Making Her Pointe

A fourth-generation Wildcat delivers a standout audition on ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’

Spring 2024
Image of School of Dance sophomore Avery Gay being filmed by the 'So You Think You Can Dance' crew

School of Dance sophomore Avery Gay

Photos: Chris Richards

In March, a University of Arizona student took a tip-toed step forward in her quest for the title of “So You Think You Can Dance” champion — and a $100,000 prize.

Avery Gay, a School of Dance sophomore, advanced past the initial audition phase of the popular Fox dance show, delivering a judge-wowing ballet performance.

Afterward, she called the experience nerve-wracking, but she also said that the adrenaline of performance produces her best dancing.

“The reason I like ballet so much is because it is so difficult,” she added. “I love the challenge. I love to grow and improve from it every single day.”

Gay began training at age 6. In 2016, she was cast in the youth television spinoff “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.” Later, she performed on “World of Dance,” executive produced by celebrity singer and dancer Jennifer Lopez.

Gay, a fourth-generation Wildcat, said her college choice was an easy one: “We have one of the top dance programs in the country.” And on “So You Think You Can Dance,” she tried out alongside two classmates — sophomores Madison Kotch and Olivia Zeiml — who also happen to be close friends.

Also among her supporters is Liz George, an associate professor of dance who has taught her in pointe — a technique in which ballet dancers support their body weight on the tips of their toes.

“Avery is super fierce in a physical sense,” George says. “She has a really strong, solid training base. And I love seeing students enter the space when they realize that they are not just dancers — they are creators. She’s now in that space.”


Subscribe to the Alumni Insider

The Arizona Alumni Insider is a monthly newsletter for University of Arizona alumni. In it you will find information on alumni events around the country, news about university rankings and accomplishments, profiles of Wildcat alumni, donors and students who are making a difference, special opportunities just for Wildcats like you, and so much more.

Subscribe now