Filipino-American Hannahlei Cabanilla was hailed as "America's favorite dancer" in the 15th season of US dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. Photo: Facebook/ So You Think You Can Dance

A Filipino-American contemporary dancer took the top prize at the climax of the 15th season of the popular US dance competition ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

18-year-old Hannahlei Cabanilla, who was born and raised in Southern California in the United States and whose parents were both born in the Philippines, was hailed as “America’s favorite dancer”. She won US$250,000 in cash, will be featured on the cover of Dance Spirit magazine and will have a role in Fox’s upcoming live musical “Rent”, Mercury News reported.

Cabanilla, who started dancing at the age of two and had training at the Orange County Performing Arts Academy, beat three other finalists – Genessy Castillo, Slavik Pustovoytov and Jensen Arnold – for the top prize.

“This is, without a doubt, the best experience of my life. I am beyond thankful for every moment I’ve had on the show, and I know that it is something I will never forget. I’m happy to say that this experience is just the beginning,” Cabanilla said.

Cabanilla was among the front-runners from early in the competition and was never among the dancers at risk of elimination when weekly results were announced.

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