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July 25, 2007
A chat with Dominic Sandoval


Between yawns, hip-hop dancer and hometown favorite Dominic Sandoval (pictured) says, "It's definitely a blessing and an honor to have made it this far."

For those who don't know, Dominic, 21, is our local contender (Top 10, natch) on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance." I was able to chat with him for about 20 minutes this morning, right after he woke up, right before he starts prepping for tonight's big competition.

After surviving weeks of rumbas and jives with his original dance partner, Sabra Johnson, tonight Dominic will partner with someone new. Here's some of what he had to say:

Q: So, do you have any jitters about dancing with one of the other female contestants?

A: Actually, I'm not too scared about it. I love Sabra to death, but going into this competition, I formed a bond, a chemistry, with each of the girls. That's because I knew I would have to switch anyway. Having danced so much solo during my career, I now love to dance with partners because I can learn more.

Q: The judges sometimes make a big deal about how you are an untrained dancer. If so, has that been an obstacle for you?

A: It's true I haven't had much training, technique-wise. I kind of notice each week, especially with fewer people (contestants), that sometimes I'm the last one to pick things up. It just makes me have to work harder. I practice a lot on my own time. When the others are getting snacks and drinks, I'm still dancing!

Q: Is there a particular choreographer(s) on the show you have enjoyed working with?

A: I loved working with Mia Michaels in Las Vegas. And Wade Robson. They both take dance past an actual movement. They take it to a spiritual level where it includes mind, body and soul. They push that emotion in you.

Q: How tall are you, and has it been tough adjusting to wearing "Dancing" shoes?

A: I'm 5'8" with shoes! I had to wear one-inch heels when we danced the rumba. It's awkward for me to wear any kind of heels.

Q: Which dance style would you say you've felt the most comfortable with?

A: The dance that I drew that I think I got the quickest was the rumba. Initially, I had no clue what the dance was, but it came out all right. Sabra and I looked back at the tapes from last week's jive and thought our technique was sooo off!

Q: What's a day/night like for you and the other contestants? It must be similar to what happens to the "American Idol" finalists.

A: It's about eight hours' of work a day, and that doesn't include the rehearsals. For that, you're on your own to find a space - I've even been to a parking lot to rehearse! When we're working with the choreographers, it's in a studio.

As for the rest of the time, we barely watch TV. There isn't a lot of down time.

Q: You have an affiliation with the Dance Gallery 2 in Roseville. Is that where you got rolling with the break dancing?

A: I lived at the studio the last few years, but (owners) Miss Lucy and Doug (McLemore) probably could tell you I have a hard time showing up for class! Yes, that's where I did most of the hip-hop stuff, and I am learning a lot about choreography.

Q: Judge Nigel Lythgoe mentioned you being from Sacramento last week. Your Roseville fans would like to claim you as their own. What do you think?

A: I was born in Sacramento, and my family moved to Roseville. So, I guess I'm from both cities.

Q: Tell us more about the groups you dance with here.

A: There are two groups. One is a dance/comedy group called Step Boys. My breaking group, which is from Sacramento, is called Flexible Flave.

Q: What do you plan on doing with a dancing career? Do you want to be in videos or perform as a backup dancer?

A: At the beginning of the show, my goal was to get an agent out of this experience. I didn't know I would make it this far. Now, I kind want to do film work.

Q: Have you heard whether or not the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour will come to Sacramento?

A: Absolutely. I don't know the date yet, but we'll be performing at Arco Arena.

So there you have it. Dominic and his new partner (mums the word on that) will dance at 8 tonight on Fox; the results show is at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Again, keep your toes crossed for our hometown hoofer!

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