10 years and counting

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First Posted: 9/8/2014

Ricky Ubeda began dancing at the age of 8 after watching a then new show on Fox called, “So You Think You Can Dance.” Fast forward 10 years, and the 18 year-old is now inspiring others to take up the art. In the process, he won season 11’s title of “America’s Favorite Dancer.”

“To know that so many people love what you do is the most special feeling in the world,” Ubeda said in studio on “Ralphie Tonight.” “It was incredible. I had never been shown in front of so many people.”

But by watching the show, you would have never known that the national TV spotlight was a new platform for Ubeda. He danced like a seasoned veteran; the Miami-native withstood 12 hour-days for 10 weeks straight. Standing in front of Nigel Lythgoe, who is a judge and the show’s co-creator, along with the at home audience didn’t intimidate Ubeda.

“I have so much respect for him,” Ubeda noted of Lythgoe. “He has brought dance to the home of Americans, and I think that’s such a special thing. I just can’t believe that I had the opportunity to be on (the show).”

And of course, go on to win the entire competition.

“Then the finale happened, and then I won, and then they whisked me away on a red-eye,” he continued. “I haven’t even be able to sleep since the win.”

That was just two days after the finale, and downtime isn’t exactly in his near future. Ubeda joins his fellow “SYTYCD” finalists for a 70 city trek of live shows. After that, it’s off to New York City. As part of the package for winning, Ubeda receives a role in the musical “On the Town.”

“Another dream of mine is to be on Broadway,” Ubeda explained. “The fact that I get to live (in New York) and be on Broadway… it’s going to be amazing.”

But first for Ubeda is the tour, which kicks off October 1 in New Orleans and wraps next February north of the border in Canada.

“I think there is going to be a little more just ‘free-ness,’ if that makes sense,” he explained, contrasting the tour performance to what viewers saw on television. “It’s going to be just a performance. We’re going to be dancing for you guys because you loved us.”