Dancing high on success

SO You Think You Can Dance fever hit Australia hard this year, as the second season of the competition to find Australia's favourite dancer was watched on television screens across the country.

Now, with the finale behind us, winner Talia Fowler and top four contestant Ben Veitch are riding high on success - and they are riding it all the way to Coffs Harbour.

“The show was great. I'm so glad I got to be myself through- out the whole experience. I feel like people would have got to know me as me. It's a bit weird being recognised down the street but I still feel like I'm the same person as I was before,” Ben said.

He said there were too many highlights in the past few months to name just one.

“The whole experience has just been great. Learning choreography from people like Jason Gilkison and Kelley Abbey was a huge high. Being on that stage was just ridiculous - there's absolutely nothing like it. Being in front of the cameras - it was all amazing,” Ben said.

“I don't think there were any low-lights, no. I mean, you get tired and things like that but you just remember why you're there and enjoy it.”

Standing in front of three of the biggest names in dance once a week for a critique didn't bother Ben too much at all.

“We didn't really get to spend too much time with the judges, they were doing their thing and we were doing ours. But they're all fantastic and very experienced at what they do, so I always took everything they said on board,” he said.

So when Jason Gilkison said he was the best male partner in the competition, Ben said he was blown away.

“He's the best ballroom partner I've ever seen, so when he said that it was a huge compliment. It's one thing to dance alone but to dance with someone else and become one; it's really an amazing thing. To have compliments like that really lifts your confidence.”

And although he and Amy were pitted to take out the top two positions in the competition, it was not to be.

“You know, I look at the Top 4 and it's like, 'How do you pick?'. You couldn't. Every one of us worked our arses off and every one deserved it. I'm not shocked, I'm really happy that I made it to the show and I had every experience you could have possibly had within the show.”

Now, Ben's looking to the future.

“I'd love to get into choreography and the creative side of dance. I've learnt so much from the choreographers on the show, so I'm going to see what I can do in that respect. I'd definitely like to work on the show next year, and I think I have an edge with that because I know what dance looks good on screen and what works and what won't.”

His advice for aspiring dancers was simple.

“Learn as many different styles as you can from as many different places as you can. Take classes in every style. Physically, do any training that you think will benefit your cause - boxing, running, gymnastics - anything that will compliment what you do. And believe in yourself. Know who you are and be honest. Don't put on an act, people see straight through that.

“And don't be afraid to try. Honestly, it's really a glorified talent show, so concentrate on what you do and it's really not that scary.”

Having driven through Coffs Harbour before (and seen the Big Banana in passing) Ben is looking forward to stopping and having a chat with the locals.

“My friend, and choreographer on the show, Travers Ross, is from Coffs Harbour and he just loves it.

“I've driven through but never stopped, so I'm looking forward to coming to The Plantation Hotel and getting to know the people.”

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