Tell me a little bit about your dance career. When did it all start?
I started dancing when I was four in West Virginia. And Jennifer Garner was my very first dance teacher.
Jennifer Garner. Like the celebrity Jennifer Garner?
Yes. A celebrity. She’s from West Virginia and she danced at that studio. She was in high school and taught the little nuggets. I have a video of a dress rehearsal of us doing the Nutcracker and she’s Mother Ginger and I’m a little fairy under her skirt. I started there. I did all kinds of dance and I joined a ballet company and was focused on ballet. Then after high school, I struggled with what I wanted to do after. I almost went to school for ballet but my heart wasn’t really in it. So my parents kinda made me go to school in West Virginia because it was free and I studied exercise physiology and aquatic therapy. But I still danced at studios around there. Still went home to dance with the ballet company there.
Then when I was a junior in college, I heard about this summer intensive called Broadway Theatre Project and thought, ‘That sounds really fun.’ I always thought I would really like doing musicals but had never done it. I auditioned for the summer intensive and did that. Just fell in love with musical theatre. So I graduated college, went back home, worked for a gym and an exercise physiologist for a while, and started doing community theatre to get myself into that-- and I was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’ So I started auditioning for places, started getting jobs, and then moved to New York. And this is what I do now.
You weren’t into musical theatre until you were in college?
Yeah, I got into it kinda late. It was something in the back of my mind that I was like, ‘I think that’s something I want to do.’ But I was like, ‘That’s silly, I’ve never done that before. Why would I think, ‘That’s what I’m going to do’ ? I wasn’t in theatre in high school. I was in band and danced with this ballet company so it was all I could do. But I was always jealous of the people who were doing theatre. It seemed fun and it seemed like they were having a good time.
So musical theatre is dancing, but also singing and acting. How did you learn the other two?
It was kinda different. The transition wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I started taking voice lessons, which were terrifying to me at first. Then, it just became something that I did. It’s something that I definitely have to work on. Especially not having studied it in school, I was like, ‘I am up against all these people that have been doing this all day every day for the past four years in college.' But it motivated me and made me work a little bit harder.
How long have you been in the city?
I moved here in 2010. I was just subletting a friend’s place. I was just here for a month and I got a tour, so I left and toured on and off for about two years and then moved back permanently into my own place about three and a half years ago.
That’s quick. You got here and got a tour while you were subletting?
Yeah. I was like, ‘This is never going to happen again.’ And it didn’t (laughs). It was kind of crazy. I felt very fortunate. But I had just committed to moving to New York and figuring things out--and I was like, “Alright, bye.”
How did you like the touring life?
I like it a lot. By the time I finished I was ready to be in one place with all my things. I really like traveling and it was neat to see different places. Fortunately I had a really good group of people that I was touring with, which made all the difference. I am a really good sleeper so that made it easier. I could sleep on the bus a lot.
Was a lot travel done on buses?
Yeah. Mostly. And I actually prefer that. On days we actually did fly, it was more of a pain because you have to make sure your luggage is the right weight, you have to go through security. On the bus, you just throw yourself on there and go to sleep, which is much nicer. It was also a hard tour because we traveled so much, like one nighters. It was kind of nice because even when you’re in podunk cities, they’re so appreciative of what you do, so it’s exciting.
What was your favorite city you’ve been to?
That’s a hard question. I really liked Burlington, VT. It was beautiful. We were only there for a day and I wanted to see more. We were also in Beaver, CO and it’s just gorgeous. We performed in a ski resort. There’s an ice rink and the theatre is underneath the ice rink. They had to have an oxygen tank on the side of the stage just in case because of the elevation was so different.
Did you ever have to use it?
No, I didn’t. I should’ve. Just to do it.
How do you like the lifestyle of being a dancer?
Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. Auditioning is hard but I have a lot friends that do it, which makes it easier. It’s a lot of waiting around, a lot of unknown, which is difficult. I can’t plan my life far in advance because it could change in a day. Like I got this job a week ago and it totally changed what my next few months will be like. But it’s exciting and I like that part of it. I would probably get bored with a 9-5 job. This keeps it exciting but sometimes it sucks and it’s really hard. Sometimes I’m envious of my friends from home that have a 9-5 and own houses, and that sort of a thing. But they’re envious of my life too.
Do you have audition buddies that you always you go to auditions with?
They vary depending on what I’m auditioning for. There are few people that I’ve done shows with and text each other in the morning, “Are you going to this?” Sometimes that motivates me to get out of bed and it’s nice to have that person.
If you weren’t a dancer, what do you think you would have done?
I would probably be an aquatic therapist or would’ve gone to school for longer and been a physical therapist. I don’t know if I would like it. I definitely wouldn’t like it as much. I like being involved in the arts and in the theatres. Maybe something else involved that way, but I don’t know what.
Do you have any side jobs?
I’ve done a lot of things. I was working as a personal trainer for a while. Currently I work for a dance competition, so I travel on the weekends. I’ve never danced for competitions, so it’s a new world to me. I am a tabulator. Judging is done on computers but I have to make sure the judges are being recorded, and stop it, and print out the scores, and hand out the awards. It’s busy office work and orgnizing things. I sit at the judges table so I can watch the dances too if I want. Or if I don’t want, I don’t have to.
How long have you been doing that?
I only got into it about a month ago. I was hostessing; I worked for a temp agency; I sometimes do background on TV shows; So just a lot of different things. It makes doing your taxes really fun.
So you got this job, but now you have to fly out to Florida for a show. Are you able to do your competition?
No, which sucks because I just got into it. They gave me some more weekends to do it, and then I got this. But that’s why I am in New York. To do shows, not work at competitions.
What’s your favorite part of living in the city?
Probably all of my friends that live here. I have a good community of people from a bunch of different groups. There’s so many opportunities here. You can’t be bored really. There are times when the city sucks but you walk somewhere and see the Empire State Building and you take a step back and be like, “I live here. It’s pretty cool.”
Anything you want to share with the world?
I think the thing that gets me through auditions and not knowing anything is really trusting that everything happens for a reason and just have to trust that what’s meant to be will be. That’s really hard sometimes when you’re rejected 10 times in a week. But it’s okay. That just wasn’t meant for me. Maybe something else is coming along. Just have to stay positive, which can be hard sometimes.