A massive congratulations to the 21 promising dance artists who’ve been named YoungArts winners for 2022!
These dancers—all between the ages of 15 and 18 and/or in grades 10 through 12—were selected for this honor through an anonymous adjudication process. Now, they’ll get to spend the next week immersed in online classes and workshops, including a master class with West Side Story associate choreographer and Juilliard faculty member Patricia Delgado. As if that weren’t enough, these dancers are also now eligible for nomination as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts—which, FYI, is a pretty big deal.
It’s time to meet (in alphabetical order by last name) the 2022 national YoungArts winners for dance! We bet you’ll recognize more than a few familiar faces among their ranks.
Emmy Cheung (Modern/Contemporary)
Emmy Cheung is a senior in high school from Irvine, California. She started dancing at the age of three at West Coast School of the Arts under the direction of Paula Kessinger and has trained in the styles of ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, tap, and hip hop. Furthering her training, she currently attends the Orange County School of the Arts in the Commercial Dance Conservatory. Other additional programs of training consist of Laguna Dance Festival, American Ballet Theatre, and Backhaus Dance summer intensives. Achievements include being named Spotlight Music Center’s Non-Classical Dance Grand Prize Finalist in 2021. These training grounds allowed her to develop a passion for dance by being constantly inspired by her teachers and fellow dancers. She would like to thank mentors Chalatorn Ujamras and Zak Schlegel for their support and guidance throughout the years.
Michael Dascomb (Tap)
Michael Dascomb is a tap dancer from New Hampshire who loves performing, improvisation, and everything in between. He began dancing at age three at his mother’s dance studio where it was clear he had a knack for dance—in particular, tap dance. He is now a member of two tap dance companies: Speaking in Taps and Touché Taps. Michael has created two solo shows under the direction of Derick Grant. Additionally, he has attended tap intensives, conventions, workshops, master classes, and festivals to hone his technique, improvisation, and performance skills. Michael appreciates a great challenge and loves polyrhythms, complex rhythms, odd meters, and intricate patterns in tap dance. This goes hand-in-hand with his love for Rubik’s cubes, Hanayama puzzles, logic games, brainteasers, and building things. Beyond tap dance, Michael is an accomplished martial artist who has earned his 1st-degree black belt in American Kenpo before the minimum age of 16.
Joel Dichter (Ballet)
Joel Dichter took his first ballet class from Krista King-Doherty in New Mexico when he was three years old. He danced competitively in Minnesota and narrowed his focus to ballet in 2013. While in Minnesota, he attended World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida, received a bronze medal, and performed in their gala. He attended Master Ballet Academy in Arizona for two years, where he performed prominent roles in Slawomir Wozniak’s productions. Joel competed at Youth America Grand Prix for three years, receiving 1st place regionally in 2016 and 2017 and the regional Youth Grand Prix in 2018. He danced in the YAGP finals in 2017, 2018, and accepted a scholarship at Académie Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, Monaco. His summer training has included the School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet Academy, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Next Generation Ballet. Joel completes his training with Luca Masala and staff as a diplôme in June 2022.
Mason Evans (Modern-Contemporary)
Mason Evans has been a dancer for ten years. In Florida, he spent all of his childhood years since the age of eight training at his home studio, Performance Edge 2. After his mother piqued his interest in dance, Mason joined and loved it immediately. Entering high school, Mason had the opportunity to train at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, where he further honed his technique and gained real-world dance experience. Since being at Dreyfoos, Mason has worked with a plethora of different professional dancers and broadened his mind to the possibilities of dance. Evans has also had the opportunity to tour with the national dance convention, New York City Dance Alliance, as their national title winner in 2018 and 2021, which helped him develop new imperative skills. Mason’s objective as an artist is to move whoever his viewer is, to communicate a story, and move his audience.
