UCI Dance Major Hannahlei Cabanilla on "So You Think You Can Dance"
Orange County dancer Hannahlei Cabanilla has a signature move that she calls an L-turn.
If you’ve caught Season 15 of the Fox series “So You Think You Can Dance” so far, then you’ve seen Cabanilla incorporate the move in her routine.
“My leg is behind my head while I’m turning on one foot,” she said, describing the L-turn that she and her longtime instructor at the Orange County Performing Arts Academy in Anaheim came up with nearly a decade ago. “I haven’t seen anyone else do that trick. It’s just my thing.”
Although it helped place her among the Top 10 for women, Cabanilla won’t be performing her signature “trick” Monday, July 23. The 18-year-old Anaheim Hills native majoring in dance at UC Irvine was paired with a “So You Think You Can Dance” all-star to learn a routine outside of her comfort zone.
“So yeah,” she said. “Obviously, it’s not going to be contemporary.”
Born and raised in Anaheim Hills as the youngest of two girls, Cabanilla started dancing at age 2 and never considered stopping. One of her lifelong dreams has been to audition for “So You Think You Can Dance,” which she got to do after turning 18.
“I was one of the last people to audition, but once I got on stage, it was the best moment,” she said, calling the dance floor her “happy place” and the show “an opportunity that can boost me into the dance world.”