By Christopher Heide
Chosen Magazine had the opportunity to interview Casey Askew and Jessica Richens, two finalists from the 11th season of So You Think You Can Dance. The tour hits Seattle this week; check out the interview below!
What was your favorite number from the season and/or the tour?
Casey: My favorite number from the season was definitely first contemporary number with Jessica, which was choreographed by Travis Wall. I feel like it was the first time I really came into my own during that moment on the show. On tour, my favorite number is ‘Bang Bang’, the song by Ariana Grande and Jessie J. It’s so full of energy and so much fun to perform.
Jessica: My favorite routine on the show was My Immortal, which was beautifully choreographed by Mandy Moore. I agree with Casey about the tour. My favorite number is ‘Bang Bang’. It’s such a crowd-pleaser!
What inspired you to dance?
Casey: Definitely my fellow dancers, both the one’s I trained with and my fellow dancers from the Top 14 on tour. It’s amazing to work with so many dancers who are good at so many different genres. It helps me to become good at other styles and helps me push to expand my training.
Jessica: My parents originally put me into dance when I was really young and I just fell in love with it. I grew up watching So You Think You Can Dance. It inspired me to pursue my love of dancing.
What is your favorite genre to perform?
Casey: I would have to say contemporary. There is just something special about being able to convey my emotions through dance. Contemporary is a great stress reliever. I can really channel all my emotions into a contemporary routine and really connect with the audience.
Jessica: My favorite style is a tossup between jazz and contemporary. I love Jazz because is really fun and loud. It allows me to really show off more of my technique. I love contemporary because it also allows me to show off my technique, while using my emotions to tell a deeper story. Contemporary is the easiest genre to connect with.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Casey: My biggest obstacle has been the insane amount of shows we have been doing. I think we are on our 60th show by now. It’s a huge tour and it can be a challenge to find something new and exciting in each show as a dancer. In fact, we hit a bit of a rut in the middle of our tour because we were doing the same dances every night. I try to strive to reinvent myself and my dances each night. This is what professional dancing is all about, so I’ve learned to appreciate moments every night I perform.
Jessica: My biggest obstacle has been to overcome my shoulder injury. I had the injury the whole time I was on the show. It was something that was mentally and physically hard to accept, knowing that there are certain things I can’t do anymore and that I might never fully heal.
What is something your fans might not know about you?
Casey: Oh, I’ve got a good one! My ears are extremely small. Like really, really small. It’s one of the first things people notice when they meet me in person. They funny on someone who is as big as I am! Also, I cannot drink anything without chewing ice at the same time. It’s just a weird little habit I have!
Jessica: I’m really obsessed with Disneyland. I've had an annual pass since I was in the 7th grade.
How to you feel about Mary Murphy leaving So You Think You Can Dance?
Casey: I am super upset. Not only is she hilarious, but she also provide great technical feedback since she was a dancer. I’m upset that the new season doesn't get to have the opportunity to work with her like we did.
Jessica: Mary was always really supportive of us, so it’s really a bummer. At the same time, it’s great to get some fresh faces on the judging panel, like Jason Derulo and Paula Abdul. She is an iconic face, so the show is really lucky to have her.
Casey, you are originally from Seattle. Does that make you a Seahawks fan?
Casey: Oh my god, yes! I went a bit crazy watching the game last week, especially when it looked like the Seahawks might lose. I pretty much freaked out the entire game. I’m really happy to be back in Seattle this weekend and I’ll definitely be watching the Super Bowl to support my team.
Jessica: I can vouch for that! He did freak out a lot!