Shelley native performing on season 16 of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

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Brad Barlow, B2X Photo

SHELLEY — A local dancer has gone from rural eastern Idaho to the big stage and bright lights.

Shelley native Luke Phillips, 20, is appearing on season 16 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” a hit show on Fox that allows participants to compete against each other in live dance competitions to win a cash prize. Each week dancers are challenged with a style outside of their own and are eliminated until one dancer remains. The show kicks off Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m.

Phillips told EastIdahoNews.com he remembers his mom and sister watching reality show competitions that featured top dancers from around the country. When he was 12 years old he says he wanted “to be that good someday.”

“I remember watching that show and wanting to go on it,” Phillips says.

Phillips says this was his first time auditioning for the show and he tried out as a contemporary dancer. He says a former Eagle Rock Dance coach, Carrie McCarty, helped him submit an audition tape, and he got accepted to try out for the show almost right away.

“Five minutes later (host) Cat Deeley called my phone and was like, ‘We’d love for you to come audition!'” Phillips says.

Phillips says he was dealing with a sprained ankle a week before the performance and couldn’t practice his solo until his Los Angeles audition.

“That was rough, but I made it through,” Phillips says.

When he met the judges he says he was excited and a bit nervous.

“But, I knew I couldn’t get nervous, so I calmed myself down, and I was ready to go out there and do what I do,” Phillips says.

Although Phillips knew to become a professional dancer was out of the norm for those in his hometown, he wanted to live his dream anyway.

Brad Barlow, B2X Photo

“No dream is too big for the small town you come from,” Phillips says.

Phillips says his small-town background gave him an edge over other dancers during the audition process.

“They really were intrigued that I came from Shelley,” Phillips says. “They were curious to see if I could actually dance or not coming from Shelley.”

Phillips started his dance journey locally at Eagle Rock Dance Studio in Idaho Falls.

“He was always the last kid at the studio. He has worked so incredibly hard and takes his growth as a dancer seriously,” dance teacher Abbi Pincock says.

He danced there for eight years and performed with his high school drill team. After high school, he trained in Utah at Center Stage Performing Arts, and most recently the Odyssey Dance Theater in Utah.

Former dance coaches and family are continuing to rally around Phillips. McCarty says she wasn’t surprised when Phillips made it onto the show.

“Luke was always a natural and flexibility and tricks came easily to him,” McCarty says. “I can’t wait to watch him continue to grow because this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Phillips’ sister Jasmine Sida says, “He did receive some negative feedback because he was a boy dancer, but after everyone saw how amazing he was the whole community has been pretty supportive. I want him to shine … I can’t wait to see him on the big screen and (for) more people to recognize his talent.”

Phillips may appear on the show Monday but isn’t sure what episode his audition will be featured in. He says the first four episodes will be auditions. See Phillips dance videos on Instagram at _phillips33.

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