The Examiner

Mount Kisco’s Own Makes it to the Apollo

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After a successful run in “Big River” and “George M” earlier this year at the Westchester Broadway Theater, Victoria Dennis, a fifth-grader at West Patent Elementary School in Bedford Hills, is wowing the crowds at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem.

The talented 10-year-old has made it to the Nov. 14 “Super Top Dog” final of Amateur Night at the Apollo, a 75-year-old talent competition that serves as a model for Star Search and American Idol.

Victoria is no stranger to the spotlight. At 4, she was appearing in ads for Nikon, Toys ‘R Us and Harlequin Books, and by age 6, she had launched a career in acting, appearing in film commercials and most recently, a pilot for PBS Channel 13. Performing in a local talent show at the age of 7 gave Victoria the impetus to pursue a career in music and performance.

“Her biggest challenge so far has been making it to the finals of the Apollo competition,” says her mom. Victoria auditioned for a spot in the coveted contest this past summer, beating out hundreds of other kids from the tri-state area and beyond.

Every Wednesday throughout the year, contestants vie against each other to move on to the next round of the competition. In a highly competitive contest between children, ages 5 to 15, Victoria took the top prize in the first round, which took place Sept. 19. Since then, she’s participated in two additional rounds, which has made her eligible for the final later this month.

The show has launched the careers of many a star, including James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson and many more. It also serves as a training ground for young performers, preparing them for the world of entertainment and opening up recording opportunities and the chance to perform professionally at other venues.

The popularity contest is also a test of participants’ wits, as they perform in the 2,000-seat auditorium where audiences are known for both cheering on competitors and booing them off the stage.

“Victoria works really hard, always striving to get to the next step in her career,” added her mom. Helping her along the way is team of mentors, including a performance coach, a pop coach and a vocal teacher. Victoria spends one day a week in the recording studio, perfecting her riffs and practicing those big notes that will help get her to the finishing line.

Performing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on the Apollo stage has been an amazing experience for the young star who has incorporated her own special touches to the famous tune. Working with a performance coach has helped Victoria convincingly portray the passion and emotion that is needed to perform such a piece.

“I know that I’ve got to keep working and pushing myself, no matter what,” said Victoria. “Going into the final round at the Apollo is exciting, not to mention winning three rounds of the competition,” said Victoria. “But whatever happens, I am really proud of myself.”

If indeed Victoria comes away with the top prize in a couple of weeks, she will receive $2,000 from the competition’s sponsor, the Coca Cola Company.

To purchase tickets for the grand finale, visit Victoria’s website at, go to or check out Get to know this emerging talent by following her on Twitter at @victoriadennis9 and on Facebook at


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