Larsen Thompson

Larsen performing her solo at Showstopper American Dance Championships (David Hofmann)

You’ve probably seen the dance-centric Microsoft Surface commercial directed by Jon M. Chu—it stars a handful of our favorite dance celebs. But it’s a little schoolgirl with red pigtails who really stands out among the talented bunch: Larsen Thompson. Watching Larsen perform, it’s clear she has all the polish, pizzazz and presence of a professional hip-hop dancer who’s been in the game for years. But once she speaks, her soft, youthful voice reminds you she’s just 12 years old. “When I’m older, I want to dance with Britney Spears or Rihanna,” says the ambitious up-and-comer.

That day may not be as far off as she thinks. To date, she’s already danced and acted in commercials for Walmart, Target, Nintendo and McDonald’s. She’s also danced backup on “The X Factor” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” (Larsen was in the dance studio segment with tWitch, Sophia Grace and Rosie!) “I started dancing when I was 4,” Larsen says. “I would do handstands and these little grooves. My mom thought I would like dance. I’ve loved dancing ever since.”

Today, Larsen spends 20 to 30 hours a week taking dance classes. She trains at various studios around L.A. (including Millennium Dance Complex, International Dance Academy of Hollywood and Academy of Dance Westlake Village), often commuting more than an hour from her home in Newbury Park, CA. “I’ll be at the studio until 11 pm sometimes, so it can be hard,” she says. “I take classes on the weekend, but Fridays are mostly free, so that’s when I hang out with my friends. They’re always looking at me like I’m crazy because I do all of this.”

“All of this” on a typical day might also include meeting with her agent at Clear Talent Group or wearing a stuffed Luigi costume for a Nintendo commercial. For Larsen, getting noticed at auditions means turning on her hard-hitting dance moves, fiery personality and acrobatic prowess. “I usually throw in a trick or two and do some flips,” says Larsen, whose mom was a gymnastics coach and whose aunt is Olympic gold medalist Julianne McNamara.

Though it’s tempting for Larsen to do only hip-hop all the time, she’s dedicated to continuing ballet training in order to better her technique. “Sometimes ballet gets boring, but I know skipping even one day could bring my level down,” she says. “And if I ever had to go a week without dancing? I couldn’t live like that. Whenever I go to dance class and I’ve had a bad day, it just goes away because I move through it all. Dancing is my life.”


Birthday: November 19, 2000

Most-played on her iPod: Beyoncé

Strangest thing in her dance bag: Stinky shoes

Dance idol: Mollee Gray, from “So You Think You Can Dance”

Dream dance role: Elite Protégé for The PULSE On Tour

Three words that describe her: “Perfectionist, funny, fashionista”


Latest Posts

TikTok creator Dexter Mayfield is serving all the feel-good content we need in 2020. (Anastasia Garcia, courtesy Mayfield)

4 Queer Dancers Taking Over TikTok—and Maybe the World

The queer community has found a new home on TikTok.

Although not without its downsides—trolls seem to find their way onto every social media platform—many users who identify as LGBTQ+ are finding support on the app, which has opened up space for them to present their identities in a way that feels authentic. For dancers, who train and work in a world that often reinforces the gender binary, claiming space on TikTok can feel especially validating.

That sense of inclusivity is "primarily due to the fact that the main demographic of creators and users on the app are Gen Z," says dance and social media star Dexter Mayfield, who's done everything from performing with Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry to walking major runway shows. "I have never seen a more intelligent and inclusive and engaging group of young people that are determined to truly be better than those who have come before them."

That network of support has propelled some queer dancers to the forefront of TikTok fame. Here are four of those artists who are dominating the app, doing things their way.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Class at Butler University (Michaela Semenza, courtesy Butler University)

The Truth About Grades as a Dance Major

You may know what it means to earn a silver, gold, or platinum award for your performance—but probably not an A, B, or C grade. Often, dancers don't encounter the idea of grading in dance until they enter collegiate dance programs. When you're evaluating an inherently subjective art form, what distinguishes an A student from a B student?

The answer: It's complicated. "There's a lot that goes into creating a well-rounded, successful student, which hopefully produces a well-rounded, successful professional," says Angelina Sansone, a ballet instructor at University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

In college programs, set movement phrases, repertory selections, or audition-style classes often serve as graded midterms or final exams. Written components such as self-assessments, audition research projects, and dance history tests might count as well. But the largest contributing factor to your grade is usually how you approach the work, day in and day out.

Dance Spirit talked to faculty across the country to discover what it takes to be a top student—and why dance grades matter.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
We loved seeing Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert back dancing in the ballroom. (Erin McCandless, courtesy ABC)

"DWTS" Week 6 Recap: Nope, Derek Hough Didn't Propose on Live TV

Please hold for applause: We're now roughly halfway through this season of "Dancing with the Stars," mid-pandemic, without a single case of COVID-19. Apparently we can have some good things this year!

And last night's episode of "DWTS" was particularly dance-tastic, complete with a special dance-pearance by judge Derek Hough. And while we were a little disappointed by certain aspects of his performance (please refer to this article's headline), it was all kinds of amazing to see Derek back dancing in the ballroom. But in case you missed it (or you were too busy voting early—go you!), here are all the highlights from last night's episode.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search