Lily Cornish burning up the Latin dance floor
Lily Cornish is now a household name after her recent credits including Dancing With The Stars Australia and Burn The Floor.
Lily has always been connected to the dance world. Her stepdad, Andrew Palmer is a former professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars Australia where he partnered TV personality Nicky Buckley. Andrew toured the world with the renowned show Burn the Floor directed by Jason Gilkison and Peta Roby and won numerous national and international titles, including placing in the Top 24 in the world at the Blackpool Dance Festival.
This year, Dancing With The Stars Australia returned to Seven Network where the original judges and hosts (Daryl Somers and Sonya Kruger) strutted back onto the dance floor.
“It really felt like the Dancing With The Stars that I watched when I was a little kid. It was pretty nostalgic and special,” said Miss Cornish.
It was not an ordinary audition to call-back scenario for Lily when she was cast in Dancing With The Stars Australia. Lily was backpacking with her boyfriend in the Amazon rainforest when Dancing With The Stars Australia auditions occurred. She had no reception and her stepdad Andrew attempted to reach her about the opportunity numerous times. Andrew then called Dancing With The Stars Australia on her behalf and was surprised when they replied that Lily was already a recommended candidate.
“The auditions happened without me. I got out of the Amazon Rainforest and I saw my phone. Because I’d done Burn The Floor before, which is a prestigious Latin and Ballroom show and they had called the creative director for that, they recommended my name. When Andrew called up, they said they would love to see footage of me dancing and talking. A few weeks later I was notified and it all started from there,” said Miss Cornish.
Lily’s partner for the 2021 ‘All Stars’ season of Dancing With The Stars Australia was Home & Away actor Lincoln Lewis. As a fan of the show growing up, Lily watched Lincoln perform on Dancing With The Stars Australia when she was 10-years-old and even got a photo with him.
“I was a bit of a fan girl of his,” laughed Lily. “Then 12 years later, I’m waiting for my dance partner in the studio, I don’t know who it is, and suddenly Lincoln Lewis walks through! It is the first time that I have recognised the celebrity first up. I remember actually letting out a squeal!”
“Lincoln is just the best person ever. He is a little ball of energy and we had so much fun together,” she added.
Lincoln and Lily trained for up to six hours a day for four weeks on the Gold Coast where he resides prior to filming Dancing With The Stars Australia. They then travelled to Sydney for two weeks of filming where their first three dances were already learned.
“Compared to last year, filming was quite short and intense. It is quite scary because you’ve learned all these dances but you might only get to learn one as you could be eliminated,” said Miss Cornish.
The 2020 Dancing With The Stars Australia season was a challenging and emotional rollercoaster for Lily and her dance partner Christian Wilkins when Coronavirus first evolved in Australia. When Christian’s father Richard Wilkins tested positive to Covid-19, Lily’s lifestyle changed completely and instantly.
“We finished filming our dance one night and Christian got taken off into a room and I wasn’t allowed in there—no one wasn’t allowed. All of a sudden we were put up in a hotel room and they said, ‘we don’t know how long you will be in here or what is happening with the show, but you can’t see anyone and need to stay in here’,” she said.
Without the faintest idea of what was going on, the next day both Lily and Christian returned negative Covid-19 results. Production worked tirelessly to keep the show alive during the first major outbreak of the pandemic, leading Lily and Christian to perform from the confines of their hotel rooftop.
“Every day, we had a little cry and then we would push through. We isolated for so long. When we went into hotel quarantine, Coronavirus was not a thing, when we got out, the streets were bare.”
Prior to DWTS, Lily had been competing in Latin and Ballroom dance until she was 18. From there, her competitive dancing was placed on hold as she made way for her performing career.
“The director of Burn The Floor was watching the Australian Dancesport Championships where I won the Closed Latin title for Australia. She had seen me dance and clocked in her mind that this girl would be good for Burn The Floor,” she said.
Lily’s stepdad Andrew got in contact with the director Peta Roby who responded with the words, “I’ve seen Lily dance and I’d love for her to move to New York in January.” Less than four weeks later, Lily flew to the other side of the world and began her journey with Burn The Floor.
“I found BTF so hard at first, but I kept pushing through and a few months in I was absolutely loving it when I had the choreography done,” she explained.
“I never thought I was good enough to do BTF and DWTS. I went out on a limb and somehow I made it work. It is amazing what you can do when you challenge yourself and put yourself out there – even if you think you aren’t there yet.”