This Friday and Saturday, the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre in Orem will host its annual “Dancing Under the Stars” event, this year featuring all three Utah County acts that competed on NBC’s “World of Dance” Season 2, as well as Martha Nichols and the Martha Nichols Dance Company of New York City, Ryan Innes of “The Voice” and multiple groups from Orem’s Center Stage Performing Arts Studio.
With that event on the horizon, here’s a sampling of talented people with Utah County ties that have made an appearance on televised dance shows and competitions.
Charity Anderson and Andres Penate
Junior contemporary duo Charity Anderson of Springville and Andres Penate of Vineyard competed on Season 2 of NBC’s “World of Dance.”
The pair were ballroom partners from ages 8-12 and won the title of National Preteen Champions before recently reuniting to compete and perform.
Junior contemporary soloist Jaxon Willard of American Fork also competed on “World of Dance,” as well as performing at the SCERA's “Dancing Under the Stars.”
Orem junior ballroom team The Pulse were eliminated during The Cuts round of this season of “World of Dance.” Regardless, judge Ne-Yo said after their last performance, “We watched you guys get better with every single performance, and this one was your best one yet.”
Timpview High School grad Jenna Johnson was named the winner of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” Season 26 with her partner, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.
“Completely and utterly speechless,” Johnson said on Twitter following the announcement. “We did it!”
The Provo native previously competed on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10 and is a five-time U.S. National Latin Champion.
Though most widely known as the “hip-hop violinist,” Lindsey Stirling, a graduate of Brigham Young University, also recently took second place on Season 25 of “Dancing with the Stars” last fall, as a celebrity dancer with partner Mark Ballas. She runs her own successful YouTube channel, and even appeared on “America’s Got Talent” before her career took off.
Julianne and Derek Hough
Born in Orem, Julianne Hough got her television start on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and has since appeared in movies and starred as Sandy in the live television rendition of “Grease.”
Her brother Derek served as a judge on “World of Dance,” and has worked extensively with “Dancing with the Stars” and performed in “Hairspray Live!”
Known for her work on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” Allison Holker was a contestant in Season 2 of the show and an all-star in Seasons 7-11. She also appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but before all that, she was raised in Orem and graduated from Timpanogos High School.
Known as a dancer and choreographer on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Chelsie Hightower was raised in Orem, where she graduated from Timpanogos High School and attended Utah Valley University.
Born in Orem, dancer Witney Carson competed on “So You Think You Can Dance” before being invited to join “Dancing With the Stars.”
Lindsay Arnold literally traveled the same path as Witney Carson, also competing on “So You Think You Can Dance” and joining “Dancing With the Stars.”
“Lindsay and I started when we were 9 years old together at the same studio with the same director,” Witney Carson said in a phone interview with the Daily Herald prior to a show the pair put on in Utah. “We grew up together our entire lives until we were 18 years old. We both tried out for ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ we both made it, then ‘Dancing With the Stars’ called us both. So for best friends to be together throughout their entire careers is pretty rare. It’s really rare.”
Dancer Lindsay Arnold didn’t make it onto “So You Think You Can Dance” by herself – it was with the help of her partner, Brandon Armstrong who was himself too young to audition. The pair did such an excellent job, though, that Armstrong was offered a ticket to return to the show and audition himself, an offer he initially passed up to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He did eventually audition with the help of Arnold’s younger sister, and made it on to the show while she was offered his same opportunity to return when she was older.
“What you did for your partner, she’s now done for you,” judge Nigel Lythgoe told Armstrong.
Alexia Meyer of Orem competed on Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and even returned to her home state with the “So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour” to perform on stage at the Maverik Center.
Payson resident Tanisha Belnap competed on Season 11 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” making her way to the Top 10 as a finalist. She also joined the live tour following the show.
Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello
Ryan Dilello, and his wife Ashleigh have performed on such shows as “Dancing With the Stars” and "So You Think You Can Dance," as well as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Bones," and have danced in more than 30 countries. Ryan’s brother Landon is also following in his footsteps, performing on “Dancing With the Stars” as well as claiming many national titles in ballroom dance and competing in a world ballroom competition hosted in Beijing, China.
Donny and Marie Osmond
Local musical favorite Donny Osmond also took the dance floor on “Dancing With the Stars” in Season 9, winning the 10-week competition with his partner Kym Johnson.
“I don’t think I’ve worked harder for any accolade than I have this one,” Osmond said in an article on Reuters. “When you record an album and it goes platinum ... yeah, you’re in the studio and you work hard for months, but it’s not like your whole body hurts. Maybe you get a little hoarse and tired. But on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ everything hurts.”
Donny’s sister Marie also competed on the shows two years prior to her brother, but finished third in her season.
“We are all so proud of you,” she said to Donny on “Good Morning America.” “You won! Let’s never talk about this again.”