BWW Interview: Talking and Tilting with the Talented Tate McRae
With the announcement that Fox's So You Think You Can Dance will be returning this summer, this time reverting back to contestants ages 18-30, we decided to look back on this past season's incredibly talented kids. From hip hop to jazz to contemporary, season 13 of SYTYCD certainly did not disappoint, showing us that age means nothing when it comes to talent. One of our favorite contestants, second runner-up Tate McRae, proved week after week that a 13 year old can be as marvelous a dancer as an adult, sometimes even better. McRae was kind enough to speak with us about her time on SYTYCD and her plans for the future.
BroadwayWorld: When did you first start dancing and performing?
McRae: "My mom used to be a dancer, so I always wanted to be like her growing up. Then, as I got older, I started to take dance classes but didn't really like them that much: it was just a hobby for me. I started to go to competitions and saw these amazing dancers and got really inspired and eventually realized, when I was about eight years old, that I really wanted to do this for the rest of my life."
BWW: What was your reaction when you found out at season 13 of SYTYCD would be featuring kids?
McRae: "When I found out that kids would be able to audition, I was freaking out because I had been watching the show since I was a little girl and had always wanted to be on it. I thought that it was crazy that they were giving us the opportunity to show that we could do what adults can do."
BWW: You certainly blew away the judges with your phenomenal audition. Once Kathryn choose you to be her partner and you were thrown into the competition, what was the rehearsal process like?
McRae: "The rehearsals were actually very hard because of time constrictions: we didn't have that much time to rehearse. We had to learn our routines in about three hours and then we only had a couple hours after that on stage to rehearse and get them clean. So otherwise, all we could do was go onto the roof top of our hotel and practice with all our friends at night. It was definitely difficult and nerve racking. I was nervous every week just to be on stage and to be dancing alongside these incredible dancers who all have something so unique about them. I really just wanted to dance from my heart and show them who I truly was as a person."
BWW: What was the most rewarding part of competing on SYTYCD?
McRae: "The most rewarding part would have to be working with all the choreographers and trying new styles every week. I think getting past every single week was absolutely crazy because none of my family or friends in Canada could vote which was really sad because they were so supportive and had my back the entire time. So getting that far, knowing that America just loved me for who I was, was really rewarding. Also, because I'm still so young, it was really cool to dance alongside Kathryn because she's such a mature soul and she taught me so much about my heart and staying true to myself which I really appreciate about her. She is always herself and is the most incredible dancer and I learned so much from her."
BWW: Speaking of choreographers, you were able to work with some of the best in the business, including Travis Wall and Mandy Moore. What were some of your favorite pieces to perform?
McRae: "One of my favorites was Travis' piece, 'She Used to Be Mine.' I was actually screaming on stage and it was a moment for me to break out of my shell and do something that was so out of my comfort zone. I was really able to dig deep and find something that I never knew I had in me. Another one that I loved was my salsa routine with Jonathan. That was something so crazy for me and it was so fun and I got to show my personality. I got to wear this adorable pink fringe jumpsuit which I loved."
BWW: What was the most challenging part of being on the show?
McRae: "I think the most challenging part was seeing my friends go every week. Even after the first week, we had created such a strong bond, and seeing people go every week was so sad because we love each other so much and everyone is so amazing. It's so cool because we all come from different parts of the world and are at different points in our lives but we have created these bonds that will last forever."
BWW: You now have a very large fan following. What advice would you give to dancers who look up to you?
McRae: "I would say to just keep on training and stay humble, kind and grounded all the time because you always wanted to be known as the sweet, humble girl who works hard every single day and is successful because of how hard you work."
BWW: Since ending SYTYCD, you've been working on a lot of amazing projects, including heading to Australia with Kathryn to perform at the Victorian Dance Festival. In the long run, do you see yourself pursuing a career as a dancer, on Broadway, or are you open to anything that may come your way?
McRae: "I would love a career on Broadway. It's always been my dream ever since I was a little girl and some of my biggest idols are on Broadway right now, like Melanie Moore and Ricky Ubeda. New York City is so big with all the lights and the people and it just makes me feel like I'm living in a dream when I'm there. It's definitely something I hope I can do in the future because I am a singer and a dancer."
BWW: It's been such a pleasure to speak with you. What would you say keeps you so humble and kind amidst all of your success?
McRae: "I think my parents are very influential. They are constantly teaching me to be polite and respectful and they are two people who I really aspire to be like when I'm older."