Gabriella Stilo

Gabriella Stilo photographed by Erin Baiano

Gabriella Stilo’s ballet technique is beautifully polished: Her grands jetés seem to float through the air, her pirouettes are perfectly timed to  the music and her endless extensions epitomize classical purity. But it’s her artistic approach that convinces you she’s on her way to true ballerina status. “I love ballet for the acting,” says the 15-year-old. “I’ve been trained by Cubans my whole life, and that tradition focuses a lot on technique. But I really like to portray a character onstage and inhabit the role, too.”

Gabriella lives in Tampa, FL, but trains at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School in Sarasota, FL, an hour-long commute each way. She’s homeschooled to accommodate her intense schedule, which consists of five to six hours of class each day—and that’s when she doesn’t have a competition on the horizon. “We do a mix of technique, pointe, variations and partnering, along with core strengthening,” she says. “I take a modern or contemporary class once or twice a week, but I’m 100 percent focused on ballet.”

That focus has paid off: In 2014, Gabriella won the gold medal in the pas de deux category at the Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC and placed in the Top 12 in the Junior Women’s Division. She was also chosen as the Grishko Model Search winner. “I like competitions because they get you noticed,” says Gabriella. “And I just love the opportunities to perform. If I could, I’d perform every day.”

Gabriella has only recently recovered from a stress reaction in her foot. She missed audition season due to her injury, so she plans to train at her home studio this summer. “I think it was my body’s way of telling me to rest,” she says. Now that she’s back in class, Gabriella will continue to pursue her goals with her usual discipline. “I’m obsessed with American Ballet Theatre,” she says. “I love the elegance of classical ballet. And some day I’d like to dance the title role in Giselle, or Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. That’s been my dream since I was little.”

“Gabriella is a star in the making. Her potential is very clear. She’s always giving 100 percent and her desire to be onstage drives her to be who she is. When she performs, she gives everything she has—her soul.” —Ariel Serrano, co-founder of the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School

 

FAST FACTS

Birthday: September 28, 1999

Favorite food: Frozen yogurt

Favorite dance movie: Center Stage. “It’s a classic.”

Adagio or petit allégro? Petit allégro

Contemporary or classical? “Classical. But I do love Wayne McGregor’s choreography.”

Dance idol: “Maria Kochetkova. She’s flawless. And Christina Ricucci, because she’s so strong and sweet.”

Hidden talent: “I’m a great cook. I cook dinner for my family and prepare my food for ballet.”

Dream pas de deux partners: Daniel Ulbricht, Marcelo Gomes and Daniil Simkin

Most cherished thing in her dance bag: “A card I received from a very close classmate. It has lots of nice things written on it.”

If she weren’t a dancer, she’d be… “An actor!”

Show Comments ()
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB 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!

Keep reading... Show less
Ema Peter

The Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center is the 54,000 square foot home of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, one of the largest facilities dedicated to dance on a private university campus. Designed for their innovative new curriculum, that supports a range of dance styles, the school's staff designated Harlequin to provide wall-to-wall flooring for the large 3,500 square foot Performance Studio as well as five dance studios in their new state-of-the-art building.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Oregon Ballet Theatre's Jacquline Straughan (with Brian Simcoe) showing off her beautiful epaulment in Swan Lake (photo by Jingzi, courtesy Oregon Ballet Theatre)

It's in Odette's gracefully arched neck, the Lilac Fairy's regal bearing, even a contemporary dancer's extreme lines. The "it" in question? Épaulement—the nuanced positioning of the head, shoulders, and neck. Using your épaulement (which translates, literally, as "shouldering") does more than make your dancing prettier: It makes it better, richer, and more artistic. But achieving effortless épaulement is easier said than done, especially since technique classes tend to focus on the legs and feet.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Fraser dancing in the NYC Subway (photo by Underground NYC, courtesy Fraser)

Paige Fraser has performed on world-class stages and in a video with Beyoncé—yet some of her most meaningful dance moments happened in tiny classrooms on a small island 1,000 miles from America. This past spring, Fraser, who's danced with Ailey II and is a founding member of Visceral Dance Chicago, teamed up with the non-profit Milk Carton on a String to bring dance to underprivileged children in Haiti. Fraser taught daily ballet and modern dance classes and used YouTube videos and social media to introduce the students to other aspects of dance they hadn't been exposed to.

Now, Fraser plans to continue to use dance to give back through her own newly-funded non-profit, The Paige Fraser Foundation. But instead of traveling outside the country, Fraser will be helping kids in her childhood home: the Bronx. She wants her foundation to assist aspiring dancers no matter their color or abilities.

Read our interview with the dancer and do-gooder—and discover the life-changing diagnosis that inspired her to help other dancers achieve their dreams.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

DancerPalooza, America's Largest Dance Festival, is moving to sunny SAN DIEGO, California from July 24-29, 2018.

Check out all of the NEW Intensives DancerPalooza has to offer this year!

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

You can never go wrong with a classic black leotard. Discount Dance's long-sleeve mesh leo will add a sleek edge to your studio style. Pair it with tights and a skirt for ballet class, or layer some leggings and sweats for contemporary class. Enter below for your chance to win it!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
via @kyle_vanny on Instagram competing on World Of Dance

Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Jenna Johnson and Adam Rippon competing during the "DWTS: Athletes" finale. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal, courtesy ABC)

Last night was both the best and the worst night of "Dancing with the Stars: Athletes." The best, because one lean, mean, dancing machine of a couple got to take home the Mirrorball trophy. The worst, because we won't be able to tune in to "DWTS" each Monday to get our weekly dose of dance mania until the fall. But all good things must come to an end, and "DWTS: Athletes" was certainly one of the best seasons yet. The remaining three couples all brought their A-games to the dance floor for the finale, showcasing two dances: a traditional ballroom routine and a freestyle. Here's the final recap.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
via YouTube

Our favorite funny lady Tina Fey gave quite the performance this past weekend, and lots of our Mean Girls Broadway favorites also made appearances (heyyy Kamille Upshaw and Demarius R. Copes!).

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored