Kaitlynn Edgar should be exhausted. She flew directly from “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 8 Vegas Week to Dallas, TX, where she spent three days assisting at New York City Dance Alliance. From there, Kaitlynn flew to her home state of Michigan, then hopped on another plane to NYC for the Cover Model Search. So, after a packed day of classes at Broadway Dance Center, followed by an early call time for the finalist photo shoot, you’d think she would be ready to crash.
Instead, when asked to freestyle for photographer Erin Baiano, she goes full-out to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” She stretches her leg toward the ceiling and bends back into a flawless layout. Then she drops into a center split, springs back to her feet and does a bouncy series of shimmies and pivot turns—all with fiery attitude. If she’s tired, it doesn’t show. It’s this energy and commitment that have helped Kaitlynn rise to star status in the competition world.
Since the beginning, Kaitlynn’s home has been in the studio and on the competition and convention circuit. She began dancing when she was 6 years old at The Dance Company Conservatory in Port Huron, MI, and started competing when she was 8. A year later, she moved to Spotlight Dance Works, where she continuted her training in tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet. As she progressed, Kaitlynn set her sights on winning NYCDA’s National Senior Outstanding Dancer title—and she achieved that goal in 2010. As part of her title package, Kaitlynn spent the past year traveling to regional NYCDA events as an assistant. “It was like getting free training from amazing choreographers,” she says. Kaitlynn also honed her performance quality. “All the dancers look up to you,” she says. “You work so much harder than usual because you want to impress and inspire them.”
While her determination is helping her make her mark, she also has an instinct for movement. She’s able to pick up combinations quickly and has a keen sense of musicality. Her balance is strong, her movements controlled. And though Kaitlynn says her favorite style is “definitely contemporary,” during Ryan Davis’ street jazz class at BDC, she proved that she’s got swagger, too.
So what’s next for this powerful dancer? Although she was accepted at The Juilliard School, Kaitlynn isn’t sure she’ll attend. “My dream is to live in L.A. and do commercial work,” she says. “Whatever I do in the future, it’s going to involve dancing. Dance is what I know. Physically and mentally, I just need it.”
Birthday: June 22, 1992
Dance idol: Lauren Adams. “Everything about her is beautiful.”
Dance crush: “Tony Testa—which is awkward, since we work together a lot through NYCDA! He’s the most passionate dancer I’ve ever met.”
Dance mentors: Sonya Tayeh and Liz Schmidt. “Sonya pushes her dancers to do things that seem impossible, and Liz has been my teacher for a long time. She knows me better than anyone else.”
Three words that describe your dance style: Passionate, controlled, inspiring
Three words that describe your personality: Random, outgoing, nice
Favorite food: Grilled cheese
Favorite dance movies:Burlesque, Save the Last Dance and Dirty Dancing
Dream job: Dancing on tour with Britney Spears
What People are Saying About Kaitlynn
Liz Schmidt, Kaitlynn’s teacher at Spotlight Dance Works: “Kaitlynn has more focus than any other dancer I have known. She was born with a lot of talent, but she has also fought hard to develop herself into who she is today.”
DS photographer Erin Baiano: “Kaitlynn is a cool girl with a cheeky sense of humor and infectious energy. She also has an insane jump that comes out of nowhere. She made everyone on set want to dance and she was so much fun to watch.”
Ryan Davis, Street Jazz teacher at Broadway Dance Center: “Kaitlynn has a lot of emotion. She’s very powerful and distinct with her movements, but she could be a little bigger.”
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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."
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Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
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