Meet Alisha! She's a dancer living and working in the big apple. Read more about how she started and chased her dream and why she loves the culture and city of New York. We're inspired by her drive and determination.
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?
Right now I am a working dancer and model in New York City! I'm constantly training, taking dance classes, and working towards my dreams. I also hold down 4 jobs! Babysitting, teaching dance, modeling, and assisting the Radio City Rockettes.
The first time I saw the Rockettes I was 13. And I remember being blown away. My mom was the one who encouraged me to attend their summer intensive audition back when I was 16. I was accepted, and after that summer I decided that's what I wanted to do! I moved to New York straight out of high school to pursue my dream. Since then I've been hired by the Rockettes as a dance assistant, which I like to explain as being "an extra set of legs" :) I help teach and demonstrate for their workshops, classes, and auditions. And this will be my second summer as their dance assistant for 8 weeks of their Summer Intensive; the same one I attended back when I was 16!
CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED IN DANCE? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT IT?
My mom signed me up for ballet when I was 7 because I had so much energy! She was just hoping to give me an outlet to jump around and tire myself out, but I fell in love! I was enrolled at Turning Pointe School of Dance, and trained there in classical ballet from age 7-17. I was also a part of the Zeeland Dance Program in high school. I love everything about dance! I love the discipline, the beauty, and the way I get to express myself through different types of movement. I think there is a lot of people hurting in this world, and often dance is able to bring people peace and joy, even for just a 2 hour Broadway show. It's hard to not smile and feel good when you're watching people pour their hearts into what they love, and that's what I hope to do for people.
SO YOU RECENTLY MOVED TO NEW YORK? CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THAT WAS LIKE? HAVE YOU FOUND ANY NEW FAVORITE SPOTS AROUND THE BIG CITY?
This will be my 3rd year in New York! I absolutely love it. Often times people get a misconception of New York because all you see in the movies are crowded streets, and rude taxi drivers, but New York is such a beautiful mix of culture. I hear at least 7 different languages a day! I love how everyone around you comes with their own back story, and everyone is here fighting and working hard. It's truly a place for dreamers. One of my favorite places in the city is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I can spend hours there! I also love Central Park, Stumptown Coffee, and I spend more time than I'd like to admit walking around Tiffanys on 5th Ave :)
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK, PERSONAL LIFE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN?
I have a pretty busy schedule, so I just prioritize. I make sure to leave enough time for all my necessary dance classes, work, auditions and do the fun stuff after. I'm not a huge planner, so everyday I just get up, decide what's most important, and do it. I get to see a lot of my friends during the week in dance classes, and church, plus I live with my best friends so coming home everyday is a social event!
WHO/WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED AND ABLE TO CONTINUE PURSUING YOUR PASSION?
A lot of my peers are my inspiration. I think every class you take, every audition you go to, you can see inspiration in everyone. We're all striving and working towards the same goal. I love getting inspiration from New York as well. Going to a Broadway show and seeing all the raw talent makes you want to work even harder. My mom is my biggest motivator. Whenever I'm having a rough time she's able to lift my spirits and remind me of what I'm capable of. I call her every day!
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FOUR PERSONALITY TRAITS AND WHY?
QUIRKY- I believe I'm a very quirky person! No one every expects me to do some of the things I do. My friend and I like to belt Justin Beiber at the top of our lungs while walking around the streets of New York. I'll tap dance on the subway and improv along with street performers. I always like surprising people.
LEADER- I have been described as a leader by a lot of my teachers and peers. It wasn’t really until I moved to New York that I realized I am very comfortable in leadership. I thought I would become introverted and shy in such a loud environment, but I have been put in MORE leadership roles in the city! Last summer I was in charge of preparing 80+ dancers in the mornings for the Rockette Summer Intensive. I think it's a challenge and I find it very rewarding to command a room.
DRIVEN- I am very driven by nature. When I want something I go after it with full force and tenacity. I am not afraid of challenges and I often take people doubting me and fuel. I love when people doubt me, just so I can work hard and prove them wrong.
DREAMER- I have always been a dreamer. I truly truly believe that anything is possible, and that you should never limit yourself. I have big dreams and I will continue to dream until I create the life I want for myself.
YOU SAID YOU ARE A DREAMER, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 5 OR 10 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD FROM NOW?
In 5 years I would love to be dancing with the Rockettes or in a Broadway show. I want to perform in New York, travel the world, and maybe even go to college. As long as I'm dancing I'm happy! In 10 years I'd like to be back in Michigan starting a family, and growing the next generation of performers!
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES? WHAT CAN YOU TELL A YOUNG GIRL THAT WANTS TO PURSUE SOMETHING SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Never give up, and never doubt yourself. I would tell them that what you want is achievable, that anything is possible, as long as you work your tail off and believe in yourself wholeheartedly. A lot of this industry is unfair and you will hear more No's than Yes's. But when you get that Yes it will be even sweeter because you know you how hard you worked.