Local ballerina leaves her mark on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

You can call her small. Just don’t call her dainty.Becky Erickson, professional ballerina from Providence, auditioned for the season now airing of “So You Think You Can Dance” in January where she shared two of her biggest talents with judges Robin Antin, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe: dancing and burping.”They wanted proof of the burping skills. So I gave them some proof,” Erickson said.After her audition, the judges gave the Cache Valley native a hug, a ticket to Vegas and the opportunity to continue in the competition, a feat that less than 1,500 of 51,000 dancers have accomplished during the show’s eight seasons.Along with 400 other hopefuls in Salt Lake City, Erickson went through the long audition process in January, which included dancing in groups, slow motion dancing, solo performances and plenty of interviews with producers and judges.”I had Nigel laughing so hard that he had to put his hand over the microphone and he had tears running down his face,” she said.Auditions were also held in other cities including New York City and Los Angeles and only 160 dancers from across the nation advanced to Vegas. It was in Vegas where Erickson, dubbed the “crazy ballerina” by Lythgoe, and 140 others were eliminated in the search for the season’s top 20. Erickson returned from Vegas with added confidence and pride in her dancing abilities. She said being able to dance with talented performers and receiving positive feedback from the judges, who see thousands of dancers and still loved her dancing, was worth the experience.”I get to say I met these dancers, and I get to say I danced with these dancers, and i get to watch them on the show, and be like, ‘I know them, I know them, and I’ve met Nigel in person, and I’ve met Mary, and I’ve hugged them,'” she said.Wearing a black leotard and a white tutu, Erickson can be seen mid-leap on the show’s trailer and briefly at the beginning of the second episode performing her solo piece in Salt Lake – the wedding variation from Don Quixote.Dancing became a part of Erickson’s life early on.”When I’d see professional dancing on TV, it would make my heart just start pounding, like inside of me just knew that I needed to do this, like I wanted to be a ballerina,” she said. “So I just couldn’t ever deny it.”When Erickson was five years old, her older sister Tora began teaching her and her neighbors ballet from the family house in Wellsville. A few years later, when Tora switched to a dance school in Logan, Erickson followed. She has been there ever since, dancing with the Cache Valley Civic Ballet, perfecting Irish step dancing and teaching classes at the Whittier Center. Erickson teaches a range of classes, from ballet basics in Mommy and Me classes to technique for older dancers.The bright-eyed blonde is tough and has the war stories to prove it. The mother of two performed during the first 28 weeks of both of her pregnancies and danced Copellia en pointe mere hours after having her toenail surgically removed.Ballet dancing is tough mentally and physically, she said.”Ballet dancers especially, they have gorgeous muscles, because we really do fine tune every single, teeny little thing in our body, from head to toe,” she said.Between her Irish step dancing and ballet companies, Erickson dances in anywhere from five to 10 performances a year, from old folks homes to Celtic festivals.Erickson has been dancing for 23 years, and has been practicing burping for about as long. A friend of Erickson taught her how to burp, and the two would practice on the bus ride home from school.”Some people can put their feet behind their head. I can burp. Yes, I am the burping ballerina.”- rachel@cvdailycom

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