Fox’s hit dance show So You Think You Can Dance returned May 14 for its tenth season, and its Feburary 21 auditions from the Boston Opera House aired May 28. Boston native and A&S ’15 film studies student John Tesoriero performed with beat boxer Gene Shinozaki and impressed the judges enough to continue through to the choreography round.
Gavel Media: How long have you been dancing? Who inspires you?
John: I have been dancing since I was in seventh grade. I used to breakdance and even started my own breakdancing group in high school called ‘St. John’s Prep Break’. I started hip-hop during my freshman year of college, and ever since, have been in love with it because it allows me to have my own style. Some of my biggest inspirations are Les Twins, Ian Eastwood, Brian Puspos, and Jerome Esplana, search them up, they will inspire you too!
Gavel Media: How do you balance dancing and school?
John: I believe that if there is something or someone that is important to you, you will make time for it/them. Lack of time is no excuse. I used to commute Tuesdays and Thursdays to go to school. It’s a two hour commute both ways so four hours each day. I would sleep, read, study, and do my homework in the train. I also had a part time job, and danced with UPrising Dance Crew. Sure it is challenging to manage it all, but I look at people who are busier than me and remind myself that I do not have it that bad, so I cannot complain.
Gavel Media: When did you decide to form UPrising? Did you ever think such a young group would place two years in a row at ALC Showdown?
John: I co-founded UPrising with Brandon Moye in September of 2011. Honestly, I just wanted to give people an opportunity to be part of a dance family. Brandon and I wanted to inspire others who were afraid to dance. In our first year, UPrising won Showdown, placed third at Prelude New England, was a finalist at Kollaboration Boston, and performed at the World of Dance. Then our second year we placed at Showdown again. We were so humbled by it all. I did not expect any of it. We are happy to just showcase our own style to the world. To be recognized is truly a blessing and a huge honor for us.
Gavel Media: How long have you and Gene Shinozaki known each other? Where is he from?
John: Before our auditions, I had known Gene for a few weeks. We met twice before auditions to come prepare the concept, but most of the audition was freestyle. Gene is from Boston as well and his family is Japanese. Gene is known around Boston as that “Boston beat boxer guy.” Gene is also lead singer of a band “DC Wonder.”
Gavel Media: When did you decide to audition for SYTYCD? What was the audition process like? Why did you feel season 10 was the right time to audition?
John: I decided to audition because my friends were encouraging me to. They believed in me so I figured I might as well give it a shot. I am not allowed to go into details, but I will say this: I have never been more nervous in my life. The stage, the audience, the judges, being on national television, it all adds up. As I was on stage, I realized that millions of people would be watching from across the country. Season 10 is only the beginning for me. I was happy with the outcome. Honestly, I did not expect anything, I just went with a positive mind to have fun and showcase my art to the judges. I was lucky enough to make it past the first few auditions that allowed me to have a solo. Making it to choreography was intense. I was paired with one of the best dancers in the dance scene. I had never done ballroom or contemporary, so this was a challenge for me. Being featured on Fox.com/Dance and on television was only a dream; I never expected they would come to life.
Gavel Media: How did it feel for judge Nigel Lythgoe to call your performance "a piece of art"?
John: I blushed! Nigel has seen some of the best dancers in the world in his days and for him to compliment me is unreal. Ms. Hot Tamale (judge Mary Murphy) loved the fact that my performance had never been done before in 10 seasons. But perhaps the biggest comment came from guest judge Adam Shankman when he said, “You are a born entertainer there is no question about that you are so interesting and funny.” I think my heart stopped beating for just a few seconds. I truly value the judges’ opinions and I am happy that they believe in me. I agree with them that this year, I would get crushed by the show because I have never had formal training in other styles, I am only self-taught. However, I have been training ever since auditions. I will bring my very best next year if they have a season 11. I am not satisfied with my dancing yet, and will continue to train until I am. Most of all, I will stay ambitious.
Gavel Media: What are you looking forward to the most on the show?
John: The show has really connected me with fans from all around the country. I have also networked with many people who are still on the show. I will be cheering for my friends who make it top 20 and expect to see something new and exciting this season. Perhaps another animator? Only way to find out is to tune in to the season on Fox.
Gavel Media: How has your UPrising team responded to your audition?
John: My family in UPrising has been very supportive. They allowed me to take time off from the team for the spring and have given me the confidence boost that I needed. I am truly blessed to have danced with the people of UPrising. They have showed me tons of love and support.