How did you start dancing?
I started dancing at the age of four. My parents were not sure about what they wanted me to do so I’ve done soccer, lacrosse, and skating. And I was always moving, so they figured dance would be good. They had no idea which dance studio to go to or what to look for. So they just called every studio in the city I lived in. Luckily one studio replied to their call so that was the studio I enrolled at. Starting at 4, I was dancing at AnnaMarie Oliver School of Dance. Every year I added more classes. Jazz, tap, hip-hop, modern, ballet, and all of that. By the time I finished there, I was dancing seven days a week. I was assisting classes and teaching. That’s where I spent basically all my childhood. All my memories I’ve created were from the dance studio.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in Canada. In Ontario. Yes, I am not from here [laughs].
How did you decide that you wanted to dance for life?
Every year when the season would finish, I would cry. I was so emotionally attached to it when we’ve had all our recitals and stuff. I loved that. The first time I came to the city, I was ten years old. My parents brought our whole family here. At the end of the trip, I told my parents that when I grow up I am going to be in New York City and be a dancer. That’s when it was set. I was 10 years old, and this was where I wanted to be.
What did your parents say when you told them that?
They thought I was cute. “Oh yeah, of course. You can do whatever you dream.”
What happened after that?
After that, I took dance even more seriously. Took more classes. Started doing conventions and workshops. When I was older, I would come into the city in the summers and do the Rockette Summer Intensives. So I knew this was what I wanted to do all throughout high school. It’s what I focused on.
How did you move to New York?
I applied, auditioned and got into AMDA on the Upper West Side. Once I graduated from high school, I moved to New York. I started studying dance and musical theatre. That’s how I got here in New York. Ever since I have graduated from there, I’ve stayed here.
How long has it been since you graduated?
I graduated back in February.
How has it been?
I love it. I mean, I am living the dream. This is exactly what I wanted. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s crazy, but it’s all worth it. It’s all about taking small steps in the right direction.
What are you up to now?
Right now, I am just auditioning, taking lots of class, and getting my name out there. I have a part-time job--I work at Radio City as a tour guide.
How did find out about that opportunity?
I saw the posting online, so I applied for the job, went through the training process, and then began working there.
It seems like working at Radio City is a pretty hard opportunity to come by.
We rarely hire. It’s a good job for a performer—because I am so used to dancing—this job allows me to work on speech, memorizing a script and dialogues--it has broadened my horizons.
I’ve seen couple photos of you working at Radio City during Tony Awards rehearsals. What was that like?
That was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had at work so far. We got to watch the rehearsals, and the whole cast was there. Throughout the whole week, they were putting up the set pieces, and you got to see the whole process. Then when the event happened, we got to see how it all came together. There was Kristin Chenoweth, Vanessa Hudgens—walking right beside me, and I was like, “This is amazing.”
What was your job during that week?
For the Tonys, I was just giving tours throughout that week. But the rehearsals would be happening in the theatre, and they would be doing a soundcheck. I wasn’t directly involved with the Tonys, but I got to experience it. I was starstruck.
Where do you see yourself going? What do you want to do?
Eventually, I want to be on Broadway. That’s my be all end all. That is where I want to be. So whatever it takes to get there—regional theaters, national tours—as long as I get to dance, I’ll be happy.
What was the toughest time you’ve had as a performer?
Most recent was probably one of my toughest times. Because I had been out there auditioning and working hard. Nothing was just clicking. And I saw people around me getting jobs and all these opportunities. And I just wasn’t. And that was tough because I thought to myself, “What am I doing wrong?” You rarely get feedback in this industry so you’re left on your own to evaluate yourself. That was really tough. I couldn’t just figure out what was happening. I saw everyone else around me going forward, and I was just kind of..there. I snapped out of that most recently, but it’s tough. Being alone in the city without family, trying to make it in this business, it’s incredibly hard.
I think that’s a struggle that a lot of performers share.
Yeah, it happens. That’s what made me realize that I am not the only one going through this. There are hundreds of other people just like me.
What helped you snap out of feeling down?
Back in June, I went home for a week just to visit. I talked with the owner of my dance studio, Mrs. Oliver. She’s the most influential person in my life. We just sat there for hours and talked and talked. She shared a lot of amazing words with me. She reminded me that I can do this. You made it to New York--you’re there. What we’re doing, what all these artists are doing, it’s not easy. Anyone can go to college and get their degree, but to come here and be so vulnerable and put yourself out there is tough. She just reminded me to keep going.
She’s been there for me ever since I started dancing. She really took me under her wings. She was such a good mentor for me. She just always knows exactly what to say. I love her so much.
What would be your advice for other performers out there?
One thing that I’ve learned coming here and from school is to take risks. Don’t hold back. Just go for it. Eventually as I got through school, I’ve adapted into that. Just go for it. Don’t care about what anyone thinks about what you’re doing. You’re here for yourself. Make it happen. Don’t go back.
What’s your favorite part about New York City?
The best part is that there’s always something happening. You can go see a show; you can go take a class, you can go to a museum. There’s always something for you to do. You can always be a part of something bigger than yourself. Also, you fall in love with the city everyday in a different way. You see somewhere new; you go somewhere with memories; you just fall in love again with New York. It’s like a timeless love story.
What’s your least favorite part?
Definitely slow walkers. There are always crowds of them, and they’re always moving one step at a time. I wouldn’t mind if the cost of living was a little bit lower. That would be nice.
Anything you want to share with the world?
Your success isn’t determined by a job you get or a role you get or something you do. Success is your choice inside. You go to an audition and don’t get the part but maybe you dance the best you ever did. That’s success. Use your own gauge to monitor your success. Don’t follow anyone else’s standard. Make it up. It’s your life.