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

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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How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

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Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

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Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

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Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


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