Photo by Erin Baiano

Briar Nolet

Seventeen-year-old Briar Nolet has all the qualities we've come to expect from a top-tier contemporary dancer: stunning control, impressive strength, seamless fluidity. But it's her emotional maturity that truly stands out. “Dance is a way of expressing myself without having to speak," she says. “I fully expose my soul onstage."


It makes sense that Briar approaches choreography like a seasoned actress—because she is one. She's practically grown up on the set of the teen drama “The Next Step," a Canadian TV series following a group of studio dancers and their competition stories. Briar has played the feisty and fiercely determined Richelle since she was 14, and recently finished up a live stage tour with the cast throughout Canada and Europe. For the past 10 years, Briar's also trained and competed with Oakville's Canadian Dance Company, under the direction of Allain and Dawn Lupien. She's studied everything from jazz to ballet to tap to hip hop—and she's become known for her daredevil acrobatic moves, which she credits to a stint in gymnastics before she discovered dance. “I love acro—doing flips out of turns, things like that," Briar says. “I'm constantly throwing my body around, trying to figure out new moves." That versatility has earned Briar a lot of success on the comp circuit. She's placed first overall at Showstopper in the Junior, Teen and Senior categories, and earned first runner-up at the American Dance Awards last year with her Travis Wall–choreographed solo “Day Drift." But while she's happy that her visibility on the scene has made her a role model for younger comp kids, she knows the titles aren't everything. “It's not about the winning at all," she says. “It's more about dancing for myself, sharing the love onstage and inspiring people to follow their dreams."

Currently homeschooled, Briar plans to head to college—hopefully her dream school, the University of California, Los Angeles—once she finishes her high school coursework, and she wants to keep up her acting career through movies and TV shows. But she's not hanging up her dancing shoes anytime soon: She also aspires to join a professional company. “Dance is like water to me," she says. “I've always lived with it, and I always plan to."


Photo by Erin Baiano

“Briar is chameleonlike: She turns like a professional ballerina and tumbles like an Olympic gymnast. You're simply mesmerized by her gorgeous lines and incredible dynamics. She's also always the camera's favorite person in the room."

—Allain Lupien, co-owner/director of Canadian Dance Company

Fast Facts

Birthday: December 27, 1998

One thing she can't live without: “My phone. Wait, what am I saying? My family and friends, for sure."

Favorite dance memory: “Doing a contemporary trio with Myles Erlick and Devon Brown last year. The dance itself, and dancing with them, was absolutely incredible."

Guilty pleasure: “Candy is my weakness. It's terrible."

One thing no one knows about her: “I'm a baking fanatic. Even on tour, if we have kitchens in our hotel room, I'll go to the grocery store and find something to make."

Favorite foods: “I'm such a carb girl, so pasta and bread."

Favorite quote: “My mom sends me quotes throughout the week when I'm not with her, and she finds amazing ones. My favorite right now is, 'To make a difference in someone's life, you don't have to be wise, rich or beautiful—you just have to be there when they need you.' "

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge that #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work being done on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Listen to Black Dancers Speaking Out Against Racial Injustice

This weekend, protests against racially-charged police brutality—spurred by the unjust killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, and so many others—swept the country. Supporters, including many of members of the dance world, took to social media to share their thoughts, and express their grief.

As allies, one of the first actions we can take in this moment is to listen to and amplify the voices of Black members of our dance community. Here are some of the most powerful posts written by Black dancers.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Just a few of our special Class of 2020 digital covers

Congrats to Our 2020 Dance Grad Cover Stars

We're thrilled to be honoring members of the great Dance Class of 2020 on special digital covers. One new cover star was revealed every day during the month of May. Take a look at all of our winners below!

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search