Eva Igo, who first caught the attention of a national audience after she stole the show during the third round of qualifiers on NBC’s “World of Dance” with her stunning solo to Bishop Briggs’ “River,” is anything but your average teenager.
The 14-year old, who started dancing at age 3 and competing at age 5, lives and breathes dance. In fact, it’s the only thing she really wants to be doing. And we can’t blame her ― after watching her command the stage through our TV sets over the past couple weeks, it’s obvious dance is what she’s meant to do.
“I love dance. Whenever I’m not dancing I feel like I’m missing out on dancing. I just always want to be dancing,” she told HuffPost in a recent phone conversation.
And while the Minnesota native makes it all look easy, she, like dancers everywhere, puts in hours of hard work to make it appear that way.
“During the school year I wake up at 7 or 8 and do my school [work], then I come to dance at 1 and practice by myself, do exercises and stretches. Then I get into rehearsals with my team and small groups and ballet class and all of that,” she said. It doesn’t end there ― after practicing with her groups, Igo said she then works on solos and duets before she finally leaves around 9 or 9:30 p.m.
And all that is just during the school year. In the summer, when Igo doesn’t have school, she still practices for about eight or nine hours a day.
All that hard work clearly paid off.
Igo caught the attention of “World of Dance” producers, who contacted her with a direct message on Instagram. “They asked me if I’d like to audition, so I went to Chicago and auditioned,” she said. “Then I found out that I got to be on the show.”
Naturally, Igo was excited to join the show, but admitted it didn’t really hit her until she arrived on set and got to perform. “I was like, ’Oh my God, this is way bigger than I thought.”
After her first performance aired ― she earned a score of 88 out of a possible 100 ― reception was largely positive. Judge Jennifer Lopez called Igo “a star,” and Derek Hough praised “the difficulty, the athleticism, the artistry, the performance, the execution” of the routine.
Not everyone felt the same way, though. Igo, being a teen who’s active on social media, read some comments from critics online who, as she recalled, felt the routine was more a show of acrobatics than dance skills.
″‘River’ from ‘World of Dance’ was posted on Facebook and it got a lot of people saying it wasn’t dance, that it was gymnastics,” she explained. “Of course there were tricks in it, but dance comes in many forms and dance is not a certain thing. It’s an art form. It’s like if you take an artist, a painter, and people are saying their work isn’t a painting because they drew it upside down or something. It’s still art.”
When asked how she deals with it, Igo said, with confidence and a laugh, “Oh yeah. I just ignore it.”
Luckily, Igo said her friends support her dancing and think what she’s doing is “really cool.”
In terms of her dance career, Igo said her ultimate goal is “to be the best dancer that I can be and not really care what anyone thinks, and really dance for myself instead of trying to impress other people. I want to show what I can do and do it for myself.”
What would she do if she won the million-dollar “World of Dance” prize? “I’d probably pay for my own dance, because it’s expensive,” the teen said. “It’s hard to pay for it.”