Ryan Evans (Modern-Contemporary)
Ryan Evans is from Wentzville, Missouri and attends Holt High School. Ryan has been a dancer for fifteen years. Ryan started dancing at his mother’s dance studio in Saint Charles, Missouri. His main styles of dance were ballet, jazz, and contemporary. His mother closed her dance studio in 2017, and Ryan changed studios. Ryan decided to travel an hour and a half every day to train at a new studio named Columbia Performing Arts Centre in Columbia, Missouri. At this studio, he worked on refining the skills he already had. Ryan began learning and loving the concert side of dance compared to the commercial side he trained in the rest of his life. Ryan is still training at Columbia Performing Arts Centre, refining his skills for his college career coming up next fall.
Selena Hamilton (Modern-Contemporary)
Selena Hamilton is from Norwalk, California and has enjoyed the art of dance for the past 11 years. She currently trains at Project 21 in Yorba Linda, under the direction of Molly Long. Selena has worked with numerous choreographers including Teddy Forance, Will Loftis, Brian Friedman, and Tricia Miranda; also under the direction of Emmy Award-winning choreographers Tessandra Chavez and Tyce Diorio. She has performed in Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, competed on “World of Dance” on NBC, appeared on “The World’s Best” on CBS, “Lip Sync Battle” on Nickelodeon, in a Honda commercial, worked as an assistant for CLI Online Studios and appeared on the cover of Dance Spirit. Honors include: YoungArts Finalist (2022), YoungArts Merit winner (2021), Spotlight Finalist (2021), Radix Coreperformer winner (2017 & 2019), The Dance Awards 1st runner-up. Selena hopes to pursue a professional dance career after high school.
Aaliyahmarie Key (Ballet)
Aaliyahmarie Key is a fifteen-year-old high school junior who began her pre-professional ballet training at the age of nine with Maryland Youth Ballet. In addition, she has served as a student teacher assistant, and has been afforded numerous performance opportunities. In 2021, she became a national gold medalist in both ballet and contemporary at the Maryland regional level of the NAACP ACT-SO Competition and went on to earn the gold in ballet at the national level. Aaliyahmarie also made the top 12 in contemporary and third place in ballet at the Youth American Grand Prix’s Winston-Salem Regional Competition. She ultimately became one of the top 35 dancers to make the final round at the national level.
Nicholas LaMaina (Modern-Contemporary)
Nicholas LaMaina is from West Palm Beach, Florida and is a current first-year dancer at The Juilliard School. He is a 2021 graduate of Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, where he attended as a dance major. He is also a former student of That’s Dancing, a local studio in Lake Worth, Florida. Nicholas has attended The Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive (2019, 2020) and The Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Ballet Summer Program (2021). He has experience in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, percussive dance, and has a great interest in choreography. He most recently has had self-choreographed work in a Juilliard Student Choreographic Workshop (2021).
Arayah Lyte (Modern-Contemporary)
Arayah Lyte, a young dancer and artist from Chicago, Illinois, began dancing at age four at the Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts. She is currently a student at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and is a member of the school’s Repertory Company. She is also a member of the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Youth Ensemble in Chicago. Lyte has participated in several summer programs including intensives with Interlochen Arts Academy, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and The Juilliard School. Her training spans across genres, but she found her true love for art through dance in modern and contemporary styles. Her interest in creating art with movement started early on as she learned the beauty of storytelling in dance. Enamored with the marriage of story and motion, dance became transportive for her. Continuing into the collegiate level, Lyte aims to expound on her dance education and love for the art.
Kayla Mak (Modern-Contemporary)
Kayla Mak grew up in Rye Brook, NY and is of Japanese, Chinese, and Cuban descent. She studied at Westchester Dance Academy and Ballet Academy East and is now earning her BFA in Dance at The Juilliard School in New York, under the direction of Alicia Graf Mack and associate director Mario Alberto Zambrano. Kayla currently trains in ballet, modern, classical pointe, and contemporary pointe. Her inspiration for dance sparked at the young age of four, while watching New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. She soon became involved in competitive dance, where she was able to gain exposure to stage performance. As she matured, she grew a love for concert dance. For the past two summers, she has attended San Fransisco Ballet Summer Intensive, Arts Umbrella Summer Intensive, Ellison Ballet Summer Intensive, and Complexions Summer Intensive. In the future, Kayla dreams of becoming a professional dancer in a company.
