From cha-cha to contemporary, Bollywood to Broadway, fans of the Fox reality show “So You Think You Can Dance” witnessed it all by the time the 11th season of the show wrapped on Sept. 3, naming 18-year-old Miami resident Ricky Ubeda America’s favorite dancer.
But the show isn’t over yet.
Now Ubeda and the rest of the top 10 finalists, are heading to New Orleans to kick off the North American tour of “So You Think You Can Dance” with a performance at the Saenger Theatre Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m.
Due to the popularity of past tours, this season’s tour will be the most extensive one to date — encompassing more than 70 stops throughout the U.S. and Canada.
During the evening event, fans of the show, or just fans of dance, will be treated to an action-packed showcase of the season’s most popular dances, as well as original pieces designed specially for the tour.
Created by “American Idol” producers Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe in 2005, “So You Think You Can Dance” ended its first season as the top-rated show on television.
After 11 seasons, the reality show has fallen in ratings but received seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations this year, including for outstanding choreography, outstanding costumes for a variety program and outstanding reality-competition program.
The show features three judges — Lythgoe, ballroom dance champion Mary Murphy and an ever-changing roster of guest judges that have included Christina Applegate, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Wayne Brady.
Brady served as the celebrity guest judge during the open auditions the show hosted at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on May 28. New Orleans was one of five cities chosen to host open auditions for the season.
From those open auditions, selected dancers (who all must be 18 or older) were whittled down to the 10 females and 10 males chosen to compete on the show. The final 10 were then offered the opportunity to join the North American tour.
This season’s third-place winner, Jessica Richens, of Yorba Linda, California, said she couldn’t wait to audition for the show in January, two months after she turned 18.
“I grew up watching the show. A lot of my dance inspiration came from it,” she said. Richens says she’s excited to be a part of the tour and to show off her “swanky” jazz style.
For fourth-place winner Zack Everhart, a 20-year-old from Kennesaw, Georgia, dance always has been a family affair — his mother owns a dance studio and started him in lessons at the age of 8.
“It started because I had this leg problem that she thought it would help with, but then dance just stuck with me,” he said.
The leg problems long gone, Everhart is now an accomplished tap dancer. He said he, too, grew up watching the show, but wasn’t accepted when he first auditioned during season 9.
“I had just turned 18, and I think I just didn’t have the confidence,” he said. “Now I’m comfortable with the spotlight and with being on camera.”
Everhart says he’s excited to move on to this part of his experience with the show.
“The tour performances are going to be very high energy,” he said. “The competition part is out now, so we’re all free to have even more fun, and I think the audience will, too.”