Fresh on the heels of its 15th televised season, So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2018 tour kicks off 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in Ovation Hall at Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City.
SYTYCD’s newest champion, Hannahlei Cabanilla and the Top 10 finalists will bring their award-winning moves from the screen to the stage. “We get to do all of your favorite dances on a live stage which is so different from seeing it through a TV screen. You will feel our energy,” Hannahlei says.
Just last month, in front of 2.6 million viewers, Hannahlei was crowned champion of “So you Think You Can Dance.” At just 18 years old (she turned 19 a week later), Hannahlei had been a fan of SYTYCD since she was a little kid. “This is a dream come true. I remember watching the finales at my friend’s house when I was little and to be up there and get crowned was amazing,” Hannahlei says.
Her life has been a whirlwind since. The day after winning, Hannahlei flew to New York City where she appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan. “It was so much fun,” Hannahlei says, “that same day I had my cover shoot for Dance Spirit Magazine. Which was, again, a dream come true. I’ve been reading that magazine since I was little and now I’m going to be on the cover.”
While things are happening fast now, Hannahlei has been dancing for 17 years. “I’ve danced at the same studio since I was 2 years old,” Hannahlei says, adding that, although she has trained extensively in ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, hip-hop and more, “Contemporary and jazz have always been my favorites.”
Since winning, Hannahlei and the other Top 10 contestants have been preparing for the live tour, rehearsing eight hours a day. “It’s been so much fun to be back with the Top 10,” Hannahlei says, “We are always laughing, constantly giggling. It’s so high-energy, all the time. By 8 a.m., they’re already off-the-walls bouncing.”
So You Think You Can Dance! Live Tour will start in Atlantic City, then stop in 39 cities, before finishing in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 9. “I’m really excited to travel with the tour and especially to go to the East Coast, because I’ve never really been there and I love traveling. I’m so excited to just explore the different cities,” Hannahlei says.
With her days and nights devoted to dancing, it’s obvious that Hannahlei loves it. But her favorite part happens when she is on stage. “Being on stage is a feeling like no other,” Hannahlei says. “It’s so indescribable. I love that I can turn on a different character for each dance and I just feel so free when I’m dancing. That sounds so cliché, but that’s how I feel.”
Fans of FOX-TV’s So You Think You Can Dance can expect to find all of their favorite elements from the show on the stage. However, there will be some surprises too. “You’ll see the dances from the (TV) show, but we’ve added a little spice in there. People are going to be really entertained and surprised when they see it (live tour).” Furthermore, dance looks different live than it does on TV, according to Hannahlei. “I feel like on TV, you’re in the dance with us because the camera is so close, but then again you don’t get to see the whole body movement and the energy that projects. So it’s a completely different feel when you’re watching the tour,” Hannahlei says.
So, what’s after SYTYCD for Hannahlei? “After the tour, I want to get more jobs in the commercial industry, on TV. I’d also like to travel around the world and teach (dance) at different studios and maybe teach at a convention. Or, maybe tour with Beyonce, that would be my dream job,” Hannahlei says.