FYI | Italy Embraces American Dancer

What’s up in the dance community

Lauren Celentano is big in Italy. The 19-year-old dancer, a sophomore at Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University, has become a household name abroad as the first American to compete in the Italian TV talent show for singers and dancers, Amici.

Lauren Celentano has become a household name in Italy as the first American dancer to compete in the TV talent show Amici.
Photo by Sal Pavia Photography

Last summer Sacred Heart dance program director Kari Williams took 12 students to the World Dance Movement workshop and competition in Bari, Italy. Amici casting directors were scouting for talent at the event, and Williams recommended they consider Celentano, who was accepted to the show after two auditions.

“I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years and I would put her in the top five students I’ve ever had,” Williams told Dance Studio Life. Since Celentano joined the show last fall, she has inspired Italian fan pages on social media.

Amici’s eventual winner won’t be crowned until this summer but Williams says the 12-hour days of personal training, class, and rehearsals have already made Celentano feel “much more ready for a professional career.” Although Celentano hopes to parlay her fame into a career in the U.S., “I told her, ‘You may have opportunities to work in Italy,’ ” Williams says. “ ‘You need to see how far you can take this.’ She could be eliminated tomorrow; she could win the whole show. We’re just hoping for the best.”