Photo by Collette Mruk, courtesy Alysa Guiterrez-Sierra

Why You Should Know Hip-Hop Beast Alysa Guiterrez-Sierra

Alysa Gutierrez-Sierra may look shy and sweet, but the young street dancer knows a thing or two about tearing up the dance floor and working a crowd. Alysa's big break came when she danced on Justin Bieber's Purpose Tour in 2016. One year later, her family moved from New Jersey to L.A., and she's been dancing professionally ever since. Alyssa has performed with Meghan Trainor, Gwen Stefani, and DJ Khaled, and has even delved into acting, appearing on Season 5 of "Mani" on Brat TV. Catch her on tour this season as a Hollywood Vibe JV Dance Company member.


Fast Facts

Full name: Alysa Leilani Gutierrez-Sierra

Hometown: Kearny, NJ

Birthday: August 21, 2008

Training routine: "I take two to three classes a day, and mostly go to auditions."

Trains at: Millennium Dance Complex, TMILLYTV, and Playground LA

Favorite performance: "The Radio Disney Music Awards with Meghan Trainor. I used to dance to all her songs at home, and I never thought I'd be able to actually dance with her!"

Three words to describe her dancing: Sassy, fierce, passionate

Favorite thing about dance: "You get to express yourself in different ways depending on the style."

Photo by Erique Mitchell, courtesy Alysa

Favorite styles: Hip-hop and jazz-funk

Nondance hobbies: "I like to sing, read mystery books, and act!"

Favorite movie: The Game Plan

Place she'd love to visit: Puerto Rico

Dance idols: Matt Steffanina, Nicole Laeno, Tati McQuay, Josh Killacky, and Bailey Muñoz

Advice for other dancers: "Never give up on your dreams, because if you work hard and put time into it, eventually you can achieve anything."

Where she sees herself in 10 years: "When I grow up, I want to be the next J. Lo. She started off as a dancer like me, then went into acting like me, and singing, which I want to do next. I want to have my own clothing and makeup lines like her too."

Dream superpower: Flying

Favorite foods: Spaghetti with meatballs, pancakes, pizza

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Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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