A Brush Step with Fame: Top Tapper Discusses Dance Journey

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When it comes to dance, Alexis Juliano is an old soul.

Kind of ironic, considering the talented tap prodigy is just 19 years old. For those who aren't yet familiar with the modern-day Eleanor Powell, Juliano is best known for her recent stint on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. The only female tapper to crack the top 20 this season, Juliano turned heads from day one when she captivated viewers with "Mr. Bojangles," a self-choreographed solo she nailed when auditioning in Boston.

While many up-and-coming dancers focus on the trendy contemporary genre, Juliano has taken the road less traveled and followed in the footsteps of her inspirations – Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines and Nicholas Dinicolangelo, founder of the Hands Down Tap Project and one of the most sought-after tap choreographers in the country. Seeing how tap has become somewhat of a dying art over the years, Juliano knew she had her work cut out for her when she tried out for the highly competitive show.

Although she is trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, lyrical and other styles of dance, the South Florida native's heart belongs to tap. Having taken her first dance class at the age of 2, Juliano was immediately spellbound by the melodious sounds generated by a simple pair of taps.  

At the age of 11, the young dancer competed in the tap Olympics held in Reisa, Germany. After qualifying in America, she was selected to be a part of the team. She competed in solo, duet and small group, taking home gold medals in every category. By 15, she was sharing her love of tap by teaching others at Dance FX in Sunrise, Fla. 

Prior to auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance, Juliano already made her mark in dance competitions at the national level. Both a dancer and choreographer, she even earned a perfect score for one tap solo. Following a stint working at Universal as a tapping snowman, Juliano contemplated her next step, and all signs pointed to auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance.