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Spotlight Dancer

Spotlight Dancer: Kalysta Gregory

Meet this month’s Spotlight Dancer Kalysta Gregory. Kalysta is a homeschooled senior who dual enrolls at St. Petersburg and is now on track to earn her A. A. before she turns 18. In addition to her school focus, she trains, as well as teaches tap dance at A & G Dance Academy in At. Petersburg Florida. She is a company member of Nick Dinicolangelo’s Hands Down Tap Project in New Jersey. She is also a proud SoDanca Ambassador. Kalysta can be found on many weekends attending dance conventions and festivals across the country. Her plans include continuing her college studies while pursuing a career in dance. Whether it’s teaching, performing, or choreographing, dance will definitely be a part of her future!

With all of this, we wanted to get to know her a little bit better.

1 What is your favorite dance class to take?

Tap dance class of course, but contemporary is a close second!

2 If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Since I’m always busy and on the go, I would spend the extra time with my family and friends.

3 What’s your favorite piece of dance clothing you own?

I love leggings! Leggings are my go-to clothing item when it comes to dance and on a regular day-to-day basis!

4 What songs have you completely memorized?

Every song that I have done a solo to I have completely memorized. Whether it’s the lyrics or how the rhythm goes, I spend a lot of time working on my solos and therefore hear the song over and over again.

5 Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Because I choreograph, I really challenge myself to venture out and listen to all styles of music. If I have no clue what to listen to, I’ll play something or someone I’ve never heard before. However, Ed Sheeran has always been a favorite of mine!

6 If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?

I would do a duet with Aaron Tolson in a heartbeat! He has been one of my mentors for about five years now. Not only do I look up to him, I also consider him a great friend. He and I have worked a lot together on various things, however, we have never performed together, so I would love to do a duet with him someday!

7 You can pick up the phone and talk to your number on dance idol – living or dead – but you can only ask 3 questions. What are the 3 questions you would ask them?

For me, I would want to speak to the tap masters of the past; ALL of the tap masters of the past. I honestly can’t pick just one. Regardless of who I spoke to, I would ask them: 1) What did you do to jumpstart your career in tap dance? 2) What was the inspiration that drove you to continue tap dancing throughout your life? 3) What do you believe was your greatest achievement overall?

8 What do you like to do besides dancing?

In addition to dancing, I really love photography, playing piano, and doing makeup! Also, I love spending time with my family, friends, and playing with my baby sister.

Rapid Fire This Or That

Dog or cat?


Netflix or Youtube?


Phone call or text?

Phone call!

Ice cream cone or snow cone?

Ice cream cone!

Cake or pie?


Watching a movie at home or in the theater?


Sneakers or sandals?


Tablet or computer?


Amusement park or day at the beach?


Where Is She Now? Jamie Askey

Former DanceWear Corner employee Jamie Askey has been part of the Dancewear Corner family ever since she got her first pair of pointe shoes.

Askey has been dancing ever since she was just 4 years old when she started taking classes at Raskins Dance Studio where she danced for 14 years. It did not take long before she started to substitute teach some classes at Raskins. This is also where she got her first taste of choreographing and she has even won awards for pieces that she has choreographed.

At the age of 21, she made one of her dreams come true by moving to New York City. So for anyone dreaming about moving to New York City you can do it.

The last time we caught up with her was 4 years ago and we wanted to know what she has been up to these last few years.

What have you been up to for the last 4 years?

I have been all over the world dancing and traveling. I have danced on cruise ships, theme parks, performed at Symphony Space in NYC, and worked with many talented choreographers and dancers. I have also been judging dance competitions for Starpower, Legacy, and Beyond the Stars and have also taught at various studios around the NYC area.

How has living in New York been different than living in Florida?

Oh wow! I mean the main difference is definitely the weather. I am from St. Cloud a little town in Central Florida so there is a big difference in having a car and driving everywhere to now using public transportation and walking everywhere. Grocery shopping is very different too. So I would say I miss having a car for that. Also space… My bedroom is smaller then you can imagine. Luckily I am 5’1″ so I can fit in small places. My small bedroom back in Florida is now huge to me. I wish I could have seen the future when I was growing up, I probably would have told myself to just wait…

What was the most exciting thing that you have done while in New York?

This is a really hard question. I would say it is really exciting having moved to NYC and being able to survive here. I am so happy to be included in the community here that I am able to hang out with friends, enjoy the city, and also travel to new places. I feel like living in NYC has opened many doors for me and has allowed me to travel to so many other places. Right now I am in Austin, Texas teaching at a summer camp called TAPS. I have never been to Texas and this opportunity came up thanks to my community in NYC.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love hanging out with my friends, seeing shows, cooking/baking, and of course exploring everything the city has to offer. Now that it is nice outside I love laying out and sunbathing. When I was younger and visiting the city, my dad would joke about the New Yorkers laying out in 60-degree weather but now living here I am one of them. I love it.

I see that you have performance, choreography, teaching and judging experience. Which do you enjoy doing the most and why?

I enjoy doing all of them because they are all a part of my art. I am very lucky to still be able to perform so I am going to say I enjoy performing the most. It gives me the best feeling in the world to be able to perform for people.

If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons learned would you had given your “younger self”?

I would probably say that everyone has their own journey in life and to not compare your journey to someone else’s. You control what happens to you next.

If you could give advice for aspiring younger dancers, what did you discover about the industry that you would want others to know about?  

Do not take anything personally, especially when it comes to auditions. You are talented. You made it into the audition room. Once you have made it there,  many things are out of your control. There are so many other things that the creatives are looking at that are out of your control and typically do not have to do with your talent. Keep doing what you love and continue to stay creative.




