Allison Holker Is Dancing Through the Ups and Downs

Allison Holker Is Dancing Through the Ups and Downs

A few years ago, Holker and Boss had begun working on a picture book, “Keep Dancing Through.” Featuring illustrated versions of them and their children, it reminded readers to “groove through the ups and downs.” After Boss’s death, its title — their family credo — became more poignant.

Holker wasn’t sure if she wanted to release the book. “It felt too hard,” she said. “But this is also what Stephen and I believed when he was here, and it’s what I still believe now — it’s what we taught our kids and what I am still trying to teach my kids.” “Keep Dancing Through” came out in January.

Not long after Holker began posting dance videos again, she was offered the “So You Think You Can Dance” judging position. The call came as a surprise — at that point, the show hadn’t been on TV for more than a year, with no guarantee of renewal — and provoked another wave of complicated feelings.

“It was this intense mixture of gratitude and fear,” Holker said.

The dancer, singer and actor JoJo Siwa judged alongside Boss on the last season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and returned to judge again this season. As a student, Siwa, now 20, would seek out Holker’s classes at dance conventions, “following her around, just thinking she was the coolest human ever,” she said in an interview. “But I wasn’t sure what to expect going into ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ Every corner of that set is a reminder of her history and of Twitch. It’s a hard thing to imagine.”

Few people are better qualified than Holker to sit on the show’s panel. She has been adjudicating dance competitions for nearly two decades, and her years working in various roles on “So You Think You Can Dance” give her a deep understanding of the show’s challenges and quirks.

At its judging table, Holker is a cheerleader, but not a hollow one. She offers substantive, often technically pointed critiques, and champions dancers who cultivate an emotional connection to their choreography — unusual in the flash-focused world of reality-TV dance.

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