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Wednesday

September 2014

17

Cooney grad auditions for dance reality show

Morgan Larson takes second shot at SYTYCD

Local fans of the reality dance show "So You Think You Can Dance" (SYTYCD) might recognize a familiar face Wednesday night when the show hits Boston for auditions.

Oconomowoc's own Morgan Larson performed for the show in an attempt to make it through to the next round.

This is the second time Larson has tried out for the FOX TV show. Two years ago she auditioned in Chicago, sailing on to Las Vegas before being cut in the third round there.

"I didn't try out last year because it conflicted with school. Because (now) they're doing a fall season, I was able to audition in the summer," she explained.

The Oconomowoc High School grad is in her junior year at the University of Arizona as a dance major.

"When I tried out in Boston, I found it a little easier (than the last time) because I feel like I've grown a lot, mentally and physically, and improved my style and was confident in what I wanted to showcase," Larson said.

"I wanted to show I improved in the two years since I was away from SYTYCD and grown both as a person and as a dancer.

"It was crazy," she said, laughing.

"Normally, at auditions I get a little nervous, but I was super relaxed. I was so excited to be there, to be back. It was great to be back again," Larson added.

This time out, she auditioned with a friend from the University of Arizona who lives in New York.

"It was so crazy and surreal, but everything I wanted at the same time, you know?" she said.

Larson auditioned this time around with a jazz funk routine for her solo.

"It was more edgy, had a bit more flair, than my audition when I was 18," she said.

"For a little bit it (the audition) felt like déjà vu, the process; but when I was preparing for it I just wanted to show them what I can bring. I had set some stuff for my solo, but a lot of it was improv, because I wanted to live the moment," Larson explained.

Contestants are contractually prohibited from discussing the outcomes of the show; viewers must tune in to the show at 7 p.m. Wednesday to see how Larson fares.

The show also held auditions in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and Salt Lake City this season, with thousands of hopefuls vying for the chance to be invited to move on to the next level in the competition in Las Vegas.

About 180 dancers advance through the initial callbacks. Once there, they work with choreographers and perform routines from numerous genres. The cast of dancers is then whittled down to the top 20, who then appear on the show for a chance at the title and $250,000 prize.

According to the show's Web site, "During the performance round, the 20 finalists dance for America's votes, and each week the six contestants comprising the bottom three couples are given a chance to perform solo routines to encourage the judges to keep them on the show. The judges then decide which dancers stay in the competition and which male and female contestants are eliminated. If a couple is split apart, the two individual dancers who remain become a couple the following week.

"Once the series is down to the Top 10 finalists, the dancers switch partners, and it's solely up to America to decide who remains in the competition. Following the performance shows, viewers can vote for their favorite couples. The live results shows reveal who keeps dancing and who goes home."

Larson, who started out as a gymnast, found her niche in dance as a young teenager.

"I was 13 when I discovered dance, and oh my gosh, it was something that just came naturally," she said.

Larson's father, Vern, said he notices a difference in his daughter since her initial tryout in 2007.

"There is a maturity level. She has matured in her dance ability and in her perspective and with how she prepared.

"She has a real confidence about her. I really think her experience with the university dance program has prepared her; the discipline and technique paid off," he said.

"Morgan is just such a healthy competitor. She competes hard and well, but is never negative about anyone who does something different or better," he said.

Larson said the atmosphere at the SYTYCD audition was empowering.

"You feed off the energy and talent. Everyone is so proud of each other, but you are each other's competition," she said.

"Everyone is super focused and 110 percent in it, so that makes you part of this exciting and fun process," Larson pointed out.

"I feel so much stronger as a person; so confident with what I have to offer.

"The whole experience has made me a better dancer and more excited about what my future as a dancer holds," Larson said.


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