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On this week’s episode of NBC’s World of Dance more performers go head-to-head in the duels (check out the last episode here). We caught up with Kyle Van Newkirk to talk about the competition as he goes up against Les Twins on Tuesday night.

When Kyle first found out he was up against Les Twins, his first thought was about going up against such a high-caliber and well-known duo. “I just went to ‘Oh dear God I am going up against Les Twins, these guys are the dance legends of the century,’” Kyle remembers.

A battle like this showcases one of the most unique qualities of World of Dance. The best of the best from each style has come to give it their all and leave it all on the stage. While in this round we see acts go head-to-head, the judges still score based on each individual performance on things like technique, musicality, and more. Even performers in underrepresented styles (like tap) have a chance at the grand prize.

But, like any true competitor, Kyle chose to view the challenge as an opportunity to up his own game. He came to the competition with his pieces choreographed for the multiple rounds of competition, but was ready to bring his performance to the next level to impress the judges. “The piece was originally all tap, like from the qualifying episode,” Kyle says. Check out his performance from the qualifiers below.

Kyle implemented feedback from the celebrity judges as well as his fellow competitors. During the qualifying round, the judges suggested he project more and simplify his steps, which he took to heart and included in his new choreography. Look for his unique take on a more classical style as he further establishes his personality. In his Fred Astaire–style performance, he tells a story, bringing the audience and judges along on his choreographed narrative.

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Understandably, backstage at a TV dance competition with a $1 million prize is going to have an extremely competitive atmosphere. But backstage at World of Dance also has a unique element of camaraderie and friendliness, “We are here to progress each others art form’s forward,” Kyle shared. Kyle got feedback and advice from Fik-Shun as well as talked with Les Twins heading into this round of the competition.

Watch the 2nd night of the duels tomorrow night at 10/9 central as Kyle steps onto the stage for what he calls his make or break moment. “I am excited to be able to do this,” he says, “especially going up against Les Twins. Its one of my greatest moments, going onto the stage.”

Catch up on last week’s episode here and read more competitor interviews:

Tune into NBC’s World of Dance Tuesdays at 10/9 central to see the world’s best dancers battle it out for a whopping $1 million prize. (Here’s everything you need to know about the show, from the competitors to the rules, in case you’re out of the loop). Don’t miss exclusive interviews, performances, and more from the definitive source for all things NBC World of Dance.

Feature image by Jordan Matter.

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