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'So You Think' winner says show will be with her for life

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:52 p.m.
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE: L-R: Top 4 contestants Cyrus Spencer, Eliana Girard, Tiffany Maher and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE airing Tuesday, September 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2012 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose

Eliana Girard doesn't just think she can dance: she knows it now, having won a dance reality show. Yet, she might have to pinch herself as she travels throughout North America with the “So You Think You Can Dance” Tour 2012, which comes to the Benedum Center on Sunday.

“It's still hard for me to grasp,” says Girard, 21, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla. “It's like an out-of-body experience. … It's still really crazy to me, to realize this happened.

“After the show every day, I practically cry,” Girard says. “It really is amazing, all the blessings. ... I want to give (God) the glory.”

The “So You Think You Can Dance” live show features the Top 10 dancers from the hit Fox show, which finished its ninth season. Girard is the female winner, and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp is the male winner. The two winners and the other finalists — including Audrey Case, Cole Horibe, Cyrus Spencer, George Lawrence II, Lindsay Arnold, Tiffany Maher, Will Thomas and Witney Carson — will dance some of the most popular numbers from the Emmy-nominated television show, along with some original pieces choreographed just for the tour.

Girard's specialty is contemporary ballet, which she calls contemporary with pointe shoes. She did a stint with Cirque du Soleil before competing on “So You Think You Can Dance” and expects to return someday to the acrobatic circus. Now, Girard anticipates a possible move after the tour to Los Angeles, where she hopes to pursue music videos and other commercial gigs.

“This experience is something that I'll take with me for a lifetime,” she says. “I just hope from here that I can begin to still grow. I feel that this is just a beginning.”

Girard's life has become a whirlwind since the show ended and the 30-city tour began in October. She says the fans' fervor has energized her and shown her how dance impacts people's lives.

“It's shown me how important dance is in a community,” Girard says. “It kind of opened my eyes and made me fall in love with dance all over again.

“We've gotten (communication) from many people saying it brought an inspiration into their life,” she says. “Even those who aren't dancers … you know that you're inspiring others. It's the most incredible feeling … to know other people feel the way you do about dance.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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