Russell Ferguson, So You Think You Can Dance‘s 20-year-old krump phenomenon from Boston, utilized his raw talent and a fiery spirit to walk — er, limp — away with the title of America’s Favorite Dancer Wednesday night in the thrilling season 6 conclusion of FOX’s dance competition. The following day, the dancer, nursing a sprained ankle, spoke to the press about the injury he sustained in the finale, his plans for the future and how, although he’s had some dance training, he “really did just come from the streets.” –Jed Dreben
Take us through Wednesday night’s injury. What happened? You seemed better at the end.At the end I was pretty much running off of adrenaline. After I jumped off the stage into krump, when Kevin Hunte and Jonathan “Legacy” Perez pulled me back up, I had come down on my leg wrong and something shifted over my ankle and it caused it to swell up. And it was real tight, so I wasn’t cleared to be able to dance for the rest of the night. But I could walk.
Last night was stressful enough, how did your mood change with the injury? It was very stressful after that because I wasn’t able to do the final performance, which is to me one of the most important things of the season. But I got to dance that dance that I injured myself on and my dad came backstage and was talking to me and calmed me down and said, “Everything is going to be okay.” … He told me to walk outside with my head up. That just calmed me down and that’s exactly what I did.
You’ve often been referred to as a “street dance” diamond in the ruff but you’ve had some dance education, right?I’ve been doing hip-hop all my life. So, I figured if I was going to take on any big dance projects later in life, I would have to learn other things to be well-rounded in the dance field. I did four years at Boston Arts and I did a good year at The University of the Arts, so I got a good amount of training in.
The judges portrayal of you as this unpolished stone. Was that accurate?They know I had some form of training. But the thing is, a lot of that do train, like that is what they do, that is their dance style, that’s their lifestyle. And me, I really did just come from the streets.
What were you thinking heading into last night’s finale? Did you think you had a shot at winning?We all definitely had shots of winning. It was all in the air at that point in our eyes. I felt like everybody that was there deserved to be there.
What were you hoping to accomplish going into the show?I just was hoping that America would change their views on krump and what it was about, so they could be more familiar with it. And I knew I was going to be able to get that message across. But winning, this is a big bonus!
Do you think you are an inspiration to other krumpers out there?Definitely. I know looking on TV, seeing something that you love, is always inspiring. I know that the kids out there that are watching that get inspired. They have hope now hopefully that they could do the same thing or even better.
Do you have any interest in being a choreographer someday?I would love to come back to the show and choreograph a krump routine or hip-hop routine. It would be an honor.
What’s next, other than the SYTYCD tour?I’m just going to invest my money and try to get into a lot of movie projects and try to get into dance movies.
Do you have any closing remarks?I just love America! Mathieu Young/FOX