Palm Springs native Josh King caught the attention this summer of the judges during auditions for the hit Fox TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance”, by standing out in the crowd.
At 6-foot-4, King he defies gravity and excites audiences with his beautiful, fluid movements. He considers himself a contemporary artist, but it was his ballet routine that captured the “Dance" judges to earn a ticket to Las Vegas.
King will share his love for dance during a National Dance Day event July 27 in the “Forever Marilyn” Park at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon and Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs.
The event begins at 9 a.m. and will feature instructional dance videos created by “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers for people to learn, perform and share with others. In addition, the Dizzy Feet Foundation co-presidents Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman have choreographed an “Everybody Dance” routine to the hit song, “Treasure”, by Bruno Mars.
King sat down with palmspringslife.com recently to talk about his dancing career so far.
Although you were cut during the “So You Think You Can Dance” elimination process, what did you learn?
“I was cut at Hip Hop, but I understand why. I’m a contemporary dancer so other dance genres are considered easy for me. But Hip Hop can set you apart because it is fast and tight. Being so long and tall, it was a bit unnatural for me. The biggest thing I learned is the importance of being charismatic in front of the cameras. I was never one to seek out the limelight in that way. But in this situation, you must look like you are having the best time while you are scared to death for your career. It’s a life lesson. Make the best of situation, have fun with the cameras and producers because you can be an amazing dancer, but if you do not come across as interesting or appealing to the TV audience, you won’t go far.”
Does being tall affect your dancing?
“When I first started, it was challenging because my extremities are so long, I was just hoping to get the movements down. I wasn’t as fast, for example, my turns take longer. I am 6-foot-8/6-9 in pointe shoes. My training has taught me to use my length and embrace my tallness, to dance big. I love jumping and leaping because I can take up space and use height to my advantage.”
What inspired you to be a dancer?
“Even as a young boy, I always wanted to go into performing arts in some capacity. I always gravitated to art classes, musical theatre, singing and even performing locally at the Date Festival. My first childhood memory with dance is when I would rent the "Nutcracker" at Christmastime and dance around the living room. Then when I was 7, I was selected to perform in the "Nutcracker", locally, as a ‘party boy’. It was while I attended Palm Springs High School, that I took a ballet class and fell in love. I ended up enrolling in a full dance program at age 16.
You started “late” by industry standards, what motivated you to pursue an actual dance career?
“I am a reserved and shy person, but performing is exhilarating for introverts. Performing allows me to come out of my shell and dancing in particular lets you communicate without words. It just feels right to express emotion through your body and I knew that I wanted to pursue dance as a solid career when I graduated high school in 2006.”
You have experienced success rapidly. Did you ever think you would earn this type of recognition?
“After high school, I received a scholarship to Cal State Long Beach for two years and this led to a prestigious ballet competition, the Youth American Grand Prix. I won the ‘50th Anniversary Fellowship’ to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York and when I moved, it was culture shock. I had to ask my mom, ‘Can I buy a coat?’ Being from the desert, I really didn’t know why you would need one. It seemed crazy coming this far to be living my dream of being an artist in New York. I always thought I would be on Broadway reciting lines or singing but never as a dancer…it’s strange that somehow my dream came true but through dance.”
What’s next for your dance career?
I want to travel and pursue a big dance company experience. However, my boyfriend and I live here and when I retire and my body can’t move anymore, I hope to start a professional company in Palm Springs.
Josh King currently teaches in the desert at CK Dance in Palm Springs and Dance Dimensions in Palm Desert.