Twitch’s impression on dance: Derek Hough, Alex Wong name him hero

JoJo Gomez Okimura was 16 when she first met Stephen “Twitch” Boss at a conference for the hit Fox competitors collection “So You Think You Can Dance.” She enrolled in Boss’ class and was overjoyed when he known as her up onstage to help him.

“I was so nervous, but he made me feel so safe onstage with him,” she says about her first interplay along with her idol. “He made me feel seen.”

Whether or not she was auditioning or dancing at school, Gomez Okimura says she felt valued and safe within the “SYTYCD” alum’s presence.

Boss had an analogous impact on everybody he interacted with throughout his life, she says. When information broke of his demise by suicide on Dec. 13, members of the dance neighborhood flooded social media with condolences and tributes. “When we all found out the news, it was like we were paralyzed,” Gomez Okimura says.

Dancers and choreographers collectively grieved on-line and offline, sharing their favourite reminiscences of the “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant, all-star and choose. His legacy of pleasure and inspiration lives on by their tales, Gomez Okimura says.

“Being in a room with someone like Twitch, you grow as a person, you evolve in your craft,” she says.

Jojo Gomez Okimura and Stephen “Twitch” Boss.

(Courtesy of Jojo Gomez Okimura)

One of many largest classes she realized from him was that kindness trumps every thing.

“How you treat people is what they’re going to remember forever,” she says. “It’s not your dance abilities. That could be part of it, but before anything, you’re a human being, and the way you treat people is the most important thing.”

Dancer Dezi Saenz remembers the time she spent making dance movies with Boss and his spouse, Allison Holker. After dancing collectively, that they had a deep dialog about life. Saenz was fascinated by the sunshine, pleasure and power he exuded.

“I think just who he was, aside from all the accolades and accomplishments, should be something that is celebrated within not only the dance community, but by everyone,” Saenz says.

When Boss returned to “So You Think You Can Dance” throughout Season 7 as an all-star, he was paired with Alex Wong for a hip-hop routine set to Lil Jon’s “Outta Your Mind” — choreographed by Nappytabs’ Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo. Adored by the judges and followers, the routine grew to become one of many present’s most memorable moments and has been reshared far and huge within the wake of his demise.

Wong, who practiced ballet, grew as a dancer due to Boss’ steering through the routine.

“The message behind that routine is that [Twitch] believed in everybody,” Gomez Okimura says. “He helped them reach their fullest potential, standing right by their side.”

Wong nonetheless remembers how “positive and caring” Twitch was all through the rehearsal course of, and past the episode.

“He was always laughing,” he says. “I would always be joking around with him.”

Wong needed to drop out of the competitors on account of an damage and was unable to carry out the routine once more through the finale. Comic Ellen DeGeneres took his place for a hilarious and surprising re-creation, he says. It’s additionally what sparked Boss’ profession on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Boss started DJing the favored discuss present in 2014 and was promoted to co-executive producer in 2020.

Wong went on to work with Boss once more for tasks like Disney+’s “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” and varied dance conventions. Wong says Boss’ legacy in dance is “unparalleled.”

“He was such a positive force and outspoken in a great way, and an idol and mentor to so many people,” says Wong. “He’s just irreplaceable.”

Two men and two women pose and smile at an event.

Stephen “Twitch” Boss, from left, Allison Holker, Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert on the reception following the Tv Academy’s “Whose Dance Is It Anyway?” occasion celebrating the artwork of choreography in 2017.

(Vince Bucci / Invision / AP)

Boss had a powerful impression and presence within the dance business, Derek Hough says.

Hough obtained to know Boss by Holker, whom he labored with on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Their bond grew when Boss joined Hough as a visitor choose on NBC’s competitors collection “World of Dance.” He remembers the “meaningful and philosophical and emotional” conversations that they had. Hough says Boss seemed for the silver lining, regardless of how unhealthy the scenario.

“He was a curious person,” he says. “Whenever we had conversations, it was always like, ‘Let’s go deeper than what’s on the surface in this situation,’ or about this person, or about the dance community, or whatever was going on around the world.”

There are a number of people who find themselves synonymous with the dance neighborhood, and Hough says Boss is on the high of that record. Boss additionally “transcended being a dancer,” he provides.

“The second you think of Twitch, you think of that infectious, beautiful smile that he has, and the way he was able to soften a whole room or soften a person just by his presence,” says Hough.

Hough says Twitch didn’t simply sport Superman attire. To his household, buddies and neighborhood, he was Superman.

“I think the dance community and everyone who met him really looked at him like a superhero,” Hough says.