Southsider Voice correspondent
Franklin Township’s Valerie Rockey is known as The Last Girl Standing after the final outcome of the 11th season of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox.
Rockey was announced as the national runner-up Sept. 3 in in Los Angeles, where her family was in the audience.
“I couldn’t breathe for the final five minutes,” proud father John Rockey said afterward. “It was so easy for me to enjoy it until the minutes before they announced the winner.”
With Valerie standing next to Ricky Ubeda, the other finalist, Ubeda was announced the champion.
Soon after the announcement was made, Valerie sent out the following message: “It’s only the beginning. Thank you Fox for the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The Rockey family returned home Thursday on three separate flights, with Valerie arriving at 10 p.m. After a family photo at Indianapolis International Airport, she was off on a whirlwind tour of her hometown.
Rockey visited Tippy Toes School of Dance, 5135 Commerce Square Drive, where she began her formal training as a little girl. She was greeted Saturday evening by former dance instructors and scores of girls who idolize the most famous of Tippy Toes “graduates.”
“I’m not an emotional person,” she said Monday on Fox 59’s “Morning News.” “Pulling up in front of Tippy Toes made me cry. It was so nice to see all those people who had supported me.”
Rockey attended Southminster Presbyterian Church near Wanamaker, where she took a selfie with youths at the church Sunday.
“I still feel like it didn’t happen,” Rockey said on Fox 59. “It was definitely the best experience I’ve ever had. I got to dance with the most professional choreographers.”
She re-emphasized that she had never attempted ballroom, Bollywood or the waltz in professional competition. Her signature dance is tap dancing with her trademark red shoes.
Following her visit to Fox 59, she went to Franklin Central High School and met with former teachers and current students.
Rockey is to return to Los Angeles today and will begin rehearsals with the other 10 finalists for the 70-city “So You Think You Can Dance” tour, which begins in New Orleans, Oct. 1.
The 34-state and four Canadian province tour does not include Indianapolis. The closest sites are the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind., on Oct. 18 and the Kentucky Center in Louisville on Oct. 21.