Kathryn McCormick Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self

October 22, 2017

Kathryn McCormick first won our hearts with her captivating contemporary moves and girl-next-door relatability on Season 6 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” where she made it to the top three. Since then, she’s returned for seven more seasons as an All Star and, last summer, gave viewers all the feels when she mentored rising dancer Tate McRae. An Augusta, GA, native, McCormick started dancing at age 3 and moved to L.A. at 18. She performed a leading role in Step Up Revolution and danced in Fame, and has worked with choreographers including Stacey Tookey, Travis Wall, and Teddy Forance. Currently, you can catch her touring with DanceMakers, where she’s on faculty. —Courtney Bowers


Take a deep breath and know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. You often question if you’re enough, but I’m here to tell you that you always have been. Don’t mistake your worth for what you’ve accomplished.

You’ll one day find yourself moving to L.A. to create a life there. Your first four years in the city will hold more opportunity than you have the courage to dream of for yourself. You don’t see how capable you are, so most dreams you have are way too small.

McCormick at age 3 (courtesy McCormick)

I know you think you have to be perfect at everything you try, but, to be real with you, the people you think care don’t, and the people who love you don’t care about perfection—it’s the exact opposite that they seek in you. You’ll realize that your striving is sabotaging your ability to truly experience life with the ones you love. Nurture the close friendships in your life. You need each other. That fourth class can wait until tomorrow. 😉

Slow down. It’s not cowardly or lazy, and you won’t get fat or lose your technique by missing a day or two of training. Slowing down is where the real “living” begins. I give you permission to relax and do nothing—more happens in that stillness than you think.

McCormick at age 11 (courtesy McCormick)

Your thoughts, your peace, and your spirit need to be prioritized in this career. Dance was given to you as a gift. It’ll show you the world, introduce you to so many new experiences, be your constant reminder of joy and light, guide you to your best friends and, even better, your husband. Dance isn’t about the spotlight or the opportunities. It’s about moving your body and connecting to the spirit inside of you. Leading with that spirit will fulfill your every need. Lean on your heart and know that you’ll be drawn to the places that are right for you. Simply let all other opportunities pass, and know that’s OK. Dance will bring you to life and help your path be one that brings life to others in return. Keep it simple.

I’m so proud of you! You’re doing a great job.

“I made you in my image and I hid heaven in your heart.”