Chase Rogers (Ballet)
Chase Rogers, a ballet dancer, started dancing on a competitive hip-hop team at the age of five. He first started ballet when he was watching a class and copying all the moves through the doorway. The ballet teacher swept him into class, told his mom to buy him some ballet shoes, and Chase has been loving ballet ever since. Chase trained at his local studio for a few years before transferring to American Ballet Theatre’s new school at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. There, he was blessed with amazing teachers and an environment rich in opportunity. Chase performed in ABT’s Sleeping Beauty, Harlequinade, The Nutcracker, and the Mariinsky Ballet’s Don Quixote. Currently, Chase is training at San Francisco Ballet School. When he is not dancing, he is studying in an online program that allows him a flexible schedule to complete high school and devote his days to ballet.
Taylor Moxey (Modern-Contemporary)
Taylor Moxey is from Miami, Florida and started her dance career at the tender of age of six. She has been homeschooled since the fourth grade, which allows her the flexibility to devote time to her passion for dance and the arts. She is currently 15 years old and trains with the Miami Dance Collective’s Pre-Professional Senior and Conservatory Program under the direction of Marie-Louise Gaschler, Kristin Douthit Richards, Eduardo Iglesias, and Miami City Ballet Principal Katia Carranza. Taylor trains in all forms of dance but especially enjoys contemporary, ballet, modern, and composition. She has worked with an array of professional choreographers such as Peter Chu, Jenn Freeman, Mat Aylward, Matt Luck, Loren Davidson, Emmy-nominated Chloe Arnold, Martha Nichols, Micaela G. Taylor, and many more. She was also accepted into the 2020 Alvin Ailey summer intensive program. Taylor believes dance is a joyful expression of her inner thoughts and emotions.
Erin Park (Modern-Contemporary)
Erin Park is 15 years old and in 10th grade at Chino High School. She is from Chino, California and trains in contemporary dance. Dance started out as a hobby and after school-activity at six years old but quickly became a passion and inspiration her life. She has worked with numerous artists such as Bret Easterling, Corey John Snide, Ethan Colangelo, Micaela Taylor, Peter Chu, and RubberLegz. She has also been a semifinalist in the Music Center Spotlight’s program and is currently touring with the New York City Dance Alliance as a Teen Outstanding Dancer.
Simone Peterson (Modern-Contemporary)
Simone Peterson dances with Precision Dance Academy and Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. They were born in Houston, TX and began dancing at the age of three as an elective with the local preschool after begging their parents to dance. Their interest in dance first began when they saw videos and TV shows featuring dancers and that is when they knew they wanted to dance forever. They are currently traveling with the Hollywood Vibe Company and preparing for the upcoming Kinder High School Spring Dance Concert.
Natalia Scuilla (Jazz)
Natalia Scuilla is originally from Fort Myers, Florida, and was raised in Frisco, Texas. She began dancing at two years old and one could say it was love at first class. At first, she dreamed of a career in ballet. As passion joined her love for dance, Natalia chose to forgo the traditional school experience and attend a rigorous online program to allow more time to refine her skills. While spending most of her training at The Dallas Conservatory, Natalia developed a deep appreciation for all genres of dance that has now flourished into her pursuit of a career on Broadway. Natalia has been part of Tremaine Performance Company Program, which has afforded her the opportunity to assist and train with artists currently in the industry and to perform in shows across the nation. For Natalia, dance is home and the stage allows her to express herself through art.
Malavika Singh (Classical Indian Dance)
Malavika Singh is a senior at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her passion for dance was kindled at the age of four when she was enchanted by Ballet West’s Nutcracker and enrolled in ballet and contemporary classes. She began learning Odissi, an East Indian classical-dance form, at twelve years old when she participated in Nrityagram’s summer workshop. Falling in love with the art form, lifestyle, and the people, she continued traveling to Nrityagram every summer and winter during her school holidays, learning under her gurus Bijayini Satpathy, Surupa Sen, and Pavithra Reddy in the guru-shishya tradition. For the past two years, she has been training under guru Bijayini Satpathy virtually, enjoying every minute of it. Dance has become Mala’s preferred form of community exploration and connection, as she immerses herself in a multitude of art forms and expands her exposure to different cultures, and ways of life.
