are more knowledgeable. And the stage production is bonkers now, compared to past seasons.

Coming from different seasons, when and how did you two actually meet? Did you get to work together at all before becoming all-stars?
A: Season 7 (the first All-Stars season), we shared a first dance and my life has been forever changed!

t: : We never got to work together [before season 7] . There were times when we were supposed to teach in the same place but it never happened.

When did you start dating? Who pursued whom?
A: Literally hours after SYTYCD Season 7 finale ended, we started dating. We attended the show’s wrap party and he stole my heart, the moment we slow danced together… I for sure made the first move !!! (he will not agree) But I made it very clear my crush on him was alive .

t: As a good husband I’m going to say my wife is right. She pursued me first – ha ha ha.

In your adorable proposal video, Allison, you appear to follow tWitch into an impromptu routine even after you realize what he’s up to. How were you processing what was happening?
A: The proposal was a huge surprise, I had no idea he had this huge elaborate proposal planned. But in the video you will notice that the music switches from the commercial music to Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” And it was at that moment I knew exactly what was happening and saying YES was one of the best decisions of my life.

Skip Hopkins Photography

Buzzfeed called your wedding “The Most So You Think You Can Dance Thing That Ever Happened”. How many dance-tastic elements did you have?
A: Hahaha — I can agree with this statement.

t: We had a killer dance floor, DJ, and so many people that have love for the get down!!!

A: I could swear about 85% of our guests at the wedding were dancers. We entered our reception by dancing. There was the father/daughter dance during which I was surprised by my brothers stepping in to dance as well. The mother/son dance had Stephen (“tWitch”) involve his grandmother and brother as well. Then our first dance happened and we danced to Adele’s “One and Only”. Typically weddings have people up and down on the dance floor and the DJ welcomes people to dance — but at our wedding people forgot to eat because they couldn’t stop dancing. Battle circles started, my daughter battled the one and only Cyrus (“Glitch”) ,there was a Soul Train Line, and of course a special surprise performance from the Bride & Groom and our daughter Weslie. We danced to Justin Bieber’s”Somebody to Love” (5 year old Weslie choreographed).

How do professional dancers approach their first dance at the wedding reception? Do you choreograph something? Improvise? Or just pick a song and stare into each others’ eyes like everyone else?
A: For our first dance, we picked a song that means the world to us, and just stared into each other’s eyes and danced. He truly knows how to sweep me off my feet. It was a perfect first dance.

t: Well, each experience will be different from one dancer to the next. We figured that we perform choreography all the time so it would be nice to just do what we wanted to do and not succumb to the pressures of putting on a show for our first dance. But I have seen pro dancers do it BIG and that is awesome too!!!

With so many dancers in the wedding party (and in attendance), the reception dance floor must have been crazy. What was the song of the night?
t: Hahahaha there were so many — from Color Me Badd’s “Sex You Up” to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” to Justin Bieber’s “Somebody to Love” (our daughter Weslie’s personal favorite) to Usher’s “OMG”. Such a good night.

A: We were told by the DJ he has never seen a better “Cha Cha Slide” in his life. It looked as though it was choreographed for a film.

Do you have a favourite wedding memory?
A: Hearing Stephen say his vows to me. His words are so poetic.

t: I have two favorite wedding memories. One is watching Allison come down the aisle. She was literally floating. And second, was right before our first kiss as husband and wife. When we knew the “now you may kiss your bride” line was coming I looked at her and said “I’m about to kiss the shit out of you.” At the time it was romantic, only in that occasion. It’s because we were so anxious to kiss each other. And during that time we had to control ourselves not to kiss for the entire ceremony. Also, the first dance was amazing. And, our dances with our parents were a stand out as well.

Did you have a honeymoon? Where did you go?
t: We did have a honeymoon. We went to New Zealand.

You’ll both be back for the new season of So You Think You Can Dance, right?
t: Fingers crossed.

A: We never get calls early in advance, but I am always honored when I am asked back. So I hope to hear from the show soon.

This past season you both got to choreograph a routine and tWitch joined the judging panel. Will we get to see more of you in these roles if you’re back next season?
t: I certainly hope so.

A: Choreographing on SYTYCD is a huge opportunity, and I would love to continue to grow in that part of my life. And you couldn’t ask for a better place to showcase work on such beautiful dancers. So I hope they ask me to choreograph again.

tWitch, you’ve danced more of the show’s most famous routines than anyone else. Do you have a favourite?
t: Honestly, each one is my favorite. They have all had their own unique energy. I have to say though, I have never heard or felt the crowd going as crazy as they did when Alex and I did “Outta Your Mind”.

Allison, you’ve danced a lot of the show’s hardest and most emotional routines ever. Same question.
A: “Fix You” from season 7 is one of my favorite moments on that stage as the story is so close to my heart. Followed by “Possibly Maybe” on season 9, that dance pushed my acting skills [further] than ever before. Oh, one more, “Hallelujah” on season 7 as well.

Now choose favourite routines for each other.
A: “Outta Your Mind” and “Power” both from season 7. SO AWESOME.

t: : My favorite routines Allison has done are “Fix You” because my mother is a survivor and I’m proud of her fight against cancer. Also, “Why” because it was incredibly moving to see them dancing so passionately together. AAAAAAnd “Possibly Maybe”. You can see just how incredible of an actress Allison is in this piece.

If you could partner anyone from the show (apart from each other), whom would you choose?
A: Travis Wall. He is one of my dearest friends and also my biggest inspiration.

t: Robert Roldan.

If you had to dance any style other than your own, which would you pick?
A: Argentine tango! Love love love.

t: Contemporary.

Who is your absolute favourite choreographer to work with?
A: Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh. Mia Michaels.

t: 3 way tie. Wade Robson (my hero), Mia Michaels and Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo.

Has Weslie shown any interest in being a dancer? If so, what’s she going to study: contemporary or hip hop? Maybe a little of both?
t: Weslie has shown a little bit of interest in dance. She is currently practicing headstands in anticipation to start headspins. So maybe a little B-Girl. She is very shy though, so maybe the performances might be to a minimum but she is only 5 so we have yet to see.

A: She’s a BGIRL!! BGIRL WEX, Whose biggest goal right now is to learn how to spin on her head. The girl has more SWAG than her momma.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
t: Yes, I’d like to add that I married my champion. And it’s literally the greatest accomplishment I’ve done to date. Thanks so much and much love.

A: I’m truly happy and grateful to be able to be living my dream of dance every single day with the support of my daughter, husband and family. A girl could only dream of being this lucky. IF YOU DREAM IT, BELIEVE IT, IT CAN COME TO LIFE.

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