Transcript, The Dance Edit Extra Episode 5: Comfort Fedoke on “The Big Leap” and Second Chances

Margaret Fuhrer:
Hey everyone. I’m Margaret Fuhrer, the editor and producer of The Dance Edit newsletter and podcast. Welcome to the fifth episode of The Dance Edit Extra! 

This is a great episode because it explores a part of the dance universe that we frankly have not featured enough in The Dance Edit, and that is the television dance world. You’re about to hear from the fantastic Comfort Fedoke, who knows that world from multiple perspectives—as a reality-show contestant, as an actor, as a choreographer. Right now she’s both onscreen and behind the camera on the Fox scripted series “The Big Leap,” which you’ll hear all about in our conversation.

Actually, Comfort knows so many people in this industry that she’s on a first-name basis with a lot of folks, and before playing her interview I just wanted to provide a quick glossary: the “Liz” she refers to is Liz Heldens, a producer on “The Big Leap.” “Simone” is Simone Recasner, who plays Gabby on the show. The “Jon” she mentions is Jon Rudnitsky, the Saturday Night Live alum who plays Mike. And “Aja,” when she mentions “Aja,” that’s actually the name of the recurring character that Comfort plays on the show. So hopefully that’ll help you all keep up with her as she recounts her stories from the set.

Anyway, thank you all again for subscribing to the Edit Extra, and be sure to check back here for new episodes every other Saturday. Here’s Comfort!

[pause]

Margaret Fuhrer:
I am very excited now to be joined by Comfort Fedoke. Hi, Comfort! How are you?

Comfort Fedoke:
Hi, I’m good! How are you, Margaret?

Margaret Fuhrer:
I’m good. I’m so glad you could come on the pod today, because I know your schedule is bananas.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yes. Thank you for having me. This is a reason to get away for a moment, so you’ve done me a favor.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Well, if you’ve been anywhere near the commercial dance scene over the past decade plus, you know who Comfort is. She was a standout on the fourth season of “So You Think You Can Dance,” which—you know what? I’m going to say it, hot take: Season four was the best season.

Comfort Fedoke:
Well thank you very much. [laughter]

Margaret Fuhrer:
I mean, it was part of a string of good ones. I feel like three, four, five, you got some pretty epic…

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah. That’s where it was starting to get real good. Characters were real serious back then.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, definitely. So then she returned to the show as an all-star for several seasons after that. She’s performed and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Missy Elliott. She’s acted in a whole bunch of films and television shows. And right now she is both choreographing for and acting in the new Fox scripted show “The Big Leap,” which follows a group of hopefuls auditioning for a dance reality show that actually has quite a bit in common with “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Comfort Fedoke:
Quite a bit in common.

Margaret Fuhrer:
You’re playing a version of your former self in some ways.

Comfort Fedoke:
I know. It’s crazy. It feels like every time we get into the writer’s room, or we talk with Liz, [producer] Liz Heldens, or we just kind of develop these stories or these sections and areas and they’ll bring up like, “Okay, do you have any moments when you were behind scenes of the show?” And I’ll be like, “Oh God, triggered.” So it’s so beautiful for this to feel like full circle right now.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, totally. Well, I hope not just triggered. I hope some happy stuff made it in there too. [laughter]

Comfort Fedoke:
Oh, good triggers! There are some good triggers, and there’s also some bad triggers, and there are some funny triggers. So, all of that on this show, as much needed. They need drama, they need comedy, and they need the realness, so.

Margaret Fuhrer:
It sounds very real. Yeah. Well, so actually, to get started, can we back up a little bit, or actually a lot a bit, and can you tell us about sort of your dance origin story? When did you first start dancing, and when did you fall in love with it?

Comfort Fedoke:
Oh, man. I’ll make this as quick as I possibly can. So I started off more as a track and … I ran track and field. So my father is a runner, and so I became more of a runner. And so when it came down to dance, I think if I wasn’t running, my parents had to put me into something active because I was too much. And so I had maybe my first summer school dance class when I was living in Minnesota, when I was eight, nine years old. And so that was a quick little jazz tap class, and that was just for the summer break. And that was fun. I didn’t ever really go back to it, but it was something that I would tend to be good at. I was like, “Oh, I have decent rhythm.”

