Sydney Burtis Is Your 2018 Cover Model Search Winner!
When we first met Sydney Burtis back in April, she already had a resumé most seasoned pros would covet, peppered with competition titles, choreography credits, and even the co-founding of a dance festival. Now, the 18-year-old can add Dance Spirit Cover Model Search winner to that impressive list of accomplishments.
As soon as Sydney laced up her lime-green tap shoes at our photo shoot, we knew we had a star on our hands. She can fuse tap and contemporary dance in a brilliant way thanks to her impressive musicality, but it's her joy that makes her a real standout. You feel it with every click of her candy-colored shoes: Dance isn't just Sydney's passion. It's her life.
These days, the CMS winner is starting the next part of her dance journey as a freshman in Pace University's commercial dance program and honors college. We chatted with the new NYC resident to find out everything that's happened since we last saw her.
What have you been up to since your trip to NYC?
Sydney with her best friend, Lauren Luteran, celebrating high school graduation (courtesy Burtis)
It's been a busy few months! First, I graduated from high school, which was a big step. In May, I danced in a short film called Sound Language, which features a lot of tap legends, including Christopher Broughton. I was actually co-choreographer for the work, and acted as dance captain. I was named Senior Female Honored Dancer of 2018 at National Dance Honors in Las Vegas, and a YoungArts semifinalist. I also got to teach at the second Orlando Tap Festival, the event I co-founded. This year was even better than last year—we had double the number of students! It's been an incredible journey to see how one idea has grown into something so big.
What was your favorite part of the Cover Model Search experience?
Photo by Erin Baiano
It was great to get to know Jacalyn and Shelby. They're two incredible, unique artists, and people I've wanted to meet for a while. I loved bonding with them—and, especially, getting to dance with them! The photo shoot itself was also a highlight. I've been following Dance Spirit and the Cover Model Search contest for I don't even know how many years. Stepping into that room for the shoot was a childhood dream come true—I couldn't believe it was actually happening.
What about college makes you most excited—and most nervous?
Sydney just enrolled at Pace University's Pforzheimer Honors College for a BFA in commercial dance. (courtesy Burtis)
I'm super-excited to be living in NYC, something I've wanted to do since I was a little girl. I spent a lot of time in NYC growing up, and every visit gave me butterflies. I love that now I get to make this place my home. But I'm definitely nervous about experiencing a full winter in New York! As a Floridian my whole life, I'm not used to snow and freezing temperatures. That'll definitely be an adjustment!
What was your voting campaign like?
With two of her students, Angelica Rivera and Makenna Watts, at National Dance Honors Orlando (courtesy Burtis)
I reached out to a lot of my friends, teachers, and tap family. I relied on social media to spread the word—my Instagram, my Twitter, and my Facebook. But Instagram Story was where I put the most emphasis. It was cool to see everyone come together to help me, especially during the last 48 hours, when my numbers skyrocketed. Almost everybody I knew was sharing on Instagram.
Do you have any advice for future CMS finalists?
Dancing her self-choreographed solo "People I'll Remember" at National Dance Honors Vegas (courtesy Burtis)
Soak up every single second of the experience, because it's really a dream to be involved with this magazine. And remember that you were chosen as a finalist for a reason, so embrace all the unique aspects of yourself and let them shine.
A version of this story appeared in the October 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Tap Tap Tapping To The Top."
When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.
So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.
It's time to do your favorite happy dance because it's the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are almost here, which means we can finally start dancing to Christmas music! With Just For Kix, you can easily dress the part for this holiday season.
Black Friday is starting early! Spend $100 and you will get a $50 gift card. What are you waiting for? Head over to www.justforkix.com and get the shopping started!
Choreographing is hard enough on its own, but add a two-hour time limit and two dancers from completely different genres, and the task of creating a dance can seem almost impossible.However, street dancer K-Flow and ballerina Toi'ya prove such a task to be possible, even if it's challenging. In this mesmerizing video, the two find ways to adapt their style of dance to the other's, which results in a completely stunning duet.
This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…
It's one of those iconic only-in-NYC images: Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia making music with their feet in the middle of the legendary toy store FAO Schwarz. The uber-charming "giant piano" scene (choreographed by Pat Birch of Grease and the Martha Graham Dance Company) from the 1988 movie Big has since found its well-deserved place in many a supercut and pop-culture deep dive. But the Big piano has sadly been silent since FAO Schwarz suddenly closed its doors—seemingly for good—on July 15, 2015. Until today, that is!
It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:
If there's one thing we learned from the musical episode of "Riverdale" last season, it's that more television shows should follow along and have at least one dance-tastic episode. Sure, sometimes these can flop, but most of the time they only make us love the show even more. Here are 8 series that we think need an episode filled with dancey goodness RIGHT NOW.
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Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.
Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!
One Sergei Polunin is great but two, three, or four Polunins, that's something we can really get behind. And now we don't even have to go to an alternative universe to enjoy multiple Polunin clones. In Hozier's latest music video, "Movement" the legendary ballet dancer's drool-worthy technique is on full display as multiple versions of Polunin break out dancing. And though this isn't the first time the ballet superstar has teamed up with Hozier, this performance is even more haunting than the pair's 2013 collaboration in the "Take Me to Church" video.
Each competition season comes with a range of emotions—emotions that tend to test even our strongest dance friendships. We spoke with comp-world veterans about how to deal with five common friendship-ruining competition scenarios, so you can keep the "forever" in "BFF."
Yesterday Cincinnati Ballet announced an exciting addition to this year's Nutcracker cast: a character based on Fiona, the world's most famous hippopotamus.
For Zara Silverman dancing isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life. And now, Zara's enthusiasm for dance is trickling into her other interests. The 15-year-old's love of fashion spurred the creation of her own clothing line, which is designed specifically with dancers in mind. "Since I'm aspiring to become a professional dancer I wanted to design clothes that I would wear," Zara told Dance Spirit. She even uses other dancers as models for the the line.
Her official company, Zara Silver Clothing, just launched last month, and Zara admits she's still figuring things out. But she's excited to be merging her expertise in the dance world with her love of design. Find out why she attributes the hours she's spent in the studio to her success as a business owner and designer.