My name is Janai Johnson and I am an 11 year old who loves and lives to dance. I eat sleep and breath dance. It's all I want to do all the time. I recently lost my dad and since then life has been really hard for my family. When I dance now, I know my dad is watching me from Heaven, which, is why I will never STOP DANCING. My mom struggles and does her best to take care of my brother and I. But she can no longer afford to pay for dance. (Tuition, competition fees, choreographer fees, cutting music fees, costume fees, audition fees, travel fees and more) All tend to run between 16,000-20,000 a year. My mom does all she can to continue to pay for dance and I know there are plenty of other children who deserve this wonderful opportunity. But I hope and I pray that you can find it in your heart to help me continue to live my dream and tell my story through dance.
Congratulations to the Winner:
My name is Sam Stampleman and I'm 12 years old. I started dancing when I was five. I started with Irish dancing and then moved on to jazz, tap and hop-hop. I started with serious ballet just before I turned 11. At first, I really didn't like it very much. Then, I started training with Jorge Esquivel, a former dancer with the Cuban National Ballet. He did something for me that no other teacher did. He told me he didn't think I could do something. Well, that hit me in a place that I didn't know existed. A place that screamed "Oh heck yes I can!" Mr. Esquivel knew exactly what he was doing and it worked! He’s been training me ever since and I hope, one day, to dance professionally. Being a boy dancer is often not an easy path. I've heard it all -- dancing is for girls, you must be gay, ballet is stupid. You name it, I've heard it. But, dancers know something that others don't. We don't just love to dance. We need to dance! It's part of who we are. It's like breathing.
I currently dance at two studios. HeartBeat Dance Academy for jazz and tap. I take ballet at Bravissimo Dance Studio. Both are in Belmont, CA. My Instagram account is @SamStampleman. Thank you so much for your consideration and have a wonderful day!
Congratulations to the Winner:
I have been dancing for 10 years, and posted a turning video to my Instagram in November 2016. In January of 2017, it went viral, causing my life to change drastically. I have been dubbed as an inspiration, for being a plus sized dancer in a tiny dancers world. I have been interviewed by many online magazines such as Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue and more. Since I am an overweight dancer, I have gotten lots of hate, and people telling me I'll never make it in the dance world. I have persevered and recently shot a commercial in LA, for a major clothing brand. I would love to have the amazing opportunity to work with a great Jordan Matter.
Instagram Star Winner:
My name is Anna McNulty, I am 14 years old and from Saint John New Brunswick, Canada. I love to do dance and cheer. I've only been dancing for 1 1/2 years, but have been cheerleading for almost 5 years.
At the beginning of 2015, I created my Instagram account @annaemcnulty. After posting few dance/flexibility photos and videos, I was very surprised at how many people started to follow my account. I was also amazed at the number of requests people were sending me wondering how I reached my level of flexibility. Because of this, I created my Youtube channel (youtube.com/c/annaemcnulty) which has recently started to take off.
Since then, Instagram and Youtube have given me the opportunity to meet and communicate with people across the world. So far it has been a great journey and I'm excited to see what else is to come!