Tate not only braved the “SYT” stage as a
preteen—she was also competing for the
America’s Favorite Dancer title as a non-American. She hails from Calgary, Canada,
and while her hometown friends and family
could follow her journey on television, they
couldn’t vote, which makes Tate’s third-place finish all the more impressive.
But “SYT” was so much more than a
competition for Tate. “It helped me break
out of my shell,” she says. “It taught me not
to be such a perfectionist.” Tate carried
that fearlessness beyond the show, and
now approaches each class with newfound
confidence. Stacey Tookey, who first met
Tate at a convention three years before
“SYTYCD,” noticed the transformation.
“She really treated the show as a challenge
to dig into a new level of performance artistry,” Tookey says.