Photo by Eva Nys Photography, courtesy Yolanda Walmsley

Why You Should Know Dance Darling Elliana Walmsley

When you hear Elliana Walmsley's name, your first thought is probably "Dance Moms," but that's far from the tween's only claim to fame. Since first appearing on Season 6 of the show, Elliana's won Youth America Grand Prix's Hope Award and starred in the off-Broadway musical Dance Divas Nutcracker. Most recently, she won the title of 2018 Mini Female Best Dancer at The Dance Awards—and started work on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" the following day.

Winning 2018 Mini Female Best Dancer was a dream come true. I used to watch the dance-offs and solos, thinking it would be so cool just to get to the improv round. But a teacher told me that it was out of my reach, that I'd never be able to do it. I never forgot that comment, and I'm so glad that I proved her wrong.

Fast Facts

Age: 11

Birthday: June 23, 2007

Hometown: Boulder, CO

Trains at: Master Ballet Academy in Scottsdale, AZ; Michelle Latimer Dance Academy in Greenwood Village, CO; EDGE Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex in L.A.

Favorite Instagram filter: "The bulldog you put on your face"

Nickname: "One of the producers on 'Dance Moms' once asked my middle name. The first thing that popped into my head was Shakoofa—though it's really Kathryn. But now everyone calls me Shakoofa!"

Pre-performance ritual: "The Llama Squad—Brynn Rumfallo, Maesi Caes, and I—made up a chant where we basically jump around in circles and act like llamas. We get a lot of weird looks at conventions, but we don't care!"

A version of this story appeared in the December 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "You Should Know: Elliana Walmsley."

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