Zendaya as Zoe Stevens in "Zapped" (David Bukach/Disney Enterprises)

5 OG Disney Channel Dancers Who Grew Up to Be Stars

The Disney Channel has launched tons of young performers' careers. Some of our favorite celebs started out as dancers on the platform back in the day. Here are five OG Disney dance kids we're still obsessed with.


Zendaya, our Queen, got her start by showing off her dance skills on the Disney Channel's "Shake it Up," and went on to have a super high-profile acting and singing career.

Alyson Stoner

Singer and dancer Alyson Stoner was appearing on the Disney Channel even before her breakout performance in Missy Elliott's "Work It" video. We really fell for her moves in the 2008 Disney Channel movie Camp Rock.

Allison Holker

DYK that one of Allison Holker's first jobs was dancing in the High School Musical films? Cleary, that experience was the start of something big!

Carlena Britch

Dancer Carlena Britch got her start in the Camp Rock films, eventually leading her to star in popular shows such as "Charmed," "The X-Files," and "Supernatural." See if you can spot her in the clip above!

Shamier Anderson

The Camp Rock films were clearly packed with stunning dancers. CR alum Shamier Anderson went on to star in shows like "Dear White People" and "Pitch."

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Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

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Dear Katie: What Can I Do to Get More Flexible?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a strong dancer, but I don't have a lot of flexibility. I stretch every day, but it feels like I'm getting nowhere. What can I do to get more flexible?


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