Spotlight Dancer: Katie Kovar

This month we are shining a spotlight on Katie Kovar, an ambitious dancer with her heart set on Broadway as well as teaching young dancers currently a dancer at Not Just Dance. For the past thirteen years, She has dedicated her life to dance. From her first dance class at the age of three to attending the “Joffrey Tap and Musical Theatre Intensives”, to now going to the Oklahoma City University Broadway Bound Intensive, she has grown not only as a dancer but as a person. She has been awarded “PowerPak” at Starpower Nationals, a Tap scholarship from “Florida Dance Masters”, and she has attended “The Orlando Tap Festival” and received a scholarship to go back the next year. She credits her success to “God and [her] always supportive parents and family.” Who push her to strive to be her best and wouldn’t be the person she is today without them.

What is your favorite dance class to take?

My favorite dance class to take is tap because I like how you get to be creative and use the rhythms and beats of your shoes to add to the music.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Other than dance I would either be with my friends at the pool or the beach even though I always get sunburn.

What’s your favorite piece of dance clothing you own?

My favorite dance clothing is my new Ballet Rosa Josephine Leotard in Black because it is so comfortable and well made.

What songs do you have completely memorized?

God’s Plan by Drake

What is your Go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Either Shawn Mendes or Drake

If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?

Gaby Diaz because her passion for tap shines throughout her entire body and it would be amazing to be able to share the stage with her.

Rapid Fire Questions

Dog or Cat?


Netflix or YouTube?


Phone Call or Text?


Ice Cream Cone or Snow Cone?

Snow Cone

Cake or Pie?


Watching a movie at home or in the theatre?

In the theatre

Sneakers or Sandals?


Tablet or Computer?


Candy or Popcorn?



Spotlight Dancer: Sydney Burtis

Sydney Burtis has been a part of the DanceWear Corner family for many years. In 2014 she was an ambassador for us and since that time she has accomplished many things.

About Sydney

It’s obvious to anyone who has seen her tap that dance is Sydney Burtis’ passion. However, in many ways, dance has also become a form of therapy for her as well. It has helped her find her voice, both inside and outside the studio. Sydney has been dancing since the age of 3 to help improve her communication skills and help her overcome her shyness, but she didn’t find her deep-seated connection to dance until the following year when she started taking tap. Over time, Sydney added jazz and contemporary to her repertoire and slowly began to develop the confidence to compete. It was not long before she became a regular on the competition circuit even going so far as receiving recognition and awards for ere technical ability and artistry. Last January, she was named a YoungArts finalist in tap dance and a silver award recipient.  

We caught up with her and wanted to know a bit more about what she has been up to.

What has been the most exciting thing to happen in your dance career so far?

I have been incredibly blessed with the opportunities I have been given in my dance career thus far.  I cannot choose just one, but a few of my most life-changing experiences have been National YoungArts Week 2017, the Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program 2017, and the National Broadway Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical!  I am forever grateful for the memories I made at all three of these events, and I would not trade them for the world.

What is your favorite dance class to take?

Tap dance will forever be my greatest passion, although contemporary definitely comes in second!

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I would probably be tap dancing in my extra time (because what else would I be doing?)

What’s your favorite piece of dance clothing you own/ owned?

My Capezio K360 tap shoes (in both dark purple and lime green)!  I could not live without my shoes!

What songs do you have completely memorized?

Every piece of music that I have performed solo work too, I have completely memorized.  When I am learning/working on a piece, I try to learn every aspect of the song so I am able to match the tonality of the music and the story that is being portrayed.

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Ed Sheeran is definitely my favorite musical artist, as I think what he creates without a band to back him up is absolutely brilliant.  Some other artists I turn towards include Khalid, Leela James, Oscar Peterson, and anything off of the Greatest Showman soundtrack.

You can pick up a phone and talk to your number one dance idol -living or dead- but you can only ask them three questions. What are the three questions you would ask them? Why?

The person I would call would be Dr. Bunny Briggs, historical tap dance master because he has been my inspiration for as long as I can remember.  It is incredibly difficult to think of three questions, as this would be such a rare moment, but I believe they would be: 1) What is the intention behind your focus when you are dancing and performing? 2) What was your experience like on Black and Blue? 3) How do you feel the instruments found in a jazz trio (including the horn section) affect your music and tonality?

What do you like doing besides dancing?

I enjoy spending time with my family at home and going to theme parks with friends!  If I am traveling somewhere, I also enjoy exploring my surroundings with the company I am with!

If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?

If I had to choose one dancer, it would have to be Michelle Dorrance.  Of the dancers alive today, I feel that my dancing resonates most with her and what she represents.  Michelle is also one of my closest mentors so it would be an absolute honor to share the stage with her.

Rapid fire This or that Questions

Dog or cat?

Cat (I love dogs though!)

Netflix or YouTube?

Netflix, because Friends and Grey’s Anatomy are my obsessions!

Phone Call or Text?

Is FaceTime an option?

Ice Cream Cone or Snow Cone?

Ice Cream Cone, especially if it’s Ben & Jerry’s!

Cake or Pie?


Watching a movie at home or in the theater?

In the theater!  I love the experience.

Sneakers or Sandals?

I live in my Nike sneakers!

Tablet or Computer?


While watching a movie: Candy or Popcorn?

~ Why not both! 🙂


Now Sydney is in the running to be on the Cover of Dance Spirit Magazine!

But She Still Needs Your Vote!

So how can you help?

You can click here to vote for her.

You can also share and repost with the #’s

#DanceSpiritCMS and #VoteSydney

*PS You can vote on multiple devices!*

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