So the thing is, with dance, and actually taking class in the studio, I never really grew up with that. I stayed into the sports world—even though now, I know dance is a sport, and we are definitely athletes. But then, being from Texas, I was in that world so long. After a while, when I got hurt, by my mid-sophomore year in high school—I was getting ready for Olympics, I wanted that whole dream for myself. But dance was the second part of me.

I enjoyed the competitive part of dance, because I was with street dancers. I fell in love with dance as a character in a competition when I would watch Janet Jackson’s “Velvet Rope,” or I would see *NSYNC do “Bye Bye Bye,” “It’s Gonna Be Me”—I was just watching BET or “TRL.”

Margaret Fuhrer:
You’d better believe we all knew all those dances. Yep.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah! Watching “106 & Park,” and then seeing like Missy, and Aaliyah, and TLC. So, I fell in love with the culture first and the music, and that’s what made me move. And then I learned there was a competitive side to it, and a battle world to it, so I made sure to dive into that world. And it just became my second love, honestly, when I got hurt with track and field.

Margaret Fuhrer:
What was your track and field injury?

Comfort Fedoke:
So I ended up having a bad accident, which made me roll out my ankle. So, therefore, I was off for a little while to rehabilitate that. And then I got really bad shin splints and it just took me out for that season. I was just like, Man, I can’t. I feel like I’m more in rehabilitation right now and just kind of getting myself back together and I won’t be able to go back in until next year. And then by that time, I was just losing my energy for it, and dance became this thing that I was naturally starting to do. And then my parents was like, “We got to get you into dance. If you like dance this much, let’s see what it has to offer.”

Cause I was just doing so much. I had like a crew. We had little dance crews that we put together. I just always wanted to do anything when it came down to the camaraderie of a group that felt like track and field, that felt like competition, or whatever. And then I auditioned at and I went to Dallas Black Academy in Dallas so I can train. That was my first training in technique classes, and not like just hip hop, and that’s what helped me get into Booker T. Washington. Cause I had audition for a performing arts school, and that’s what helped me get into Booker T. Then the show came the year after I graduated—from a different high school, by the way, that’s another journey of my life. But I auditioned when I was like 19.

Margaret Fuhrer:
And that was it.

Comfort Fedoke:
And honestly that was it. And to be on a show that’s also very competitive in that world, that’s from studio competition, it is definitely different from the street dancing competition world. Because we’re judged by the people, rather than people who know the judges of the show. So that type of world was so new to me. I was just like, “Ah, I’m being judged by people who don’t even know what I do.” You know what I mean?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah.

Comfort Fedoke:
So it was just very different.

Margaret Fuhrer:
That’s always been an interesting tension in “So You Think You Can Dance,” that almost all the judges, not all of them, but most of the judges are from this world of concert dance, or as you were saying, studio competition And they don’t necessarily know the street styles that a lot of people are coming in and doing, and yet they are deemed the authorities who judge everybody. So I wondered if, fingers crossed, “So You Think You Can Dance” comes back, if that’s going to be something that they address in a more proactive way going forward.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah. And I think they tried to, throughout the seasons, do that when they brought D-trix in, and they brought guest people. They brought Twitch in, they brought like Laurieann Gibson, they brought Toni Basil in one time. So they would these guests for the fourth chair person, that would kind of help implement that for anyone who was actually like street styles or whatever. So, I think they really did their due diligence to try to make sure that they had someone there that still understood and represented in that aspect.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. So now, after we rewound there, now I’m going to fast forward a little bit to get right back up to “The Big Leap.” Because it’s such a great show—it’s so big hearted, there’s sort of room for everybody in this show. I feel like a lot of people are watching it, but not enough dance people are watching it, and I want to get the hardcore dance people into it.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah.

