So You Think You Can Dance‘s Ashley Galvan slowly crept her way into contention — until a fractured rib kept her from advancing further in the competition. Shortly after leaving the show, the contemporary dancer rang up EW to talk about her injury, whether she’ll be coming back next year, and of course, reveal the lucky fella she’s in love with.She might not have been an early favorite, thanks to a criminal lack of screen time, but
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve had some time to soak it in. How are you feeling?
ASHLEY GALVAN: I’m still bummed. It’s weird not waking up early or dancing by this time. But I’m hoping I can rest and get better.
How exactly did the injury happen?
The injury is a fractured rib to my ninth rib, actually. I really don’t know what the cause of it was, but I do know that I really have never been partnered so much. It was probably a wake-up call for my ribs being partnered every week and tossed around and all that stuff.
Because you’re a contemporary dancer, you’re probably used to doing things solo, right?
Yeah, I come from a studio where we did some partnering, but there were never any guys at our studio so we never had the chance to do lifts and do as much as we were doing on the show.
Do you think it got to the point where it was too much? Alex hurt himself last week, you hurt yourself this week. It seems like they’re giving you all more dances than they gave other contestants during previous seasons at this point in the competition. Were you overwhelmed by it all?
I don’t think we were overwhelmed. Yeah, we’re going through a lot. We’re dancing a lot. But you know, it’s really fun, and we really don’t think about it being too much, because we have so much adrenaline pumping and we’re so excited for learning new routines, that we really don’t realize if we’re injured or not. I started having pain the third week that we were into the show, and it just progressed. At first it was just bruised, which was so painful, but nothing was fractured. But I kept dancing on it. Lifts are so much fun. I was scared to get lifted coming into the competition, and I was afraid that I was going to be the one always lifted, but you know, I loved it. I wish I could do it more. I love being thrown in the air now. But obviously, I can’t.
Well, you didn’t show any signs of pain. So you hid it well.
Yeah. Actually, doing hip-hop and the quickstep kind of made it heal. I felt a lot better, because it wasn’t a lot of partnering. The quickstep, you have a frame, and you have to be pulled up. So that doesn’t hurt as much. The quickstep was all in your feet, and it was so much fun. Hip-hop, there really wasn’t any lifts. It was all about moving. I felt like it was getting better. And then learning the disco with Robert kind of threw it out again, with all the lifts.
Did you know last night that you were going to be sent home? And did everyone else know?
At first, I didn’t know that I was going to be sent home until I talked to the doctors and they had told me that I greatly needed four to six weeks of rest. By that time, all the contestants were already starting the show, so I didn’t have a chance to talk to them. I think they were surprised, because we all knew the week grace rule. [Ed. SYTYCD rules state that an injured dancer has one week to heal in order to continue competing in the competition.] They were like, “You have to get better in a week!” And I was like, “I know, I’m trying! I don’t want to leave. I don’t feel this is my time to go yet.” But I have a good outcome to look forward to. I get to go on tour. So my journey doesn’t end. I just need to get better, so I can get back with them and tour with them.
Did the producers invite you to come back next year?
I never really got asked to come back next year. With Alex, I feel like it happened so suddenly. It was a big shocker, and he deserves to come back next year. He’s such a hard worker. If I got asked to come back next year, I would love to do it. If it’s as an all-star, or as a contestant, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to because I was a competitor in the competition, and also, too, I got asked to go on tour.
But Alex was a competitor too, and he got asked back.
It would be nice to come back and actually do stuff that I hadn’t done before. But I don’t know. We’ll see.
We didn’t really see you until the top 10. We didn’t see your audition, or your trip through Vegas. Were you aware of that when you were watching the show?
Yeah. At first, I was kind of like, “Aw.” I wasn’t shown nearly as much [as others]. But I felt like once I got on the show, I slowly but surely was creeping up. Here I am! I’m still here! A lot of people were saying I was the underdog.
And that’s probably one of the reasons you had people rallying behind you. You can have no screen time on SYTYCD and still win the whole thing. Look at season 5’s winner, Jeanine Mason.
Exactly. I grew as a person. I know I’m very shy at first, so I was probably camera-shy. But as the weeks went on, and I got more comfortable, I was in the cameras and always being crazy, and the nerd person that I am. It’s kind of sad to know that from the judges saying I was a quiet competitor and that I was probably the underdog. Having so much positive feedback — it hurts knowing that I won’t be continuing anymore.
I thought you could have sneaked into the top four! You were so close!
Thank you. I just wanted to stay around long enough for the finale, but everything happens for a reason. And for some reason, a fractured rib was in my future.
Will you be able to dance in the finale?
I’m hoping that I will. I’m going to take it easy, I’m going to try everything I can to make a speedy recovery. I’m hoping it takes three weeks rather than four. Hopefully it happens.
The first few weeks we saw you do contemporary, then jazz, then contemporary. Were you frustrated you weren’t able to do a different dance style so early on? Because we all watched you break out week 4, when you got hip-hop.
Yeah. The first time I got contemporary, I was like, “Oh cool, I’m in my comfort zone. It gives me a chance to show them that I can kind of step out with the emotion.” But then they didn’t really get the emotion that I brought across. I took what they said into consideration and took it into the next week. And the next week was jazz with Mark, but I guess they had commented saying it wasn’t jazz, it was more of a contemporary, and they wanted to see me do jazz, because they had already seen me do contemporary. And then when I found out that I got contemporary again for the third week, I was kind of nervous about what they were going to say, and kind of nervous that, okay, am I always going to have contemporary or jazz? Am I ever going to step out of my comfort zone? I always wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to have Bollywood. I wanted to have ballroom. Something that I wasn’t known [to do]. But, you know, that third week, it was a different kind of contemporary for me. I just had to let go of my movement and not be so placed. Like, kind of hit these lines. So it was an amazing third week. That’s probably my favorite week, that third week. And then, finally, I got hip-hop, and I was so excited. And it was so fun.
And you killed it, too!
I tried! But it was a tough one to get through, I’m not going to lie. The stamina, you know. But I was so glad that [the judges] liked it, and I got to show them that side.
Anyone you’re pulling for to win the whole thing?
No. I think that each and every one of the contestants deserves it. Whoever does win, I’m so happy for them. I love them all, and they are my family. They are like my brothers and my sister.
Anyone you were particularly close with?
Yeah, I was really close with Robert. He was like my brother. Him and Billy, probably. We’re all kind of close, but I would have to say that Robert was my best friend.
Before I let you go, we need to know: Who are you in love with?
[Laughs] My boyfriend, Jared Murillo.
And he’s a fellow dancer, right?
He is. He’s actually a ballroom dancer. And he will be going to London to do Strictly Come Dancing.
Did you train with him? Is that how you did quickstep so well?
He kind of helped me a little. He didn’t really teach me too much of standards. He just taught me the frame and stuff. But I was so sad that I had rumba this past week, and it was one of his specialties, because he is more of a Latin ballroom dancer. I really wanted to show him that I could do it. But he knows that I can. And hopefully I get to show him one day.
In three weeks, right?
Yes! In three weeks!