From a Dream to ‘Revelations'

Sunday, 10 July 2011 03:17 Written by  Mariah Craddick

When dancer Anthony Burrell first saw the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's timeless performance of Revelations at age 15, he knew for sure that dance was something he wanted to pursue as a career.


"I don't know what it was about it that I could relate to—the music or the people's skin color. I just saw me. So I put myself in that direction—and I got it!" he exclaims.

That seemed to be the case with nearly every goal he set his mind on. Not only did Anthony achieve one of his lifelong dreams of dancing with the world-renown Ailey Dance Company, he's danced with some of the biggest artists out there—including Destiny's Child, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige and Katy Perry.

In a career that seems so difficult to stay afloat in, Anthony has found a way to transition from gig to gig with ease.

"The hardest thing about being a working dancer…is the taxes!" he jokes.

His positivity and ability to completely immerse himself in his work has taken him far, giving him the career most dancers dream of—and he's only 30 years old.

One of the biggest breaks so far that gave him the most exposure was his short, yet ingenuous stint on the popular competition dance show So You Think You Can Dance last summer. Viewers watched as Anthony gave flawless after flawless performance during the audition phase.

Judges on the show repeatedly praised him, calling him "one of the best dancers in New York" and saying that he danced like a "man" as opposed to a boy like the other male dancers. He instantly became a favorite.

However, when it came time to pick the top 20 who would go on to perform on the live shows, Anthony didn't make the cut, to everyone’s surprise.

"As bad as I wanted to be a part of the show, it just wasn't for me," he says. "It was another audition—just on TV…and I cried!" he says with a laugh.

Though many of the fans he gained from the experience voiced their frustration with the show for not choosing Anthony over some other less technically gifted dancers, he says he understands why they didn't choose him.

"I agree that it should be about the talent, but I guess commercially it wasn't good enough. But I've had too many great opportunities in my life to fall from one," he says.

One of those great opportunities included touring with Destiny's Child during their last tour in 2005-06. It was there that he not only had one of the best times of his dance career, he also met the mother of his 5-year-old daughter.

He also got the chance to tour with the "Queen B" Beyoncé herself, as dance captain for her "The Beyonce Experience" world tour. He claims her as the "icon of our generation" and says she is the ultimate artist to work with. He also says he's in talks with her now for possibly choreographing the video for “1+1”—a single for her album 4.

In addition to that, Anthony says he's in his "transition phase" currently and is working on starting his own dance company—the Anthony Burrell Dance Theater or Project AB. (He hasn't decided on a name just yet.) He's also acting full-time in New York where he is now shooting two movies. A test shoot for one, called "The War Zone 3D," can be viewed  below.

From beginning to dance at a performing arts camp back in Philadelphia, attending Franklin Learning Center's performing arts high school and dancing with Philadanco's Danco 2 dance company, to dancing with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Alvin Ailey and some of the most known artists in the game—Anthony has truly lived the life. And yet, he has remained humble and thankful for his talent.

It's even apparent in his dancing. He dances with a power yet soft grace that can easily send chills down one's spine. Check him out yourself here on

"In my life, I feel like everything that happens, happens for a reason,” he says. “And I'm thankful for that."


Mariah Craddick

Mariah Craddick

Mariah Craddick hails from the city of Atlanta and is currently a junior studying in the magazine journalism program at Columbia College Chicago. In addition to contributing to GMO, she is also the President/Editor-in-Chief of HerCampus for Columbia College Chicago and is a "Style Guru" intern for

She can be contacted at


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