Margaret Fuhrer:
So, first of all, how did you first hear about the project? How was it described to you? And what were sort of your first impressions of the idea?

Comfort Fedoke:
Well, it was described to me and introduced to me by Chris Scott. And I’ve worked with Chris Scott a lot throughout the years since knowing him from “So You Think,” and he brings me on, as well as his associate choreographer, on any project that he does. So I absolutely adore Chris for always trusting my sense of genre, of styles, especially within hip hop.

So he told me about the pilot, and I was just like, “oh, this sounds like our ‘So You Think.'” He was like, “I know.” And then he said, “but it has like a ‘Glee’ feel too.” And I was like, “Oh, snap.” Because we both were in “Glee.” And I was like, “Oh wow, okay. This might be something interesting.” So he sent me the breakdown of the show and kind of got an understanding of it.

And I fell in love with the fact that it reminded me of… I used to always say, “What if someone made a show about the people you followed on the show?” If people knew our actual lives outside. Cause everyone’s always like, “Tell us a crazy story. Like what happened? Who left you in your life? And who wasn’t supporting you?” Like all of those stories. You fall in love with these individuals and these brands, and you follow and be like, “Oh God, I’m rooting for them.” And then what if there’s a show, like this show, that actually showed you what happens in their daily lives before they get onto this competition so you can kind of like live vicariously through their story?

And so when I realized that’s how the show was like a show within show, I was in on it. I became part of the choreography team. Yeah. And then I just naturally ended up getting on the show. Actually that happened super randomly.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, tell me that story. How’d that happen?

Comfort Fedoke:
So during the pilot, we were choreographing the opening scene. So you see the opening scene of the show, but then someone ended up getting hurt or sick, whatever the case may be, we’re dealing with so many people in the COVID situation. And they ended up saying, I think a day before, they were like, “Oh, we need someone else to cover for this part cause someone’s not going to be able to be here.” And I was like, “I guess it’s me.” So I had to jump in there, right? And then the next time after that, something else ended up happening during the audition process and they needed another girl to be this dancer with this other person, and I was just like “Alright you guys, coming in.” I put on my black wig, I had this black wig, and I put on these shades, and I was like, “Can you tell it’s me?” And they were like “Kind of.” I was like, “Well, the hell with it, fine. Here we go.”

Margaret Fuhrer:
Now I’m in the show.

Comfort Fedoke:
We’re in. So I did that, and then that was it. Honestly, I thought that was done. But me and Simone was always joking about “Oh, what if they now have to write you in? And now you’re going to have a story, an origin story?” And I was like, “Yeah, that’d be so cute.” So we’re just talking and joking with each other, cause I spent a lot of time with Simone, training her—

Margaret Fuhrer:
Simone Recasner, yeah? Who plays Gabby?

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah, for Gabby. So right when we found out the show got picked up, Chris called me and was like, “Hey, Liz is wondering, would you actually be down to be in the cast?” Honestly, I was like, “You know what? I wouldn’t mind.” I love choreographing, but I also am not done with the TV world. I also have been wanting to like pursue acting as well. So I was like, “If I can have the best of both worlds, let’s do it.” So, here I am. I’m making it work both on the back end and then I get to come on the front screen, as well. So, it’s been a challenge, but it’s been something that I’ve actually wanted. So be careful what you wish for, because you’ll get it. And here we go.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Well, yeah, tell me about making that balance happen. How do you deal with being on camera, being behind the camera, sometimes at the same time—how do you make that work? And then how does doing each of those jobs sort of inform and add to the other?

Comfort Fedoke:
Wow. How do I do it? I don’t know. [laughter] I think because I’m a little bit A.D.D., and this is the perfect place where it works, where I can multitask my brain. My Gemini side comes out and I’m able to choreograph my section. Luckily, we’re not always on set, and so if I’m not on set, we all sit down and have our choreography meeting, like we’re in our room right now. And we’ll just write down, “Comfort, can you take this day?” And I’m like, “Yeah. Is that day this, oh, I can take that. I can take Justin. I can take Simone and whatever, and I can make sure I choreograph it.” So we all kind of divide and conquer, is kind of what ends up happening.

