Hip-hop choreographer Bailey Sok leading class (Jody Carter, courtesy Sok)

Five Young Choreographers Using the Internet as Their Stage

Over the past few years, social media platforms have become launching pads for a new generation of choreographers. Many of these young artists grew up in front of the camera lens, dancing in the class videos of pioneers like Matt Steffanina and Tricia Miranda. Now, these familiar faces are flexing their choreographic muscles for huge YouTube and Instagram audiences, inviting subscribers to follow their journeys. Here are five up-and-coming dancemakers you should keep an eye on (literally).


Bailey Sok

Once one of the internet's favorite hip-hop littles, now–15-year-old Bailey Sok has been posting short freestyle videos to Instagram since age 8. "I was pretty insecure about my choreography at first," she says. "While I was used to online audiences seeing me dance, the thought of them viewing my own material hit me in a much more vulnerable place." But about a year ago, Sok garnered the confidence to share more of her choreographic journey—the highs and the lows—with her followers.

Sok demonstrating her choreography for a class (Jody Carter, courtesy Sok)

Like her mentors, Sok primarily posts class videos, and she interacts with her followers as much as possible. "I DM a lot of them, and they motivate me to push my limits as an artist," she says. Beyond her fans, Sok looks to music to inspire creativity, going on deep Spotify dives to find songs that spark feelings. Her channel's musicality caught the attention of singer Denim Nicole, who hired Sok to choreograph the music video for her song "Lemonade" in 2018.

Josh Killacky

As a young kid, Josh Killacky was more into tae kwon do and baseball than dance—but he did love watching dance videos on YouTube. At age 12, he started taking formal dance classes, and fell in love with the art form's creativity. He began filming and posting his material right away. "The best lighting in my house was at the top of my stairs, so I set up three shoeboxes in the doorway, draped a hoodie over them, and propped up my flip phone to film," he says. "Some of those early videos could be serious blackmail material, but I didn't care about how they looked. I studied them like a scientist, searching for ways to improve my freestyle."

Just two years after his first dance class, Killacky made the move to L.A., where he started taking class with influencers like Matt Steffanina. Eventually, he began collaborating with Steffanina and other artists, including singer Mike Posner. "I love the collaborative process because you get a different spark of creativity from each influencer," he says.

Ironically, this social media star tends to find inspiration when he disconnects. "Whenever I'm on an airplane, I like to turn off my phone and jot down 15 to 20 ideas," he says. "Some of the purest concepts come from being away from the world."

Julian DeGuzman

Well before 18-year-old Julian DeGuzman teamed up with Charlize Glass to become "World of Dance" Season 3's hip-hop power duo, he was a YouTube star. As a kid, he used his channel as a visual resumé, posting videos of himself dancing for everyone from ICONic Boyz to the Brooklyn Nets Kids. So once he began developing his freestyle into more structured choreography, he knew he wanted to share that process with his followers. "I grew up watching content from choreographers like Ian Eastwood and Brian Puspos, so it just made sense to me to post," he says.

Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy DeGuzman

DeGuzman sees social channels as vital tools for collecting feedback from fans. Encouragement and constructive critique from followers push him to post new material for them to see. "As a fan of other YouTube choreographers myself, I know what it is to be inspired, and I want to give that to my followers," he says. He also sees YouTube as a tool for self-reflection and gratitude. "I'm glad I've never been afraid to show myself, because it allows me to see my progress," he says.

Taylor Hatala

Fifteen-year-old Taylor Hatala has been a YouTube star since age 11, when videos of her in class with choreographers like Matt Steffanina and Laurence Kaiwai reached the eyes of a combined 100 million viewers. (None other than Ellen DeGeneres sanctioned the young dancer's fame when she invited Hatala to perform on her show.) So once Hatala started teaching and experimenting with choreography, she felt it made sense to chronicle her process on the platform.

Documenting it all has helped Hatala realize that she has a gift for teaching. "When I go back and watch my classes, I'm always pleasantly surprised that the positive energy I try to create for my students shines through," she says. "When I started, I didn't realize how hard it would be to teach a combination to a room with such a variety of dancers. I began really studying my own teachers in class, observing how my favorites would break things down for us." When she looks back through her class videos, she sees the benefit of that study as she gets more and more connected to her students over time.

Kaycee Rice

Sixteen-year-old Kaycee Rice also grew up as a viral dancer, standing out as a preteen in Tricia Miranda and WilldaBeast class videos, and appearing alongside Missy Elliott at the 2015 Super Bowl. Choreography seemed like a natural next step. "I want to expand my palette and discover more about who I am as an artist," she says. "I feel like the best way to do that is through choreography, exploring my own movement."

