Lee Gumbs Photography, courtesy Gracyn French

Meet Out-of-This-World Comp Kid Gracyn French

What do you get when you cross a 1920s jazz baby with an absurdly flexible alien life-form? Ten-year-old Gracyn French, who's taken the comp world by storm over the past two years. After she became KAR Miss Petite Dance America 2017, the 2018 Nationals season saw Gracyn break the Top 20 at Radix and the Top 10 at her very first Dance Awards (where she clinched the title of Mini Female Best Dancer this year). She's also danced in six Old Navy commercials, appeared on "Dancing with the Stars," and speaks Spanish thanks to her attendance at a dual-immersion school. A frequent muse for choreographers Easton Payne and Molly Long, Gracyn dreams of following in Long's footsteps one day: After a career as a "DWTS" pro, she wants to open her own studio with younger sisters Emmerson and Harlow.


"My mom and dad always tell me that I have the heart of a champion—which means that they don't care if I win, as long as I go out there and do my best. In dance, all you can do is try your best and have fun!" —Gracyn French

Lee Gumbs Photography, courtesy Gracyn French

Fast Facts

Birthday: November 28, 2008

Hometown: Santa Monica, CA

Current city: Irvine, CA

Trains at: Project 21, Yorba Linda Academy of Ballet

Favorite foods: Mini corn dogs, salads with bacon and tomatoes

Currently watching on Netflix: "Liv and Maddie," "Bunk'd"

Non-dance hobbies: Tetherball, swimming, and relaxing with her family

Favorite dancers of all time: "My Project 21 teammates"

If she were a superhero, her power would be: "The power to help the world, especially to help homeless people"

Latest Posts


Photo by Brooke Fera

Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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