So You Think You Can Dance Alums Allison Holker And Courtney Galiano Bring Fire To Hit The Floor

[Members of the Los Angeles Devil Girls, from L to R: Allison Holker, Courtney Galiano]

As principal dancers on our new series, Hit The Floor, Allison Holker and Courtney Galiano already have experience performing in front of rowdy sports fans and emotional TV audiences, thanks to time spent on FOX’s longstanding series, So You Think You Can Dance. VH1 chatted with the dancers — who have recurring roles on the series as Charlie and Desiree, respectively — about performing for Nigel Lythgoe (who can be “brutal” yet honest) and what it’s like be a member of a real dance team, particularly when there are attractive basketball players just a few feet away.

What drew you to Hit The Floor?
Allison Holker: It was very different than my typical job. I’m really known for my different styles–I do a lot of ballroom and I do a lot of contemporary–and I was drawn to this project because I was going to be able to dance with a group of girls and be hot and sexy, which is so different for me but something I always wanted to explore. And besides all the dancing I was going to have the opportunity to work on a TV show and act.

How important is dance to the show?
AH: In this series dance is everything. It’s in every single episode; it’s super important. The dancing had to be so strong and those actors really danced their butts off.

How is Dean Cain as a dancer?
AH: I’ve never seen Dean Cain dance, but he is one of the most fun people on set. He’s a riot. Whenever you’re taking a picture, he’s photo-bombing in the background. He’s still a little boy at heart and that’s what I love about him.

How has So You Think You Can Dance shaped you as a performer?
AH: Being an All-Star on So You Think You Can Dance has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has challenged me in dance, but it has also challenged me as a person. As one of the All-Stars, I tend to find myself in the category with some of the more emotional characters, so a lot of times my character is the mother of someone or the girlfriend of someone and something traumatic has happened. I have to really dig into my life to find how I can relate to these characters. So You Think You Can Dance has also challenged me with being a great actress, which is great for Hit The Floor.
Courtney Galiano: I was definitely really green when I went on the show. I was a Knicks City Dancer for the basketball team, and I would watch the show and I can remember saying, “Okay I need to do this.” It opened a lot of doors and it definitely changed my life. It brought me into this amazing world and I got to meet so many amazing people.

Allison, as an All-Star, how do you feel before each performance now, compared to your first season on the show (Season Two)?
AH: [At that point] it was such a fresh new show, I didn’t know what to expect. Now, being a mother, it’s changed everything. I dance with a purpose–I’m dancing to show my daughter that she can really reach for her dreams, and if she puts her mind to anything she’ll be able to accomplish that. Any time I step on the stage I’m dancing for my daughter.

Who has been your favorite judge over the years?
CG: I like when Lil’ C judged. I always felt like he was on our side and I think he knew a lot about dance and was updated on the dance world itself. He saw the good in everything, which in dance is a really good thing.
AH: I actually have a counter for that. Obviously all of the judges bring something different to the table, and I know sometimes he pushes the limit and some people get really offended, but I really love what Nigel [Lythgoe] has to say.
CG: He’s honest.
AH: I always feel he’s going to give his honest opinion. Of course Mary [Murphy] is great–her laugh’s fun–but Nigel’s just going to be brutal sometimes. But he’s honest! I think people really respect his opinion because of that.

What is So You Think You Can Dance’s place in pop culture?
CG: I think dance was always on the back burner in Hollywood — maybe not in the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers days — and So You Think You Can Dance really brought it to the forefront. I love it for that reason; dancers are finally getting the credit that they deserve.

If you could describe Hit The Floor in one word, what would it be?
AH: Fire. Like in every way: the dancing is in your face, and it’s hot and sexy, and then with the girls and the drama? Everything is fire.

Speaking of drama, are there any rivalries on set between actors and dancers?
AH: This is one of my first experiences working with a big group of females and that was one of the first things I was worried about, I can’t even lie to you. Put me in a room with 14 other girls? Something’s about to go down. Everyone was a family on set; it was a blast. Everyone loved each other and cared, and I think it’s really rare to find that with girls because girls can be feisty.

Courtney, based on your experience as a Knicks City Dancer, how true to life are the Los Angeles Devil Girls?
CG: I was the baby of the team when I was a Knicks dancer and they literally took me under their wing — they’re part of the reason why I’m the woman I am. The team was made up of 17 girls that represented New York, and they were talented, well-rounded dancers. When I was a Knicks dancer, we really would get fired if there was fraternization with the players.

CG: Oh yeah. There was no fraternization allowed. The players were extremely respectful to us and we were extremely respectful to them because we all loved our jobs and didn’t want to lose them. Everyone has a professional relationship at Madison Square Garden, but it’s a little different on the LA Devil girls. We’re a little scandalous!

And New York fans are hard to please. What is the Knicks City Dancers’ strategy to grab the attention of the audience at a time when most people are headed for the bathrooms?
CG: I think staying interesting and staying versatile, and not just performing the same thing all the time really came across when we were on the floor. And I think that’s the same with the Devil Girls–you’re not going to see the same style or the same kind of routine in any of the episodes.

What do you tell someone who says they can’t dance?
CG: Everybody can dance, I think it’s just about bringing that rhythm out. Listen to the music and do what you feel. You can’t be afraid to look stupid because you’re going to have to look stupid before you look good; nobody ever does it once and is perfect.

What’s one song that makes you drop everything and dance no matter where you are?
CG: That Macklemore song [starts singing “Can’t Hold Us”]. He gave me the chills when I watched him perform at the MTV Movie Awards. I love that song, I think it’s so fun.
AH: Definitely Justin Timberlake, “Suit & Tie.” I know it’s a different vibe, but I love Justin Timberlake and anything he comes out with, I’m a superfan.

Who do you think is the best dancer out of the current crop of pop stars?
AH: Beyoncé.
CG: Agreed. That woman is timeless. I love her.

Do you ever try to take her routines or adapt them for your own performances?
CG: I love the way she dances. I think she dances all sassy and girly and I love that style.
AH: I don’t try to copy her style, but the Beyoncé attitude, her facial expressions, the hair whips…
CG: Hair whips! Yes, the hairography.

Hit The Floor premieres on Monday, May 27 at 9/8 C.

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