And then when I have to end up being on set and the choreographers aren’t on, there’s a certain situation that just recently happened where the choreographers, the other guys were on, and I was on set as Aja. I was Aja today. I was like, “I’m Aja today,” but there’s no choreographers on set. Cause I choreographed this section with the group, and they weren’t on set, and I had to step out and be like, “Okay, you guys, so now let’s actually, let’s get back into it.”

Margaret Fuhrer:
I’m putting on this hat.

Comfort Fedoke:
I’m in costume, and I’m like, “All right y’all, we rehearse.” And so I had to jump out of that moment. You just have to put on two different hats at the same time. Honestly, it’s just about knowing the scene as much as I possibly can. And then just finding a way to jump in when I need to. And it can get a little overwhelming. That day was really overwhelming. Cause it’s hard to choreograph something and then see it at the same time. Cause you can’t. There’s no way you can see it. You have to have someone overseeing it. So, I do have to take myself out it for a moment, moments like that, watch it and then plug myself back in, and stuff like that. But it works.

And to answer that other question, it works because if the cast needed something from me, or needed to understand something, I’d be able to know what to give them or answer for them. And if there’s something that the cast and dancers need that, I’m like hearing their complaints, I’m able to feel what’s going on here to help better their situation, or help better their environment, or help better their communication with whoever needs to be communicated with. So it works really well where I can feel like I’m like a spy in both sides, I don’t know.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I was going to say, you have a toe in all these different places, but I like a spy in both sides much better. That’s a much better visual.

Comfort Fedoke:
Like, “Goo to Comfort, she has all the secrets.” I’m like, “I’m not telling.” [laughter]

Margaret Fuhrer:
Diplomatic spying, diplomatic. It does crack me up a bit, as we were saying before, that in a lot of ways, the “Big Leap” is sort of, because it’s also on Fox, just like “So You Think,” and it’s like Fox pulling back the curtain on one of its own shows, on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and showing us a bit about how that reality TV sausage is made. As someone who has been super involved in “So You Think You Can Dance,” from multiple sides, what is it like now to be part of the show that plays on some of those experiences?

Comfort Fedoke:
You know what it feels like I was meant to be here? It feels like full circle. Because everyone who’s on the show had some hand on “So You Think.” Obviously Chris Scott, they brought him in, but then what’s great about Chris Scott is that he knows what team to put together and who to bring in. If he doesn’t know how to do something, he makes sure bring certain people in and then we work with choreographers for it. And we have our lead in certain places and things, if he needs to take a step back and look at the whole thing. Right? So being from the show, all of us knowing our hands on what it feels like to be on the show, just really comes full circle and it actually helps us make the show as great as it can be for dancers to look at it and be like, “Oh, I’m going to watch this show,” not only for the fact that it’s a new show on Fox, but it’s like, they actually have some quality dancers in this and quality dance in it. And so we just add more quality than quantity to this show because we’ve been through it and we know the ins and outs and what it should feel like at least when it comes down to the dance portion, just for it to be authentic as possible.

And I think that’s what makes it exciting. Every time we get the script and we’re like, “Okay, this is what we need for this. So let’s help change these words or let’s make sure they say this instead of this.” The number one thing we want to get writers out of is calling it, break dancing and just calling it breaking, or b-boying, just take the “dance” out, don’t say that. You know what I mean?

