Local dancer has the right moves

June 9, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Paris Torres, a 19-year-old Skyline High School graduate, has been selected=

Paris Torres, a 19-year-old Skyline High School graduate, has been selected for the top 20 of the television reality series, “So You Think You Can Dance.” Photo by Mike Ruiz/FOX

Issaquah’s Paris Torres has placed in the top 20 on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

“I wasn’t expecting anything and I went in with an open mind. If I didn’t make it, it’s not the end of the world, I’d pick it up and keep going,” Torres said in a June 9 telephone interview from Los Angeles. “But to make this year’s top 20, man, is serious business. Daily, I wake up thinking, ‘Wow, how’d I make it this far?’ These dancers are amazing.”

The 19-year-old, whose specialty is contemporary dance, is a graduate of Skyline High School. She began dancing when she was 6.

“My parents got me dance lessons for a Christmas present,” she said. “I looked at the present, which was a piece of paper that said a month worth of dance lessons and thought it was awesome, but where were my other presents?

“As I got older, it didn’t hit me until I was about 13, those drama-filled teen years, that this is the best escape for me,” she added. “I could go into the dance studio and everything would leave you.”

Since that time, Torres has been a Miss Washington Teen pageant winner and was a Seattle Storm and Seattle SuperSonics junior dancer from 2000-2003.She now lives with her parents and teaches lessons at a dance studio. She tried out for the show last year, but was cut before the Top 20.

However, she didn’t lose sight of her dream to be a professional dancer. So, she flew to Miami for a second audition with “So You Think You Can Dance.”

If she wins, Torres said she would go on tour with the show’s top 10 dancers. After, she said she would finally be able to move to L.A., where she can focus on tryouts for commercials, conventions, musical theater, dance studios and anything else that needs someone with her talents.

“There are so many opportunities. I want to dibble and dabble in everything,” she said.

The competition truly begins Wednesday as the top 20 finalists dance for the judges’ praise and America’s votes on the season’s first performance show. The 20 are paired into 10 couples who will work with a world-renowned choreographer to compose a dance routine representing their assigned genre.

Since arriving on the set of the show, Torres said she hasn’t had a lot of time.

“We wake up at the crack of dawn and go home at midnight. We never stop. And once I’m home, I just keep practicing and practicing,” she said. “There’s never an opportunity to relax, or say ‘I got this, I got this.’ I have to stay on my toes and I always know there is room to improve.”

After each Wednesday performance show, the phone lines will open and the fate of these 20 finalists — one of whom will be named America’s Favorite Dancer — will be left up to the voting fans.

On the live results shows beginning Thursday, the three couples with the lowest number of votes will be announced. Each week, the six contestants in the bottom three couples will be given a chance to perform solo routines in the hopes of convincing the judges to keep them in the competition. The judges then decide which dancers stay and which two are eliminated. If a couple is split, the two individual dancers who remain become a couple the following week.

Thursdays will also feature live performances by today’s hottest music stars and dance acts. On June 11, Sean Kingston will perform his new hit single, “Fire Burning on the Dance Floor,” from his upcoming sophomore album, “Tomorrow.”

“It is hard, hard to keep yourself in check and focused, because there is so much going on,” Torres said. “But I breathe through each moment, really live in each moment, and I’m not anxious for what’s to come.”

What to know

‘So You Think You Can Dance’

8 p.m. Wednesdays

9 p.m. Thursdays

KCPQ 13

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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