7 "Rent: Live" Dancers We're Obsessed With

Another year, another live musical coming to our television screens! We're SO HERE for "Rent: Live," airing on Fox this Sunday. Of course, we're looking forward to hearing the iconic songs—and watching the A-list lead cast. But what we're most excited about is the stellar group of dancers in the ensemble. Here are 7 to look for during the broadcast, including some very familiar faces.


Robert Roldan

Let's start with the one, the only, the legend himself! We couldn't be more thrilled.

Khori Petinaud

No good "Rent" production is complete without some Broadway powerhouses in the ensemble. Khori Petinaud not only starred in the original Broadway cast of Aladdin, but also recently appeared in Moulin Rouge.

Hannahlei Cabanilla

Hannahlei's "Rent" role was part of her prize package as the Season 15 winner of "So You Think You Can Dance." Obviously, she's gonna nail this.

Nicholas Lanzisera

We only have one word for Nicholas Lanzisera: Wow. If you aren't familiar with his work (especially his choreography), check him out right now.

Benji Rivera

In addition to being an incredible dancer—his resumé includes Aladdin on Broadway—Benji Rivera has the absolute best smile.

Jessica Lee Keller

We've loved Jessica Lee Keller (and her gorgeous feeeeeet) for so long now. Starring in "Rent" is exactly what this powerhouse, who danced with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet before going freelance, deserves.

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Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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Dance News
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)

In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."

Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.

In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.

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Mind
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!

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