Ever wonder what it takes to be one of America's favorite dancers? Valerie Rockey, 20, from Indianapolis, started dancing when she was 3.
Her first dance teacher saw a picture of Rockey on her father's desk and recommended he take his daughter to a dance class. Seventeen years later, she auditioned for the 11th season of "So You Think You Can Dance," Fox's reality TV dance competition, and placed second.
Rockey will be performing at the Lyric along with the other Top 10 dancers from Season 11 and some of the show's veteran all-stars. The show, part of a live tour series, is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.
Rockey talked with b about her time on the show and what she gained from the experience.
What led you to audition for "So You Think You Can Dance"?
I moved out to L.A. maybe nine months before the auditions and I was just moving out there to dance. I was going to audition just for the experience, really, and my dance teachers were encouraging me to try it. It was kind of last-minute and I went the morning-of and I ended up making it all the way to the end. So it was pretty cool.
What sort of challenges did you face on the show?
Some of the challenges were the rehearsals. They were so long and hard and it was just something I'd never put my body or my mind through. Some of them were 12- to 15-hour days and I just didn't know if my body was going to be able to handle it. But in the end, obviously, we could do it.
What did you learn from the experience?
A big thing I learned was how important it is to just be yourself in whatever you do. I tried my best to be myself throughout the whole experience and I feel like it paid off really well. Also how important hard work is because you can do so much more than what you think you can. I did things that I never thought I would be able to make it through.
Not many tap dancers have been seen on the show. How did it feel to make it so far as a tapper?
Knowing there were two tappers in the finale and that I became the runner-up was just really cool for the tap world because I feel like it isn't as well-known and respected as it could be. So I'm hoping it kind of helps that out and it was just a really good feeling and I was kind of proud of tappers because of it.
What's next for you?
That's a great question. I'm not really sure what's next. I want to just dance as much as I can. I'm kind of waiting until the tour is over because we're with this for so long. I just want to see what doors open after the tour. There are so many things I'd love to do, but I don't know which one will happen or which one will come first, so I'm just going to, once the tour ends, try to get involved in as many dance things as I can and just see what happens from there.