Sarah Pippin

Sarah Pippin photographed by Erin Baiano

Sarah Pippin is proof there’s so much more to an explosive performance than big dancing. She tears across the stage, moving in and out of impossibly low lunges and balancing on a relevé so high she looks as though she may take flight. But this 16-year-old can also take an audience’s breath away with a simple hip roll, building tension in the stillness before she erupts yet again.

Despite Sarah’s explosive stage presence, on the inside she’s actually quite Zen. “Before I perform, I remind myself of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Then, I leave it all behind,” Sarah says. “Onstage, it’s just me and dance.”

Raised in Raleigh, NC, Sarah began dancing at age 3 and competing at age 4 at Dance Attic. At 8, she moved to CC & Co. Dance Complex, where she’s been training and competing ever since. Sarah doesn’t remember a life before dance. Her younger sister also dances, so it’s always been a central component of the Pippin household.

In many ways, Sarah leads a normal life: She’s a full-time student at her local public school, Heritage High. But she keeps herself busier than the average teen. Immediately

after school, she heads to the studio for four to five hours of training. Weekends are reserved for competitions, conventions and rehearsals. “Sometimes we get a weekend off,” Sarah says with a laugh, “but not all that often.”

Hard work pays off, and Sarah has three national titles to show for it. She won New York City Dance Alliance National Mini Outstanding Dancer at 11. At 13, she was named both NYCDA’s Junior Outstanding Dancer and The Dance Awards’ Teen Best Dancer.

In 2013, Travis Wall offered Sarah a unique opportunity: While her classmates at Heritage High dreamed of spring break from their desks, Sarah traveled to L.A. to train with Shaping Sound. “It was wonderful to watch the creative process from a professional perspective,” Sarah says. “I left inspired to go home and apply what I’ve learned to my own choreography.”

This summer, Sarah is attending The Juilliard School’s intensive and NYCDA Nationals, and she plans to apply to colleges in NYC during her last year of high school. But the rest of Sarah’s future is unwritten. “When I go to a Justin Timberlake concert, I think, ‘I want to dance with JT,’ but when I go to a Cedar Lake performance, I think, ‘I want to dance with Cedar Lake!’ ”

“Sarah has a deep connection to movement and an inherent beauty that comes from a pure, selfless place. She’s one of the most dedicated, hardworking and immensely talented dancers I’ve had the fortune of teaching, and one of the kindest souls to ever grace my studio.” —Christy Curtis, owner of CC & Co. Dance Complex

 

FAST FACTS

Birthday: December 7, 1997

What she’s listening to right now: “Here Comes the Sun,” by the Beatles

Who would play her in a movie? Jennifer Lawrence

Best advice she’s ever received: “Step back every once in a while and remind yourself: It’s just dance, it’s what I love to do.”

She won’t leave the house without her…“My mom would say my iPhone!”

Dance idol: Lauren Adams

Favorite dance movie: Step Up Revolution. “I love Misha Gabriel.”

Favorite food: “Cookies, burgers, fries…basically junk food in general.”

If she could be a superhero, her power would be: “I’d love to know what others are thinking about me…”

Performer she’d love to work with: Peter Chu. “I’ve worked with him once or twice, but I’d love to train with him more consistently. The way he moves is so interesting and unique.”

 

WANT SARAH TO WIN? Click here to vote for her!

 

Back to Cover Model Search

Read about Alyssa Allen

Read about Christina Ricucci

Latest Posts


Monique Smith (Tom Marvel, courtesy Smith)

5 Black Women on the Obstacles of Dancing While Black

Civil rights leader Malcom X famously said that "the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman." Decades later, those words still resonate. And the dance world isn't immune to subjecting Black women to unfair treatment. After all, it wasn't until this year—and after mounting pressure from online petitions—that many major dancewear brands pledged to make tights and pointe shoes in hues that match the complexions of Black women.

But other, more insidious issues continue to obstruct progress for Black women in the dance world. Dance Spirit spoke with five Black women about the obstacles they've faced as professional dancers.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Yes, that is Tyra Banks dressed as Mickey Mouse chatting with Carole Baskin dressed as a lion. Why do you ask? (Erin McCandless, courtesy ABC)

"DWTS" Week 3 Recap: "Disney Night" is Confirmed Chaotic Good

Welcome back dance fans, to the chaos that is "Disney Night" on "Dancing with the Stars." Have you ever wanted to see a pro football player dressed as a candlestick? A realtor from "Selling Sunset" dressed as a Disney princess? Carole *bleep* Baskin dressed as a giant lion? No? Well, it's "Disney Night," so you don't really have a choice.

But even amidst all of the chaos, there was some truly amazing dancing—this cast is next level, y'all. In case you missed last night's episode (or if you were too busy researching tonight's presidential debate, in which case, good job!) here's all the best dancing rounded up. Plus, the purrson who went home...hint, hint.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
How to avoid pesky pimples while protecting your fellow dancers (Getty Images/Viorel Kurnosov)

The Dancer's Guide to Maskne

Having to wear a mask is a small price to pay to finally be back dancing with partners other than our family members and pets. But we won't lie: Masks are uncomfortable. If you've experienced "maskne"—increased irritation and acne from frequent mask-wearing—you're not alone. Luckily, dermatologists have quickly become experts on this new dilemma. Dance Spirit spoke to two to get their top tips for mask-wearing dancers.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search