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Alexis Juliano is an award-winning dancer, teacher, and choreographer, best known as a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Being a huge fan of SYTYCD and still in awe of the production of STOMP I saw in London in 2005, I was pumped to chat with Ms. Juliano about her journey and what she believes makes STOMP must see family entertainment.

The Joyous Living – Alexis, thanks for taking time to chat! First of all congrats on your memorable time on SYTYCD Season 10 representing tap. You must have been so excited to see fellow tapper Gaby Diaz win the title two seasons later. Can you tell us what your favourite memory from your SYTYCD experience was?

Alexis Juliano – Yes, probably my last routine before I got cut I did by Sonya Tayeh and it was probably my best piece on the show (“Ashes”). I remember the producer watched and he was like I have no notes for you, that was beautiful, your phenomenal. But then I got cut that night but that was still probably my favorite memory. Getting to work with Sonya – she’s phenomenal.

The Joyous Living – How do you think your SYTYCD experience helped prepare you for future jobs such as STOMP?

Alexis – It helped me realize this is what I want to do for the rest of my life – perform, dance, train long hours. When I first got the show, we had to train for 5 weeks from like 9 a.m. till like 6 p.m. every day. If I hadn’t done SYTYCD I don’t think I could have handled those long days as I had never really done that before in the competition dance studio environment. Long rehearsal days with SYTYCD helped get my endurance and stamina up and helped me realize what the real dance world is like.

The Joyous Living – Speaking of STOMP, what was your audition like? Did they immediately have you doing percussion with pipes and brooms, etc?

Alexis – It was a three day process. The first day we walked in and we did body percussion solos in a circle and then the next day they had us do brooms – they taught us how to use them and we did a quick exerpt from the brooms routine and we did more hands and feet. The third day we did lids solos and went back and forth with someone else dancing with our lids making shapes and stuff and a full bar drumming solo on these big blue drums we have in the show. They want to see your personality and what kind of character you’d bring to the show.

The Joyous Living – Had you played any instruments prior to being cast in STOMP?

Alexis – Nope, I came in strictly as a dancer.

The Joyous Living – With tap you are making music with your feet/shoes. Does that added musicality background help you when approaching a show like STOMP?

Alexis – Definitely! Being a tap dancer I have a better sense of rhythm and count when I am dancing. I wasn’t a drummer but I knew how to read some music and where the pockets were.

The Joyous Living – Would you say the majority of performers with STOMP have a dance background or a percussion background?

Alexis – 50/50. Everyone has different backgrounds and we even have a singer and a couple actors on our tour right now.

The Joyous Living – After being with the show for five years, how do you keep it fresh?

Alexis – Even though the numbers haven’t changed, so many other things have. Even if you see a show tonight and tomorrow night it is going to be a completely different show. The cast will be switched out, the comedy aspects will be different (different jokes and gags), and what’s awesome is that there is about 25% of the show that is improvised by the cast where we can mess around, have some leniency and fun and make our own changes so we won’t get over it quickly. As long as it fits the show we can choose our own costumes and musically there are a lot of solos we have that we can change up every night. Keeps it fresh and exciting.

 

The Joyous Living – What is your favorite routine to perform every night? Is there something about the show that still gives you goodies every time?

Alexis – I think I have two favorites. I love “Brooms” because it is a staple. You hear STOMP, you think of the “Brooms” number. Also I love “Suspension” where you are drumming and you are hanging on cages and flying in the air while drumming. It’s a lot of fun. The goosebumps come from watching the children in the audience reacting to what’s happening on stage and seeing them mimic what we are doing and drumming with their hands.

The Joyous Living – What has such a unique show as STOMP taught you as a choreographer?

Alexis – I learned more about rhythm and how to use different time signatures. The creators of the show kind of put different time signatures together and they’ll do like a 3/4 time and a 4/4 time or like a 3/4 and a 4/5. The way they are able to lay rhythms on top of each other and split up rhythms – that opened my eyes (in tap specifically) that one person does this rhythm and one person does this other rhythm and we’ll overlap it and it’ll make this one beautiful song. Before STOMP I didn’t know how to split up music like that and have different people be in charge of different rhythms. So that’s cool.

The Joyous Living – In your own words, what is a fun realize people should come out to see STOMP?

Alexis – Aside from the great music and artistry, it is hilarious and people don’t always realize that. People are laughing so hard they have tears in their eyes.

A huge thank you to Alexis for taking the time to chat with us about her journey on STOMP. If you’re in the Thousand Oaks/Los Angeles area, be sure to catch her and the cast of STOMP at The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on March 12th at 7:30pm.

ALEXIS JULIANO (Performer) is an award-winning dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She is best known as a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance.” She has performed as a part of Tap Kids, the Hands Down Tap Project, Tap N Time, Jarod Grimes Underground Tap, Universal Studios’ Winter Parade, Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Gala, Capezio A.C.E. Awards, “So You Think You Can Dance” Tour and the Fox Presentation of “Grease LIVE!” She would like to thank Mom, Dad, Kristin and Joey for their continued support. Also huge thank you to Luke, Steve, and Fiona for giving her this opportunity.

Show: STOMP (Non Equity Tour)