At 26, Anya Garnis was the oldest female competitor on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, but that didn't stop her from cha-cha-ing her way into America's hearts. The morning after coming up just short the top 10, the ballroom dancer talked to TVGuide.com about what's next, her best friend Pasha, and what Danny's really like.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you deserved to go home?
Anya Garnis: Based on the feedback from the judges throughout the whole competition and my solo last night, I don't think I deserved to be sent home. But it's really not up to me and I know that. I don't have any regrets. I did my best and I really danced my heart out.
TVGuide.com: Since the judges seemed to really like your performance, did being in the bottom three come as a surprise?
Anya: Being in the bottom two the two weeks before that, I was hoping our dance would come across a little bit stronger. But I was kind of prepared because it's been six weeks and now it's more about the personality, and people really have their favorites. I appreciated that the judges really loved the dance because I felt like as a couple it was our best performance on the show.
TVGuide.com: What was it like to get kicked off but have your partner, Danny Tidwell, stay?
Anya: Danny had gotten some criticism earlier and I'm happy that he has an opportunity to show America more of what he's all about. He's truly an amazing person and performer.
TVGuide.com: How were your rehearsals with Danny?
Anya: We worked really great together. I felt like we had a good balance because for the things that I didn't remember, he would help me out and for the things he didn't remember, I would help him out.
TVGuide.com: And how was your chemistry?
Anya: Really good. Danny is such a wonderful person, such a goofball, and he's always so funny. I don't know where the controversy came from about his personality, but it's a reality-TV show and you just have 20 seconds to show the audience who you are as a person. But honestly, he's just an amazingly talented dancer and partner.
TVGuide.com: You and Pasha have been partners for a long time. Were you competitive or supportive on the show?
Anya: Really supportive! I've known Pasha for a really long time — he's my best friend. I'm still going to be really supportive of him and I'm really excited that he's gotten through. Hopefully I'll see him up there in the top four.
TVGuide.com: Is it difficult to see him continue when he didn't want to audition in the first place?
Anya: No. Once he made the decision, he was completely 150 percent there. I knew that when he decided to come with me to the audition and be there with me, that was his choice. He changed his mind and he admitted that it's his life now.
TVGuide.com: What was your favorite dance you did on the show?
Anya: Even though we got a little bit of criticism, I would say it was my contemporary dance. I felt like there was such a deep story behind that. I've never done that style before and I felt like there was more free movement and such a great connection between Danny and me. I felt I truly expressed myself and I brought the story across — at least that's what I'd like to think.
TVGuide.com: Which style was most difficult for you?
Anya: Hip-hop was really tough for me because the choreography was based on the sound, not the major count. It was pretty tough for me to hear those sounds and not the beat. [Laughs] That was a challenge for me.
TVGuide.com: You've worn some pretty interesting costumes on the show for your solos. Do you make them?
Anya: I design them, but I have a dressmaker in NYC who makes them. I thought I would have more of a chance to show America my costumes — I had quite a suitcase with me. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Are these the costumes you wore in competitions with Pasha?
Anya: Yeah, some of the costumes I didn't want to give away or sell because I have so many memories with them. With one costume I made the world final, another I made the U.S. final. I kind of collect them, I guess.
TVGuide.com: Who was the first person you called after you found out?
Anya: It was Pasha who called me. So many people were calling, but I picked it up [when he called] because he knew how I felt and he knows me better than anyone else. After I danced my solo, he had come up to me to tell me that he'd never seen me dance like that before because I had such energy. I really believed him because he's always really, really honest. Sometimes too honest. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Did you get to speak to anyone else?
Anya: I had to leave right away because I had to move. But I also felt that I didn't want to spoil anything. I wanted to let them celebrate the top 10. I want to be part of it as well, but I didn't want to spoil the evening, because at the end of the day it's tough putting your heart out there every week, working that hard. I felt that they deserved to celebrate and enjoy the moment. It happens only once in your life.
TVGuide.com: Has it sunk in yet that your journey on the show is over?
Anya: I think it will hit me later tonight.
TVGuide.com: What's the first thing you'll do tomorrow?
Anya: I think I'm just going to relax, get my thoughts together and see what's out there. I'll move forward — there is definitely life after this. It's just the beginning because this was a great opportunity, and I appreciate the judges who saw something in me and put me on that stage to begin with.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Anya: I truly believe that if one door closes, another will open. I feel that something will definitely open up because I truly believe in what I have in me and my passion and what I can bring across. I will take any opportunity just to grow as an artist.
TVGuide.com: Now that you're gone, who do you think will win?
Anya: It's hard to say. I believe that any of the contestants deserves to win, but it's going to be really difficult to decide. I think you can see the progress in every single person, every single week, and it's really just fascinating to see. As a dancer, I appreciate that.
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