“I believe we are moving in the correct direction; KW creating more art and living through art creates a deeper, more beautiful, open-eyed community.”
What was it like growing up in the Waterloo Region?
I had a wonderful upbringing. I loved my elementary school days where I began lifetime friendships. I started dancing at the age of 3 where my love for the community grew. The highlights were the competitions where it wasn’t necessarily about competing but more so the travelling, sleep overs away from home and all the fun my friends and I had. These times are extremely memorable to me. High school was an unclear time in my life. I felt a lot of pressure trying to figure out how to achieve my artistic dreams. I wasn’t clear about my personal direction and where to focus my energy. As a Dancer/Performer there are so many different ways to begin the journey of professionalism. This is unlike going to school to become a doctor where there is a set path that must be followed for achievement.
Describe your process to becoming a professional artist. What would you pass on to others considering the profession part-time or full-time?
Long story short! … After my dance training in KW and after I graduated from high school, I went to a Toronto dance studio to continue my dance education. While in Toronto, I got an agent and began the process of auditioning. My very first audition I booked a milk commercial followed shortly by a film shooting in Winnipeg where I lived for a month. I then auditioned for the musical theatre performance program at Sheridan College. Sadly, I didn’t get in and I was devastated. I knew I wanted to be in that program so I took the year to improve my singing and acting. I also did a one year preparatory course to better my skills for my next attempt the following year. I tried again and got in. I worked my butt off for three years at Sheridan, taking extra voice lessons and acting tutorials. I graduated the curriculum becoming a strong and confident dancer, singer, actor. With the help of my agent and the hard work I put in, my auditions were more successful and I booked jobs. I would pass onto others exactly what Wayne Gretzky – the NHL superstar – once said, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
The audience sees the spectacle of the show, the end result, and the magic of the performance. What they don’t see is what it took to get there, the many failures it took to obtain the success and achievement.
What does the average rehearsal day look like for Chicago at the Stratford Festival?
We rehearse 10am- 6pm, Six days a week. We dance, sing and act for eight hours a day. For the first three weeks we focus solely on Chicago to get a jump start on the festival theatre musical. There’s no other feeling like putting on a pair of dance pants and LaDuca shoes for your work day 🙂. These days are considered primary Chicago rehearsal days. The Stratford festival is a repertory theatre, so we have other shows to work on. We now split into primary and secondary days for multiple shows and only rehearse three days a week up until tech and previews on Chicago.
What is one of your fondest memories working in the industry?
Going on in my understudy role as COLUMBIA in the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ at The Stratford Festival was instrumental to me. I will never forget that incredible feeling. It was so rewarding and such an achievement to play a role on one of the Stratford Festival stages. My Mom and Dad were there in the third row rooting for me. It still gets me emotional every time I think about it.
I believe it is important to always evolve.
Any myths you want to debunk for aspiring theatre artists, patrons, or supporters?
The audience sees the spectacle of the show, the end result, and the magic of the performance. What they don’t see is what it took to get there, the many failures it took to obtain the success and achievement. All the glamour and excitement is real but what is important to note is the sore body, the missed family events, and not possibly having a job after the current contract is over.
Can you talk about your personal journey to becoming a dedicated yogi and teacher? How has this impacted your life?
I started yoga 12 years ago as I was needing something in my life at the time but I didn’t know what it was. Looking back, yoga was something that helped me heal some personal issues and guided me in creating a solid building block for myself. Being a performer we have so many heightened experiences and with those highs, there are also lows. It’s very important to find a solid ground for myself. Coming back to the mat, my yoga practise helps me with mental, physical and emotional strength.
I reassure myself to trust in the process of how the industry works. I know in these times a slower pace is expected and I remind myself to enjoy these moments because soon the train will be taking off again and it can get busy quickly.
How do you monitor and motivate your growth as an artist? As a person?
I love being a student of life. I always love to learn and grow; it’s a natural part of my personality. I believe it is important to always evolve. Things that I do to build myself as an artist are outside of the business such as travelling, personal growth courses, and yoga retreats. It’s from these life experiences I grow as an artist. I also always keep up with my fitness, a healthy lifestyle and continue my training in singing, dancing and acting.
Describe a time when you felt stressed or overwhelmed. How did you handle it?
When I don’t have solid work or a contract in place I tend to get in my head and overwhelmed, I ask myself “ok what is next!?” I reassure myself to trust in the process of how the industry works. I know in these times a slower pace is expected and I remind myself to enjoy these moments because soon the train will be taking off again and it can get busy quickly.
I would pass onto others exactly what Wayne Gretzky – the NHL superstar – once said, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
If your life was a musical, what would the title be?
MISS B I’M SHE THE MUSICAL.
My nickname is MISS B. So there 🙂
Why do you think theatre is important for the Waterloo Region?
This art form is a growing community right now. We are so lucky to have the support and flourishing work in this area. I believe we are moving in the correct direction; KW creating more art and living through art creates a deeper, more beautiful, open-eyed community.