So being there to truly just help mold it in the way that it is…and then dance gets respected now on a totally different level. Cause dance hasn’t really been respected in that way all the time. So the show gets to bring that, and we’ll see where it goes from there at that point.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. And I love the idea of you and Christopher, like knowing what you don’t know, and saying, “Okay, here’s where we need to bring in other expertise.” I love that. Christopher did such a good job with that on In the Heights too. I love that he brought in like Eddie Torres Jr., and Princess Serrano, and they did this like brilliant mambo choreography. It adds so much when you guys are willing to collaborate with like the foremost experts in the field.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah. It’s important. It takes a village, you know what I mean? I’ve been blessed to have been able to train and be amongst all these different people, but then I know also there’s a difference of knowing what my skill is and what someone else’s life is, and when someone has a culture and life behind a dance. And these dances have culture and life, they have their own world. So you have to have someone who’s from that world for it to feel authentic through screen. You know what I mean?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, totally. What is something that people do tend to get wrong about, first of all, the dance world, and second of all, the dance reality TV world, that you wanted to make sure “The Big Leap” got right? Like the example of “breaking,” not “break dancing”—what are some other things like that, that you and Christopher have worked with the team to make sure the show gets right?

Comfort Fedoke:
I think even injuries, like how injuries work within the dance community, and how they either have to wrap themselves, or just little small things that are going to be happening to like certain characters, we had to kind of make sure like, oh, she wouldn’t wrap her foot like that. Or you wouldn’t put this like that, or that probably wouldn’t happen in this way, or whatever.

We have another scene where they wanted to kind of have us all dancing in the…like the next episode is going to be really great. So it’s going to be an episode based upon how we party. Like how do y’all party? Would this be like this? Would y’all normally have choreographed routines? And we’re like, “Not necessarily.” We’ll have commandos, and understand what commando ideas are, or little duet moments, or just super authentic freestyle moments that kind of happen out nowhere. Maybe we had a routine a long time ago and we decided to put it to this song. So finding different ways to create this scene that they’re writing, but not for it to look too gimmicky. Like, “Oh, here we are dancing.” You know what I mean? So it’s just finding the most authentic way to show a party. You know what I mean? Little things like that. And be like, “I’ve been to enough parties, so this is where I’ll be at.” I think that’s what a lot of people assume with dance, where it’s just like, “Oh, just dance and you choreographed and here we go.” And it’s just like, no, no.

And then also lingo, too. What we’re able to help…Danielle, Danielle Steen, like she’s an incredible ballerina, ballet teacher, but just technician, period. She’s a technician period. That’s just her thing. We need anything, Danielle. “Danielle, you got it? What’s right? What’s wrong?” And since it’s about like Swan Lake as well, the whole big picture, also verbiage is very important. So understanding the right words to say. We get to go in and say, “Ah, that wouldn’t be the right verbiage for that.” Or, “She says this too much. Can she do this? Or can she say this?” And we have to teach these actors how to be dancers. Even Monica, making sure that she stands in fourth position, because normally hard-hitting ballet teachers, when they stand, they stand in fourth.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Waiting for the bus, right? Waiting for the bus they stand like that, yep.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah! So things like that. Those are the small things, details that people don’t assume that they need when they’re trying to create a dancer out of an actor. You know what I mean? So those are the little things that we get to come in and finesse to really help the show.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. A lot of people have talked about how proactively diverse the cast is on “The Big Leap,” in terms of race, age, body type, all of the above, which is fantastic. It’s also super diverse in terms of the dance backgrounds of the cast members. I can’t get over the fact that Simone Recasner, who we keep talking about, who plays Gabby, this is her first time dancing in a professional environment. And she looks incredible.

Comfort Fedoke:
This is her first time. And it was so much fun just training her because she has natural rhythm. So the thing is, what makes a really good teacher, or a good choreographer, is someone who can take someone’s natural ability, and mold it into something that we can choreographically put amongst a crowd, or amongst a group. You know what I mean? So training with her, and being able to see what feels good on her body, knowing her weight distribution, knowing all of these things, knowing how she needs to find her center so she can turn. So these little things that we give her to, I guess, dissect—cause you know, as actors too, they literally dissect everything, and she’s amazing at that. She’ll come in and be like, “Okay, so with this is that connection—and normally is that pulling from this place, or pulling from here? Is it center?” She has all these questions and then she to connect it with like her script, or her scene, or her reason for getting into this point.

