Dancer to Dancer

Simrin Player

Simrin Player has danced for Shakira, Miley Cyrus, Willow Smith and Justin Bieber. She’s performed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Oprah Show” and at the Nickelodeon “Kids’ Choice Awards.” She’s even danced at the White House. Oh yeah, and she’s 12.

This pint-sized powerhouse began dancing when she was 3. Soon after, her family moved from Salt Lake City, UT, to Phoenix, AZ, where she expanded her training. Today, Simrin—Simi to friends—attends the Arizona School for the Arts, where she takes a full academic course load along with ballet, piano and choir. She spends most evenings in dance classes at various Phoenix-area studios, studying everything from pointe to contemporary to hip hop, though breakdancing is her favorite style. “I love the way you get to express yourself,” she says. “And I love the music—the music is the best for dancing.”

Simrin landed her first professional job when an assistant to hip-hop choreographer Hi-Hat spotted her at an NYC breakdancing competition. Hi-Hat invited the then-8-year-old to L.A. to audition for a spot dancing with Missy Elliot at the 2007 VH1 “Hip Hop Honors.” When she found out that she had booked the job, Simrin did what any young girl would do: she screamed. “I was so excited,” she says.

Since then, Simrin’s career has taken off. She frequently travels to L.A. for auditions, and although she’s often the youngest dancer at a call, she doesn’t get nervous. “I keep myself calm and focused by stretching,” she says. (She was nervous, however, when she performed at the White House Easter Egg Roll and met President Barack Obama. “When I shook his hand, I was shaking,” she says.)

In addition to performing with big-name pop stars, Simrin spent a season on the Nick Jr. musical sitcom “The Fresh Beat Band” and appeared in Step Up 3D. She’s also a familiar face on the competition scene. She was named Junior BreakOut Artist at the 2010 NUVO Nationals, and was a PULSE Protégé. But the pinnacle so far has been a month-long tour through the UK performing with Justin Bieber and Willow Smith.

So what’s left for Simrin, who’s already built an enviable resumé? “I want to become a better dancer, actor and singer,” she says. “I want to inspire people.”

Fast Facts

Birthday: September 20, 1998 (She turns 13 this month!)

Favorite food: “I love Italian food.”

Favorite movies: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. “When I was at the ‘Kids’ Choice Awards,’ I was so focused on Snoop Dogg, I didn’t even notice Jim Carrey was there!”

Most played on her iPod: Mary J. Blige

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Photos by Erin Baiano

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