TAMPA — Chloe Lukasiak will take on a different role than she is accustomed when she stops by the Florida State Fair this weekend.
After all, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania-native and resident rose to fame on Seasons 1 through 4 of Lifetime's reality television series Dance Moms, chronicling the careers of children in dance competitions.
But on Saturday, Lukasiak will be the one sitting in the judging chair at the Florida State Fair's first-ever Dance Championship when 20 dancers from 4 to 18 perform a variety of styles to compete for prizes.
"This is fairly new," Lukasiak said. "This is one of my first judging things. On Dance Moms I was the one being judged so it is a new experience for me."
She promises she'll be more Paula Abdul than Simon Cowell, offering constructive criticism but in a kind way.
"I'll be a nice judge," she said. "I won't squash anyone."
Following the competition, Lukasiak will perform on-stage and take questions from her fans. She'll remind fans that it's not always all about winning.
"Take everything with a grain of salt and remember this is what you love to do and want to do," she said. "When I was on the show and dancing, I forgot to enjoy dance and lost that passion over the years. It is important to maintain that love for it."
While dance is an art, she said, it's also a competitive sport. .
"Please look up the definition of a sport," she said. "I think anything you do that requires physical therapy and an ice bath is a sport."
Four years removed from being a regular on Dance Moms, Lukasiak has branched out. She has been featured in films, including 2017's A Cowgirl's Story, has her own fashion line and wrote the book Girl On Pointe: Chloe's Guide to Taking On The World about the challenges of being a teenager.
Still, despite being in the spotlight since 2011, nearly half her young life, she never laments what it would be like to be "normal" because for her being a performer is the only normal she wants to know.
And that passion, she said, is needed in her sometimes stressful career.
"If this is really want you want to do and what you love, keep pushing forward," she said. "It will be worth it in the end."
Contact Paul Guzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.