Catching Up with The Arnold Sisters
The Arnold sisters have taken over the reality TV dance competition world, and we 👏 are👏 so 👏 here 👏 for👏 it 👏! From "So You Think You Can Dance" to "Dancing With The Stars" to "DWTS: Juniors," the four sisters have become a dance dynasty, lighting up stages and capturing the hearts of Americans everywhere. Despite being raised by parents with zero dance experience themselves, Lindsay (24), Jensen (20), Brynley (18), and Rylee (13) were born to perform, and have all made huge names for themselves in the industry.
Lindsay Arnold Cusick burst onto our television screens in 2012 when she made it to the Top 8 on "SYTYCD." From there, her pristine ballroom technique and undeniable charisma landed her a spot on "DWTS" in 2013, and in 2017, she won the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy with her partner Jordan Fisher. And her sisters have walked the path she's worked so hard to pave. "I was the trial baby," she says. "From me they learned the ins and outs of the industry. They now know where the best studios are, who the best coaches are, and which competitions they should go to. My sisters are set up for success. I've been proud of a lot of things that I've done in my career, but nothing makes me more proud than watching my little sisters do their thing and be amazing. I want them to be so much better than me!"
Jensen followed in her big sister's impressive footsteps this past summer, and landed in the Top 2 on Season 15 of "SYTYCD." With each performance she brought a level of fierce energy and passion that got the country to pick up their phones and vote. "I watched Lindsay kill it on 'SYTYCD,' and then go straight to 'DWTS' and thought it was so cool," Jensen says. "It was exactly what I wanted to do, so I decided to go for it."
Having just graduated from high school this past June, Brynley wasn't old enough to audition for "SYTYCD," or young enough to be on "DWTS: Juniors," but according to her sisters, she's just as talented as the rest of her siblings. "She has so many big things in store for her," Lindsay says. "She's four or five inches taller than me [Lindsay is 5'6"] and moved to L.A. to pursue modeling, dancing, and teaching jobs out here. She'll have her time, and right now she's preparing herself for it."
The baby, 13-year-old Rylee, is currently wowing audiences with her adorable partner Miles Brown on "DWTS: Juniors"—under the direction of big sister Lindsay, naturally! "Riley will be the star of the family," Lindsay says. "She's seen all of us and taken bits and pieces of our movement quality and put them into her performance. She started training in Latin ballroom younger than any of us and her technique is well beyond her years. I can't wait to see what she does with her future." Rylee too has aspirations to be a professional on "DWTS" one day, and thinks she's got a real shot. "Hopefully they like my work on 'DWTS: Juniors,' and put me on the adult show one day. That's my dream!"
We caught up with the Orem, UT, natives to get the inside scoop on their star-studded summers, how dance has brought them together, and the things they admire in one another. Check out what they had to say.
Lindsay, having been on "SYTYCD" yourself, what advice did you have for Jensen this past season?
Lindsay Arnold Cusick: Since day one it was a long road for Jensen to get on that show. She auditioned three times, and from the beginning I just told her to be herself. I knew that was what would get her on the show. It's not about who the best dancer is, it's about who can connect with the audience. After the first audition didn't work out, I told her not to change a thing about herself when she went back. She needed to make the show as Jensen, not somebody else, and if that wasn't enough then that wasn't enough. Of course, it was enough and I'm so proud of her. That show is the most grueling experience. What we put our bodies through is insane, and it was so fun to watch her do it. She's even more certain of who she is as a person today.
Jensen, what do you admire about each of your sisters as dancers?
Jensen Arnold: Lindsay's technique is amazing—really, it's flawless. I love her performance quality and how she just always is who she is. She doesn't ever try to pretend to be anything different. Brynley is great at hip hop and has a really silky smooth quality to her dancing. She's very versatile and can make any style her own. Rylee is the best little performer. She has better technique than any of us, and her sassy smile is my favorite thing ever.
What did you love most about working with Rylee on "DWTS: Juniors," Lindsay?
LAC: I knew Rylee was talented, but my eyes were really opened to how mature she is. I saw her in stressful moments and was able to work through them with her. Up until then, Rylee and I had never been in stressful situations together. I was able to give her pieces of my knowledge and I loved to see how she took that and really respected my opinion. My love for her grew even more.
Rylee, what were your favorite dances Jensen performed on "SYTYCD" this past summer?
Rylee Arnold: My favorite was the hip hop piece choreographed by Randi Kemper and Hefa Tuita. I also loved her contemporary by Mandy Moore, with Robert Roldan, and it was cool to watch her do the Tahitian dance with Jay Jay Dixonbey by Tiana Liufau, since she had never done that before. I really admire everything she did each week. She came back after not making the show last time and had the confidence to go really far.
Jensen, were your sisters able to come and support you this summer (in spite of each of them dancing on major television shows themselves)?
JA: It was so crazy, my mom was constantly running from set to set to support each of us, but it was so cool all three of us were doing what we loved and being recognized for it at the same time. My sisters were able to come and support when they could, and the first week I had my fiancé, as well as my entire family, there which was really cool. I thought I would get eliminated early so I could go watch Lindsay and Rylee, but I ended up making it to the finale. I'll be watching the shows like crazy while I'm touring with "SYTYCD" though.
Do you have plans to perform together in the future?
LAC: Absolutely! I've been thinking about that a lot. "DWTS: Juniors" really meant something to me because I got to do it with my sister, and I would love to do more of that with all of us. Dancing is something we've invested our lives into, and we've learned how to support each other and be there for each other through all of it. It's brought us so close as a family.
Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.