You Should Know: Phoenix Lil'Mini
Hip-hop phenomenon Phoenix Lil'Mini is a girl on fire, with ultra-precise animation skills and larger-than-life stage presence. So it's no surprise her resumé lists one dream gig after another, like hitting the “So You Think You Can Dance" stage with her mentor Cyrus “Glitch" Spencer, dancing in Missy Elliott's “WTF (Where They From)" music video and winning the gold medal with her team at the Hip Hop International world championships.
The 10-year-old trains with Greg Chapkis and Melvin Timtim as a member of Chapkidz at Chapkis Dance in Suisun, CA. She studies hip-hop styles from krumping to grooving, and that amazing versatility helped her win battles with TURFinc and Monsters of Hip Hop.
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Something nobody knows about you: “I make recycled art and play competitive soccer."
What are you listening to right now?: “A lot of Adele"
Who would play you in a movie?: “I think I would play myself!"
Favorite performers: Michael Jackson, Missy Elliott and Cyrus “Glitch" Spencer. “But I don't really have a favorite because everyone inspires me in different ways."
😎 😂 😃
Describe your Dancing in Three words: “Intricate, musical and passionate"
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?
What do you get when you combine a Beyoncé anthem, fierce girls from all over the world, and choreography by legends like Ellenore Scott and Lamar Lee? You get the epic music video below. The viral video features little girls who live everywhere from Tanzania to Washington D.C. dancing and lip-syncing to Queen Bey's song "Freedom," and the result is electrifying. These littles can dance—and they bring a determination and enthusiasm to their movement that's truly inspiring.