‘You didn’t see many Rockettes of color when I was growing up.’
“Rockettes wasn’t something I ever thought about doing. You didn’t see many Rockettes of color when I was growing up. At the time, they were trying to diversify more. They were having workshops geared toward minorities. I went to these workshops where you learned the precision dance styles and eye-high kicks and I was like, I can really do this. I auditioned a few times and always got far in the process but never quite got the job. After a couple of years, I had moved on to the commercial dance world, I was dancing in movies and TV. But then I came around to audition again and finally got the call. I ended up dancing with the Rockettes for 5 seasons, from 2006 to 2010. It was one of the highlights of my career and it was definitely the hardest job I had. The precision it takes to do that style takes a lot of rehearsal and you have to think about things in dance you’ve never thought of.
I had many people tell me I would never be a professional dancer, that I didn’t have the facility for it. Being strong and knowing what I want to do has carried over in everything I want to do in life.
“I’ve had the time over COVID to focus on what I want to do. I love dance. I love sharing dance. I love mentoring. I wanted to focus, as they did with me, on introducing the world of Rockettes and the world of dance to minorities and young dancers and show them that this is a career you can pursue. That’s been my focus. I want to develop a program where I can encourage dancers of color on Long Island. I’m trying to get dancers that are young to create a funnel of talent to keep feeding the Rockettes.
“I always say the greatest lesson about dance is that you learn discipline and perseverance. That crosses over to everything in life. You can’t have a career in dance if you don’t like to work hard and put in the work. I’ve had that be part of my life since I was 3 years old. I was never a natural talent. I had many people tell me I would never be a professional dancer, that I didn’t have the facility for it. I’ve been told I don’t have the pretty European look. Being strong and knowing what I want to do has carried over in everything I want to do in life. That lesson of being able to push through and get what you want — that has been the ultimate lesson.”