Boscawen tap dancer advances in TV dance competition

  • Boscawen’s Eddie Hoyt dances during a broadcast of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Courtesy

  • Eddie Hoyt and Sue Harrington tap dance at Harrington’s Creative Steps School of Dance studio in Franklin on Saturday. Hoyt is currently competing on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance?” GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 7/17/2019 4:45:47 PM

One judge thought the tap dancer from Boscawen was a bit too cavalier while on stage in front of a national audience.

Another judge said the non-stop happy vibe spilling off the stage was not a bad thing, and, in fact, added to his performance.

In the end, those two judges – Laurieann Gibson and Nigel Lythgoe – plus the other two on the four-person panel agreed that Eddie Hoyt, whose feet make music of their own, had shown enough to deserve a spot in the next round of So You Think You Can Dance.

The reality show features an arduous, grueling process to eliminate dozens of dancers during preliminary rounds before the finalists dance on live TV later this summer. The latest installment was pre-recorded and aired Monday night.

When the judges had finished their say, signaling their approval and moving Hoyt closer to nationwide attention, he bent at the waist, buckled his knees slightly and covered his face with both hands.

Then, the 19-year-old Merrimack Valley High School graduate told the panel, “I decided from day one after getting cut last season that I’m going to come back and make it further, and I’m on the right track.”

This indeed is redemption for Hoyt. The show’s producers asked him to come back after his early elimination in 2018, and he’s apparently polished his act, expanding out of the comfort zone tap provides and showing aptitude in several other styles of dance, including contemporary, hip hop and ballroom.

Hoyt, who lives in Utah and teaches dance there, was unavailable for comment Wednesday, as was Sue Harrington, whose love for tap helped inspire her star pupil at her Creative Steps School of Dance in Franklin. That’s where Hoyt got his first taste of competitive dancing 10 years ago.

Reached by phone before he returned home to Boscawen last week, Hoyt said his drive to dance and grow, for the most part, comes from within, not from overbearing parents.

“I’ve always been very independent and driven myself,” Hoyt told the Monitor. “My parents are guiding me, but the decisions are from my gut feelings and what I want as an individual. If anyone is pushing me, it is myself. I want to be the best I can be, and it’s up to me how far I go.”

Interviewed recently at her studio, Harrington said she knew quickly that someone special had enrolled in her program.

“Great rhythm,” Harrington said. “I remember his focus and the fact he was like a little sponge and took it and ran with it. I encouraged him to move to more advanced classes after the first year, and he hasn’t stopped since.”

Last season’s disappointment certainly didn’t derail Hoyt. He’s advanced through six rounds this year, part of an initial auditioning process, academy training at a Los Angles-based workshop and now this, Monday’s chance to display a well-rounded repertoire, beyond just tap.

Called the first part of the Academy round, 79 competitors began this third phase, as dancers looked to be named one of 20 finalists. The process continues on July 22 with another taped version, before a champion is chosen among a top 10 list – five male, five female – on live TV.

An internet replay of the most recent dance-off shows Hoyt and a partner competing in contemporary dance. From there, Hoyt faced the judges, alone on stage.

“Eddie, better than last year,” Mary Murphy said. “But that was not the best. You need to strengthen those upper arms, all right?”

Then Gibson mixed in a compliment with criticism, saying, “I believe you can master all styles, but the idea that you are showing me that you can, it makes me think you are not serious about the competition. You feel me?”

“Yeah,” Hoyt responded.

But then Lythgoe quickly defended Hoyt’s cheery on-stage presence, adding, “I think he’s just a happy-go-lucky chap.”

At that point, Hoyt looked back, to last season, when he took Lythgoe’s advice to heart.

“I’ve grown a lot since last year,” Hoyt said, “and I remember the comment you told me, Nigel, that I must be the happiest person on this planet, and I wanted to prove to you that I’m not just happy.

“I’m mature.”


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