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'So You Think You Can Dance': A chat with Alex Wong

July 12, 2010 | 10:55 am
AlexW1_0343F_2 Wednesday night it was announced that, due to an Achilles tendon injury, Alex Wong will be leaving “So You Think You Can Dance,” which was a disappointment to those of us who enjoyed his performances to date, especially his hip-hop routine with all-star Twitch Boss the week before his injury. Alex will undergo surgery for his injury Tuesday, but before that he was able to catch up with journalists on a conference call about his experience on the show and what the future holds.

Did you know that you were injured right away?  What was going through your mind at that point?
Well, I was doing a series of jumps at the end of my Bollywood routine on the Tuesday night rehearsal, and it was actually the last rehearsal, the last time I was going to do that, and it was the last eight counts of the piece. And I landed, and I didn’t even land funny. I just landed. I thought I stepped on something. I heard a crack. I thought the floor buckled or something, which, when I looked down, the floor was flat. So it did not buckle. And I was kind of shocked, and I stopped and then [someone] came onstage, and he looked at my Achilles and he said, “Look, it’s not there. It looks like it’s split in half.”  And so I was so frustrated. I sat there and I just thought to myself, “Better not be hurt. This better not take you out. Because I’ve worked so hard and I’ve given up so much to be here.” And it was just really, really hard.  I was very, very frustrated, and I still am.  But looking back at my journey, I’m very grateful to even be here in the first place.

What’s the procedure going to be like for your recovery?
I’m actually not sure yet because I haven’t been able to speak with my surgeon extensively yet. But I do know that it’s something like you get in a boot. I think at first your foot is kind of pointed, and then they slowly flex it as the weeks go out so that your tendon doesn’t tear.  And then there’s rehab after that, and it’s slow because you’re not supposed to push it too hard because the tendon could tear again.

Did you know that you were going to be leaving? And how heartbreaking is it to leave the show a second time?
Yes, I knew I was going to be leaving because the night before I was pretty sure I had split my Achilles in half. And it’s just been kind of a long couple days to just find out that it wasn’t going to happen. And I had such an amazing journey, and I’m so grateful for everything that’s happened to me. Well, except for any of this. But everything happens for a reason, and I just have to try to keep my chin up.

Obviously it’s disappointing for you to have gone out at this point in the competition, but you were given a lot of praise last week for your routine with Twitch, and that was quite popular, obviously, with viewers as well.  Do you at least feel a little bit better or feel like you went out on a high note with that?
Yes, I do. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of what I set out to do.  But I feel like I wasn’t finished, and I feel like there was so much more I could learn. And so it’s very bittersweet because, even though I have had a few great weeks, it’s just not enough.

If you had been able to stay, what other dance styles would you have liked to have tried, and with what other all-stars would you like to have partnered?
Well, ... just the night before I got injured before the show day I had the foxtrot and the Bollywood. So that was all ready to go. And I would have loved to get a Latin ballroom as well, and anything.  I’m up for all the styles, because there’s no one else who can do that, and this is why I came to the show, to learn.  I would have loved to dance with every single all-star. They are all so amazing and such inspirations, and they help us so much.

Do you think you’ll try to come back in another season? 
I would love to. I would love to experience this, because I feel like my journey wasn’t over. I feel like I have so much more to learn, so it’s definitely something I would think about.

Will you be showing up in the finale, or was last week’s show it for you for this season?
I don’t know. I think it depends on my recovery process. I don’t think that I will be dancing.  Hopefully I get to go to at least watch, though. If something amazing happens and I recover really quickly, who knows?

— Claire Zulkey

Photo credit: Mathieu Young / Fox