'So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation': Where Are They Now?

Kristyn Burtt

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Photo credit: FOX.

It's hard to believe that 2021 will mark the fifth anniversary of "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation." The younger version of the very successful franchise was met with quite a bit of resistance when the concept was announced. Even judge Nigel Lythgoe groaned, he wanted an adult version of the show that season until he met the talent who auditioned to compete.

“I wasn't expecting the talent to be so great. I wasn't expecting the kids to be able to express themselves either physically or verbally. They all were quite brilliant,” He told Dance Dish Media in 2016. “Their personalities — because they are unfiltered — nothing is holding them back from that point of view. They were terrific whether we were talking to them outside of their auditions or during the auditions.”

And it's no secret that junior shows often discover some big talent — we've seen it happen on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors," "America’s Got Talent" and "World of Dance." So even if "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" was a one-season experiment, it was anything but a disaster. Lythgoe even warmed up to the entire concept once he saw the work the kids were delivering. “And if you do love dance, it's great to see the next generation,” he concluded.

The season 13 cast delivered some of the biggest dance talents, who are still working in the dance industry today. Let's take a look at where the contestants are now, five years later.

Daniela Avanzini

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Photo credit: Daniela Avanzini/Instagram.

Daniela Avanzini is now 16 years old and has broadened her talents beyond her ballroom skills. She's also a talented singer and actress and still pursuing a career in the arts. When she came to "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," she already had several TV shows under her belt. She appeared on season 8 of "America's Got Talent" with Samba partner Yasha Jeltuhin, and she was a second-place grand finalist on the international competition show, "Super Kids Germany."

Sheaden Gabriel

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Photo credit: Facebook Watch.

Sheaden Gabriel came in ninth as a hip-hop dancer on "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," but he has worked consistently in the dance industry after his elimination. He's now 17 years old and recently starred in the 2019 Facebook Watch show, "The Birch." He also had feature roles dancing in Chris Brown's "Party" and "Tempo" music videos and in DJ Snake's "A Different Way."

Jordan Nataé

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Photo credit: Jordan Nataé/Instagram.

Jordan Nataé came into "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" with so much raw talent, it was incredible to watch her leap across the stage. She furthered her training in New York City at Joffrey Jazz Trainee Program after a successful summer at Joffrey Ballet School's summer intensive. Now at the age of 18, she has a burgeoning TikTok account, and still cites mentor Sasha Mallory from her "So You Think You Can Dance" days as one of her role models.

Jake Monreal

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Photo credit: ABC.

Jake Monreal knocked everyone's socks off with his charming personality and ballroom moves that he performed with major swag alongside mentor Jenna Johnson on "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation." He went on to perform on "Lip Synch Battle Shorties" and became a junior pro on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors," where he was paired up with celebrity kid Sophia Pippen. He even dabbled with acting in the 2018 dance movie, "All Styles." Jake is now 17 years old.

Ruby Castro

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Photo credit: NBC.

Ruby Castro has continued to stay in the public eye over the years. She first kicked off her TV dance career on season 8 of "America's Got Talent" with ballroom partner Jonas Terleckas, where they made it to the quarterfinals. She continued to "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" with mentor Paul Karmiryan and placed sixth. She didn't end her dance competition days there, she went on to season 2 of "World of Dance" with Terleckas, making it to The Cut round. Castro is now 17 years old and still training at her parents' dance studio, Dance Town Miami.

Tahani Anderson

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Photo credit: Brat/Stage Fright.

Where can't you find Tahani Anderson these days? She's been working non-stop since her fifth-place finish on "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation." She was the host of the web series, "Lalaloopsy Kitchen" and she is a familiar face on the L.O.L. Surprise! YouTube channel. She also portrayed Delia in the "Brat" series, "Stage Fright" in 2020 and is now 17 years old.

Emma Hellenkamp

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Photo credit: Emma Hellenkamp/Instagram.

The tiny tapper from "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," who came in fourth place with mentor Gaby Diaz is now 15 years old. She is a part of her high school dance team and continues to compete on the dance convention circuit.

Tate McRae

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Photo credit: Tate McRae/Twitter.

If you didn't pay attention to the music scene in 2020, then you missed the big career breakthrough for the talented Tate McRae. RCA Records caught wind of her talent in 2019 after her original song "One Day" went viral on YouTube, but it was her debut EP, "All the Things I Never Said," that was released in January 2020 that put her on the map. She was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Push Best New Artist and performed at the MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in 2020. McRae was also featured on Billboard's "21 Under 21 One to Watch" list and she will be touring in Europe later in 2021. She is now 17 years old.

JT Church

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Photo credit: Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss.

JT Church, the youngest contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," has also stayed in the spotlight since his runner-up finish. He went on to win "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" as a junior pro with celebrity kid Sky Brown and mentor Alan Bersten. He recently starred in "The Christmas Waltz" on the Hallmark Channel alongside Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp. Church will be 15 years old on January 17.

Kida Burns

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Kida Burns walked away with the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" on "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" with mentor Fik-Shun. Lil Kida is now Kida the Great with his 4.3 million Instagram fans wowing everyone with his kitchen dances. In 2020, Burns choreographed and appeared in Justin Bieber's music video, "Come Around Me." He also made a cameo appearance in the Disney Channel movie musical "Zombies 2" and he competed on season 4 on "World of Dance" with Bailey Sok.

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Kristyn Burtt is a commercial dance journalist, TV host and producer. She was the West Coast correspondent and host of "To the Pointe" on Dance Network for five years. Her coverage of "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing With the Stars" and "World of Dance" is popular with dance fans across the globe. Kristyn's love of dance began early in her life. She trained at the Boston Ballet School, danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in "The Nutcracker" and won a dance scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the American Dance Movement’s Marketing & PR Committee and is a member of the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA.

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