Reva Srivastava (Classical Indian Dance)
Reva Srivastava, a senior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, CA, has received Kathak training since age seven from her guru Anupama Srivastava, disciple of Padmashri Shovana Narayan. Reva’s dance is marked by sensitive expressions, rhythmic virtuosity, strong technique, grace, and nuanced artistry, truly embodying the essence of the Lucknow Gharana style of Kathak. She has almost 100 stage performances, 25 awards, and critical acclaim to her credit. Reva strives to share her passion for Kathak as a teaching assistant and camp counselor at InSyncKathak Dance School, co-presenter at lecture-demonstrations at UC Santa Cruz, Drive Leader and virtual dance instructor raising funds for Family Giving Tree, advocate for arts diversity through her video series InSyncWe D.A.N.C.E., and Founder of the Indian Classical Dance team at school. Reva has also trained in lyrical, jazz, and ballet for the past decade and has won many awards as a soloist.
Megan Stuart (Irish Step Dance)
Megan Stuart began dancing at four years old for the Corda Mor School of Irish Dance in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She quickly realized her passion for dance and now, at seventeen years old, is known across the world for her championship success. Megan works tirelessly every day to become the very best dancer she can be. She attends a distance school to better accommodate her competition and training schedule. Some of Megan’s greatest achievements include winning the 2020 All Ireland Championships, winning the Mid America Championships seven times, and becoming a three-time World Medal Holder. Perhaps most meaningful to Megan are the connections she has made with others through Irish dance and the purpose she feels when she performs. Getting to share in a collective love of Irish dance with others is what drives Megan’s heart for dancing.
Dylan Szuch (Tap)
Dylan Szuch is a 16-year-old tap dancer. He has been dancing for seven years and began his tap dance journey around age nine. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina where he teaches and takes class at Techniques in Motion school of dance. He is also a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) under the direction of Gene Medler. Dylan has had the opportunity to attend multiple festivals and intensive programs all across America and Europe. More recently, he has been working virtually with Derick Grant, on developing as an improvisational artist in his Improv Labs, and with Brenda Bufalino on developing his skills as a whole. What Dylan loves most about tap dancing is getting to express himself artistically to a public eye, which he does locally by busking in the streets of downtown Wilmington and by attending local Jazz Jams.
Natalie Wong (Modern-Contemporary)
Natalie Wong, a native Texan, is currently pursuing a BFA in Dance at The Juilliard School. She trained at Dance Institute in diverse styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and tap. Natalie’s artistic journey originated in competition dance, where she discovered her love for performance. Natalie was introduced to concert dance through her participation in summer programs at American Ballet Theatre and The Juilliard School. She was equally dedicated to academics and service while at Vandegrift High School, where she ranked #14 of 671 graduates and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction. Natalie was voted Freshman Homecoming Princess, and served in executive officer positions as a member of Student Council, National Honor Society, PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership), and National Charity League. In the future, she hopes to dance with a contemporary ballet company, and merge her love for art and academics by researching dance anthropology.
Kailyn Yi (Modern-Contemporary)
Kailyn Yi began dancing at the age of three. She currently lives in Irvine, CA and attends Orange County School of the Arts in the Commercial Dance Conservatory, where she trains in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and musical theater. Kailyn previously trained at Westside Dance Project under the guidance of Jessie Riley and continues to train in ballet with Carolyn Lovett. She has participated in many performances such as OCSA Commercial Dance Winter Show and Westside Dance Project’s InsideOut. Kailyn has had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Bret Easterling, Spenser Theberge, Michaela Taylor, Corey John Snide, RubberLegz, and Ethan Colangelo. After graduation, Kailyn aspires to attend a university to major in dance and nutrition.
Read more: dancespirit.com