By now we are familiar with Nigel Lythgoe, the British television director and producer, who created such smash hits as Ameri...
An Interview with Joshua Allen from SYTYCD
He's So Much More Than Dancing
Original Publication Date:
When I first saw him I knew. He had that unmistakable, intangible, somethin' somethin' that you can't quite put your finger on. Hot shot producer Simon Cowell said seldom does this quality come along, but clearly he spotted it in Leona Lewis and Carrie Underwood and, more recently, in Adam Lambert. The IT factor that is wonderfully mysterious and uncommonly grand. All I know is he had it.
The kid, thick and sturdy, with the do-rag and grill-like braces, looked anything but the part of a typical dancer. The belief that maybe, just maybe, he could deliver the goods was enthusiastically written all over his face. He hit and popped and moved and leaped his way right off the screen and into my heart. That certain, special feeling that shows up unexpectedly like a thunderbolt that strikes with such force you are forced to stop and take notice. You have no choice. Ballroom expert, Judge Mary Murphy was bowled over, too. In that now memorable Dallas audition, she couldn't help but declare, "Joshua, I just fell in love . . . with your dancing." I, on the other hand, just fell in love--with him, with his passion, with his spirit. I could see it in his eyes, feel it in his soul. That's not language that we often use to refer to a popper, but, in this case, it applied. He represented my message of inspiration. His enthusiasm and drive and strength and talent--crazy talent--couldn't be denied. All this wrapped in an iron-man package of gratitude and humility.
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This was Season 4 of 'So You Think You Can Dance,' and although I had never fully paid attention, other than being familiar with standouts like Danny and Travis and Benji and Lacey, I was drawn in this time around. Not because I was suddenly so taken with the show, but because of him. I was interested in him. From the audition, even before he made the Top 20, I knew he would win. It was a given, an absolute, something you'd bet the farm on if you could. It didn't matter that he wasn't well-versed in standard ballroom or classic contemporary or ballet by Baryshnikov. It didn't matter that a myriad of other dancers were better or more elegant or more trained or more knowledgeable. None of that mattered.
I also knew I'd be writing this story. I was just as certain about that inevitability, too.
We're now into Season 5, and Joshua Allen's reign as champion will soon be coming to a close. So here we are just like I predicted. With Joshua the winner and me the interviewer, now you get to come along and learn just a little bit more about this rising star through my eyes. I did just sit down with him in Hollywood. The timing couldn't be more perfect. We're going to take a look back at his journey, at his time on the show, on how he got there, and on the thrills and experience of becoming America's Favorite Dancer. We'll get a glimpse into life after the show and see where his hopes and dreams will take him next.
On growing up in Fort Worth:
Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas wasn't always easy for Joshua. His mom, Lisa Allen, was his primary influence and the ever-present rock that nurtured him throughout his young life. From a small child, Joshua excelled in two things: sports and dance. He began each morning with the sound of Michael Jackson and the moonwalk became a part of his being like eating and breathing. Although he would 'always dance all the time,' he was pushed more towards sports where his strength and speed were the perfect winning combination. Older brother, Eddie Powell, was "the man" at Mansfield High, and Joshua eagerly followed in the star running back's footsteps. He even wore the same #22 jersey during his time at South Hills where he also broke the 100 meter dash record in track and field. After things started to deteriorate, Joshua's mom made the decision to send her son elsewhere, and Joshua finished his high school career at North Crowley. He eventually put his football and track days behind him and began to concentrate, much to the chagrin of his former coaches, more on his other love--dancing. Even when those closest to him didn't believe in his dream, he believed in himself. The road was a bumpy one, but he had his goals clearly mapped out and wouldn't be deterred.
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