If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know the name Tate McRae. But if, like the rest of us, you’re up to date on all things dance, the name Tate McRae has made an impression. The young dancer wowed audiences on the hit FOX show So You Think You Can Dance this past season, in which eight- to 13-year-olds were the Next Generation competitors. McRae placed third (which, quite frankly, shocked most of us who thought she’d win), and gave several truly spectacular performances. She also demonstrated that you can have almost flawless technique and be a seriously beautiful performer at the same time.
Here, Dance Informa catches up with the young dancer about her highlights and challenges from being a contestant on the show, and what she has planned for the near and far future.
What was your favorite aspect of being on SYTYCD?
“My favorite aspect was getting the chance to work with so many choreographers and with all the All Stars. I learned so much and felt myself grow as a dancer each week.”
You and Kathryn had an obvious connection on and off stage. Do you think you will get to work with her again in another way some day?
“I really hope so! I would love to assist her this year or work on another project together. It would be so fun to be in a dance movie with her. Also, it’d be really cool to come back and perform on SYTYCD together for another season.”
What was your favorite routine you performed on the show?
“The salsa with Jonathan was my favorite dance that was out of my comfort zone…but ‘She Used to Be Mine’ with Kathryn, choreographed by Travis Wall, and ‘This Gift’ by Stacey Tookey were two of my favorite contemporary duets.”
Who was your favorite choreographer you worked with on the show?
“That question is too hard to answer! I loved working with all of them. Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, Stacey Tookey, Brian Friedman, Mark Ballas, Tyce Dioro, Chris Scott, Nappytabs, Nick and RJ… I mean how do you even begin to decide!?”
What was the most challenging part about being on SYTYCD?
“The most challenging part was watching your friends go home every week. We created such a strong bond with each other and made friendships that will last a lifetime. We all worked super hard and did not want the process to end. Every Monday night always ended in lots of tears from all of us!”
Share one funny behind-the-scenes moment that still makes you laugh.
“We had so many hilarious moments together, but one of them would have to be when Kathryn’s lip got stuck in this weird folded position in dress rehearsal. She could not get it undone! It happened at rehearsal all the time, but when I looked at her on stage with her lip caught, I thought I was going to laugh out loud!”
What other contestant did you become closest with?
“We all became super close! Emma’s room and my room were right beside each other, so I probably saw her the most. She is like my little sister! I loved getting to know Ruby better; she is hilarious. Tahani and I got along really well, as well. J.T. is so cute, and I loved hanging out with him. Kida is so fun, and we just worked really well together. Jake is a gentleman! I also loved Shaeden – he and I were super close, and it feels like we have known each other forever! Daniela was so sweet!”
What did you learn about yourself throughout the whole SYTYCD experience?
“I learned that it is okay to make mistakes and not to worry about what anyone else thinks. Just be yourself, stay humble, and always work hard!”
What now? Back to school and dance like normal? Or do you have other plans in mind?
“Back to school! Back to training! I have not had a ballet class in two-and-a-half months. Time to get back to the barre and get my body back in shape.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
“Hopefully I will be working professionally as a dancer, singer or actress. I would love to be on Broadway or dancing in a company!”
By Allison Gupton of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Contestant Tate McRae and All Star Jonathan Perez perform a Salsa routine to ‘Robi-Rob’s Boriqua Anthem’, choreographed by Stephanie Stevenson, on ‘SYTYCD’. Photo courtesy of FOX, by Adam Rose.