Chase Thomas, a dance performance major at BYU, auditioned for this season’s “So You Think You Can Dance” wearing only short dance shorts on the popular national TV show and received counseling from BYU for his outfit choice.
The Daily Universe contacted Thomas, but Thomas declined comment. However, he did recently speak with Fox 13 News.
“I really believe in the beauty of the human body and what it can do and the lines you can create,” Thomas said in an interview with Fox 13 News.
Carri Jenkins, assistant to the president for University Communications, said Thomas’ enrollment status is not under question.
“The university was not aware of his audition until after it had taken place,” Jenkins said. “As with all cases, the Honor Code Office seeks to discuss the issue of concern with the student directly involved, which is what occurred here.”
Morgan Thomas, Chase Thomas’ wife, said this was the first year “So You Think You Can Dance” held open auditions to a live audience. She said the show called BYU and offered seats to their dancers for the auditions. She said one of the students from the studio audience was troubled and must have made a report to a teacher, which eventually was passed on to the Honor Code office.
The Honor Code states that modesty and cleanliness are important values that reflect personal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff and faculty represent the principles and standards of the Church.
“In no way was my solo supposed to be sexual or lewd or anything like that,” Chase told Fox 13 News.
Morgan Thomas said her husband was just trying to emulate a costume in the professional world.
“He didn’t intend there to be anything controversial with his performance,” his wife said. “He really was not trying to push any buttons and was just trying to do what he has been told is the standard for the professional world.”
Jenkins said a report was made to the Honor Code Office following his audition in Salt Lake City and some advice was given to Thomas. BYU does not share such information with the public.
Morgan Thomas said the Honor Code office told him he was not being terminated but would face further consequence if the behavior was repeated.
Bennett Russell, a friend of Thomas and economics major from Boca Raton, Fla., said he thinks it’s wrong that BYU got involved.
“It is a modern dance routine,” Russell said. “The BYU swim team shows way more skin … To counsel him as a school is prejudiced against modern dance and ballet attire.”
Russell said the art department uses live models in bikinis and Speedos that are skimpier than Chase Thomas’ shorts.
“My wife was a model for the school,” Russell said. “How is the human body being conveyed in the form of dance any different than on paper?”
Thomas has advanced to the next round in “So You Think You Can Dance” in Las Vegas. The show airs today at 7 p.m.