It's Diana Pombo
Everyday she spent on World of Dance “was like living a dream,” said So Dancer and celebrity dancer Diana Pombo. Season 1 of the show only included dancers that had been given an invitation. This invitation in turn allowed for an in-person audition for the show. Imagine how 11-year-old Diana felt when she received the invite. That moment alone was a dream come true, everything else that followed felt like a fairytale.
Behind the Scenes at World of Dance
Diana gave So Danca the inside scoop on what it was like being behind-the-scenes of an incredibly creative environment and seeing what it takes to put together the biggest dance television competition in the world.
As she walked into the audition location in Atlanta in early October 2017, she could feel the adrenaline in the air. There were so many dancers and every one of them hoped for their chance to be chosen. Diana had the opportunity to dance two solos in front of Napolen and Tabatha Duno along with other NBC casting directors. After the dance audition, she felt honored to be one of a select number of dancers who got ask to do an interview. After that, all she could do was wait.
The waiting period was a lengthy process seemed never ending. It included numerous emails notifying her of eliminations rounds and that she still had the possibility of making it on the show. The anticipation was building. Finally, in late November, she received the awesome news. She had been selected for the show!
“It’s hard to describe in words how I felt when I learned that I made it onto the show,” Diana recalls. “It didn’t really Hit Me until I walked into the World of Dance headquarters. I couldn’t believe I was there, surrounded by dance legends. Me, tiny 11-year-old me. On the show as a soloist!” She admits she was both nervous and excited.
“I was certain that I’d for sure be out of there by the end of round one, and that was fine with me because I felt that just being there was already an incredible accomplishment. I just set out to have the best time possible and learn from everybody and everything around me.” Little did she know on that first day that she would impress the judges week after week until she made it all the way to the semifinals.
She will never forget the first time she walked onto the stage on saw her name in lights. “I was like, OH.MY.GOSH. This is really happening. That’s MY name and I’m about to go on stage. In front of Ms. Jlo (Jennifer Lopez). In that moment, I told myself, ‘Ok, Diana, just breathe!’” (By the way, Diana wants you to know that they really only get one shot in front of the judges. There are no do-overs in World of Dance.)
She had nothing to worry about. During her impressive Bird Set Free performance, Lopez said at the end of her dance, "It wasn't just all the flexibility you had. It wasn't all the strength you had. It was the passion that you put into every move."
Lopez comments confirmed Diana’s heart behind her dancing. She knows technique and training are very important, but understands that dance is about more than just moving your body. “It's about being able to move the people watching you,” she explained to us. “Every move has to mean something.” The judges (and the world) all saw that philosophy come to life in Diana’s solo performances.
Although it was an honor and privilege to move onto the next round each week, Diana saw this as the most challenging part of the show for her. Because she never imagined she would keep advancing, she only came prepared with choreography to get her through round two. While all of the other child/teen dancers had their coaches and choreographers with them, Diana only had her mom along with her.
“This turned into a real blessing,” Diana shared. “I ended up receiving help from incredible choreographers like Rudy Abreu, Jojo Gomez, Erika Klein and all the Nappytabs team. Plus, it also pushed me to dig into my own creative force to choreograph some of my own pieces. In the end, going though this difficulty was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
The show is called World of Dance because it really encompasses the whole world of dance including, dancers of all ages, all dance styles, from all over the world who come together to share their passion on a global stage. Diana was mentored by the entire Nappytab team and learned from all the staff and the other dancers. She made friends and received one-on-one advice from the Mr. Neyo, Mr. Hough and Ms. Dewan. It’s the kind of experience that stays with you forever and shapes you.
With all of those amazing experiences, we asked Diana what was one thing that stands out above the rest. “If I had to pick just one moment,” she responded, “it would have to be the special bonding experience I shared with Ms. Jlo (Jennifer Lopez). What we shared has inspired me to go beyond my own dreams, work hard, stay humble, and always remain fearlessly authentic.”
There was no shortage of laughter and fun, even amidst the hard work. One day, Derek Hough and Neyo disguised themselves as camera men and interviewed a bunch of the dancers on set about who their favorite male judge was. It provided a lot of laughs. Diana also got to do an interview on the set of “Back to the Future.”
When the show ended, Diana hit the road for the World of Dance tour. There, she got to meet her many fans and perform for them again and again. What made it an even more remarkable experience, Diana was the youngest dancer on the tour. With the competition behind them, it was a time of bonding for everyone as they traveled and experienced the world together doing what they all loved the most.
“Everyday was a lesson learned. I am so grateful to absolutely everybody I met during my World of Dance journey. From every single camera man, to my peers, the judges, and all the dance legends, I learned the value of being the hardest working person in the room. I also learned to listen well and take everything in like a sponge,” Diana reflects on her experience. “I learned not to take anything for granted. Most importantly, I learned to never compare myself to anybody else and to stay fearlessly authentic. To me, that means even if I’m afraid of doing something, I should still take the risk and give my all in everything I do, while also remaining true to myself!” Those are great lessons for all of us, Diana.
Thanks for sharing your World of Dance experience with So Danca and for believing in our brand and our community of dancers. We love you, and we’re always cheering for you.