She loves it. She loves to sit down and be like, “OK, since I technically choreographed this, can you tell me why we do this and why this happens?” You know, it feels so good. And so that’s why I feel like the ending results of everyone seeing her, everyone’s like “What, she’s not a dancer? She doesn’t dance?” Because, she’s figuring out with us too, but we’re figuring out what feels best, and then we’ll make sure that everything around her fits perfect too at the same time so it’s not like we’re not leaving nobody in the dust, or making anyone do something that’s not necessarily works with them, you know?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Custom tailoring. The sign of a great choreographer.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah, complete custom tailoring. Yeah.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Who in the cast surprised you most with their dance skills?

Comfort Fedoke:
Who in the cast surprised me most? You know what, Jon is hilarious. The one who plays Mike, Jon, he surprised me actually the most, because I think I start to understand like his “SNL” skits. He has a lot of little skits where he’s very physical, he’s a physical actor and comedian. So he naturally has a rhythm that’s crazy. So we’ll give him some stuff and if he just concentrates on it, he can do it so well and it like surprises me all the time cause he gets super invested.

But I think the biggest surprise is Teri Polo. Teri Polo, realizing that she comes from also a ballet background. Seeing her when she dives into it, and especially when she’s character building too, when she’s dancing, it’s so beautiful to see. And you’re like, “Oh man.” She’s amazing. She actually holds it so well, so it was a big surprise that I always see Teri dance as well.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Yeah. And she brings so much of the character to it. Yeah.

Comfort Fedoke:
She’s awesome. She’s awesome.

Margaret Fuhrer:
So, I’m wondering, since this is a show that puts so much emphasis on inclusivity and diversity, if we could zoom out for a minute and talk about inclusion and representation a little bit more broadly in the dance world. Where have you personally seen meaningful progress on that front? And where do you think the dance world is still for falling short?

Comfort Fedoke:
Oh man, that’s a big question.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I know. You could write a dissertation about this.

Comfort Fedoke:
I feel like the dance community falls short with it much often because…the thing is with dance, dance is subjective too, right. But it’s also constantly changing depending on what city you’re from, or depending on where you live, or the area you are, the dance is always constantly changing. So you’re always having to be intact of where it’s going. But then also you have this ability to be like, “Oh, you’re too young for this part.” Or “You’re too old for this part.” Or “You don’t look the part in this.” Because everything is so tailor made on how our industry is working, with either music videos or TV shows, and they’re so tailor made for what they’re looking for. You know what I mean? And some people are feeling super left out of being like, “I’m not skinny enough,” Or “I’m not thick enough,” or “I’m not pretty enough,” or “My hair is not this way enough.” So they have to change how they look to fit a certain mold. And that’s forever. I feel like, not only in our dance industry, I just feel like industry, period. I found it hard even for myself going through and fitting a certain mold to work constantly or whatever the case may be.

But I’m hoping a show like this will continue to open up everyone’s eyes on how to actually even just respect the dance community in general. And just to see there’s all ages, and sizes, and races, and how we all come together through this universal language, you know what I mean? And how it comes with more of an emotional side. Everyone gets really emotional and things like when we sing in shows, or what’s going to hit these heartstrings. But I think people are going to start to realize dance actually can hit you from the inside out and make you feel an emotion from someone who you would not even expect to feel an emotion from. Not because of how they look or how they, you know what I mean? You just won’t even have that, because you just feel it from the inside. And I think that’s what I hope the main goal is as this show grows, that it turns into and hopefully like trickles and trails down into the dance industry as well.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, that there are infinite ways to be a dancer and all of them should be celebrated. Yeah. I also wanted to talk about second chances, because that’s sort of the whole premise of “The Big Leap”—the show is a second chance for everyone involved. And for you, there’s a little bit of art imitating life here, because back when you were on “So You Think” season four, you did have a big second chance, right? Can you tell that story?

Comfort Fedoke:
Oh my god, that story is wild. Yeah, like it was yesterday.

