Kyle Taylor is a service technician at Subaru of Wichita. He’s also a dance celebrity on national television.
Taylor, 28, auditioned his “popping” style on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” in Los Angeles two months ago. The dancing competition aired Taylor’s audition Wednesday night.
“I was just going to thank you and send you off home, to be honest,” contest judge Nigel Lythgoe said following Taylor’s audition.
But after Taylor received a standing ovation from the audience, Lythgoe and two other judges agreed to send him to the choreography round, where he would learn dance steps with a partner and be judged a second time, with a chance to advance.
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Taylor skipped the choreography round, figuring he would not advance anyway. But he said he still had an amazing experience.
That’s because Taylor got to battle on stage with three “So You Think You Can Dance” greats: past hip-hop contestants Legacy and Cyrus and last season’s male winner, Fik-Shun.
“You look like you should be battling people,” Lythgoe said to Taylor. “We’ve got, actually, people here. … Is there anybody who wants to get up on their feet and take this guy on?”
Then, the battle – a kind of dance-off – ensued.
“It was unreal,” Taylor said. “Still watching it last night, I don’t even know what to tell people. It was just crazy. I had no idea.”
It was the 2004 film “You Got Served” that started it all, Taylor said. The Junction City native took up the popping style that originated on the streets of California in the 1960s and ’70s and was featured in the movie.
Sometimes described as the “funky robot,” popping is the quick contraction and release of muscles that create a pop or hit in the dancer’s body.
“For me, it’s kind of my outlet,” Taylor said. “I like to think of when I dance … I attack the beat. I kind of take out all of my frustrations on every beat I hit. So that’s why I like it.
“And it gets so addicting once you start to progress and find new moves and new ways to go at the beat.”
Taylor said he practices in his living room, trying to imitate moves he sees online. Recently he added a dance floor, made up of square tiles pieced together.
Taylor had planned on auditioning last year for the show, which is now in its 11th season. He took jazz and ballet lessons from a friend to prepare.
But the week of his flight to Los Angeles, Taylor said, he ended up in the hospital with a blood clot in his left arm. Doctors had to take out one of his ribs.
“I was literally dancing around with my arm stuck here,” Taylor said, motioning like with his arm in a sling. “I couldn’t really move this part of my body for like six months.”
Pain in his arm eased up about a month before his recent audition in March, Taylor said. Despite the surgery and despite having performed only in the comfort of his living room, his audition impressed the judges.
“Are you serious you’ve only danced in your living room?” judge Mary Murphy asked. “You’ve never battled or done anything like that before? It’s incredible because you fit right in with those guys. You are amazing.”
Since the episode Wednesday night, Taylor said he suddenly has a lot more friends.
“It’s weird for me,” he said. “I feel like such a small-town person, all this attention and everything.
“I hope it brings me more dance opportunities.”