By Hilary Weissman> Junior> Journalism> University of Maryland
On paper, she’s the picture of the Type A overachiever you sat next to in high school; a blonde cheerleader, competitive dancer, a good student and volunteer at a children’s tutoring program, but 19-year-old Phoenix native Lauren Froderman’s major talent and warm personality leapt beyond the impressive resume when she won the title of America’s Favorite Dancer for season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox.
“My parents always pushed me to be involved in school, and to enjoy that time. I didn’t want to give dance up so I just had to make it work,” she said of her jam-packed high school schedule. “There were some times that it got really stressful, but I think the secret to it was that I truly loved everything I was doing.”
She shed her good-girl façade immediately with her suggestive contemporary-style audition to the song “Let’s Get It On” and went on to prove she could master ballroom, hip-hop and even a Tahitian cross between hula and belly-dancing. “I loved working with all the All Stars [contestants from past seasons], but Pasha was my favorite by far,” she said. “He helped so much with my ballroom [technique] and my confidence, and he’s a really good person to boot.”
She also wowed in her own dance style, a fan-favorite performance being her high school prom-themed and emotional contemporary dance with Kent, choreographed by Travis Wall. “I’m pretty sure it was the first time that contestants got to actually dance with each other, which we had been wanting for a long time; that dance was a lot of fun,” she said.
Some other high points from her experience were when the judges, choreographers and former dancers Adam Shankman and Mia Michaels, shared particularly glowing commentary towards the finale. “Adam said he wanted to hire me, and Mia said if she were still dancing she would want to dance like me. I could not believe they said that.”
Her dimpled smile and petite frame gave way to her competitive zest for a good challenge, winning the audience’s votes and the chance to partner with Gatorade; she’s the first dancer to be a sponsored athlete.
Sounding hoarse in between tour performances with the season’s top contestants and All Stars, Froderman stopped to chat as best as she could with CM in Boston. Other notable cities she enjoyed touring include New York City, “there’s nothing like dancing on stage at Radio City Music Hall,” and Miami.
While most of her peers are off at college, and other So You Think You Can Dance alum have gone on to gigs with Dancing With the Stars and Glee, Froderman plans to continue dancing as long as she can. But after helping middle school students in their ESL classes, she dreams of one day going to school to become a teacher. “As of right now I wont be going this year, but maybe next fall…or I might have to push it back another year depending on where my career takes me,” she said.
What’s next for Froderman is up in the air; she says a dancer’s road is rocky and strained but worth it in the end. “After tour is over I am going to be in a dance convention—dance classes that tour all over the country with other choreographers,” she said. “Then I’ll just be auditioning trying to get other jobs.”
Luckily she has friends who can relate among her co-competitors on tour. During their rare moments of down time, they watch movies, take each other’s dance classes and sometimes even have food fights. “When we’re not dancing, we’re still dancing,” she says, “We are pretty upbeat and hyper people so we like to keep things going.”
A fan of all things cheesy, America’s reigning “Favorite Dancer” geared up for our hot seat!
What’s your favorite…?
Movie: It’s a really cheesy cartoon called “The Last Unicorn.” Don’t judge me, but I make everyone watch it.
Guilty TV pleasure: “Parental Control”; I don’t really tell my friends I watch it but I find it so hilarious and cheesy.
Dance Movie: Nothing can beat Center Stage; I brought it with me to watch on tour. But seeing Step Up 3 was so cool, and the dance scenes were amazing. It was so inspiring to see people that I know, like [All Star] Twitch, be so successful.