From Ballet Dancer to Triple Menace: How Three Artists Juggle Musical Theater, Appearing and Dance Careers

Suppose you must quit in your ballet desires to pursue a profession on the Nice White Means or the silver display? Suppose once more. These three dancers took the chance to develop their attain artistically and professionally and located that they will have each ballet and appearing on their calling playing cards. (The primary takeaway from all three? Common ballet class is an absolute should.)

Anaïs Blake

Anaïs Blake lives in Los Angeles working as a contract dancer and actor. Rising up in Chicago, she took ballet and dabbled in modeling and appearing. “However being in a ballet firm was one thing I needed to do,” she says.

Anais Blake and Aaron Patrick Craven in Soiled Dancing. Photograph by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy Blake.

Blake danced professionally with The Sarasota Ballet for 9 years, taking appearing and voice classes on the aspect. Whereas there she carried out in Susan Stroman’s Contact, a collaboration between Sarasota Ballet and the Asolo Repertory Theater. And through summer season layoffs she did business work, quick movies and musical theater tasks. When a possibility got here to carry out within the nationwide tour of Soiled Dancing as Penny Johnson, Blake says she thought, “That is it. That is the second I’ve been ready for.” She left the corporate to hitch the tour and, afterwards, landed notable tasks like Susan Stroman’s Little Dancer in Seattle and Broadway Dance Lab (now Dance Lab New York). Blake moved to Los Angeles when the pandemic hit, the place she’s presently centered on tv and movie appearing. However, she says, she’s “not over being a ballerina but.”

In Los Angeles, Blake has discovered performing alternatives with State Road Ballet, Luminario Ballet and, after all, annual Nutcracker guestings. She takes every day ballet class with particular lecturers who know that she nonetheless desires to be pushed so as sustain her power and stamina.

Blake signed with an agent to pursue her appearing profession, and having a motion background has made her stand out. Her bodily consciousness makes studying struggle choreography simple and has landed her the chance to create a personality for a online game, in addition to carry out as Celine Dion’s dance double for a nationwide business.

“So long as I simply hold all of the issues transferring and going, it’s wonderful what number of issues are taking place which you could be part of,” she says about balancing her dance and appearing careers. “You don’t have to only take all the pieces you might be provided, as a result of there are such a lot of alternatives on the market.”

Jolina Javier

Coming from a strictly ballet background, Jolina Javier began increasing her vocabulary into fashionable and modern dance when she attended faculty at Buy Faculty, State College of New York. After commencement, she danced for smaller ballet, modern and theatrical dance firms in New York Metropolis. However she received her first style of musical theater when she landed a job within the ensemble of the Radio Metropolis Music Corridor Christmas Spectacular, the place she has continued to carry out for seven seasons. “I assumed my mind was going to blow up studying learn how to sing and dance on the identical time, however I liked that it was enjoyable and difficult,” Javier says.

A corps of eight female dancers in long, ornate green dresses with floral headpieces pose in three staggered lines onstage. Wearing pointe shoes, they stand in a tendu derriere in effacé with their right legs back, and their arms curved into a first position and swinging out slightly to their left. They all look over their right shoulders with large smiles. A male dancer in lederhosen and a holding a shepherd's staff dances behind them, jumping up with his right arm above his head.
Jolina Javier (entrance row, left) in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Photograph by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Javier.

She provides that pursuing the person crafts of dancing, singing and appearing has “made my storytelling higher.” Through the years she’s had ample alternative to develop these completely different points of performing. She’s labored in quite a lot of regional theaters, in addition to on Broadway, in Phantom of the Opera. Her dance gigs embody tasks with firms like Ballet Noir, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance and The Chase Brock Expertise. Final 12 months Javier had the chance to carry out with Girls In Movement, a New York Metropolis–primarily based dance firm that helps feminine choreographers by way of commissioning, producing and mentoring. And amongst her favourite tasks has been performing in Susan Stroman’s Little Dancer at The Kennedy Middle.

Javier takes many kinds of dance lessons, together with Pilates and conditioning, to remain in form and continue to grow. However ballet class continues to take priority over others. “It’s how I understand how to heat up my physique, and it’s like my meditation within the morning that units me up for the day. It’s my basis,” she says. “I’ve by no means felt as sturdy and maintained as I do now. I’m working with extra finesse than once I was youthful.”

Francis Lawrence

Throughout center faculty in his native Australia, Francis Lawrence balanced his ardour for musical theater and ballet by coaching in each equally. However when he was accepted into the Australian Ballet College at age 17, he narrowed his focus. Remembering his mother’s recommendation that “you may be jack-of-all-trades, however grasp of none,” Lawrence made a plan: He’d pursue a ballet profession first, and return to appearing later.

During a performance of An American in Paris, the ensemble gathers in a large group to pose for a picture and facing a photographer downstage. Many of them hold their arms up triumphantly in the air, and wear costumes reflecting the 1940s.
Francis Lawrence (third from proper, kneeling on desk) in Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris. Photograph by Darren Thomas, courtesy Lawrence.

Throughout his years dancing with Australian Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Grand Rapids Ballet, he stored up with singing classes as his schedule allowed and typically did auditions to maintain his musical theater abilities sturdy. The month he turned 30, Lawrence landed a spot on the nationwide tour of Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris and determined to go for it. After the tour accomplished, he made the choice to freelance in each ballet and musical theater as an alternative of returning to regular firm life.

Francis Lawrence is photographed from the back sitting in a director's chair with the words Law & Order printed on the back. He turns in the chair to face the camera with a big smile, and wears a brown jacket, jeans and black sneakers. The chair is on a New York City street facing a ice cream shop, with a fire hydrant, metal gate and orange newspaper stand in the foreground.
Francis Lawrence on the set of “Legislation & Order.” Photograph by Adrian Learn, courtesy Lawrence.

When COVID shut down dwell performances, Lawrence out of the blue had time to put money into appearing. He enrolled in digital on-camera lessons and developed an appearing web site, reel, resumé and headshots. He quickly signed with a supervisor. Although dancing has definitely helped transfer his movie and tv profession ahead—like a job in Hallmark Channel’s Sugarplum Twist and dealing with Debbie Allen in Netflix’s A Jazzman’s Blues—he’s additionally expanded into jobs that don’t spotlight his dance background, like co-star in a current tv episode of “Legislation & Order.”

For the reason that world has reopened, Lawrence has been busy juggling dance, musical theater and appearing. Highlights embody finishing one other tour of An American in Paris in Australia, guesting with New Jersey Ballet and dancing in Andy Blankenbuehler’s restaged work Keep in mind Our Tune. With a purpose to bounce again into dancing an eight-hour rehearsal day, Lawrence thoughtfully and frequently prepares. “I feel the explanation why I can trip is as a result of the primary factor I do within the morning—despite the fact that I do one million issues—is go to a ballet class. That retains my choices open, rain or shine, daily of the week.”

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