Ryan Maw knew he wanted to dance like a penguin the first time he saw the movie “Happy Feet.”
Now Maw’s talent as a tap dancer will be featured on the television series “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation” that’s being televised throughout the summer. Maw will be featured on the episode to be aired from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday on FOX.
Maw, who grew up all his life in Carson City before his dance expertise took him to Southern California during the last year, has been tap dancing since he was 4-years-old.
He auditioned for the prestigious Danceology Performance Arts Campus in San Diego where he continues to study dance while he attends school. Maw is set to begin his sophomore year of high school.
In February, Maw auditioned for “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation” in Los Angeles in front of the show’s judges Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo.
Maw said it was a little intimidating tap dancing in front of Lythgoe, a renown tap dancer. Derulo also is a skilled tap dancer and during the audition, Derulo told Maw he reminded him of himself.
Two yes votes were needed to move on and Maw received yes votes from all three judges.
“It was very relieving and exhilarating,” said Maw about the moment he was chosen to move on. “I’ve watched the show since I was little. I’ve always wanted to be on it.”
Thousands of dancers ages 8-13 auditioned all over country and about 100 were chosen to move onto the next round. Maw was 13 when he auditioned before turning 14 in March.
Episodes of the next round held in April, the academy, will begin to be aired Monday. The show’s dancers in 10 categories narrowed the field in each of their specialties down to five.
From the five in each specialty, the show’s dancers chose a winner in each category. If Maw made it that far, he competed to win in tap dancing, making him one of the winners in each of the 10 categories.
The winners in each of the 10 specialties then dance with their partner, one of the show’s dancers, competing to become the overall champion. The overall champion is awarded a total prize package of $250,000.
Maw was competing for the right to dance with Gaby Diaz, last year’s “So You Think You Can Dance” champion. Maw said about the whole process, “it’s stressful, (you’re) always on the edge.”
Maw isn’t just a tap dancer, he’s skilled in virtually every form of dance, including jazz, musical theater, hip hop and ballroom. So skilled he was named as a national champion as the best male junior dance champion by Break the Floor Productions.
In addition, Maw had the chance to be on the Ellen DeGeneres Show as part of the dance group, DancerPalooza.
But Maw isn’t just counting on a career in dancing. While Maw would like a career in dancing, he plans to study neurology in college.