Interview: CEDRIC GARDNER from “So You Think You Can Dance” Top 14

Cedric Gardner

This morning, Daemon’s TV spoke with Cedric Gardner who was eliminated last night from the Top 14 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. Here is what he had to say:

Daemon’s TV: Hi Cedric
Cedric Gardner: Hey how’s it going?
D: Good, how are you?
C: I’m doing good.

D: Did know you this week was going to be the end of the road for you when you found yourself in the bottom three?
C: Yeah, of course, only because of what Nigel said early in the competition you know. So yeah that’s why I kind of thought I was going home.

D: Do you wish you done something different with your solo routine, or do you think that wouldn’t have made a difference?
C: Why would you ask that?
D: Well, I don’t know, do you think you gave it your all?
C: Yeah, yeah most definitely, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I thought you were saying that “yeah you’re solo wasn’t that good.”
D: Oh no, I think you’re amazing. (laughs) I would never say that, I was rooting for you Cedric.
C: No, I was happy. Another person asked me, “well since you knew you were going home, why did you go for it?” Well, why not go for it you know, I mean I’m still a dancer at heart, so every time I get the chance to dance I’m gonna go for it.

D: Do you think you were treated unfairly? I feel like the judges had already made up their minds.
C: No, I didn’t think I was treated unfairly. They fought for me to be in the competition even beyond this point you know what I mean, so it’s like they’ve done all that they could do and they gave me the chance to not be in the bottom three in the first week with Shauna and we weren’t, and this week you know we were, so they gave that extra chance already. How can I be upset with them? It’s impossible.

D: Where do you get your inspirations for your moves?
C: Cartoons. If you ask anybody, especially if you ask Danny, because Danny’s my roommate, he’s like “man, dude all you watch is cartoons or the history channel” it’s because, I like reality but sometimes you know, you just want to get away from it so either you go in the past like with history or you look at cartoons, that’s how I look at it. So yeah, I get a lot of my inspiration from cartoons.

D: Any specific cartoons?
C: It really doesn’t matter, if something is funny, I don’t really imitate with my body, but I just I try to imitate it in my mind and the feeling from the cartoon that it gave me at the point when I was watching it. I don’t know if that sounds crazy enough but… (laughs)

D: What has this experience brought you?
C: This experience has taught me that you always should be confident in yourself and that if you know you’re gonna audition for something, always be prepared because even if you think you’re not gonna get it, there’s a chance you might get it, so you always want to have your best foot forwards always, you know.
At first it was very challenging but after I got past the point of actually realizing that I was here, and that I was as good as everybody else, and that I was supposed to be here, it gave me a new confidence about myself. It just allowed me to just experience so much, the friendship, everything was just great it was an awesome, awesome experience, and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I have no regrets, because I know a lot of people will say, “well what would you change?” I have no regrets I think that I experienced everything that I was supposed to experience and I went through it, because I needed to go through it, even the comments from the judges, you know. Yes, yes. (laughs)

D: Is there anybody that you will miss more than the others?
C: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Hok and I were really close. I worked on his solo with him last night until like two o’clock in the morning. And Danny and I were really close, of course Jesus and I were really close, and Dominic, we always cooked each other dinners and stuff . It was just like being at a frat house or something, like the boys, we had a lot of fun. I’m definitely gonna miss the boys. The girls were really nice too but I didn’t really bond too much with them as friends, it was really mostly with the guys. So I’m gonna really, really miss pretty much all the guys and Pasha how, man that boy is really goofy man in real life he’s fun to be around, always telling jokes and stuff.

D: So you guys really do get along, it’s not just for TV?
C: No, it’s not just for TV, everybody got along really well. Everybody, even from the beginning. When we were in Vegas, we all went out Hok, and I, and Jesus, we all went out every night dancing, it wasn’t fake at all. Danny too, Danny came out with us a couple of times in Vegas.

