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'So You Think You Can Dance': Chatting with Season 6 winner Russell Ferguson

December 17, 2009 | 12:32 pm

The day after winning the title “America’s favorite dancer,” “So You Think You Can Dance” winner Russell Ferguson chatted with journalists on a conference call about his experience on the show.

On last night's injury:
After I jumped off the stage at the end of the hip-hop number, when Kevin [Hunte] and Legacy [Perez] pulled me up, I came down on my leg wrong and something shifted over my ankle, and it caused it to swell up and it was really tight. I wasn't cleared to dance for the rest of the night. It was very stressful because I couldn’t do the final performance, but my dad came backstage and calmed me down, and I just went back out with my head high. At the end I was running off adrenaline.

On the people he acknowledged after his big win:
I brought Kevin onstage with me because he's  been with me this whole journey. He's like a brother to me, and I wanted to share that moment with him. Sidestreet is a movement, and we are basically trying to spread this way of krump, and GFam is the crew that is spreading the movement. It would be great to perform with them on the show in the future.

On his dance background:
I've been doing hip-hop all my life. If I was going to take on any big dances late in life, I know that I would have had to learn other things to be well-rounded in the field, so I did four years at the Boston Arts Academy and got a lot of training in. Most of the dances I did on the show I'd never done before, so it was lucky that I did take classes so I would be able to get through them, but there were still definitely challenges when it came to adjusting my body. 

On the show portraying him as the "unpolished diamond":
I know they knew I had some form of training, but the thing is a lot of people that do train, that's what they do. That's their lifestyle. Me, I really come from the streets. I like to do other stuff, and I know a little bit of it, but I couldn't freestyle in it. I've taken classes, and I've done what I could to get enough confidence to pull these pieces off. 

His favorite dances from the show:
The foxtrot was my toughest challenge, and I got closer to it because of that, and I learned more because it was so tough. The Afro-jazz frog dance was exciting and kind of brought me back to my roots: It felt natural and good. And if I could have seen another dance last night, it would have been [Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo's] "Alice in Wonderland" group piece: That was one of the most fun routines ever.

What was going through your mind when you auditioned?
I was hoping that America would change their views on krump and what it was about so they could be more familiar with it. I just knew I was going to be able to get that message across, but winning was a big bonus! 

After the show?
I'm going to invest my money and try to get into dance movies and see what happens. I would also love to come back to the show and choreograph a krump or hip-hop routine; it would be an honor.

The most important thing an aspiring krumper should know:
It’s expression. It's not just about looking good and being the illest: It's about doing what you feel at that moment, in the form of krump. For me, it was just love at first sight, being on the Internet looking at different trailers from the documentary “Rize,” and that just got to me. Then I taught other people to do it, and it just spread.

Any final thoughts?
I just love America!

— Claire Zulkey

Photo credit: Mathieu Young / Fox


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