We all know Christopher “Lil‘ C” Toler as a verbose judge and hip hop specialist on So You Think You Can Dance. A pioneer of Krump and a well-known performer and choreographer in the hip hop scene, Lil’ C may be a man of many words – but he knows what he’s talking about. Lil C will once again be a judge on the SYCTYD panel this new season and Dance Informa spent a few minutes with him during the auditions to talk about his time with the show.
What are you looking for when you’re judging Season Eight?
When I’m judging I’m looking for a number of things. I’m looking for authenticity, for individualism and a connection to the music and heart. Technique only goes so far. Technique is taught, but ‘essence’ – that’s not taught. It’s discovered, developed, learned and honed.
SYTYCD has been a television phenomenon. What do you think is SYTYCD’s secret to success?
I don’t even think there’s a secret, it’s think it’s just a success! The things that have been going on in dance have always been going on, but SYTYCD has created a funnel to showcase this and make people aware of what is going on in dance. There are so many revolutionary things going on in this industry that people haven’t even caught up to yet.
The fact that SYTYCD is now on the radar of middle America and reaching the masses makes people aware of what we are really doing. We as dancers are athletes. We are just as athletic as Kobe and LeBron. The things that we can do with our bodies are amazing like our muscle elasticity and our rhythm – it’s crazy. The fact that SYTYCD showcases that makes it a success.
How do you think SYTYCD has changed the street dance scene?
It’s definitely opened eyes to what is going on in the ‘urban culture’. It is urban dance – it’s under the radar and people are oblivious to it. Having a platform that showcases urban dance only strengthens the education about it. SYTYCD is educational as well as entertaining and that is a recipe for impeccability!
What is the highlight of being a part of SYTYCD for you?
The highlight is being able to do all three things – being able to choreograph, judge, and perform as well. Whether I’m hitting the stage with Russell or dancing with Twitch, it’s great. And then to see these dancers grow into the amazing artists and physical expressionists that they become, it just warms my heart. It’s being more than a judge; you’re helping them develop themselves.
Watch Season 8 of SYTYCD on Fox!