D: What advice would you give to someone who would like to try out for “So You Think You Can Dance” next season?
C: Be smart, me saying be smart I mean that understand what your weaknesses and be unique. Try not to be Travis from last year, try not to be Benji, try not to be me, try to be exactly who you are. They’d rather see that than to see you try to imitate somebody. Study, definitely study. If you’re gonna audition for the show understand that this is a solo competition but it’s also duet competition so you absolutely need to study like the mambo. Write down every single dance style that you see us do on the show, and write down two extra ones that you think they might throw in. This year they threw in Krumping and Rumba. I would say the main thing is prepare your mind, also prepare yourself to speak on camera, and let your personality out because that’s gonna get you votes too. It’s just like, if you’re gonna be real on camera or you’re just gonna be fake, you know what I mean. It’s just a lot of stuff, it’s not just a competition of “oh, I’m dancing,” there’s a bigger picture than that, and the people who audition next year, they should definitely know that. Even Alex said that to me, he said “Cedric, did u watch the show last year?,” I said yes, he said “then why didn’t you study man?” I said because I didn’t know I was gonna audition for the show. I decided to audition for the show like a day or two before it actually happened. It’s something you have to prepare for, and if you don’t prepare for it will show. You don’t want any ammunition for judges or people to use against you, you want to know when or as much knowledge as possible. I know I probably said that like five times.
That’s what I really, really learned because I have a younger version of me that wanted to audition, he wanted to audition this year but I held him back I told him “you just need to study more”, so he might be auditioning next year or the year after that, but I told him learn from my mistakes. Definitely study, even if it is ballet, (laughs) you gotta do it all.

D: If you could go back five years in the past what dance would learn?
C: Five years in the past actually I was a dance major at CUWM, Milwaukee, and at point in time I quit because I was so into my own style I didn’t really want to learn anything. So at that time I think I would have stucked with it and continued to do both, that’s what I think. I would have done all the stuff because it was a contemporary based school. That’s another place I get some of my movements from because I did go to a contemporary based school for dance. But yeah, I would have actually stayed in the program. I was only in the program for a year, so you really can’t learn too much in a year, you know.

D: So do you plan on going to Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy since she offered you a full ride to that?
C: You better believe it. You better believe it. Somebody asked me today “so what are you gonna do to relax?” I’m like what’re you talking about relax, this show wasn’t that hard to the point that you need a whole month off to relax, I wanna go study right now, you know what I mean, like today. People will be learning their dances right now, so I’m kind of anxious just to like, I’m at that age, some people have that age when they turn 18 but my age is 23, where I just want to learn as much as possible.

D: What are your future projects as far as dancing?
C: There’s something coming up, there’s something coming up. I don’t think I’m at liberty to say yet, but there’s stuff coming up. So who knows, you guys might see me on a couple of TV shows or something. I don’t know exactly, but there’s something coming up. There’s some talk. So, anything like I said is studying. One of the people I’ve looked up to on the show is Danny, because he is so conscious of his body, how he turns and stuff, I want to be able to do that so bad. That takes a long time to get. And that’s one of my goals, just to be able to spin like that.

D: If you weren’t a dancer what would you be?
C: An engineer, a toy engineer. When I said toy company, I wasn’t talking about action figures and stuff animals and dolls, I was talking more like artsy, toy cars, remote control cars, remote control airplanes things of that nature that’s what I was talking about.

D: If you could be on any other reality show, which one would it be?
C: Any other reality show, that’s funny you say that (laughs)…um… I would say “Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” that one’s cool. Other than that, like another game show I would say…I don’t.. oh there is one actually now that you say that the “Treasure Hunter” one, you know what I’m talking about? When they run around and they try to find a treasure?
D: Really, do you think you’d be good at that?
C: Would I be good at that? Yeah actually, I’m a lot smarter in that type of stuff (laughs). Yeah. I would be good at that one, the “Treasure…” I forget the name of the show though, it’s like “Treasure” something, “Treasure Hunters.”

D: What would you like fans to tell you when they see you on the streets?
C: Just be honest. I’d rather people be honest than to be fake, like “oh yeah you were on a TV show and you really killed it, but I didn’t really think you did a good job.” I would rather them be honest. Usually people are. I’ve already had one negative comment. But yeah, I’d rather them be honest than fake.

D: Okay, well thank you Cedric for talking with us.
C: Oh thank you.
D: And good luck with everything.
C: Thanks.

(Photo: Joe Viles/FOX ©2007 FOX BROADCASTING)