2011-07-29 / Community

KC Castellano Is‘Born to Dance’

By Kerri Ann Dinneny and Daniel Solomon

KC Castellano, a Rockaway Point resident, will appear on a new TV show, “Born to Dance,” which premieres on August 2 at 10 p.m. on BET. The program, to be hosted by Laurieann Gibson, a famous choreographer for Katy Perry and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, will feature 20 young aspiring dancers competing for a $50,000 grand prize and a chance to join Gibson’s famous production team. It will run for a total of eight episodes and conclude at the end of September.

Castellano, a lifelong dancer, went through the show’s audition process to make it onto TV. In the past, she has worked on the set of “So You Think You Can Dance” and has toured much of the globe with recording artists such as Kat Deluna and Lady Gaga, appearing in the singers’ music videos as well. At a national competition, she won awards for “Choreographer of the Year” in 2009 and before that took home the prize for “Young Choreographer of the Year” for three years in a row.

Her passion for dancing was aroused at a young age by one of Breezy Point’s own choreographing talents, Gertrude Hendry. Castellano starred in Hendry’s annual summer recitals starting at three years old, dressed in a red tutu. She then moved on to studying gymnastics under Leon Williams at the Long Island Gymnastics Academy in Cedarhurst. Rounding out her dancing skills, she also took ballroom dancing lessons from Ellen Connelly of Connelly’s Dance Centers. It was then that Castellano got her first taste of TV stardom as she and partner Marc Serrette were featured on Jenny Jones’s “Most Talented Kids” special in 1997. Afterward, she broadened her horizons, training for contemporary and jazz dancing at the Horizons Dance Center of Brooklyn with numerous dance industry notables: Linda Abbate Machado, the late Rachel Bascietto, and mentor Mary-Kate Felber. Then, she won titles such as “Junior Miss Dance of the United States” in 2001 and “Miss Dance of the United States” in 2004 from the U.S. Tournament of Dance.

The rise of Castellano’s career, though meteoric, was no pleasure cruise. She suffers from scoliosis and, in 2000, had to have invasive spinal surgery. In the end, her scoliosis could not keep her feet still for long and she came back even stronger after that setback.

Bouncing back from surgery was easy for Castellano and she quickly focused on her professional vision, earning a reputation as a “storyteller” for the way she demands an emotional connection to the movements she makes. Now, she teaches across the country and in Canada at conventions, at a Master Class Series, and at other venues. Dancing has been a constant in her life, fueling her passionate artistry of choreography. “My mission,” she said, “is to have every student leaving the room feeling full. Full of knowledge, full of motivation, and full of spirit.” Clearly, Castellano knows how to dance. Whether she’s born to dance, well, we’ll just have to wait to find out.

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