Max Kapitannikov and Ashley Valerio, the two eliminated dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, speak to SheKnows before heading home.
Max Kapitannikov: QnA
SheKnows: Any regrets from your So You Think You Can Dance experience?
Max Kapitannikov: No, I wouldn’t do anything different about anything what I did on the show. Looking back, I think I did the best that I could.
SheKnows: When the camera is rolling and you’re about to dance, what races through your head?
Max Kapitannikov: I have to say that I’m pretty focused when I’m on stage. Of course thousands of thoughts went through your head, but you just have to kind of zoom in on what you’re about to do. Just kind of visualize the routine before you’re going to do it and just go for it.
SheKnows: Did you have any idea you were leaving before Cat read your name?
Max Kapitannikov: Well, I kind of predicted that I was going to leave when the judges were giving us their comments.
SheKnows: Was your mom your ballet teacher growing up?
Max Kapitannikov: Yes, definitely. Growing up, in fact in Russia we would go to the school where she would teach so I had to join the class and spend a lot of time at the facility — so that gave me some background. Yes, kind of weird different because she was so used to holding the class in her own way and she had to be different with me. She had to be a teacher and a mom at the same time so it was a difficult task for her, I think. It was kind of different when a parent teaches a kid as opposed to just a parent teaching just a regular student, you know?
SheKnows: Believe me, I know. Try taking piano lessons from a professional pianist-mom! Now, as a ballroom dancer, you’re used to performing with someone — is a ‘dance for your life’ solo a difficult task on So You Think You Can Dance?
Max Kapitannikov: Because it’s only 30 seconds, I don’t think it’s really difficult for a ballroom dancer to do a solo, for 30 seconds especially.
SheKnows: What will you take away from this experience?
Max Kapitannikov: What I’m going to take away from this experience is just everything that I learned hopefully I will keep on building myself and won’t forget all the comments from the judges and the choreographers that I was able to take away.
SheKnows: What is next for Max?
Max Kapitannikov: What am I up to next? Just to keep on growing myself, just taking classes and just maybe auditioning for other things. We’ll see. I haven’t really thought about it yet.
SheKnows: Who are you rooting for now?
Max Kapitannikov: I am rooting for everyone. I think everyone has an equal opportunity to win the show, so may the best one win. I’m going to keep watching and voting for the one who stands out.
Ashley Valerio: QnA
SheKnows: So, Ashley, your turn! You first moved to Hollywood to become a dancer?
Ashley Valerio: You know, I moved out to Hollywood to be a dancer and I ended up just teaching and not really auditioning and not really doing what I wanted. And then the show came along. It just kind of all came together.
SheKnows: Has your life changed?
Ashley Valerio: I think so. I think it’s going to change in a huge way. I think the show will open many doors and I’m really excited about that.
SheKnows: Working with Kupono on what ended up being your last danceâ€¦
Ashley Valerio: You know what, I actually felt like me and Kupono performed that dance the best that we possibly could, I think. I re-watched it just to kind of see where we went wrong and what we could have done better. I think there’s always room for improvement, but I think we looked great. I really don’t have any regrets about what we did. I got a lot of good comments, a lot of good feedback from other professional dancers that thought that the dance was really, really good and high energy. You know, some people like you and some people don’t and it’s all a judgment game and you can’t please everyone.
SheKnows: How do you think Kayla and Kupono will do now as a couple?
Ashley Valerio: I think Kayla and Kupono are going to be phenomenal together because I know working with Kupono he was a great, great person and great partner. He always made me smile, we were always laughing, and I think he’ll bring out the best in Kayla.
SheKnows: What do you make of Little C’s loquacious manner of speaking in beautiful expansive sentences?
Ashley Valerio: Well, you know, it’s nice because, me, I’m kind of a very intellectual person. You know when he speaks, I’m not like the most brilliant person but he gets me a little bit. I kind of get him. It’s just exciting because he gets really deep and sometimes I can get a little deep too, so it’s great and I can take a lot of great, great things from him.
SheKnows: What did you take away from SYTYCD?
Ashley Valerio: You know, I came into this competition kind of selfish and all about me. You know, ‘I want to get into the top 20.’ And being around all these phenomenal dancers and people, I just really grew to love them. What I’m going to take away from it is obviously, I’m going to be a better dancer than when I came in, but it’s the friendships that really changed who I was and I just really love them a lot. I’ll take that with me and I’ll have that forever. Right now I feel like I’m on top of the world because I got to work with two of my most favorite choreographers in the world — Wade Robson and Mia Michaels — and they both pushed me past my limits and I feel like a stronger person and a stronger dancer and I’m excited to take on more things.
SheKnows: What’s next for Ashley Valerio?
Ashley Valerio: I have no idea. I kind of just want to go out and just audition a lot, for anything.