LAYTON -- Malece Miller, the 19-year-old Layton resident who competed during the summer on the FOX hit show "So You Think You Can Dance," found herself back in Utah on Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley for a show featuring the show's top 14 dancers.
When Miller was voted off as the 11th dancer, it was nearly two weeks before she got the official invitation for the tour from the show's producers. Though Miller has enjoyed the 32 cities they have been to so far, including New York City, Miami, Atlantic City, Boston, and Toronto, she was most excited about being back in her home state.
"It's definitely going to be awesome having all of my family and friends there, though I feel like I'm getting a lot more nervous, so hopefully I can just put it in my dancing," said Miller before Friday's show.
Miller performed in all of the group dances in addition to a duet with Alan Bersten, one of her partners during the live TV show.
Miller has been on tour since the beginning of October and has 12 cities left before the tour ends Dec. 1.
Miller finds it ironic that she began the show as a contemporary dancer, but the dance producers chose for her a ballroom dance on tour.
"It's crazy, because I've taken a total of two ballroom classes, so I'm super flattered that they would have me do this," she said.
Miller said there's a night-and-day difference between the tour and her time on the show.
"The tour is more about celebrating what we did on the show with our performances and dances, and it's a completely different feel," said Miller, referring to the grueling 16-hour days she endured on the show compared to the more relaxed feeling of the tour with rehearsals lasting only a few hours a day.
As she travels across the country, Miller said, she has learned how to sleep on a bus.
"It's pretty crazy sleeping on the bunks in the bus, waking up, warming up, sometimes walking around the city and then performing," said Miller.
Some of Miller's most memorable moments are meeting her fans.
"It is cool to meet the people who supported me through the whole thing. You rarely get to meet people who truly don't know you, but love you anyway. That's really cool."
Being a part of the show has consumed most of Miller's year. When the New Year rolled in, a huge goal of hers was to be on the show, but given that her last audition didn't result in a place on the show, she wasn't planning to try out again. However, several days before the March auditions in Los Angeles, she decided to just go for it.
It was a decision that changed her life.
"This experience has changed me forever," Miller said. "I'm only 19, and I've traveled the U.S., and the exposure with fans is a boost of confidence, knowing I can make it in dance. I couldn't ask for anything more."
Miller is dreading the last day of the tour on Dec. 1, which happens to be her birthday.
"It's going to be the saddest birthday ever," she said.
Miller plans to head back to Los Angeles and pick up where she left off at the beginning of the year, doing dance gigs and auditions, with the hope that her name recognition from the show will boost her opportunities.
"I just hope to continue dancing, and see where that takes me," she said. "I definitely think the show gives you so much exposure of your name, and people can see what you can do."