Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Susie Garcia 

Posted by Sasha at 9:42 PM ET

Fred Gonzales
Jun. 18, 2008

Susie Garcia is looking for your vote.

No, the Miamian is not a late entry in the presidential race. She's one of 18 dancers remaining on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance reality show. Garcia, 25, made it past the first viewer vote and continues her quest on the Wednesday show on WSVN-Fox 7.

A Miami Heat dancer since she was 19, Garcia, who is Cuban, has also danced in videos and shows featuring Kanye West, Diddy and Will Smith. She was also on the Heat dance team when the hoopsters won the NBA title in 2006.

"We had a big party in the arena and everybody was so happy and we just couldn't believe it,'' Garcia said. "It was like Mardi Gras in Miami. And I got a championship ring. It's in my mom's house.''

Garcia trained in dance at the New World School of the Arts, and is currently a high school dance teacher at Ronald Reagan Senior High in Doral.

"I train every day, but if I hear music I am dancing,'' Garcia said. "I love it. It's never a job for me, it's a way of life."

She has a boyfriend ("He is not a dancer") and her mom is planning on attending the show in Los Angeles along with Garcia's best friends.

"They don't believe it and it really hasn't hit me yet,'' Garcia said.

We can't believe she is the only Latina shaking it on the show. We caught up with her recently as she campaigned for votes.

Why did you go to Milwaukee to audition?
They didnt have any auditions in Miami and for me it was was a last-minute decision. I decided I am not gonna be scared, it was the last audition of the show, so I bought a ticket and went.

After your initial audition, when you were sent to choreography, was that like being on the Heat dance team again?
I wouldn't say it was easier for me because they wanted to see my connection with a partner, and you don't have that with the Heat dancers. I wanted them to see I could do more than just Latin dancing.

What was it like in Vegas during the cuts?
There were like 100 dancers and you learn choreography and you go from one style to another to another. And if you make the smallest mistake you are out of the competition. One little slip and your done and going home.

Have you been a big fan of the show?
I remember watching season after season with my mom on the couch and crying and wanting to be there. We had a ritual and every week we would watch it and pick out our favorites. Now it's like I am living out a dream.

Who is the toughest judge?
I think they are all tough. They all look at different things and if one didn't catch it the other will catch it and let you know, so you have to impress them all. They are all very tough to please, but they have to do their job so they can't be easy on you.

What do your fellow Heat dancers think?
The girls are always texting and calling and saying I need to represent Miami well. Miami is so different and when people see our style of dancing, very sassy and out there with colors and attitude, they just want me to [do a good job].

What are your favorite things about Miami?
I love Lincoln Road, walking around there with friends. And I love the beach.

How did they take the news you were pursuing this at Reagan Senior High?
I didn't tell anybody anything because I was too scared if I got rejected. So I kept it very quiet and when they saw the auditions and found out, they were like, 'Ms. Garcia, I can't believe you didn't tell us.' And principal Douglas Rodriguez was very supportive. He told me to go ahead, that not everyone gets a chance to live your dream.

Why do you think so many people think they can dance, when actually they have no business dancing?
Everybody has their rhythm and passion that drives you to dance. Once you get that feedback and someone tells you that you're not there yet, you need to move on and take lessons and training. Some people think it's easy but dancers take all kinds of training. They don't know that this is really hard. You need to train to do what we do, and work at this.

Why should you win?
I really feel like there hasn't been that Latin flavor on the show, that sassy attitude. You hear about dancers from New York and Chicago and L.A., but in Miami we are great dancers and I hope to be the dancer to bring Miami up a notch. We have a different style here in Miami and I am hoping people see that, vote and represent the Latino.

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