Emma Hellenkamp shook up auditions for So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation when she lit the stage on fire with her rhythm tapping. The 10-year-old from San Diego, California, brought all three judges to their feet with her audition solo to Paula Abdul’s “Cold-Hearted Snake.” After making it on the show, Emma continued to impress America in every style thrown her way. One of the three youngest dancers in the Next Generation competition, Emma ended the season in fourth place.
Still a pre-teen, it is no question Emma has an incredible career ahead of her. Recently, Emma was honored to become one of the newest Capezio-sponsored Athletes. The Capezio Athletes comprise of some of the greatest artists in the industry — Complexions performer and Co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson, ballerina and Flesh and Bone star Sarah Hay, and Guinness Record holder for pirouette turns, Sophia Lucia. I would say that Emma has some pretty big shoes to fill…but with her custom pair of Capezio K360 tap shoes, she’ll have no problem standing in her own spotlight! Read on to learn about Emma’s life post-SYTYCD and what being a Capezio Athlete means to her.
What have you been up to since So You Think You Can Dance?
“After So You Think You Can Dance, I have been focusing on my training. I have been getting back into the regular routine of dance Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and sometimes weekends. I have also been going on auditions and taking extra classes, especially classes outside of my comfort zone to broaden my vocabulary and learn more as a dancer. I believe that if you want to be a strong dancer, you have to keep up your training. Hard work is everything. You get out of life what you put into it!”
Are you still in touch with your All-Star from SYTYCD, Gaby Diaz?
“I am definitely still in touch with Gaby. She has been very busy while on tour with Shaping Sound, but we have managed to text, talk on the phone and even see each other a couple times. She has taught me so much, and we have built such a strong relationship that will last forever. She truly is my biggest inspiration and like a big sister to me!
What did you learn as a contestant on SYTYCD? What is your greatest memory from the show?
“While a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, one of the most important things I learned was to always be yourself and to push yourself to become a better dancer every time you have the chance; because there are other people in the world who don’t have the opportunities you might have. You need to remain grateful, humble and hard-working.
My greatest memories from So You Think You Can Dance are being picked by Gaby to move to the live shows and also having the opportunity to work with a tap legend, Savion Glover. Although those are my two favorites, I have so many more incredible memories from the show.”
What is your favorite style of dance, and why?
“My favorite style of dance is tap. I love being able to create my own music using my feet. I also love the different rhythms you can make. I would definitely say if you are looking for a new challenge, you should try tap.”
Who are your dance idols?
“Some dance idols of mine are my All-Star on SYTYCD, Gaby Diaz, tap legend Savion Glover, and the phenomenal tapper/choreographer Anthony Morigerato. They all inspire me so much and give me a reason to keep following my dreams and keep working hard.”
How did Capezio approach you to be a Capezio Athlete?
“While I was on SYTYCD, Capezio and I began talking about making custom tap shoes for my feet. I was astonished and so excited. I could not believe Capezio was going to make me custom K360s! Shortly after that, we talked about me becoming a Capezio Athlete.”
What does it mean to you to be a Capezio Athlete?
“It literally means the world to me to be a Capezio Athlete. It has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and I cannot believe it has come true. Some of the best dancers in the world are Capezio Athletes, and I’m thrilled to think there are now little girls and boys who could be looking up to me.”
What’s your favorite Capezio product?
“My absolute favorite Capezio product is my pair of K360 tap shoes. They are so comfortable, cute and sound amazing. They are the highest quality tap shoes I have ever worn. You can get them in so many colors! It’s a dream of mine to have them in every color. I would also like to create a style of my own.”