Dance-team diva. Kickline queen. Commercial champ. Keltie Colleen can do it all!

What’s Keltie Colleen’s secret? That’s what we were desperate to learn when the 27-year-old walked into our Dance Spirit cover shoot this past January.

 

Her charisma and classic beauty were evident from the start, but as the day went on, it was her other qualities that inspired us. She’s quirky, edgy and, above all, professional.

 

While moving seamlessly between outrageously dorky and super-sexy poses, she let it slip that she’d done her homework by practicing the night before and watching behind-the-scenes videos of past shoots at dancespirit.com/! Keltie knows that success is based on more than talent alone: It’s also about being determined and a risk taker.
 


“She always wants more.”
Most dancers would be satisfied booking just one of the types of gigs on Keltie’s resumé. She’s performed with Fergie at the Fashion Rocks concert and appeared in kanYe’s first music video, “Two Words.” She was a principal dancer in Disney’s Enchanted and recently choreographed John Legend’s “Green Light” video. She’s also toured as a Radio City Rockette—four times!—and danced with the Knicks City Dancers and the New Jersey Nets Dancers. Currently, Keltie is in Las Vegas to perform in Tony Award–winning director Jerry Mitchell’s new production, Peepshow, a sultry show that follows Bo Peep on her quest for love.

 

“I’m a chameleon, which is a dancer’s greatest asset,” Keltie says. “When I work for Fergie, I’m a hip-hop video girl; then when I’m onstage as a Rockette, I rock a bun and am tapping like it’s the 1950s.”

 

Keltie is also business-savvy. “She knows that if you want to work every day of your dance career, you have to be able to do it all,” says Anastasia Miller, Keltie’s agent with Clear Talent Group in NYC. “She’s always in class, and she’s always picking up new skills. She has never assumed that she’s made it. She always wants more.”

 

As one of the few dancers to make a name for herself on the internet, Keltie has acquired quite a fan base. She keeps in contact with young dancers through her MySpace page. (More than 40,000 hits last year!) She’s even gone on dancespirit.com/ to give advice on our message boards and produced a DVD that helps prepare dancers for auditions.


“Dance was my thing.”
But Keltie wasn’t always at the top of her game. In fact, she was a self-proclaimed back-row dancer when she started classes at Sherwood Park School of Dance in her hometown of Sherwood Park in Alberta, Canada. “It was like limbs everywhere!” she says. “If you had seen me at age 14, you might have said I looked pretty onstage, but was probably not a good dancer.”

 

But Keltie liked the attention that came with being a performer. “Dance was my thing that made me different from everyone else,” she says. Every morning, she took a 6:47 a.m. bus an hour and a half to Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts in Edmonton. Then she took another bus to class at Shelley’s Dance Company in the evenings. “I developed a work ethic that people don’t have when they are given things easily,” she says.

 

Keltie continued to push herself to improve by creating her own opportunities in the dance world. At the end of her senior year of high school, she auditioned in Toronto to dance on a cruise ship and was hired.


“New York was my goal.”
After dancing a year on the ship—“Everyone was in math class, and I was in St. Thomas!”—she had saved enough money to move to NYC in 2002. “New York was my goal growing up; something in my soul told me I had to dance there,” she says.

 

But when Keltie arrived, not everything went as planned. “When I auditioned for the Rockettes the first time, I didn’t get it,” she says. However, six months later, another audition landed her a spot in the famous troupe. “I’m glad I got over my fear of failure and had the chutzpah to stand in that line again.”

 

Keltie considers her big break getting to perform with professional dance teams—both the 2003–2004 New Jersey Nets and the 2006–2007 Knicks City Dancers. “Keltie immediately stood out from the 500 other dancers at the Knicks City Dancer auditions because of her energetic and fun personality,” says Michelle Harris, manager of entertainment marketing for the New York Knicks. While she was on the team, Keltie worked relentlessly to improve her dancing. “Her strong suit was her jazz technique, but she worked extra hard at her hip-hop skills to blend in with the rest of the team by mid-season,” Michelle recalls. Keltie agrees. “The kippup [hoisting the body from the floor to a standing position] was my nemesis!”


“Maybe It Was Her Smile.”
Keltie is so grateful to have a family that loves her and wants her to succeed. “They support me and celebrate with me and sent me money when I was broke,” Keltie says.

 

Another pillar of support in Keltie’s life is her boyfriend, Ryan Ross. (Yes, the same Ryan Ross of the band Panic at the Disco!) The couple met when Keltie was a backup dancer for the group at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. “We were at rehearsal, and the band came  to see the routine. This one guy was staring at me. It was awkward!” she says. (“For some reason she was the only one I even saw,” Ryan says. “Maybe it was her smile. Something caught my eye—and still does.”)

