‘So You Think You Can Dance’ top 20 includes Aurora dancer

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AURORA, Colo. -- A dancer from Aurora is hoping she has all the right moves as she competes on Fox’s hit show So You Think You Can Dance.

It’s hard to believe at age 20, Janaya French, who made the list of the top 20 dancers selected on Tuesday night’s show, has almost two decades of dance experience. She started dancing at the Michelle Latimer Dance Academy in Greenwood Village at just 3 years old.

Her mom Tammy joked that Janaya’s dancing skills were less than spectacular in those early years.

“At first she’d be one of those kids that would be like, ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’” Tammy said. “She was always looking over at the other person. As parents, we would just laugh.”

But by the time she was at Grandview High School, Tammy realized her daughter was a star.

“A lot of parents would come up to us and say, ‘I love to watch her dance,’” Tammy said.

Janaya describes herself as a “lyrical or contemporary dancer” who loves music. But her shot at dance glory almost didn’t happen.

After high school, Janaya wanted to move to Los Angeles to become a professional, but her parents wanted her to go to college. That’s when older sister Kailey stepped in.

“I just told my parents, 'You have to let her do this, it’s what she wants. And she can do it,'" Kailey said.

Her parents eventually agreed, and now Janaya lives in Van Nuys, Calif., where she’s working two jobs -- one as a server at a restaurant and one as a hairstylist -- in addition to pursuing her dream.

Her father David said his daughter “seems to have adapted pretty well." Now the French family hopes she can adapt from week to week, as Janaya has a tough competition ahead.

As far as her thoughts on winning, Janaya said she can’t even imagine it.

“It seems a little unreachable at this moment," Jayna said in an interview with So You Think You Can Dance. " Out of so many amazing people, it seems unreal.”

While humble, Janaya said she has what it takes, and hopes the judges and America take notice.

So You Think You Can Dance airs Wednesday nights from 7-9 p.m on Fox31.

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