Rice teaching her first contemporary class in September 2018 (courtesy Rice)

When Rice shares her work on YouTube, she hopes fans will see that she's still learning. "Your imperfections are what draw people into your journey," she says. "They help viewers realize that you're human." That attitude helps give her the courage to be experimental with her movement, in keeping with her signature "weirdo" brand. "Instead of trying to do the normal trending moves, I like to find something new and different that feels strange on my body," she says.

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What’s in Your Dance Bag—Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Sometimes our dance bags feel like portals to another dimension—we have no idea what half the stuff buried in our bags even is. (Note to self: Clean out dance bag.)

But have you ever wondered if there's a method to the madness? We're pretty sure there is, and as always, we're pretty sure it's something to do with astrology. That's right, your resident Dance Spirit astrologers are back with our best guess at what you keep in your dance bag—based on your zodiac sign.

Aries

You're always going 100 mph Aries (or maybe even more), so it's pretty much a guarantee that your dance bag is fully stocked with snacks to power you through the day. Granola bars, trail mix, yogurt, fruit. It's like a Whole Foods in there.

You've also usually got about six different pairs of shoes in your bag. As an Aries, you love adventure, trying new things and, most of all, a challenge. So when it comes to classes, you're all over the map. Tap, jazz, ballet, character, modern—you'll try them all.

Something else you won't go without? Your signature red lipstick, obv. How else are you going to show off your fiery personality? (And look amazing while doing it, TYSM.)

Taurus

As a child of Venus, you always want to look your best, Taurus. So your dance bag is a hair salon/makeup station, all in one. If your dance besties need to borrow a hair tie, or are looking for a fun accessory to spice up their bun, they know you're the one to go to.

Also important to you? Smelling your best. Taureans love comforting, luxurious scents, so your dance bag is typically equipped with a favorite perfume or deodorant. (Or both.)

But what's most important is the bag itself—admit it, you've been using the same dance bag for years. We get it, Taurus, nobody likes change, and least of all the stubborn bull of the zodiac. But if your dance bag is really starting to smell like feet (or if your bobby pins are starting to slip through the holes in the bottom), you might want to consider investing in a new bag.

Gemini

Gemini, you love to switch it up. So you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least three different dance fits in your bag at any given time. And your dancewear is always on point. You love to keep up with trends and try edgy, new looks.

Ever the intellect, you usually have a book in your bag, as well. You're always making book recs to your fellow dancers, and you refuse to be bored between rehearsals or backstage.

Though you might act carefree, Gemini, we know that at heart, you're ruled by Mercury—and you have more in common with your sister sign Virgo than you'd like to admit. That's why you always have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some floss in your dance bag. No way you're getting caught with food between your teeth (or bad breath during partnering class).

Cancer

Not to be obvious, but as a water sign, the first and foremost thing a Cancerian keeps in their dance bag? A water bottle, of course. (Preferably a Hydroflask, S'well or any bottle that comes in a fun color.) No dehydration here, please and thank you.

Your dance bag also functions as a de facto vending machine for your dance besties, since you always come prepared with the best snacks, and you're always willing to share. As a bonus, your snacks are almost always homemade, since you're practically a five-star chef.

And while we're wary of zodiac stereotypes, there is a pretty good chance your dance bag is stocked with tissues. And there's no shame in that—because, really, who can get through a performance of Romeo and Juliet without shedding some tears? Props to you for being in touch with your emotions, Cancer.

Leo

We'll state the obvious, Leo. You love to look at yourself, and sometimes the studio mirrors just aren't enough. So, naturally, you always keep a compact mirror in your dance bag, just in case your makeup or your bun needs an extra touch-up.

You also love bright colors, and you're not afraid to wear more daring dancewear than any of your besties. You've usually got a couple of leotards packed in your bag, just in case you need to make a fashion statement, and they're always fun. Bright colors, loud prints, stylish necklines—you'll try anything.

But something not everyone knows about you? You're an amazing friend, and incredibly loyal, Leo. That's why you've usually got something in your bag for your dance bestie, be it her favorite brand of granola bar, a fun sparkly pin for her hair, or a note reminding her she's a star, on and off the stage.

Virgo

You're incredibly hardworking, Virgo, so you've always got the tools for success in your dance bag. TheraBands, foam rollers, tennis balls—you're the one dancer your teacher can always count on to be stretching between classes.

You also love to be prepared, so you've usually got a makeshift first-aid kit in your bag. The thought of suffering a blister or floor burn without the appropriate salves or bandages makes you shudder, and, hey, it's always better to be overprepared, right?

