Audiences around the U.S. may know Sydney Burtis as ballet girl Keeley Gibson from the national Broadway tour of Billy Elliot. But with a passion for rhythm and feet that won’t quit, the 13-year-old is really a tap dancer at heart. Last summer, she won Junior Miss Adrenaline at Nationals—the first female tapper to ever earn one of the competition’s national titles. And recently, Sydney tapped her way into Tap World, a documentary produced by tap sensations Chloé and Maud Arnold.
"My mentor, Danny Wallace, and I have such a great bond. When we tap together, it’s like we’re one person."
(Photo by Visual Tech Productions)
Birthday: August 7, 2000
Studio: Performer’s Edge Dance Center in Davenport, FL
Who would play her in a movie: Shirley Temple. “She was an amazing tap dancer.”
Hidden talent: Reciting the number pi to more than 60 decimal places
If she were a superhero, her super power would be: “Never getting tired. It upsets me when I’m at a dance festival exhausted. Even though my brain and heart really want to keep going, my feet and body can’t. It’s frustrating!”
The strangest thing in her dance bag: “A screwdriver, in case my taps come loose.”
Performer she’d Love to work with: “If he were still alive, Michael Jackson. His lyric—‘If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change’—really speaks to me.”
Dream dance role: “I would love to be in one of Savion Glover’s tap shows. It would be such a privilege to stand onstage with the professional tap dancers who inspire me each day.”