When Placentia resident Jasmine Mason started her dancing career at the age of 3, she never imagined just how far dance would take her.
“Really I was just showing up in a cute, pink tutu not dancing but crying for my mom!” she says.
Years later, Mason shed the tears and the tutus and danced her way onto Fox’s hit show So You Think You Can Dance. She auditioned for season nine, but was cut early, and made it to the top 20 on season 10, though she was eliminated July 9.
“Last time I auditioned, I left feeling incomplete and now everything has come full circle,” she says.
But that progress didn’t happen overnight. Mason’s success comes after years and years of training in nearly every form of dance you could imagine.
“I grew up training in all styles, including jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, and since my mom was a tap teacher, also tap,” says Mason, whose dance style of choice is jazz.
She has spent most of her dancing days training at local studios like Dance Precisions in Anaheim as well as Mather Dance Company in her hometown of Placentia.
And all the hard work paid off.
“Thousands of dancers audition to be where I am, and that is so crazy to think about,” she says.
After dancing for so many years, you would think nerves would be a thing of the past for a pro performer like Mason, but that is definitely not the case.
“I get nervous," she says. "Very nervous. But I believe nerves are a good thing; it means you care. However, I really try and not let the nerves get the best of me.”
It’s safe to say that the experience of being on the show is completely different from any other dance experience Mason has had.
“I love being able to play a different character every week, not only do we get to dance, but we get to be actors as well. It's so fun to play someone other than yourself sometimes.”
And despite the fact that the show is based on competition, Mason seems to have nothing but love for fellow contestants.
"We all really try and teach each other," she says. "It’s amazing.”
As for the future, Mason doesn’t plan on ditching her jazz shoes anytime soon.
“I would love to be a working dancer in LA, as well as teach all over the country," she says. "Pretty much anything that involves dance is what I see myself doing. Maybe I'll get into some acting classes as well.”
So You Think You Can Dance is scheduled to air through mid-August.