Though Miranda Maleski was voted off the FOX TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" last night, she's proud of her accomplishments.
"I did everything I could do, and I am proud of everything I've done on that stage," Maleski told the Plum-Oakmont Patch. "Even after my last solo, I could not have asked for anything more of myself. I'm proud of myself, and I left that way."
Plum native Maleski, 19, said she has been watching the show since the first season. Being old enough to compete, she finally auditioned in February, made it through to the Las Vegas auditions in April and was put through to the Top 20 in June.
"It's crazy being up there on that stage because you know what it looks like from home," Maleski said. "You know what the viewers are watching and you know what the viewers are feeling. It's unlike any other experience, and I'll never get to do it again."
Maleski said she thinks she went home too soon. A contemporary dancer, Maleski was the only dancer on the show who didn't have the chance to dance in her genre—dancers pick dance styles for each show at random. Maleski and her partner Robert Taylor Jr., who also was sent packing last night, performed jive, hip-hop and broadway routines.
"I think my journey was cut short, obviously, and I wish I could have continued, but at the same time, everybody on the show right now is brilliant," she said. "I was at a little bit of a disadvantage, but I don't think I let it get to me at all.
"I think I took every challenge that they gave me and did the best I could with it. I am not a hip-hop dancer—I am closer to ballet than anything else—so it was difficult for me that week, but I think I did a really good job. I don't think people were expecting that, and that's what I'm most proud of."
Still, she said she's happy with her success at the show and her attempts at new genres.
The show's judges lauded Maleski's performances, saying she has swagger and that she was the dancer with the most growth on the show. Despite that, Maleski said she wasn't counting on being safe.
"Anything can happen," she said. "On the show I was always prepared for the worst but expecting the best."
Maleski has been dancing since she was 3 years old and has been competitively dancing since the age of 7. She was a student at the Reign Dance Productions studio in Penn Hills and has won several national dance competitions.
Maleski said she never really excelled at dance until her early teen years. Many times, she wanted to quit, but she said she's happy to have continued pursuing dance.
The fans also made the experience better, Maleski said.
"Seeing that people were noticing me and starting to support me was amazing," she said. "People who don't even know me were supporting me and voting for me. It was just a great feeling to know that people believed in me."
She said it was a great experience to work with the judges, choreographers and the other dancers on the show.
"It was great getting to know them," Maleski said. "They're amazing, and I love them all. We were this big family and we all support each other so much."
A 2010 Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School graduate, Maleski has been living in Los Angeles auditioning for acting and dancing roles. She recently was featured as a solo ballerina for Kanye West at a Los Angeles festival.
Maleski said she'll continue to pursue acting and dancing roles now that her journey on "So You Think You Can Dance" is over.
"When one door closes another opens," she said. "The 'So You Think You Can Dance' door has closed on me now, but I'm opening the door to the real world of dancing. I'm ready to go out and give my all to it."