Talking with Disney Channel Star and Dance Dynamo Sofia Wylie
Sofia Wylie might be best-known for playing Buffy in the hit Disney Channel show "Andi Mack," but it's her dancing that originally propelled her into the spotlight. Even before her breakout role, the Arizona native had an enviable resumé that ranged from dancing on tour with Justin Bieber to performing at Radio City Music Hall. Stints on TV shows like "America's Got Talent" and "So You Think You Can Dance" gave her way more visibility in the industry, which in turn brought more opportunities her way.
Now Wylie's an up-and-coming celeb hoping to use her platform to boost the careers of other dancers. Her new YouTube dance series is one of her attempts to give back to the dance community. "My goal is to help dancers get that look that might help them book their next big break," Wylie says. One of the most popular videos from her series is a dance tribute to the hit film The Greatest Showman, featuring dancers from Utah to California, which has already garnered over 150,000 views. Wylie's videos seem to be producing the outcome she's been hoping for because a number of dancers have obtained dance gigs as a result of the exposure her videos brought them. "There are so many amazing dancers and sometimes all they need is a chance to be seen," she says.
And even though Wylie's acting career keeps her busy, she remains committed to her dance roots. We caught up with Wylie to find out how her dancing has influenced her acting and get her audition advice.
What's your favorite style of dance?
I've trained in everything but I love hip hop; I just love how free it is. My dad was a dancer during the original hip hop movement, and he encouraged me to learn about all styles of dance, including the culture and community that originally created each one! So there's a special connection there.
If you could dance with anyone, living or dead, who would you dance with?
Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Rihanna.
What are your pre-performance rituals?
I love to close my eyes and visualize my performance from start to finish. I've had the opportunity to dance in some amazing places! So most of the time I'm also pinching myself before I perform because I know how lucky I am!
Photo by Dave Brewer, courtesy Disney Channel
How has your dance training helped you with your acting?
Dancing and acting are very similar. You can learn the choreography or you learn your lines, but the performance doesn't come alive until you truly live it! In both acting and dancing my goal is to become part of the scene or the movement. Sometimes I forget I'm Sofia because I get lost in my emotions.
And how has your acting helped with your dancing?
My acting training allows me to perform more than just the choreography. It's taught me how to bring a character to life in dance. My goal is to tell a story in my movement. I recently started teaching a class on how to use basic acting skills, like facial changes and connecting with a camera, while dancing.
What inspired your YouTube series?
A few months ago I decided to start filming a monthly dance series. My goal was to help dancers and performers who don't have a large platform to get noticed. I have a great opportunity to give back to the dance community, by using my social media following to showcase dancers across America!
Wylie (third from the left) in "This Is Me," a tribute to the film "The Greatest Showman" (photo by Riley Jackson, courtesy Sofia Wylie)
You've been holding a lot of auditions for this project. What's it like being on the other side of the audition table?
I've learned that confidence is vital! I find myself casting dancers that have a certain level of self-confidence and special stage presence over dancers who just stick all the moves.
Photo by Dave Brewer, courtesy Disney Channel
Do you have any tips for young dancers looking to break into other performance fields like you did?
The most important thing is to never give up. I had a lot of "NOs" in my short career, but what I've learned is you can never stop believing in yourself!
You can catch Sofia Wylie on an episode of "Andi Mack" tonight at 8:00 pm, ET/PT on Disney Channel
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Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.
We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.
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