Tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start dancing? How did you get into it?
I started dancing when I was two and a half. When I was little, I just demanded that I go to dance class and my parents found a studio to take me.
When you were three?
Yeah. They were like, ‘As long as she’s potty-trained, she can be in class.’ So I was. I started dancing back then. I danced my whole life at a studio in Long Island--I am from Long Island originally. And then I went to Skidmore College and I majored in dance and psychology.
So you wanted to dance full-time.
Yeah. In college, I wasn’t actually sure if it would happen, but I decided to give it a go and moved to New York and start auditioning. And it worked out.
What are you up to now?
I am a Rockette! This will be my fourth year.
How old were you when you first got the job?
I was 25. It was after college.
How long did it take you to get the job?
I auditioned three times. Three years in a row. I made it to the end and I just kept going back and working hard. And I got it! I was ecstatic. It was definitely a dream come true. I saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for the first time when I was three. It was a holiday tradition of my family to go every year. It definitely was a big goal of mine.
How long have you been in the city?
I used to go to Joffrey ballet when I was in middle school and high school, so I’d commute from Long Island. But I went to school away and then moved back to New York in 2008.
How’s it being a Rockette?
It’s so much fun. It really is like a sisterhood. I have so many close friends in the line. And it’s just a dream come true. I love performing. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s super fun. It's a really exciting time to be a Rockette. In addition to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, we have the New York Spring Spectacular going on right now at Radio City until May 7th. This show features the Rockettes in a new modern way and gives us the opportunity to work with stars like Derek Hough and Laura Benanti. It's great because it also gives us more opportunities to perform through out the year.
I’ve heard that being a Rockette is very physically demanding. What do you do to take care of yourself?
We have a really great athletic training team at Radio City and I make sure to warm up and cool down and ice afterwards. We take ice baths after every rehearsal and most show days as well. We do up to four shows a day, so it’s definitely important to ice down to prevent injuries.
Four shows a day?
Mmhmm. During the Christmas season. The shows are 90 minutes long. It’s a full day.
What do you do when you’re not performing as a Rockette?
I have an agent and I am a freelance dancer. I audition for other things and I did a national tour of Broadway musical a few years ago called Anything Goes. It’s a big tap show. So I do little things here. I try to do some commercial work--stuff like that.
Were there any memorable ones that you really liked?
I was a dancing pistachio as a backup dancer for Psy, the Gangnam Style guy, for a Superbowl Commercial, which was hilarious. Definitely a memorable one. I was dressed up as a pistachio. It was a pretty funny story because when I booked the commercial, I didn’t know what the wardrobe would be and thought we would just do the Gangnam Style dance. And then they showed me the pistachio costume that covered my face. It was hilarious and it was the most ridiculous, fun shoot we had. There were six other girls, so we were just laughing--super fun.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d love to do Radio City for a few years and then I’d love to be on Broadway--I still haven’t done that, so that’s a goal of mine for sure. When I am older, I’ll probably transition out of the dance world and do something else.
What’s your favorite part of living in the city?
I always feel like anything can happen any time. There’s just such incredible energy in New York. There’s no place like it. I’ve traveled a lot with work when I was on tour and stuff, and there’s no city in the world like New York.
What’s your least favorite part of living in the city?
I think everyone has those days in New York where nothing works out. You miss the train, you’re running late; you step into a huge sludge pile in the snow. It’s definitely a hate-to-love New York kind of feel.
Do you dance full-time?
Certainly during the Christmas season, It’s a full-time job. We rehearse from 10 to 5 every day and I usually get there an hour early to warm up and prepare. Just dancing all day. In the off season, I teach dance a little bit and I audition for other shows, do other work. I do little things here and there. Anything dance related.
I would think that a lot of people would do something totally different on the side just so they have enough income. But it seems like a lot of people are able to make a living just by dancing.
Yeah. I am very grateful. First when I moved to New York, I maître d'ed for two years in addition to auditioning. It was definitely a hard balance because in the restaurant world, we are up pretty late. We have to do all the close down stuff for your shift; you don’t get home til 1 and then auditions are super early so it was hard to balance it all.
How did you get through that?
Well, I was super young and I put my head down and plowed through, because I knew that’s what had to be done. The dance world is super competitive so you have to just go for it and do it. I probably went to like a hundred auditions before I got my first musical theater show. Just lots of No’s.
Or you don’t hear back at all.
That’s typically what happens. Not hearing back. But I knew this is my passion and this is what I want to do. I just did it.
You said you auditioned three times for the Rockettes--Was it over three years? Sometimes they have two auditions in one year.
Three years. I went to both auditions for two years. So lots of auditions.
It must be hard dealing with rejections. How do you get through them?
I just knew that being a Rockette was the be-all and end-all of what I wanted to do. I knew I could do it so I just did it. Deep down, I knew this is what wanted to do, so I just persevered and kept going back. My family has been super supportive my whole life. My parents have gone to basically every show that I’ve ever done. I definitely couldn't have done it without their love, support, and help throughout.
Was there ever a moment that you wanted to do something totally different from dance?
In college, I took off six months of dancing. I studied abroad in Italy and I did a painting program, and I didn’t dance for six months and I almost--I went crazy. I am never taking a break like that again because I know that I need it in my life. There definitely have been times when if I go to an audition and I think I am definitely going to book it and then I don’t, then it’s super frustrating. So there have definitely been times like, ‘That’s it. I am going to get my MBA. I am done with this.’
I think it’s such a tempting thing to do because a lot of dancers are talented at other things too.
Definitely helps to have a support system of friends too. My closest friends are dancers. If I go to an audition, in the waiting room it’s my friends and I hanging out. They’re super supportive. And they get it. That’s just the way this business is.
Anything you want to share with the world?
I guess this is for younger dancers. Just keep trying and you can definitely succeed in this business, even though it’s hard. Just keep going for it.