Welcome home, Jason.
With the "So You Think You Can Dance" 40-city tour winding down, most of the dancers have already played to their hometowns. Fresno's Jason Glover will finally get that chance Tuesday at the Save Mart Center. Expect, um, at least one or two screaming fans.
"I'm looking forward to finally dancing where I'm from," Glover said Thursday from San Diego.
Among those proudly sitting in the Save Mart will be Sue Sampson-Delana, owner and artistic director of The Dance Studio of Fresno, where Glover started taking lessons at age 11. After watching him excel in tap and hip-hop, she talked Glover's parents into putting him into jazz and ballet classes.
She was tough on him.
"You tell that young man that I can't wait to see him next week and bark at him, because that's what I do," she said.
When the teenage Glover wavered in his dedication to dance, even going so far as to quit for a while to play soccer, Sampson-Delana gave her blessing.
But when he changed his mind and came back, she made him wait and take more lessons before letting him back on the school's elite dance team, to make sure that's what he really wanted.
That tough love paid off, Glover said.
"Good old Sue," he said. "I wouldn't be here today if not for her."
It won't just be Sampson-Delana rooting for him in the audience, of course. More than 200 teachers and students from the school snapped up tickets.
"It's going to be a great day," she said. "I'm shutting the studio down."
Because Glover will be in Fresno less than 24 hours, he's cramming a lot into the day. He'll arrive by bus from Sacramento early in the morning and hopes to sleep in his own bed for a few hours.
At 10 a.m., his parents are hosting a gathering for Glover and the other dancers on the tour. ("I'm sure my mom's cleaning the house as we speak.") On the menu: "I need those eggs and potatoes my mom makes."
After the show, there will be a meet-and-greet event for invited guests inside the arena. And there will be an outside signing session for anyone who cares to wait -- and he's absolutely going to be there, he assures his fans.
It'll be a remarkable homecoming -- and not just in terms of coming back to Fresno. Think of the venue itself. Consider the previous 2008 "SYTYCD" tour at the Save Mart.
"Last year I was sitting in the audience," he said.
What a difference a year makes.
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