After waiting 16 hours for her chance to make it on national TV, communications sophomore Carly Blaney sprinted to the audition room as one of the “So You Think You Can Dance” producers called out for one more contemporary dancer.
“I ran up to the stage,” Blaney said, “Simon (Fuller, one of the show’s judges) loved my enthusiasm.”
She was the last contemporary dancer the judges pushed through to Vegas Week, where she competed with 200 other dancers from across the country for a spot on the show. Ten men and women would be chosen to perform on the show at the end of the week, she said.
Blaney made it through to the last round.
“I was so confident with my last performance,” she said. “It was a contemporary routine. It was what I grew up doing.”
Blaney was told she had made it on the show.
“Then the producers called us all onto the stage again,” she said. “My heart dropped.”
The producers had not cut enough people, she said. Blaney was the last one to be cut.
“It was such a great experience,” Blaney said. “I am going to definitely try out again.”
As a young girl growing up in a small New Jersey town, she would steal her sister’s tutus and mimic her dances. Her parents signed her up at Studio L Dance Co., where her older sister danced, when she was 2. Blaney has been dancing ever since.
She took summer classes in New York City and would take a train and the subway to make it to her studio in the city, she said. There, she would spend most of her day practicing, learning and perfecting her technique.
Blaney began to overwork herself in the studio. When she was 12, she began to experience muscle spasms that have led to hip pain.
“The doctors said I have been overworking my body,” Blaney said. “They said I didn’t have a condition they could treat.”
Blaney made it on the Arizona State Dance Team as a freshman and has been on the team ever since. That year, she traveled with the team to nationals, where it placed second.
The team was selected to represent Team USA at the International Cheer Union World Championship in May. A dance choreographed to an acoustic version of the ballad “Titanium“ won the team first place at the event.
Blaney said it was an amazing experience to compete against people from all around the world.
“It was crazy how people from other countries were treating us,” she said. “They would ask for autographs and to take pictures with us. We were looked as celebrities.”
Blaney’s team members, including biological sciences sophomore Ashley Gilbreath, admire her dedication to the sport.
“She is such a great person,” Gilbreath said. “She never gives up, and she cares so much about people and our team.”
Public relations sophomore Ashton Meisner joined the dance team with Blaney their freshman year and has watched her grow on the team.
“Whenever she has a problem or she has an injury, she never gives up,” Meisner said. “She pushes through it. None of us even know she is ever in pain.”
Blaney’s muscle spasms have caused her to sit on the sidelines while her team cheered on the field.
Meisner said Blaney is always so positive, and she always brings great energy to the team that helps them push through the long practices.
“She is a great person and is so humble,” she said. “She will never acknowledge how good she is.”
Blaney said she would love to become captain her senior year and hopes she is qualified for the position in the future.
She is looked up to as a leader in the on the team already and has even choreographed parts of the half-time routines for football games, Meisner said.
“She is seen as a leader, because she has great leadership qualities,” Meisner said. “She is so talented. Everyone can look up to her.”
Meisner said that as she experiences new things and grows older, she will become an even stronger leader on the team.
Blaney said she would love to go on tour with a performer, preferably Katy Perry, and that she hopes to one day inspire young people to realize their full potential.
“I want to be the best I can be,” Blaney said. “That is why I work so hard.”
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