Utahn Stephanie Sosa came oh-so-close to making the finals of “So You Think You Can Dance” last year, only to be cut when the field was trimmed to the top 10.
But she mustered her courage, convinced her brother to audition with her, and — a year later — the 19-year-old who grew up in Provo and Orem is one of five remaining female contestants in the Fox dancing competition. And her 18-year-old brother, Ezra, is one step away from joining her.
“Coming back was really scary,” Sosa said. “When I was cut, I was devastated. But I told myself I’ve got to work my butt off and I’m going to come back stronger.”
There was certainly no guarantee. And she acknowledged that it would have been “embarrassing” if she fell short of her goal a second time.
“But I guess that’s how it is as a dancer,” Sosa said. “You have to keep trying and trying, because you’re going to fail more times than you succeed.”
This time around, she returned as part of a team — at least at the audition. Stephanie and Ezra Sosa — the children of immigrants from Mexico and Argentina — wowed the judges when they auditioned together.
“I knew I wanted to go back. And I know that we’re stronger together, so I was, like, ‘Will you audition with me?’” Stephanie Sosa said. “And he said, ‘I want to get you in that top 10.’”
What they didn’t anticipate is that both of them would get through the auditions and advance to the final rounds of the “So You Think You Can Dance” competition. “We honestly didn’t think that we would both make it to the top 20,” she said. “That was crazy.”
Even when they were competing against each other in recent episodes, their bond remained strong.
“He brings out the strength in me and I bring out the strength in him,” she said. “So I love partnering and dancing with him. We get along so well and we work so easily together. We know each other inside and out. Just having him there was so great.
“I could go and talk to him and say, ‘Hey, how did I do?’ And he would actually give me an honest opinion. He actually cares about me instead of it being just a competition.”
In last week’s episode, viewers saw Stephanie Sosa advance with four other women, forming half of the top 10 dancers who will begin dancing in the “live” episodes next week — Monday, Aug. 12, at 8 p.m. on Fox/Channel 13. (The episodes will air on tape-delay in the Mountain Time Zone.) Ezra Sosa’s half of the competition airs Monday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. — an episode taped about three months ago.
Stephanie Sosa can’t reveal any spoilers, but she did say, “Not only did I have to worry about myself, I had to worry about my brother at the same time. That was the most stressful day of my life!”
Stephanie — and, possibly, Ezra — will be facing more stress when the live episodes begin next week. They'll be facing not just the “SYTYCD” judges, but the viewers, whose votes will determine who stays and who goes.
“It’s kind of the same feelings of, I don’t know if I’m going to come back next week. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pick up the choreography,” Stephanie Sosa said. “It’s definitely kind of back to square one. But it’s on a bigger platform and I’ll be competing on live television, so I’m very excited.”
And she’ll rely on advice from several of the umpteen former “So You Think You Can Dance” finalists from Utah — to be herself.
“Last year, I wasn’t technically ready. But also, I don’t think I was authentically myself,” Sosa said. “And I went into this year being, like, I’m just going to be me. I’m going to show them my style, and if they don’t like it, then this isn’t right for me. I went with that mentality and I made it this far.”