A star behind the stars: 'SYTYCDC' alumnus Kim Gingras dances on 'X Factor'
When casting the dancers for “The X Factor,” creative director Brian Friedman was looking for “stars behind the stars.” Out of 600 dancers, he chose So You Think You Can Dance Canada alumnus, Kim Gingras.
“It’s a dream job!” says the Montreal dancer from the second season of SYTYCDC who is now living in L.A. and dancing up a storm.
Out of the hopefuls, Friedman chose 10 female dancers, and four male dancers who were immediately thrown into a whirlwind. In the first episode, Gingras performed six numbers, in all different styles and learned all of the choreography in a single day.
“It’s definitely a lot of work, especially working with Brian Friedman,” says Gingras. “He’s such a phenomenal choreographer and dancer and he definitely expects perfection.”
Not only do the dancers learn all of the choreography in a single day, they have to be ready to change the movement at any point.
“Sometimes we’ll be on stage and (Brian Friedman) will say, ‘OK Kim and So-and-so, switch spots, so you’re doing it backwards now and five, six, seven, eight – ’ and all of a sudden you have to be able to do the whole dance in the opposite direction,” Gingras laughs. “It’s such good training!”
Gingras reveals her time on “SYTYCDC” helped prepare her for this new gig. “It definitely helped a lot – just knowing how live shows work, knowing where to look at the cameras and all of the quick changes (backstage),” she says.
“SYTYCDC” also taught her how to switch genres quickly and dance on a ‘slippery’ stage, she laughs.
But the “X Factor” stage isn’t just slippery, Gingras says. “Because there are lights in the stage, there are cracks everywhere and your heels can get caught. It’s a lot to work with, but it’s part of the whole process and I’m sure we’ll get used to it in time.”
After learning the choreography, the dancers rehearse with the singers, and after they figure out the spacing and formations, they start rehearsing in costume. “Every day there’s something new to work with,” Gingras says.
For Dexter Haygood’s routine in the first live episode, Gingras says the outfits and the heels were comfortable, but the sunglasses the dancers wore didn’t feel as good as they looked.
“They were rectangular and wide, so you have to be careful not to hit the sides when you were dancing,” Gingras says, “but the hardest part was with the lights – I could see the reflection of the girls behind me. So I was on stage, trying to focus on what was in front of me, with the lights and the movement, with a clear view of the people behind me. It was so confusing!”
But the challenge is worth it, she says. “The judges are all so sweet and seem really happy to have us as a part of the team. They are such great mentors to their category. You can tell they really care.”
Gingras is excited to work with more of the competitors in upcoming weeks, and though she says she doesn’t yet have a favourite, she loved performing Astro’s opening number – a cover of Kris Kross’ “Jump.”
“He is so young and so talented and he writes his own lyrics,” Gingras says. “I’m excited to see where this show takes him.”
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, Lindsay’s highlights include criss-crossing Canada on four SYTYCDC audition tours and covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!