Eva Igo Has Her Eye on Success
You may know 15-year-old Eva Igo as a fierce competitor from NBC’s World of Dance, praised by legendary judges Jennifer Lopez, Neyo, and Derek Hough—but the young dancer has been training since long before that. Igo began perfecting her craft at age three in the renowned Larkin Dance Studio of Maplewood, MN, winning multiple regional and national titles at dance competitions growing up. But competing on World of Dance projected her talent to a whole other stratosphere: to millions of the show’s viewers. On Season 1, Igo was runner-up to dance phenomenons Les Twins, losing by only one-fifth of a point. Igo returned to Season 2 in hopes of taking home the grand prize but was unfortunately cut during the duels round. However, her time on the show has opened her up to a myriad of opportunities: she toured the U.S. and Canada in The World of Dance Live 2017, performed at VidCon in Orange County, CA, and showed off her skills at Hit the Floor in Lèvis, Canada. She was also cast in an independent film (her acting debut) by Sean Welling of Welling Films called "The Last Astronaut," to be released soon. Additionally, Igo recently received the "Most Fierce Dancer Under 18" award from The Industry Dance Awards and was nominated for "Competition Contestant of 2018" by the E's People's Choice Awards. World of Dance was only the beginning for this teen firecracker—nothing’s stopping her from continuing to pirouette to the top.
When did you first develop your passion for dance?
I started dancing when I was three-years-old. I was all about fun and friends and took basic classes like tap, jazz, and a little ballet/stretching. I started competition dance at around five and loved performing and being on stage. At that age, I learned my first solo, which was a lot of fun. As I got older, I started to see that movement, music, and story come together as more of an emotional connection for me, and hopefully for the audience as well.
What’s your favorite style of dance?
I enjoy edgy, hard-hitting contemporary most, maybe because I'm always happy and it's fun to take on an intense personality. I also love jazz and musical theater. I love performing—maybe that's why I feel a pull toward acting.
Which dancers/choreographers inspire you?
I admire so many, but of course my teacher and choreographer Michele Larkin, as well as Tessandra Chavez because of her unique style and artistry. My sister, Kayla Igo also inspires me—she has always been behind helping me make changes that work for me and my style and pushing me to be my best.
How have you trained over the years, both physically and emotionally, as a professional dancer?
Usually, I am at the studio every day, from a couple hours to eight, depending on what we are learning. Solos and duets are extra and optional, so we need to squeeze those sessions in on our own. My sister is a dance teacher as well, and she gives me specific exercises for strength and flexibility. I also love going to dance conventions and learning from as many choreographers as I can.
What was the audition process like for Season 1 of World of Dance?
A casting director actually saw my solo "It's a Man’s World" on YouTube. She contacted me through direct message on Instagram and invited me to Chicago to audition. I performed two solos in front of a panel that included [famous choreographer] Tabitha D'Umo. They filmed the performances and I was also interviewed.
What was your favorite part about competing in the show?
My favorite part of competing in Season 1 was getting to know and watch so many pros in action, and seeing how they were fierce competitors but still friends and supported each other. I also loved working with Tessandra Chavez and Kyle Hanagami, who were both supervising choreographs, as well as Nappytabs. It was a dream come true! Season Two was shorter for me, of course, even more so because I went back home in between rounds. There was less of a chance to experience it fully, in my opinion.
What was the most challenging part about being a contestant on World of Dance?
Season 1 was a lot different than Season 2 at least behind the scenes. Season 1 didn't have the separate Junior Teams division, so all of the minors had school together every day! We also stayed until we were eliminated, so it was nonstop school, rehearsals, choreography adjustments, early call times for wardrobe and makeup, and then filming. It was fun, stressful, exciting, challenging, and exhausting! It was also hard being away from home for 34 days straight, but I was very sad when it was over! I loved meeting so many legends and new dance friends, and of course, all the people behind the scenes were amazing. Season 2, on the other hand, was way bigger—there were more divisions and a lot more acts. Everyone came in to film during different weeks, so there was way less interaction. A challenge from both seasons was song clearance. Trying to prepare several solos and then finding out the song can't be used is so frustrating, especially if you put a lot of time into practicing to it.
How did the mentoring sessions on both seasons help improve your dancing?
The mentoring sessions made the judges far more human. When you are on the stage, they are giants and you are very small. The one-on-one sessions were close and personal and took a little bit of that intimidation away.
Is there one specific piece of advice a mentor gave you that has stuck?
To use my feelings in my expression and interpretation. We all feel, and the more we express those feelings, the more we connect as humans.
Why did you decide to come back and compete in Season 2?
I was invited back for Season 2, and it was a hard decision! Of course, there was the fear of doing worse than before. But in the end, I thought "why not?" If I didn't do it, I would wonder what would have happened for the rest of my life. There are hundreds of dance competitions and all of them crown someone as the "best". But there are millions of dancers in the world that go unseen and never get the opportunity to shine. I say if you get that knock on the door, open it. Who cares if you win? Everything is an experience to learn and draw from, and everything happens for a reason.
Did you have a specific strategy going into Season 2?
Same as Season 1: to work hard and stay true to myself—God’s Plan.
Unfortunately, you were eliminated during the duels round during Season 2. Do you have any regrets?
No! Of course, it stunk to go home, but I have been competing for a long time, and I know that sometimes you win and sometimes you don't. In the end, you’re judged by human beings who see different things and have a personal preference. Rejection is part of art.
What advice do you have for people who are afraid of failure and rejection?
We are all afraid, both kids and adults! We will lose a lot more than we win, but when we lose, we learn, adjust, and improve.
What are your future plans for your career?
Last year, I didn't compete with my studio because I knew I was going to miss a lot, so I am now going to compete on a moderate scale. I'd like to explore acting in the future, and I have been working with Five Dancewear on my own line of dance clothing. I’m just going to take opportunities as they come.