Dancing from TV To The Basie Stage

October 20, 2017
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Chris “Kiki” Nyemchek of Teaneck, who finished in the top four on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

By Mary Ann Bourbeau |

RED BANK – Christopher “Kiki” Nyemchek had no intention of auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance” when he accompanied his dance partner, Magda Fialek, on an audition for the Fox television show, where they performed the cha cha.

Although he had been dancing since the age of 4, and had his first competition at age 5, he just went there to support his friend.

“I wanted to be 100 percent ready to go and prepared in other genres before I auditioned,” he said.

The producers persuaded the Teaneck resident to audition and he made the cut, eventually moving on further than Fialek.

“She was very supportive of me continuing and I thank her for that,” said Nyemchek.

He made it to the Top 4 and will appear with the other Top 10 contestants as part of the Season 14 “So You Think You Can Dance Tour,” which stops at the Count Basie Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20.

“It was a very interesting journey, definitely something I will never forget,” Nyemchek said. “I met some amazing dancers and choreographers. It was a pleasure to be a part of it.”

In the television show, dancers between the ages of 18 and 30 showcase their talents in various dance styles, including contemporary, tap, hip-hop, ballroom and breaking. The Top 10 dancers are paired up with all-stars who guide them as they compete for America’s votes. Nyemchek, 26, said he wasn’t at all disappointed at not winning; in fact, he was glad to be in the finale.

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“I was ecstatic to participate, period,” he said. “It made me feel like a winner.”

Among the dances with his partners were a cha cha, salsa, contemporary and hip-hop, as well as solo performances.

“I enjoy every type of dance,” he said. “Each one has something different to offer. You have to step into a different character for each dance, and that never gets stale.”

His father, Spencer, has 35 years of ballroom dance experience and is president and founder of Spencer Nyemchek DanceSport in Bergenfield. Kiki Nyemchek is manager and a dance instructor there, as is his brother, Marcus. He thought it was cool growing up in a dance family.

“I was into soccer for a while, but I failed epically,” he said.

When he was 7 years old, Nyemchek’s father sent him for dance lessons with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his

The Top 10 finalists of “So You Think You Can Dance” will perform at the Count Basie Theatre Oct. 20.

brother, Valentin, who dance fans are familiar with from the ABC show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

“After my father taught me the basics, he pushed me over to those guys,” said Nyemchek. “They shaped me into the dancer I am today. They’re still my homies.”

Nyemchek has represented the United States at the world championships in Finland, France and Spain. He even appeared on three seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.”

“That was my first TV appearance and it was pretty cool,” he said.

So what are Nyemchek’s plans going forward?

“I’m taking it day by day,” he said. “For the next few months I’m putting everything I have into this tour. I’ll see where the wave takes me.”

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In addition to Nyemchek, the Season 14 So You Think You Can Dance Tour includes Top 10 finalists Robert Green, Logan Hernandez, Lex Ishimoto, Koine Iwasaki, Dassy Lee, Kaylee Millis, Taylor Sieve, Sydney Tormey and Mark Villaver. Joining them are two all-stars, Jasmine Harper and Marko Germar.

The show will feature this season’s most popular routines as well as original pieces, created exclusively for the tour, with the theme, “All the Right Moves.”

“This is a tour you simply do not want to miss,” said Nigel Lythgoe, judge, executive producer and co-creator of the hit series.

Tickets are $49.50 to $89.50, with VIP packages ranging from $175 to $499. For more information, visit www.countbasietheatre.org

This article was first published in the Oct. 12-19, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. 

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