Korey Cleveland From 'So You Think You Can Dance' Is 31 Days Sober & His Ticket To Vegas Comes With An Important Condition
It's an inspiring story that ends with hope rather than complete redemption. And that makes it all the more emotional to watch. On Season 12's So You Think You Can Dance auditions in New York City, viewers and the judges were introduced to Korey Cleveland, a 24-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, who has had an incredibly rough life. Now sure, there have been many dancers on the history of this show with difficult upbringings, recent tragedies and inspiring stories. But Cleveland's story was different because it was still happening and So You Think You Can Dance plays a part in it as well since his eventual ticket to Vegas came with a huge, important caveat.
Cleveland's introduction began with his backstory: His father was absent in his family's life, his mother was a drug addict. Unfortunately due to the hardships he endured as a child, Cleveland too began an addict and was even incarcerated for two years. When he got up onstage and spoke to the judges, he expressed that dancing "saves" him from all of the terrible wrongs from his life. In fact, he promised himself that if he could get 30 days sober, he would audition. The day of his audition marked 31 days of sobriety.
The best part about this whole story? Cleveland was actually an excellent Hip Hop dancer. He clearly threw in all of his emotions into the audition and completely killed it from head to toe. All three of the judges were thrilled by his emotion, passion and his raw talent. In fact, I appreciated how vulnerable he could be in the introduction because it made his piece that much more strong and emotional to watch.
All three judges were ready to send Cleveland through to Vegas, but there was one condition. Las Vegas week was set to happen two months after Cleveland's audition in New York City. So Nigel Lythgoe stated that if Cleveland could prove that he had been sober for 90 days, as in his current length of sobriety added with the length of time between the audition and Vegas Week, then he would be allowed to keep his ticket and come prove his worth with tWitch on Team Street. Cleveland took on the challenge stating that he would show Lythgoe his 90-day sobriety chip in Vegas. And I genuinely hope and pray he'll be there getting his life back together thanks to dancing. It's a bit corny, and the story makes it seem like SYTYCD is patting itself on the back. But that doesn't make it any less hopeful and touching.