Provo siblings Stephanie and Ezra Sosa worked together to wow the judges in their combined audition on “So You Think You Can Dance” a few weeks ago.

But they will be forced to work against each other in the show’s Academy round, which begins airing Monday at 8 p.m. on Fox.

“The Academy is going to be very difficult because not only am I competing against all these people, I’m competing against my sister,” Ezra Sosa, 18, told the Daily Herald in a recent phone interview. “Obviously, we’re going to support each other 100 percent going into the Academy, but I obviously don’t want to compete against my sister because I know how hard she worked for it.”

The siblings were born 14 months apart and describe themselves as “inseparable.”

“A cool thing about when Stephanie and I dance is that we have a certain kind of connection you cannot teach. No one can learn this type of connection because it’s a connection that’s just built throughout the years, throughout all of our experiences together, because we have this special bond,” Ezra Sosa said. “That’s why it’s so special when we get to dance together.”

Stephanie Sosa, 19, who competed last year in the Top 20 on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 15, said she was excited to return to the show this year with her brother for Season 16.

“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking just because I had a lot to prove compared to last season, but going with Ezra made the experience a lot more comfortable because we’re super close,” Stephanie Sosa told the Daily Herald.

“So You Think You Can Dance” has been “a huge part” of the Sosa family’s life growing up, according to Ezra Sosa.

“We’d watch it religiously. Every single Monday, it was on. So there was no question, I had to audition for the show,” Ezra Sosa said. “But when I found out my sister didn’t make it, I literally thought it was the most perfect idea. It was perfect timing that I auditioned with her.”

Ezra Sosa competed on NBC’s “World of Dance” last year as part of Orem junior ballroom dance team The Pulse.

“I just started to learn on shows like ‘World of Dance,’ ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ it’s not about the dancing. It’s so much more (than) that because we are dancers, but most importantly, we’re humans,” Ezra Sosa said. “Being on ‘World of Dance’ really taught me that, and it really helped me find my voice.”

The Sosas performed an upbeat jive to Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” in their “So You Think You Can Dance” audition. Stephanie Sosa told the judges she was dancing for her mom, who suffered a life-threatening stroke last year.

“Our story was really sad and stuff, but we didn’t want our dance to be about our struggles,” Ezra Sosa said. “We wanted our dance to be our overcoming and us celebrating what we went through. We wanted to show America what dance can do.”

Stephanie Sosa said almost losing her mom made her appreciate everything her family has sacrificed for her to continue dancing.

“It made me appreciate so much everything that they have done for me and that I never should give up dancing,” Stephanie Sosa said. “All their sacrifices are meant for something and it’s for me to dance, and I just want to make my mom proud.”

The siblings said it was “a dream come true” to get a standing ovation from the judges at their “So You Think You Can Dance” audition.

“Pretty much our whole dream to dance in front of them and get that reaction had happened, so we were in utter shock,” Stephanie Sosa said.

“We started just crying and hugging each other,” Ezra Sosa added. “It’s crazy because in moments like that, I just think of when Steph and I were little kids watching the TV, and we were like, ‘You know what? We’re going to be on there someday.’ ”

The Sosas have received their dance training at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem.

“I feel like we train at the most perfect studio for the show. We train at a studio that is extremely versatile. We do every single style,” Ezra Sosa said. “And not only that, but the studio that we do go to, it’s really proficient, and proficient in every single style.”

“A lot of ‘So You Think’ alumni are from our studio — like Lindsay (Arnold), Chelsie (Hightower), Jenna (Johnson), Witney (Carson)— so we have kind of a status to uphold now that we’re on the show because we’re representing all those past alumni that are from our studio,” Stephanie Sosa added. “We’re really blessed that we got to go there.”

Stephanie Sosa said she doesn’t think the Academy will be difficult for the siblings when it comes to choreography because they are cross-trained.

“I think the thing that’s going to be the most difficult for us in the next round is going to be not getting in our heads and just believing that we can do it and that they want us and being mentally strong,” Stephanie Sosa said.

The Sosas said they hope through their dancing “to be a light to those who need it.”

“We want people to look at us and be inspired by our dancing and be inspired by our story, so that it could shed light on their lives too if they’re having struggles,” Ezra Sosa said. “We want people to watch us and feel inspired and feel happy to be alive, to feel grateful for what they have.”

Features Reporter

Sarah Harris writes about arts and entertainment for the Daily Herald.

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