How did you start dancing?
When I was younger, my sister and I both danced at a local studio. My sister wanted to stop dancing, so my mom took us both out, and I didn’t start back again until 5th grade. I had to play catch up for a while. I danced through high school on my dance team. In college, I was majoring in Secondary Education English at University of Maryland. I didn’t even realize dance could be a career until someone else told me that they were majoring in dance. So I started taking classes down in Maryland, but I realized that I needed more technique classes. I came back to New York, studied communications at Marymount Manhattan College, danced at the Ailey School, and got into theatre.
Dance never crossed your mind as a career option for you.
No. I didn’t think I was good enough. I was way behind. I basically started back when I was 11, so all of the things you learn from 5-11—turns, pointing your feet, all that—I was missing them. So I was just having fun, doing it on my own, and loving dance but not as a major. In Maryland, there were some classes I loved, but it wasn’t like New York, and I didn’t feel like it was going to get me where I need to be technique wise. I ended up auditioning for the Ailey school and did independent study. I ended up switching to their work study program because with college academics, the workload was crazy. At the same time, I was going to BDC taking 5 classes in a day and running back and forth in between them. After school, my parents and I thought, “Let’s give it a year and see what happens.”
So you gave yourself some time to see what you could do in this field.
Yeah, I interned at some corporate places, but I couldn’t sit at the desk all day. It just felt so boring. I actually would hate it. I knew that I wanted to dance. I was constantly convincing everyone around me—my parents specifically—that I could book a job in this business, because no one really understands what this business entails until you book something. Face value is such a thing. When I finally booked my first job with Disney, it clicked for the people around me. I think they finally started to believe in me.
That whole transition period was cool. I opened up the Disney Dream ship, and that was the best thing in the entire world. It was so much fun. I learned how to be a professional dancer with the cast. I learned about the theatre world and how crazy everyone is. I learned how to dance constantly all day and keep up the energy 110% with a smile on.
How long did it take you to book your first job?
About a year. I booked Disney in June, and I had graduated a year before.
That’s a long time to be waiting for something that you weren’t sure about in the first place.
I was just working constantly. I kept having to say to people that something will come. I was so uneducated about the business, but I am glad that I just kept going. Looking back on it, it was a really long time. But I just kept going to the auditions and tried to do my little diddy.
During that time, I did a program with R.Evolución Latina in their Beyond Workshop Series. That was amazing because they just brought out this spark and passion inside of me. I never used to tap into that. The workshop shaped me to have that courage. I think a month or two after that workshop, Disney came along. I remember being so excited to tell them and thank them for bringing the shyness out of the way of my performing. Before that workshop, I was so hesitant to perform and still thought about how I wasn’t great because my leg doesn’t go that high and how I was behind in my training. I still wanted to make it in the business, but I didn’t know how I was going to fare up. That workshop enabled me to tap into my passion and do what I secretly wanted to do inside. That really helped. I’ll never forget that.
What happened after Disney?
After Disney, I came back to the city. A couple of months later, someone from the ship told me about this skating show that she did and how they needed dancers. I went to the website and submitted myself, and they asked me to go to Europe for six months. I toured with this skating show that felt like a rock star concert all over Europe. Skaters, dancers, and aerialists—it’s hard to explain, but the show was called Speed, and it was really cool. It was another “Woah, this is what you can be doing as a dancer” moment for me.
It’s so weird when I look back on it because I was all over the place. But I was saying yes to these things that came to me for a reason. Before I was in the industry, I had never been out of the states or outside of the East Coast except for Canada. Disney brought me to the Bahamas and a place in Holland. This job brought me all around Europe—Germany, Austria, Denmark. I got to do all these things that my old Long Island childhood never even dreamed of. I realized how performing life can take me so much farther than I ever would have imagined.
What are you up to now?
I finally booked my first musical, Saturday Night Fever, last summer. That was awesome because it was another learning step of doing a musical. Singing, acting, having stamina—I had to learn these things on the job. I was fortunate enough to do Cinderella last fall, which was another dream come true. I am just trying to dabble into the musical theatre industry more knowing how challenging it can be with lots and lots of people pursuing the same dream at the same time. I am understanding more and more that the casting directors are on your side and they want you to be great, but we’re so in our heads that we don’t hear it. Now I really listen to what the choreographers are asking for and tap into it faster. Everything else is out of my control. I just want to leave it up to them. I want to go in, focus on myself, and offer what I can and see what happens.
What are your aspirations?
I want to keep going with musical theatre. I want to do more shows. I want to obviously do Broadway because I grew up here and that’s all I know. I never even knew what regional theatre was at all. I grew up on Long Island, but I came to see shows in the city all the time. I actually had to ask somebody what a regional show was. I would also love to do a national tour because I’ve never been to the Midwest or west coast. I just want to do everything and maybe cross over into TV and film in some aspect too.
I’d say the in between times. I had another year of almost not booking a gig. I just couldn’t afford it. It’s so expensive to live in the city. I had so many jobs at the same time. I couldn’t afford singing lessons, and I thought about the things I could do to survive. So I looked for work-study jobs. For dance classes, I did so much work-study at BDC and Steps just to continue training.
I was just not aware of the industry. I used to think, “I am not a good singer and can’t afford lessons, but oh well.” But you can always practice on your own too. I would just be sitting at home because I couldn’t afford to go out or take lessons. When I finally got into the audition room, that same negativity was inside of me. I finally got everything in order and just worked more. I had that money, made time for the lessons, and stopped complaining about the negatives. I started thinking about the positives and what I could offer. Once I started tapping into the positives, it changed everything. I used to be upset about being typed out. It’s a plain and simple concept, but it’s hard to grasp. Once you realize that, you can release it. If I get told they’re not seeing non-equity, I pack up my things and go take a class, go home, or go work. I am not going to freak out anymore about it. I hear people freak out, and it’s okay. You just have to move on. You have to learn the balance and the sooner you learn it the easier it will be. It just takes time.
Number one advice?
Believe in yourself more. Stay positive. It really makes a difference when you just go in and you think about the joy it brings to you and share it with everyone else. Go back to the basics. You love what you do. Just share it and go from there. Don’t think about anything else. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I look back at all the no’s I got, and I realized these no’s opened up opportunities for me. Life is not about that one audition. There are so many more other things to do.
Is there any last thing you want to share with the world?
Trust in yourself. Stay positive. That’s all I have to say. As long as you’re positive and believe in yourself, you’ll get far. You can do it.