Stefano Gallelli: Dancing Into USC

Stefano Gallelli isn’t your average 19-year-old. Not only is he attending the prestigious USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, but he’s also appeared on Jennifer Lopez’s hit show World of Dance where his group came close to winning a million dollars.

Stefano Gallelli is only 19, and he’s studying to become a professional dancer at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. USC’s dance program is one of the most prestigious in the world and difficult to be selected to attend, but Gallelli always knew since he was a kid that dancing was his destiny. He fondly remembers his childhood. “I have always had a very supportive family and friends. I’ve competed in local competitions and some in the United States. There was never a time where my family was not there or missed a moment of me performing. Those are memories that I will cherish forever.” He recalls performing gymnastics all over the house as a kid and his parents always being highly supportive of his dreams. “My parents remember me singing in the shower, doing cartwheels in the living room and dancing in my bedroom.”

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“Growing up in Vaughan, Ont., some of my greatest memories were dancing in the studio with my best friends and planning group sleepovers with my team. These were times when we wanted to feel like ‘normal’ people and develop our friendships beyond connecting in the studio.

The most nerve-wracking part was we were performing in front of millions of people

As well, interacting with other dancers who were part of other studios in York Region was a great experience. Whether we would be taking a class together, hanging out outside of dance or competing with each other, the Vaughan dance community really helped me grow into the person I am today.” When asking Gallelli to describe himself, he comes across somewhat shy. However his best friend of 15 years knows him like the back of her hand: “He’s passionate, incredibly hard-working and ambitious.” As well, Gallelli is passionate about the people who have guided him through his dancing journey. “In my life, I have been surrounded by many mentors [who] have shaped me [into] the dancer and young man I am today. At USC Kaufman, one mentor I would like to bring up is Professor Bruce McCormick. He is a professor who I can talk to about dance, but also life in general. Another mentor at USC Kaufman would be William Forsythe. I consider him a dance legend, and I’m so grateful I get to learn from him.”

Rewind a few years earlier … Gallelli and his troupe Moving 4ward are on the World of Dance stage wowing millions of viewers. “The most nerve-wracking part was we were performing in front of millions of people.” Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges, fell in love with Gallelli’s group and picked them to mentor. “Jennifer is so amazing. She’s truly a triple threat. She is really well rounded. Being in her presence was so inspiring. My aunt used to joke with me that, one day, I’d marry her. She provided us with incredible feedback.” Moving 4ward made it to the third round of the challenge and were truly an inspiration for everyone who wants to dance. The troupe is made up of Gallelli, Findlay McConnell, Joey Gertin and Daniel Paula. As for up-and-coming dancers who dream of turning pro, Gallelli has some advice: “Follow your dreams. Be yourself and do whatever makes you happy.”

Gallelli’s energy is contagious. He speaks like he’s run by a super-charged motor of positivity and an attitude filled with determination. He loves talking about his favourite places to eat in Vaughan, especially Italian restaurants, such as Locale.

When Gallelli thinks of his future after graduation, he ponders dancing for various ballets. “I want to dance for the European companies, the National Ballet, the Ballet BC in British Columbia and the Boston Ballet in the U.S.”

I’m sure all his dreams will come true.


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Myles Shane

Myles Shane