For six seasons, online reality show “Dance212” has shown us what it’s really like to be a dancer living, training and working in the heart of NYC. Now, the show is catching up with more than 20 former cast members for an all-new season, “Dance212: Where Are They Now?” If you dream of making your way to the Big Apple, read on: Dance Spirit asked each of these dancers, “What one piece of advice would you give to DS readers?”

(Photo by Jordan Matter)

Skylar Brandt

Since Season 3: “Second Companies,” Skylar has moved from ABT II to the corps of American Ballet Theatre. This past year, she won a Princess Grace Dance Fellowship Award and performed her first principal roles in Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concerto #1 and MarkMorris’s Gong.

Her advice: “Have fun throughout your journey. Though we try to make it look easy, a dance career is difficult, so it’s important to never lose sight of why you started in the first place. When you’re having a good time onstage, the audience can tell.”

(Photo by Alfonso Sjogreen)

Sterling Baca

After appearing on Season 4: “Summer Intensives,” Sterling moved from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre into ABT II. In May 2011, he joined ABT as an apprentice; he became a member of the corps de ballet in December 2011. He’s since received multiple soloist opportunities in works including Twyla Tharp’s Bach Partita and Alexei Ratmansky’s The Tempest.

His advice: “Explore other ways to express yourself outside of dance. I’ve done this by writing and drawing, and by attending poetry clubs and plays. To excel in any art form, you must have respect and understanding for all kinds of human expression.”

(Photo by Jayme Thorton for Dance Magazine )

Paloma Garcia-Lee

During Season 5: “Professional Aspirations,” in 2011, Paloma was in the cast of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Since then, she’s danced in Nice Work If You Can Get It, in the Broadway Bares fundraising gala and at the Fire Island Dance Festival.

Her advice: “Know that you’re unique. No one in the world is like you, so sometimes a project will be right for you and sometimes it won’t. When things don’t go your way, take a deep breath, smile and know you’re exactly where you need to be.”

(Photo by Jade Young)

Simone Gunderson

On Season 6: “Spring Season,” Simone was part of The Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center. Since then, she’s performed with the Buglisi Dance Theatre and M.O.V.E, and was the lead in a short film called Gloria. She spent the summer of 2013 teaching in upstate New York before returning to NYC for BDC’s Work-Study Program this year.

Her advice: “It’s OK to dream big and think outside the box. Try to create a company, dance project, concept, movement or video that no one has ever thought of before!"

 

Want the scoop on what it’s really like to be a dancer in the Big Apple? You’re in luck, because “Dance212” is back on the web for a sixth season. Starting this month, cameras watch as five young dancers traverse class, rehearsals and the NYC streets. DS caught up with the stars of the show so you could learn a little about them.

Daphne Lee (Photo by Kyle Froman)

Daphne Lee, 21, is a junior in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program and an apprentice with Ailey II.

Guilty pleasure: Cupcakes and gummy bears. “I have a really big sweet tooth.”

Fun fact: Daphne appears shy at first, but don’t be fooled. “When hanging out with my friends, I tend to be the clown of the group, doing silly things that no one would ever think I was capable of.”

Victoria Grempel (Photo by Eduardo Patino)

Victoria Grempel, 18, is a senior at the Professional Children’s School and studies at The School at Steps.

Favorite NYC activity: Victoria has great style and loves shopping at thrift stores in Brooklyn. “There are so many hidden treasures!”

Non-dance talent: “I was a competitive ice skater. I competed all around the metropolitan area, winning first place in Lake Placid two years in a row.”

Catherine Hurlin (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor)

Catherine Hurlin, 16, is a student at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.

Non-dance talents: “I can do a mean manicure and pedicure. I’m not really allowed to wear nail polish in class, but I collect it and do my nails when I have time off.”

Guilty pleasure: Shoes. “When I get my first paycheck from any job, I try my best to keep it away from my mother so I can shop for shoes instead of putting it in my bank account.”

Simone Gunderson (courtesy Simone)

Simone Gundersen, 20, is part of the Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center, concentrating on both hip hop and jazz.

Non-dance talent: Photography. “I’ve done headshots, family portraits, senior photos and decorative wall art.”

Fun fact: “I am a European soccer super-fan.”

Ashley Hod (courtesy School of American Ballet)

Ashley Hod, 16, is in level C2 at the School of American Ballet.

Favorite NYC activity: “I love watching NBA basketball games with my dad and brother. The New York Knicks are my favorite team.”

Fun fact: “I can sing like The Chipmunks. I’m always singing the latest pop hits with my chipmunk voice. My friends and family find it very entertaining.”

 

 

 

 

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