‘SYTYCD’ finalist Ade Obayomi: ‘Whoa, this is really happening!’
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Chapman University dance student Ade Obayomi, 20, sounds like a kid in a candy store when it comes to ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ at least compared with some of his more camera-shy fellow contestants. ‘I can’t wait for everything to be in full force: lights, staging, the audience members, the judges,’ Obayomi said. It obviously helps he has lots of support not only from his fellow contestants on the show but also from his teachers at Chapman University, where he just completed his freshman year. ‘They were like, ‘Follow your dream!’ ‘ And it seems that is precisely what Obayomi is doing.
Q: How does it feel to be one of the younger contestants on the show? AO: It’s fun, I’m not the youngest, but I like being the younger kid because I have people to look up to. I have big brothers, I feel like, and then a little brother. It’s fun. I’m glad I’m in the middle and not really the oldest or the youngest.
Q: Is Chapman primarily where you dance or do you also take classes and get involved with other places outside of school? AO: That’s where I take dance because I’m a dance major, so we have a dance department and a dance schedule. I go to regular school also, but that’s pretty much where I’ve been taking class this past year and then completing my freshman year, but it’s been fun. College dance is totally different than competitive dance that I was used to or any other type of dance, so it’s a different world, but it’s a good experience.
Q: Has the show interfered with your studies at Chapman? AO: I auditioned in L.A., so I just took a day off from school and then auditioned. During Vegas week, I had to let my teachers know I was going to be gone for a week, for which they were supportive. They were like, ‘Follow your dream! That will be great!’ All my psychology teachers and my English teachers were so into it because they like the show and everything. They were supportive, which was good for me because they were easy and weren’t too stressed about me being gone. And then I told them I made it through Vegas week and they were really excited and hoping good things. When we had to go to ‘green mile,’ it was the day after school had ended for me, so finals and everything were over, so it worked out perfectly.
Q: Was this your first time auditioning? AO: I actually auditioned last year and made it through Vegas and got cut during ballroom, and then I auditioned and made it through this year, so woo-hoo!
Q: Are you a fan of the show then too? AO: I’ve been a fan since the first season. I hadn’t heard of it and I didn’t even know how people auditioned. But ever since Nick [Lazzarini] was on it, I’ve been a fan.
Q: Is there any new genre you’re nervous about learning? Maybe one type of dance you’re not as familiar with?
AO: I actually used to say Bollywood because I hadn’t seen it and I didn’t know what it was. But now I’ve seen the couple practicing Bollywood, and it looks fun! I’m no longer scared of that. It’s more of just technique, but it looks fun and entertaining, so I’m excited to do Bollywood now. I’m probably afraid of foxtrot just because there is a lot of technique and you have to make it look easy, even though it’s hard. The different techniques of ballroom that I’m not used to look the hardest for me right now.
Q: What do you think the show will do for your career? AO: Hopefully this is the start of something big because the show does open a lot of doors for many opportunities. It’s a great thing for dancers to be on this show. I’m just hoping for anything, maybe teach if I can, just dance even more and take it further, just have more experience. I’m getting a sneak peek at the television world by dancing in front of a live audience. The people around me are amazing, so I’m feeding off of their energy and learning about them and their dancing and using that too. Overall, I just want to gain more experience and grow as a dancer.
Q: Are you nervous at all about the televised aspect of the show and to hear from the judges? AO: I think I’m really excited. I can’t wait for everything to be in full force: lights, staging, the audience members, the judges, and it will be like, ‘Whoa, this is really happening!’ We saw the stage for the first time a couple days ago and it was like, ‘Whoa, I am here!’ I think I get too excited so I can’t let my excitement take over my dancing and not be able to perform to my best abilities. It’s like controlling my excitement, but I’m very ecstatic that I’m here and that it’s happening and that, come Wednesday when it airs, it’s going to be official: This is ‘So You Think You Can Dance: Season 5.’
— Kate Stanhope