Kaitlynn Edgar is classically beautiful, a cross between Kate Bosworth and Marilyn Monroe. She looks like she belongs on the red carpet—but she really shines onstage. Though Kaitlynn is petite, she dances with strength, power and control. Her développés stretch toward the balcony, her pirouettes are clean, her port de bras lifted. And beyond technique, her presence draws you in. Whether you’re sitting in the front row or the rafters, watching Kaitlynn is like staring at the Mona Lisa: She makes you feel like she’s focused on you.
Just 18 years old, Kaitlynn is already a mature, confident performer. She started dancing at 7 at The Dance Company Conservatory in Port Huron, MI. Two years later, she switched to the more competitive Spotlight Dance Works, under the direction of Liz Schmidt, and has been competing and training in tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet ever since. Schmidt knew from the start that Kaitlynn had something special. “She can become any character she wants to. She can do hip hop or Broadway,” Schmidt says. “She blows the room away.” In addition to her studio training, Kaitlynn attends conventions, which has strengthened her natural versatility.
Competitions offer something different. “It’s a chance to perform and show other people what you’ve been working for,” Kaitlynn says. “Onstage you can tell a story without using any words.”
Kaitlynn’s life may seem picture perfect, but she’s actually had more than her fair share of struggles. Her mom has a chronic illness, so Kaitlynn and her younger sister live with a family from the studio and visit their mother once a month. “Dance holds us together,” Kaitlynn says. “The studio is our family. It’s where we’ve grown up. If it weren’t for dance, I don’t know where I’d be. Dance helps me get through the hard times.”
This summer, Kaitlynn won the Senior Outstanding Dancer title at New York City Dance Alliance, where she was also awarded a full four-year scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. “All year I was pushing myself and working toward this goal,” Kaitlynn says. “Winning the title made me the happiest, most excited I’ve ever been.”
As she approaches her high school graduation this spring, Kaitlynn isn’t losing focus. “I’m going to take full advantage of my last year at the studio,” she says. “I want to learn everything I can so I’m ready for the real world.” As for her real world plans? “I’m going to try it all and see where everything falls.”
Dance crush: “Oh God, Tony Testa for sure. He’s so inspirational, and the emotion he puts into hip hop is insane.”
Favorite teachers: Sonya Tayeh and Joe Lanteri. “Sonya is demanding and aggressive. I love that. And Joe’s classes are uplifting.”
Favorite foods: Chocolate chip cookies and raspberries
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.