August 2, 2012
By Audrey Fraizer
Christian Millette really thought he could dance. Apparently the 29-year-old ballroom dancer and dispatcher for Groupe Alerte Santé in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, wasn’t the only one.
When Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada (SYTYCDC) aired its finale in September 2011, Millette finished strong in fourth place beating out 18 other dancers also chosen for the show after auditioning.
“It was really, really fun,” Millette said. “We were like one big family. I was not expecting to be in the finals. I was competing against 19- and 20-year-olds. It helped me with my confidence.”
The competition was 75 days in Toronto, Canada, spent at a grueling pace—near the end of the show Millette said they spent 16 hours a day in training from trying on costumes, traveling to practice, going to the gym, checking out music, and dancing for up to eight hours with styles ranging from ballroom, to hip hop, to Bollywood, to Latin, to jazz.
“I had a lot of time to concentrate on my dancing,” Millette said. “The last week I was sleeping only three to four hours a night. I didn’t have time to sleep. It was a really good experience to see what your body can handle.”
Ballroom dancing is in his blood and his positive attitude and focus on dancing have taken him far—not only on the show but since Millette started competing at a young age. Growing up, dancing was as natural as walking with Millette learning moves at two years old.
“My parents are ballroom dancers as well,” he said. “I did my first ballroom competition at four years old.”
For years, Millette was coached by his dad (Alain Millette, president of the Canadian Dance & Dance Sport Council). Placing third in the under 12 category at Millette’s first competition cemented his love of dancing.
Since then his long list of accomplishments include placing sixth at the World 10 Dance Championship 2011, having a walk on part in Shall We Dance, being a dancer at Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and dancing for Bulgaria (birthplace of his current dance partner Denitsa Ikonomova—she finished in the Top 8 on SYTYCDC) beginning in 2009.
Despite the demanding pace of travel and competition, Millette teaches dance; he enjoys dispatching for Groupe Alerte Santé, a job he fell into 10 years ago while working on a project for a computer science class he was taking. The center was hiring and Millette applied.
“(The job) is always different,” he said. “I like helping people through their bad moments. I like the people I work with.”
Millette said connecting with people is common in dance performance, although no words are necessary.
“It’s all about the movement and the music and how you can express yourself,” he said. “I used to be really shy and quiet. You’re putting something else on the floor to show what you can do.”