As winner of the first season of "So You Think You Can Dance," Nick Lazzarini ushered in a great awakening in the world of pop culture—one in which dance had a place center stage. Since then, his career has skyrocketed, and Lazzarini has become a household name for dancers and dance lovers alike.


Between traveling on the JUMP Dance Convention circuit and Shaping Sound's latest show, After the Curtain, Lazzarini spoke to DT about the dance teacher who had the greatest impact on his career, and how she taught him to love performing. Check out the heartwarming and humorous things he had to say about training in Mountain View, California, with Dance Attack studio owner Sioux Lehner, who passed away in 2009.

On falling in love with dancing:

"She was very open and very silly, so it was easy to be yourself in her class. She was a strict disciplinarian, but if the fun didn't get too out of control, it was going to be a great day with Sioux. It was easy for me to open up and love dance, because I loved her so much. She taught me to cherish the time I had onstage. 'The stage isn't just given to you,' she would say. 'You have to earn your place on it.' It's a life lesson I've taken with me and passed along to my students."

On taking care of his partners:

"Sioux had a rule in our studio for partnering. She would tell the boys, 'You're never ever allowed to drop the girl, and if you do—they get to kick you right in the nuts.' She was dead serious about it."

You can see Lazzarini and the rest of Shaping Sound's star-studded cast (Travis Wall, Chantel Aguirre, Gabby Diaz and Lex Ishimoto included) on the second leg of their After the Curtain tour, January 28, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Other tour dates from now until Valentine's Day can be found at Shaping Sound website.

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