Interview: ANYA GARNIS from “So You Think You Can Dance” Top 12

Anya Garnis

Today, I was able to interview Anya Garnis, who was eliminated last night on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE.
Anya Garnis began dancing at the age of nine and studied at a Russian dance school for eight years. She moved to the United States in 2001 and currently lives in New York.
She has been dancing with Pasha Kovalev (who is still in the competition at this point) for nine years.
I really enjoyed speaking with Anya, it feels like she has a strong personality and knows what she wants. I even think that we didn’t get to see her full personality on the show, so I really hope this is the beginning for her.

Here is the interview:

Daemon’s TV: Hi Anya.
Anya Garnis: Hi Sandie.

D: Thank you for speaking with us
A: No, no, absolutely my pleasure.

D: Did you expect to go home this week?
A: (Laughs) Honestly I didn’t. Really, because I felt throughout the whole competition, you’re being judged on your own individually, and I felt individually I got such good and constructive criticism from week one up until this last week when we danced Foxtrot, and the only criticism that I’ve got was at my solos when I had to dance by myself. And I felt like last night was the night because I felt like I really put it up and I thought what I did was very, very different from two of my previous solos.

D: It does seem like they put pressure on you to perform like a classically trained dancer, but you’re not. How do you deal with that?
A: I don’t know, I think the minute we walked down on stage with Danny, they kind of expected a little bit more out of us, which is fine because they give us constructive criticism every time and I felt there was a little bit more pressure by doing that. Sometimes, they would say things that were so positive that I though I was dreaming or something, because you’re on that stage and you’re doing what you love and you’re out there and, I don’t know (laughs), it’s an amazing experience.

D: What do you think this experience brought you?
A: Oh, I’ve gotten so much knowledge, just to be in that atmosphere, to be surrounded with so many great and talented people, I just felt very fortunate and I really felt that as of right now I’m just so much better. I’m a better performer, I can understand more things, and when I dance I am more present. And you learn every time. Even if you didn’t have the chance to work with the choreographer you wanted to work with, you just look at their creation and you just learn. What a process, I definitely will take this with me, hopefully.

D: Talking about choreographers, is there someone you wish you would have worked with?
A: I was fortunate enough to already work with Tyce, Jean, Dan, and Tony Meredith, but at the auditions in Las Vegas, because I had had experience with contemporary in Las Vegas a little bit, and Mia Michaels was the judge, and I didn’t get her vote, so I was hoping to get her vote being on the show and having the chance to work with her. I think she’s an amazing person and choreographer and she has so much to offer to the dancers. And Wade Robson for sure, he has an amazing mind the way he thinks, my body never moved in that way and what he did for the group number, he was truly wonderful.

D: You have been dancing with Pasha for long time, and I was wondering if it was hard to dance with someone new in the competition?
A: Absolutely, I, being a ballroom dancer, you have to worry about this. I’ve been dancing with Pasha for nine years, so I was really nervous before we found out who we were gonna be partnered up with. But when I saw Danny, from day one we clicked and I felt we complimented each other really well, because Danny is such an amazing and talented dancer and he picks up things so fast, and the things he didn’t really know about the partnership, I hope I helped him out a little bit, and the things that I had a hard time with, he definitely helped me out. So we worked really well together. And we had great chemistry, and actually it was a nice surprise, but from week one we kind of clicked and it was a pretty amazing experience.

D: Did you guys sit down and talk about the dance routines?
A: People definitely work differently. So I felt like both of us had good visual memory. Danny is really musical, so some of the time we had to really do like none-stop, like Jive, there was no talking rehearsing, we had to do it really really fast over and over again. But some of the things like hip hop were really tough for me, and Danny is wonderful, he hears the music really well so we really sat down and just listened to the music over and over to get help from the music not from just practicing over and over again. So there were different ways, we talked, and we danced, there was more hurt and then more sweat and then we rehearsed again and then we talked again, definitely quite a process.

D: What are you going to miss the most about “So You Think You Can Dance”?
A: Well, it was such an intense schedule and I loved every minute of it, like the intensity of it all. I’m just gonna miss of course the surroundings, the atmosphere, like such a vibe that you have when you’re out there. I felt like every time I was out there I was doing a show, so I think I’m gonna miss the feeling of stage. You know every time that you’re out there you hear the music and you have to go on.

D: You guys are partners, but are also in competition with each other, do you think that affects you?
A: Absolutely not. That’s the thing about this competition, you work as a team and once you’re out there, you really know that you’re gonna be judged as a team. I mean, of course you know that at the end of your dance as a couple they will judge you on your own, but honestly I did not think of it once. You’re just out there, you have to do your dance and you feed off your partner because your partner’s there for you. You work as a team, and I think that’s what’s gonna move you forward.

D: What advice would you give to someone who would like to try out for So You Think You Can Dance?
A: Oh, absolutely do it. If you think you have the passion, and you have something that will come across and will teach these your kids, and if you have something that you believe in and you really feel passionate about it then it’s really gonna come across. Just, you know, with no questions, no doubt in your mind, just go and do it and believe in yourself and it really can happen.

D: Do you have any plans for the future?
A: I’d say as of right now, I really have to just think about it and to adjust myself to understand that “ok, it’s kind of over” (laughs), and I definitely will take any chance or opportunities to advance myself, you know. I live in New York, but I’m gonna try to move here because I really liked it, and the climate, and just everything. We’ll see. I truly believe that if one door is gonna close, a bigger and better door is gonna open for you.

D: If you weren’t a dancer what would you be?
A: I definitely would be in the entertainment business, just some kind of different performer, I don’t know. Maybe not stand-up comedian (laughs), but something else. Something in the entertainment business, I’d say. Because I was studying law in Russia, I liked it, I liked the balance, but I truly believe that my heart is in the entertainment.
D: Yeah, that’s a big leap from law to dancing.
A: Yeah, at the end of the day it’s a good balance because you’re kind of working both ways. It’s good for your brain too, so I felt it was a really good balance. But when I came here to teach, it was really a challenge for me as well, to just be a person growing and just to go through the different stages, that was a pretty amazing experience as well. But definitely entertainment, that’s where my heart is.

D: My final question is, what would you like fans to tell you when they see you on the street?
A: That when I was watching you dancing I really felt something. You really touched me, that’s gonna be the most important to me. I’ve said this a couple of time on the show, and I believe in that, and I truly believe that when I dance I can tell a story. And it would be really rewarding for me to hear that from someone, that they can feel the same thing that I feel but through the lenses, through the camera.
D: Well, I wish I could dance like you. I tried Salsa, but I’m just not that good.
A: Oh, (laughs) thank you.

D: Well, congratulations and I really hope that everything works out for you.
A: Thank you so much.

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