It's important to know about the artists who paved the way for us—especially in the musical theater world, which has been driven from the beginning by charismatic dancers and choreographers whose work continues to inspire Broadway babies. If you're a Great White Way fan, you should get to know these legendary artists, some of whom are still making moves.
PBS has released the 2017–2018 schedule for their Great Performances series of special, one-off TV events, and we think you'll want to sit up and take note—Hamilton and Cabaret and Holiday Inn, oh my! To make your appointment-viewing choices a little easier, we rounded up all of the danciest picks from the coming season. PBS = Perfect Broadway Spectacular. (Okay, we wish!)
Broadway baby Paloma Garcia-Lee has been all over the Great White Way: She's performed in The Phantom of the Opera, Nice Work If You Can Get It and On the Town, and was the dance captain in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Her mom was a Broadway performer as well, and Lee grew up training at the studio her mother owns, The Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts, in Newtown, PA, and commuting back and forth from NYC to take class at Steps on Broadway during the day. By the time she was 14, Garcia-Lee was studying ballet seriously at North Carolina School of the Arts. These days, the 26-year-old is performing in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Performing on a Broadway stage might seem glamorous, but it comes with one of the most grueling schedules a dancer can face. Maintaining your stamina and energy, warding off injury and keeping the material fresh for eight shows a week is no joke. So how do dancers do it? Dance Spirit talked to ensemble members from some of Broadway's danciest shows to get their survival tips.
Well, if you're Broadway vlogger and dance newbie Tyler Mount, super-easy! In a special video for Playbill.com, Broadway CATS Christine Cornish Smith, Tyler Hanes and Ahmad Simmons lead Mount through a phrase from the feline-tastic musical's opening number, "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats."
Broadway baby Eloise Kropp is living the dream. After making her Great White Way debut in the ensemble of On the Town in 2014 and landing a leading role in 2015's Dames at Sea, she's now in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved CATS. As Jennyanydots, the cat who lounges in sunbeams all day but comes alive at night, 25-year-old Kropp brings an irrepressibly bubbly spirit to the production's only tap number. Watching her in action, there's no question that she was born to wear tap shoes. "I never imagined being a tapper on Broadway," she says, "but the timing has been so serendipitous. Tap has really made a comeback in musical theater. It makes me so happy to see other people loving it as much as I do."
Kropp's journey from student to rising star wasn't always easy. After leaving college early for an opportunity that didn't pan out, she spent a year and a half auditioning, doing regional gigs and taking on odd jobs before booking On the Town. She's learned firsthand that in the Broadway world, perseverance pays off.