Mary Murphy details her limited role on So You Think You Can Dance: “I’m back in the pool”

Update: As of mid July, Mary still hasn’t been asked to return, but talks about what kind of dances she’d choreograph.

Mary Murphy’s demotion from full-time judge on the seventh season of So You Think You Dan Dance was in part her decision, but it leaves her participation as a choreographer and guest judge largely up in the air, even now, only a week before the season begins. However, she said she’s open to returning as a full-time judge in the future.

“Guest judges have to sit there and wait. It’s usually like two weeks out they’ll ask you whether you’re available or not, so we’ll see. I also give lectures on domestic violence, so, I’m also booking myself up in that way, too,” she said. Last fall, she revealed that she was raped and beaten in an abusive marriage.

As to choreographing, Mary told me she’ll probably be “tending to choreograph group numbers this season,” but if she does do partner dances, she’ll work with all stars and ballroom/Latin specialists Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis only, and whichever contestants they’re paired with.

While she wasn’t part of the open call auditions, she did help narrow 120 to 10, and was responsible for telling two semi-finalists whether or not they made it into the top 10, one who did and one who didn’t. In a change this year, that happened in the contestants’ homes with their families there, and Mary said that at the rejection, “I was crying, of course.”

Mary’s change in status on the reality competition “was a mutual situation that came between me and Fox,” she told me, because “I’ve wanted to spend some more time with my dance studio” and spend more time “creatively” because last year, “I just sat on chairs and sat in airplanes.”

When I asked how frequently she’ll be on the show, she said, “I have no idea” because “I’m back into the pool.” She did tell me, however, that “I would like to come back as a permanent judge … if the fans want me back.” However, she said that while she realizes some people “can’t stand my scream or my enthusiasm, I’m never going to change who I am.”

More next week from my interview with Mary Murphy, including her Broadway stint, injuries that will force her to have surgery, and how dance reality TV has changed her industry. (Read part two.)

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.