So I stayed at the bottom of “So You Think.” I was at the bottom every single week, I was fighting for my life. And so I kind of lost a little of my juice by the time I got actually kicked off, by top 12, when I got kicked off. And then I was super sad about it. I kind of lost a little bit of my mojo. It was really sad. And I had to do all these interviews after, you have to talk to a psychologist, you got to do all these things. And I was like, “I’m fine, I’m doing fine. I’m feeling okay.” You know, having to go through it all over again and have a conversation.

I had a conversation with my dad. I’ll never forget it. My dad was just like, “You’re not done. Something’s not done yet.” I was just like, “Dad, I just got kicked off the show on national TV. You just saw on national TV that I’m done. I’m actually gone, and my flight’s tomorrow. So yeah, I just talked to E! television, it’s definitely official. I’m out of here.” My dad was just like, “No, stop.” He’s like, “Yeah, you’re leaving with too much of a sulking feeling. You got to leave elevated, know that this is not over for you.” He said, “I just don’t feel it.” He said, “I don’t feel like it’s over for you.” And I’m like, “All right, Dad, love your optimism. I love that.”

And then maybe 10 minutes after that, I get a call from Jeff Thacker, the producer of the show. And I get a call from him and he’s like, “You didn’t leave yet. You didn’t leave yet. Did you?”

Margaret Fuhrer:
That’s a good Jeff. [laughter]

Comfort Fedoke:
“No, I’m still here in the hotel room.” And they were just like, “Okay, well don’t leave quite yet.” He just wouldn’t tell me. He’s like, “Don’t leave quite yet. We might need to have a van come get you, and we’re going to talk when you get here.” And I’m like, “Okay.” So I get there and I was just like, “What’s happening? What’s going on?” They’re like, “Okay, so here’s what’s happening: you are going to be brought back to the show.” And I’m like getting miked up, I’m like “Getting brought back? How? What are you talking about?”

And then, bittersweet, Jessica got hurt. She was already hurt.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Jessica King.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah, Jessica King, she had already got hurt, I feel like an episode prior to that, cause her ribs were pretty much pulled out of place or broken. She had maybe two broken ribs from the dance before.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Oh, that’s so painful.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah. But she was apparently pulling through the pain, but she couldn’t do it anymore. The doctors had to pull her out, pretty much. I had to take her place with who she was dancing with, which was with tWitch, with Stephen. I had nothing, I just had to go in there, relearn the dance or the start of it or whatever, the package that we had to do, with Dave Scott. Then I’m just with Stephen, like, “Yo, this is crazy bittersweet.” And so it was just the first time also that they had two hip hop dancers having to dance with each other, because they’ll never actually really do that.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Oh, that’s right.

Comfort Fedoke:
So that was the first time that it was obviously forced, but to have two hip hop dancers dance… And so we did that piece. And after that, I stayed on the show. I stayed another week.

Margaret Fuhrer:
You were top eight!

Comfort Fedoke:
I was like, “Whoa.” And I stayed another week, and I stayed another week after that, and I made the top eight. It was cool because at first I would’ve been just a swing on it, as top 12…

Margaret Fuhrer:
On the tour.

Comfort Fedoke:
Then because I made it to top 10, into top eight, I turned into actually being one of the core twenty to go on tour and actually reap the benefits of what that is. It was cool. It brought me back to when my dad was like, “Just don’t leave sulking like that, it’s not over for you.” So it made me, when I did come back and I stayed the next week, I just lived every day like my last. I just enjoyed the process a lot more rather than worrying if I would be in the bottom again, or instead of having those expectations, I just kind of enjoyed the process and put my all into it, and of course it all came out the way it came out.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. A total perspective shift.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I love that story so much. And now you and Jess King are really good friends, right?

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah, that’s the homie! We’ve been good friends, man. We all got tattoos together. We all got tattoos that say “IV Real.” The numeral four and then “real.” Yeah. So we’re bonded for life.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Season four crew rolls deep.

