Kaitlynn Edgar is classically beautiful, a cross between Kate Bosworth and Marilyn Monroe. She looks like she belongs on the red carpet—but she really shines onstage. Though Kaitlynn is petite, she dances with strength, power and control. Her développés stretch toward the balcony, her pirouettes are clean, her port de bras lifted. And beyond technique, her presence draws you in. Whether you’re sitting in the front row or the rafters, watching Kaitlynn is like staring at the Mona Lisa: She makes you feel like she’s focused on you.
Just 18 years old, Kaitlynn is already a mature, confident performer. She started dancing at 7 at The Dance Company Conservatory in Port Huron, MI. Two years later, she switched to the more competitive Spotlight Dance Works, under the direction of Liz Schmidt, and has been competing and training in tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet ever since. Schmidt knew from the start that Kaitlynn had something special. “She can become any character she wants to. She can do hip hop or Broadway,” Schmidt says. “She blows the room away.” In addition to her studio training, Kaitlynn attends conventions, which has strengthened her natural versatility.
Competitions offer something different. “It’s a chance to perform and show other people what you’ve been working for,” Kaitlynn says. “Onstage you can tell a story without using any words.”
Kaitlynn’s life may seem picture perfect, but she’s actually had more than her fair share of struggles. Her mom has a chronic illness, so Kaitlynn and her younger sister live with a family from the studio and visit their mother once a month. “Dance holds us together,” Kaitlynn says. “The studio is our family. It’s where we’ve grown up. If it weren’t for dance, I don’t know where I’d be. Dance helps me get through the hard times.”
This summer, Kaitlynn won the Senior Outstanding Dancer title at New York City Dance Alliance, where she was also awarded a full four-year scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. “All year I was pushing myself and working toward this goal,” Kaitlynn says. “Winning the title made me the happiest, most excited I’ve ever been.”
As she approaches her high school graduation this spring, Kaitlynn isn’t losing focus. “I’m going to take full advantage of my last year at the studio,” she says. “I want to learn everything I can so I’m ready for the real world.” As for her real world plans? “I’m going to try it all and see where everything falls.”
Dance crush: “Oh God, Tony Testa for sure. He’s so inspirational, and the emotion he puts into hip hop is insane.”
Favorite teachers: Sonya Tayeh and Joe Lanteri. “Sonya is demanding and aggressive. I love that. And Joe’s classes are uplifting.”
Favorite foods: Chocolate chip cookies and raspberries
Favorite movie: The Patriot
Photo of Kaitlynn Edgar performing at the 2010 New York City Dance Alliance Nationals by ProPix/New York City Dance Alliance.