What's most noticeable about your dance bag, though, isn't what's inside of it. It's what it looks like—your bag is pristine. It never smells like feet, and you've got a hard-core system for what you keep in each little zip pocket or compartment. And TBH, all of your dance friends are jealous, though they'd never admit it.

Libra

Like your sister sign Taurus, appearances are important to you, Libra. You like to look good (no shame in that), so your dance bag is always stocked with the essentials: extra hair spray, lip gloss, concealer, bobby pins and a spare leotard, in case you get just a bit too sweaty.

You also love to socialize, so if this were the 1950s, we would say that you always keep your date book in your dance bag. As it is, you always have your phone with you, and it's usually blowing up with texts from your dance besties asking to make plans.

Your dance bag wouldn't be complete without your secret supply of chocolate. But to be clear: This isn't your average Hershey's bar. Libras aren't afraid to indulge, so you keep a bar of luxury dark chocolate tucked away for when the cravings hit.

Scorpio

You can't fool us, Scorpio—the contents of your dance bag aren't some big mystery, like you'd like us all to believe. In fact, they're pretty basic: For starters, you always have a black leotard or two in your bag. After all, black is your signature color.

One thing that isn't in Scorpio's dance bag? Toe pads. You love to look tough, so you'd never be caught dead wearing toe pads with your pointe shoes. However, this does mean you need a hefty supply of Band-Aids for the inevitable blisters.

You also love all things mystical and, dare we say, witchy. You're the Halloween queen of the zodiac, after all! So it's no surprise you always have a crystal or two in the front pocket of your dance bag. Let us guess…moldavite?

Sagittarius

You're an explorer, Sagittarius, and that applies to your dancing. You're always trying new dance styles, and that's reflected in your dance bag. You always have the trappings of your latest obsession in your bag: heeled shoes for ballroom, kneepads for contact improv, sneakers for breaking, the list goes on and on.

But on all of your adventures, there's one consistency: You love making memories. And that means literally—you document everything. At each performance or recital, you're bound to be the one with a Polaroid or disposable camera in your bag, and you can usually be found snapping backstage candids of your dance besties.

Your other favorite form of documenting? Writing it down. You love to learn, so you're always taking notes. You can usually be found after class scribbling down your dance teacher's latest piece of wisdom. Your dance bag is crammed with half-filled notebooks, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

Capricorn

You like to be prepared, Capricorn. And we mean prepared—for every bad scenario imaginable. That's why your dance bag is a mini survival kit. The first Capricorn dance bag guarantee? A stitch kit, of course. Losing a ribbon on your pointe shoe mid-rehearsal is your worst nightmare.

You also always have at least three spare leotards handy. After all, what if you spill something, or get too sweaty or, worst of all, show up to an audition in the same leotard as your dance rival? No, thank you. As a Capricorn, you're expecting the best and preparing for the worst.

Another key to your survival kit? Headphones, so you can drown out the noise around you and focus on your dancing. And before anyone asks, the answer is yes, you have the perfect playlist—for each and every occasion.

Aquarius

Aquarius, you love helping others. That's why it sometimes seems like your dance bag isn't even for you—it's filled with stuff you bring for your friends. Snacks for one dance bestie, Band-Aids for another, and tampons, of course, just in case anyone needs one.

But when it comes to you, you're all about originality. That's why you always have tons of fun accessories in your bag: striped legwarmers, colorful socks, tie-dyed sweats and more than a couple of fun additions to your ballet bun, just to make it a little more interesting.

You're also a rebel at heart, Aquarius, which is why there's usually something in your dance bag that just borders on breaking the rules. Maybe your studio is strictly black leotards only—and yours is gray. Or phones are completely banned—and you just put yours on vibrate. We see you.

Pisces

Like your fellow water sign Cancer, you're big on hydrating during dance class. But as a Pisces, you're a little more imaginative (and a little less practical), meaning you're usually carrying your water in something aesthetically pleasing, like a mason jar, a tumbler, or one of those fancy water bottles with a crystal in the base.

Unlike Cancer, you're a mutable sign, meaning you can adapt to just about any situation. Counterintuitively, this actually means your dance bag is pretty sparse. Unlike other zodiac signs who feel the need to overprepare in case of disaster, you're comfortable in most situations, and your dance bag reflects it. You like the basics, nothing else.

Something most people might not know about you, though, is that you get cold easily. We're not sure why, but it's a Pisces staple. That's why if you keep anything in your dance bag, it's the coziest of warm-ups.

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