Comfort Fedoke:
Season four crew.

Margaret Fuhrer:
You’ve accomplished so much in your career, but what would you say is still on your bucket list? What dance avenues or other avenues do you still want to explore?

Comfort Fedoke:
Hmm. Well right now, I’m experiencing one of them, cause I always wanted to be at least a supporting lead, or act in a movie or in a television show, which is super exciting—I’m able to do both, choreograph and be in. So, I’m already kind of living one of my dream wall, vision board moments. But I love hosting. I love hosting events or doing like these things, so anything that keeps me in entertainment.

But I also want to be on Broadway. I actually enjoy Broadway more than I thought I did.

Margaret Fuhrer:
What convinced you? What changed your mind?

Comfort Fedoke:
I don’t know. My first Broadway I ever saw was In the Heights.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Good way to start.

Comfort Fedoke:
Yeah, and then just having all my friends who I always go to their shows just to see it, and there’s just so much life in them. And then obviously I enjoy music and singing, and just to have the best of both worlds with being in theatrics. I just feel like anyone should always, if they want time in their career to be part of like any stage show, any theatrical stage show, they should do it. Because there’s a different type of arsenal one has to have, or a different type of vocal cord and projection you have to have, or stage presence you have to have, to hold down the fort vocally, and musically, and visually. All of that, all in one to me, is just—I kind want to challenge myself to do something like that. It would be really cool. That would be the one thing I haven’t done, but I would love to do.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Okay. Dream show. Dream role. Go.

Comfort Fedoke:
Ah! Dream show, dream world, Broadway. I love In the Heights. I absolutely love In the Heights. That obviously was my first. So either In the Heights, or something with Lion King or Motown, that would be great.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Oooh, yup.

Comfort Fedoke:
I like that.

Margaret Fuhrer:
All good options. I would go see you in any of those shows!

So finally, what is on your immediate horizon, like in the next couple of months, that we should all keep an eye out for?

Comfort Fedoke:
So what I love about what I do is I still am very active in both the street dance world, and the commercial world. And so, when I get to put on a different hat, I get to be a host for the Red Bull Dance Your Style, actually this Saturday in L.A., which is really exciting. So that’s right around the corner, pretty much. I get to be a host of that battle, which coming up really, really soon, which I’m super excited about. Cause I love the street dance, freestyle world so much. Honestly, my plan in the future is to coordinate and fund my own battle of some sort, you know what I mean?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Oh, wow.

Comfort Fedoke:
And kind of put together something for the community. Cause the community is huge and everyone loves it. It is an incredible world. Whoever is putting it together, if it’s the right organizers, it can really do something with the perspective. They already have b-boying in the Olympics coming up, so there’s a different type of respect and perspective that’s coming with dance that I want to make sure to have a hand in, hopefully soon.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Is there anything else coming up that we should keep an eye out for?

Comfort Fedoke:
Nothing that I can disclose just yet. What’s been really exciting about this and this role is it’s starting to open up some really cool doors, and we’ll just see what it comes with, you know. Just going to start training in some boxing really soon. So, yeah.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Boxing? That’s a tease!

Comfort Fedoke:
A lot of cool little things on the horizon, so we’ll see.

Margaret Fuhrer:
All right. Listeners, stay tuned.

Comfort Fedoke:
Stay tuned.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Comfort, thank you so much again for taking the time. Really looking forward to seeing more of your dancing and your choreography on “The Big Leap.”

Comfort Fedoke:
Yay! Thank you so much. Thanks for speaking to me, it was awesome.

[pause]

One more big thank-you to Comfort, that was such a fun conversation. The Red Bull Dance Your Style event she mentioned at the end there has already passed, but “The Big Leap” is still very much in progress. You can see Comfort’s choreography and also see her showing off her acting chops as Aja on Monday nights at 9 pm Eastern time on Fox. Check out our show notes for more information about “The Big Leap,” and to find out where you can keep up with Comfort on social.

Thanks for listening, everyone! Have a lovely rest of your weekend.