Dance Spirit Presents: Isabella Torres' First NYCDA Nationals

This Nationals season, Dance Spirit followed four talented dancers from The Dance Awards, NYCDA, Showstopper, and Starpower for an inside look at everything that goes into the biggest competitions of the year. First up: Isabella Torres from Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts in Baltimore, MD, who competed at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals for the first time this year. (All photos courtesy Shannon Torres.)


June 28, 2017


Today was the last day at my studio, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA), in Baltimore, MD, before leaving for NYCDA. I took a ballet class and rehearsed a little. It's the beginning of a great experience!


June 29, 2017

I made it to NYC! After I arrived, all the Junior Outstanding Dancers picked numbers. I got #5 out of 140, and I was hoping for a higher number but I'll make it work. After that, we had an orientation meeting—we start dancing at 7:30 AM tomorrow, so it'll be an early wakeup!

In the ballroom!

Hitting the classic NYCDA pose


June 30, 2017

Today's Junior Outstanding Dancer day! I had a 4:30 AM wakeup call, and a 7:30 AM stage time. I tried my best to not let my exhaustion show, even after make-up, hair, warming up, and even more warming up!

5 more minutes!


July 1-2, 2017

Today we had our Outstanding Dancer ballet class audition and solo presentations. I danced the Kitri variation, and was super happy to be awarded 6th out of over 150 entries. After, I had time to fit in a trip to Starbucks and shopping at Capezio—an essential stop for dancers.

Prepping my look for Kitri!

Always have to stretch!

Hanging out in the Capezio store

But first—Starbucks!


July 3, 2017


We had our group competition today. After, I had a lot of fun at M&M World in Times Square with my MCPA family.

Pre-competition huddle!


July 4, 2017


Class today was amazing—The Radio City Rockettes taught a class, and I took hip hop from Dana Wilson. (Catch me rocking my newly discovered skills during Dana's class, near the front!) Later in the day, we explored NYC more, and then ate some delicious pizza as we waited for the junior awards to be announced.



Pizza party!


July 6, 2017


Today was the junior gala, which was an unforgettable experience—I even made a great new friend, Abby Trammel. Meeting and connecting with new people is a great part of Nationals. We were lucky enough to have Andy Pellick choreograph our gala routine, and it was great to have him pushing us in rehearsals all week.

As the gala performance came to a close, it was time to announce the Junior Outstanding Dancer awards. I made it into the top 12, out of 154 dancers. I was so happy, since it was my first NYCDA Nationals and I had no idea what to expect. I loved the whole experience, from spending time with my MCPA family, making and learning from mistakes, to making new friends, and learning from incredible teachers.

Abby and me before the gala!


July 7, 2017


The Teen and Senior Outstanding Dancer gala was tonight, and the talent was amazing. The cast of the Broadway hit,

Bandstand, performed, and it only got more incredible from there. We were all tired from the week, but we didn't want the adventure to end. I'm so thankful to NYCDA for supporting my love for dance. Even though a lot is about to change, with friends going to summer camp and fellow studio members heading off to college, I can't wait to see what new dance adventures next season will bring.

Dancer to Dancer
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

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.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

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Photo by Erin Baiano

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