"So You Think You Can Dance" Champ Hannahlei Cabanilla Is The Next Pinoy Talent To Shine On The World Stage
Hannahlei Cabanilla kicked major butt on So You Think You Can Dance's 15th season!
The 19-year-old dancer from Anaheim Hills, California came out the victor on the dance show's latest run, beating out four other contestants hoping to nab the top spot.
She's the first-ever Filipino to earn the competition's highest recognition, and she deserves it. She's been dancing since she was two years old, and continued to hone her craft all throughout adolescence. The activity has since played a special role in Hannahlei's life; more than just an art form or a form of exercise, dancing became her way of coping with extreme shyness and introversion, and it proved to be the best way for her to slowly but surely grow.
It was clear that Hannahlei was bound for great things right from her audition when her precise movements, confidence, and dedication shone bright on stage and earned her applause all throughout her performance. Vanessa Hudgens, a bi-racial celeb with Filipino heritage herself and a judge for this season, was the first to show interest in Hannahlei and told her, "You make me proud be Filipino," at the end of her audition.
All four judges rewarded Hannahlei with a standing ovation and a unanimous "yes" that signaled her entry into the competition.
Not ending her journey with dance after this major win, Hannahlei has decided to pursue other venues to deepen her love for her passion through mentoring and teaching. These days, she's not just a dancer or a performer; she's become a dance instructor at the Orange County Performing Arts Academy where she spent many days of her youth training herself.
Her advice for champion dancers in the making? Put in the time and effort, and that winning formula is sure to bring you a step or two closer to your goals.
Hannalei's So You Think You Can Dance win let her walk away with a grand prize of $250,000, a role in Fox’s upcoming production of musical Rent, and a starring role in the the show's US tour that starts on October 13 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Along with other global Filipinos who have stolen the international spotlight, Hannahlei is a testament to what the Filipino can bring to the world stage!
Photos from @hannahleidazle