A star in the making

 

So You Think You Can Dance's Jose "Full Deck'' Ruiz never imagined he'd star on a top-rated TV show.

jose ruiz
Jose "Full Deck" Ruiz
 

BY MICAELA HOOD

So You Think You Can Dance's Jose "Full Deck'' Ruiz never imagined he'd star on a top-rated TV show.

"I started dancing as a hobby. Me and my friends would practice at the neighborhood racquetball courts."

Since his stint on the Fox show, the self-taught B-boy dancer has learned some new tricks, everything from jive steps to ballroom moves. "I've done things I never thought I could ever do and learned how far I can push my body."

The local boy -- who was born in Miami and moved to Pembroke Pines as a teen -- is one of six contestants left standing. And he's working hard to get that prize money. "We practice seven to 14 hours a day."

The grueling schedule doesn't bother him, though.

"Sometimes I wake up and think, ‘I don't know how I'm going to dance today,'" he said. "But it's mind over matter, and I've learned to push myself and become more resilient."

Water, Gatorade and once-a-week physical therapy sessions help, too: "I can't even tell you how much water I drink a day!"

Even if he's sent packing Thursday, Ruiz is grateful for his time on stage.

"I've grown so much as a dancer. This experience has changed my life and my career."

Once the show wraps, Ruiz will make a permanent move to Hollywood. "I love Miami, but in L.A. there are more opportunities for me."

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