How did you hear about Dancers of New York?
Probably through Alicia’s Facebook post. I like it. I like every post you do. i think it’s really cool because it’s nice to hear other people’s stories. I wish it was a thing earlier--like before I moved here so I could’ve read about what everybody is doing and seeing how it works out. Hearing people’s story is really cool--especially that last one about the girl who lived in the park--I was shocked by that story. I can’t imagine it. It’s cool to read everything. Everybody has something different. It’s neat.
And I can’t wait to hear about your story. So how did you start dancing?
I’ve been dancing since I was three. When I was 15, I decided I wanted to be a dancer. I won a scholarship at a dance competition and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. Maybe I should dance. I spent so much time dancing already, I don’t want to stop.” When I was in high school, I was on the dance team and took dance classes after school. So I spent most of my time dancing. I put a lot of investment into this and I love it. Then I just decided to continue.
What kind of studio did you grow up in?
We did competitions. But it was more about doing your best and having fun--not about winning.
When you first started, did your parents send you to the studio or did you ask your parents to send you?
My mom just put me in dance classes. My mom danced when she was little--and she still dances actually. So that’s cool. She takes tap every week. My sister danced until she went to college. I think my brothers did tumbling or something too. So it just happened. My mom just put me in classes and I liked it.
What did you do after high school to become a professional dancer?
I went to OCU. After I graduated, I didn’t come here right away. I was still in Texas. Actually, I did a show in Florida. But I was in Texas most of the year. And then I decided to come here. Every audition is here.
Could you tell me a little about OCU? How did you find out about it? How did you like it?
A couple of my dance teachers went to OCU. And Pat, the tap teacher, taught some classes at my studio because she was good friends with my studio owner. She taught at our studio a couple times when I was like 8 years old. My teachers just knew about it and told me about it. I went to a summer intensive there before my senior year of high school. I really liked it. I knew it was one of the places I wanted to go because they have tap--it wasn’t just ballet and modern, because that’s not what I really wanted to do. I want to do tap and jazz. I mean, it was the best school for that. I auditioned, got in--I auditioned in the Fall, so after I knew I was in, I didn’t audition anywhere else. I was just like, “I am going to OCU.” And it was close. It was only like three hours from Texas. So that was good.
What things did you like about OCU?
I loved OCU. We got to dance so much and I feel like they taught us a lot of good things for the professional world. Maybe I would’ve gotten that somewhere else too but I think they really helped me with everything. We had OCUNYC, which is also really helpful, because we got to learn from a bunch of people and get a free workshop. That’s a really amazing experience that you want to get.
So you feel like OCU helped you prepare for your professional dance career.
Is there anything you wish could be better at OCU?
Honestly, I think they made it seem a little bit easier to get jobs than it actually is. I mean, they really prepared us but I also feel like, “You can be on Broadway, you can be a Rockette, you can do all this stuff” but really, it’s--everybody is really good even if you didn’t go to OCU. Everyone is good. It’s just hard.
It’s so competitive. No matter what school you’re from, you’re probably going to have a hard time--because there are so many talented people.
When did you move to New York?
What made you decide to move to New York?
It was actually hard to decide where to go. The whole last year I was living in Texas, trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do. So I visited Chicago a couple of time because I didn’t know a whole lot about it. I went there for some auditions. I also applied for this choreographer’s festival and they picked my piece so I got to do that in June. But I decided Chicago wasn’t really where I wanted to be because you need a car, it’s a city, and I don’t really know anybody who lives there. I know a couple people--I have some family close by, but I don’t know a lot of people actually doing the professional thing there. So I was like, “I went to OCU, they really trained us on musicals and that--I thought Chicago and New York are very different. I thought New York would be better. My sister lives in LA right now. She moved there somewhere around the same time I moved. I don’t really know about LA either but I feel like LA probably has to edgy and I am not edgy. I am cute [laughs]. I also thought about going to Florida but I don’t know--I think everything is so specific no matter where you are. I felt like New York would hopefully bring more opportunities just because more auditions are here.
How do you like living in the city?
I like it. It has its ups and downs. I like that there are opportunities here. I don’t like other things--maybe about just city living. I live really far away. It takes a long time to get anywhere. Especially if it’s not at a regular time of the day in the mornings when you go to auditions I get there in 30 minutes, so that’s fine, because it’s the morning and they have more trains going. But at night, I get off work at 11 usually, and the A stops going express at 11 and it goes local. So it takes like an hour to get here. That’s the last thing you want to do at the end of the night when you’ve been standing all night at work. I just want to go home. I don’t like how long it takes to get to places.
What are you up to now?
I am in this dance company called Erin Pryor Dance Theatre. It’s more modern, which is fun. It’s cool. We rehearse once a week, so it’s pretty low-key. We have a show this Sunday, so that’s exciting. We only rehearse on Sundays--we occasionally rehearse on a Tuesday or something but it’s been good. I started that back in January.
What do you want to do in the long run?
I just want to get paid to dance, so I don’t really care much. I just want to get paid to dance. But mostly I audition for musicals because I feel like that’s what I am better at than dance companies. I am discovering that I like musical theatre tap, so I really want to be in like a tap show. I went to the White Christmas audition the other day and it was so much fun. I already knew the combo because they taught it at OCU, but I had so much fun. That is my favorite thing to do. But, I don’t know. I just really want to get paid to dance. It doesn’t matter.
Are there any teachers that you really looked up to throughout your dance career?
My teacher, his name is Richard Walker, from my home studio that I grew up in , he was really great. He was like a father-figure and he taught me a lot of the stuff I know. He prepared me for going to OCU and OCU prepared me to come here. So that was good.
Anything you’d like to share with the world?
I feel like I’ve been telling everybody this. I got a cat like two months ago and we’re teaching him how to use the toilet. He’s like half way through the process. It’s really cool
I think I’ve seen that on a list of the worst ideas for As-Seen-On-TV products.
I definitely bought that product. It’s like this tray you put on the toilet seat and you fill it with litter and you cut out different holes every week. It’s really cool. It’s going to be cool when he can do it.