Christina Dooling

Christina Dooling, 22, is living most dancers’ dream. In 2006, while in her third year at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Christina was handpicked by COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet director Dwight Rhoden to join the company—before she’d even graduated. “Dwight offered me a contract right away,” she says. “The dean of the school was really happy for me. He said, ‘Whenever you’re ready to come back, we’re happy to have you.’”

Now in her second year with COMPLEXIONS, Christina is already garnering soloist roles. A pint-sized powerhouse (she’s just shy of 5'3"), she dances with attack, precision and confidence. She’s equally at home doing Rhoden’s challenging off-center pointework and strutting across the stage in stilettos, as she does in the opening of tHe hArDeSt bUtToN to bUtToN, a hard-rocking contemporary solo choreographed by Abdur-Rahim Jackson.

Christina started dancing at 3 in her hometown of Hamilton, NJ. She went on to study tap, ballet, jazz, acro, pointe and—her favorite style as a teen—lyrical. A successful comp kid, Christina walked away with Petite, Junior and Teen Miss Dance of America at Dance Masters of America.

After high school, Tisch seemed like a great next step. “The curriculum was really challenging. I knew I would have a lot of hurdles, and I absolutely did, but the teachers were amazing,” Christina explains. “Also, I’d never done any modern, so that interested me.” As she tackled this new genre, as well as supplemental courses in anatomy, “things started to click,” she says. “It was a different way to move, but I found my center.” Her modern training has come in handy when performing Rhoden’s signature frenetic, disjointed style, in which classical ballet positions are distorted by popped hips, flexed feet and funky ports de bras.

Even though she’s already gone pro, Christina plans to return to Tisch to complete her degree. “I feel like I’ve changed a lot dancing professionally, and I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned back with me,” she says. “But I’m also trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I’m really happy where I am. I’m in my dream company right now.”

Fast Facts

On Her iPod: Hot Hot Heat

Guilty Pleasure: Pinkberry

Must-See TV: “Gossip Girl”

Christina in Three Words: “Outgoing, prepared…and FUN!”

Fave Food: Mangoes

Reading: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

Hobbies: “I used to be a swimmer, so occasionally I’ll jump in the pool. Besides that, I’m usually either reading, working or watching Disney movies.”

Advice for Young Dancers: “There’s definitely a place for each and every one of you. If you’re dedicated and you love this profession, there are so many companies to explore to find where you fit in. Keep searching and persevere.”

Photo: Stefan Plegar

Latest Posts


Martha Graham Dance Company's Xin Ying (James Jin, courtesy Ying)

How to Dance Outside

We've all been stubbing our toes and whacking our elbows dancing in less-than-roomy indoor spots lately (hello, 5' x 8' patch of bathroom tile). If you're lucky enough to have access to a backyard or other big green space right now, you're probably itching to take your grand allegro outside, especially as the weather gets warmer. But how can you dance safely and productively in the great outdoors? We got pro tips from Mike Tyus of Jacob Jonas The Company and Xin Ying of Martha Graham Dance Company, both of whom were dancing outside long before COVID-19 hit.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Kendall Moshay competing at Youth America Grand Prix (VAM Photo, courtesy Kendall)

Here's How to Keep Your Competition Solo Performance-Ready While Quarantining

When you're bored in the house (and you're in the house bored), Nationals can feel like a dream that might never come true. But Kendall Moshay, Hollywood Vibe's Intermediate Dancer of the Year 2019, knows that now is the time to make like a Girl Scout and be prepared: "Sooner or later, everything will go back to normal—and you don't want to be left behind." Here are some top tips to keep your competition solo totally stage-ready, even when you couldn't be farther from a stage.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Congrats to Our 2020 Dance Grad Cover Stars!

We're thrilled to be honoring members of the great Dance Class of 2020 on special digital covers. One new cover star will be revealed every day during the month of May. Take a look at our winners so far below—we'll be updating the list daily. And if you're a 2020 high school or college dance senior, enter here from now through May 31st for your chance to be on the cover!

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search