GiaNina Paolantonio is used to taking center stage.
At age nine, she debuted on Broadway, performing for a year and a half as part of Matilda the Musical. Not long after, she joined Mariah Carey‘s All I Want for Christmas Is You concert residency at the Beacon Theatre in New York City and the Colosseum in Las Vegas. And after that. she leapt from stage to screen with a role in Hugh Jackman-fronted musical film The Greatest Showman, before featuring in two TV shows: season eight of Dance Moms with the Abby Lee Dance Company, and Nickelodeon‘s JoJo Siwa-hosted reality series Lip Sync Battle Shorties.
Things haven’t slowed down for Paolantonio since–it’s just that now, folks can mostly find her on a bit of a smaller screen.
Paolantonio found TikTok through musical.ly. She joined the latter platform in its early days to share casual videos she made with her friends and family. But when ByteDance bought musical.ly and merged its user base into TikTok, Paolantonio saw the platform becoming something new–a “dancer’s paradise.”
She began posting short, peppy clips of dance routines, and struck a hit on her second upload. To date, the video–a 15-second clip of her dancing in her backyard, set to the Dance Moms version of “Boss Ladies“–has amassed nearly 2 million views. And for Paolantonio, that spike of virality was only the beginning. These days, she says, she’s as busy as she was on Broadway, performing seven shows a week.