Vancouverites will have extra incentive to set their dials to So You Think You Can Dance Canada tonight, as two of the recently unveiled Top 20 dancers hail from the Rainy City.

Emanuel Sandhu and Taylor James trumped hundreds of dancers to earn a spot on the show, and said they hope to make their hometown proud on the first episode of the competition, which will air tonight.

Persistence pays off for former Olympian

Emanuel Sandhu said earning a spot on So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s Top 20 is a testament to the value of persistence and hard work.

Last season, Sandhu was cut from the show during finals week in Toronto, but the judges urged him to take the year to train and re-audition.

On Sunday, he was picked from roughly 200 finalists to be on the show because, Sandhu said, he took the judges’ advice to heart.

“I made a commitment to work my buns off and get in the dance studio,” he said yesterday.
“So when I made the Top 20 I was the happiest boy in the world.”

Sandhu, a three-time national figure-skating champion and two-time Olympian, said being an athlete has prepared him for the tough competition ahead.

“Competition ... is not something new to me, although it’s very unfamiliar territory to (be) dancing on stage,” he said.


Vancouverite goes from spectator to star

Vancouver dancer Taylor James said it’s surreal to have gone from watching his favourite show on the couch to starring in it.

“Being on (So You Think You Can Dance Canada) after years of being a huge fan and seeing how much work goes into the production — it’s insane,” James said yesterday.

He said that having trained in contemporary, jazz and hip hop has made him versatile as a dancer and able to adapt to many styles, but likened other genres — like ballroom — to “learning Chinese in two days.”

“This is unlike any experience I’ve ever had,” he said.

“It’s definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my career, but the most exciting thing as well.

“I’m here to represent the West Coast. There’s only two of us here, and I hope I can make (British Columbians) proud.

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