 

“Later I got a call from my agent,” Keltie says. “The band wanted to make sure I was going to the after party. Ryan and I ended up talking about Pop-Tarts and books, and we have been together ever since.”

 

Although the two don’t get to see each other often since they both tour, they enjoy similar activities in their time off. “You wouldn’t guess it by looking at her, but she’s sort of a nerd, which is what I love about her and why I think we get along so well,” Ryan says. “We both like to sit around and read or watch the Discovery Channel.”

 

Having a famous boyfriend has its share of challenges, though. Since she started dating Ryan, numerous blogs, message board posts and videos have bad-mouthed Keltie. Old photos of her in revealing clothes, which she wore for previous dance and modeling jobs, were posted and scrutinized. “Sometimes I laugh it off, but some of it has affected me,” Keltie says. “It hurts when people say I’m not a good dancer or I’m using Ryan. No one deserves to hear bad things about themselves.”

 

“It’s OK Not to Be Famous.”
In order for her fans to see her in the best light, Keltie first had to see herself in that way. “I realized I could either be the half-naked ‘hot girl’ in the music video, or I could focus on making better decisions. It’s OK not to be famous if you have to go about  it the wrong way.”

 

Whether it’s as a role model, dancer or girlfriend, she proves to be just as genuine the second, third and one-hundredth time you meet her as the first. “Keltie is the most giving and positive person that I have ever met,” Ryan says. “She’s made me want to be more like her in that way.” 

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What’s in Your Dance Bag—Based on Your Zodiac Sign

Sometimes our dance bags feel like portals to another dimension—we have no idea what half the stuff buried in our bags even is. (Note to self: Clean out dance bag.)

But have you ever wondered if there's a method to the madness? We're pretty sure there is, and as always, we're pretty sure it's something to do with astrology. That's right, your resident Dance Spirit astrologers are back with our best guess at what you keep in your dance bag—based on your zodiac sign.

Aries

You're always going 100 mph Aries (or maybe even more), so it's pretty much a guarantee that your dance bag is fully stocked with snacks to power you through the day. Granola bars, trail mix, yogurt, fruit. It's like a Whole Foods in there.

You've also usually got about six different pairs of shoes in your bag. As an Aries, you love adventure, trying new things and, most of all, a challenge. So when it comes to classes, you're all over the map. Tap, jazz, ballet, character, modern—you'll try them all.

Something else you won't go without? Your signature red lipstick, obv. How else are you going to show off your fiery personality? (And look amazing while doing it, TYSM.)

Taurus

As a child of Venus, you always want to look your best, Taurus. So your dance bag is a hair salon/makeup station, all in one. If your dance besties need to borrow a hair tie, or are looking for a fun accessory to spice up their bun, they know you're the one to go to.

Also important to you? Smelling your best. Taureans love comforting, luxurious scents, so your dance bag is typically equipped with a favorite perfume or deodorant. (Or both.)

But what's most important is the bag itself—admit it, you've been using the same dance bag for years. We get it, Taurus, nobody likes change, and least of all the stubborn bull of the zodiac. But if your dance bag is really starting to smell like feet (or if your bobby pins are starting to slip through the holes in the bottom), you might want to consider investing in a new bag.

Gemini

Gemini, you love to switch it up. So you're pretty much guaranteed to have at least three different dance fits in your bag at any given time. And your dancewear is always on point. You love to keep up with trends and try edgy, new looks.

Ever the intellect, you usually have a book in your bag, as well. You're always making book recs to your fellow dancers, and you refuse to be bored between rehearsals or backstage.

Though you might act carefree, Gemini, we know that at heart, you're ruled by Mercury—and you have more in common with your sister sign Virgo than you'd like to admit. That's why you always have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some floss in your dance bag. No way you're getting caught with food between your teeth (or bad breath during partnering class).

Cancer

Not to be obvious, but as a water sign, the first and foremost thing a Cancerian keeps in their dance bag? A water bottle, of course. (Preferably a Hydroflask, S'well or any bottle that comes in a fun color.) No dehydration here, please and thank you.

Your dance bag also functions as a de facto vending machine for your dance besties, since you always come prepared with the best snacks, and you're always willing to share. As a bonus, your snacks are almost always homemade, since you're practically a five-star chef.

And while we're wary of zodiac stereotypes, there is a pretty good chance your dance bag is stocked with tissues. And there's no shame in that—because, really, who can get through a performance of Romeo and Juliet without shedding some tears? Props to you for being in touch with your emotions, Cancer.

Leo

We'll state the obvious, Leo. You love to look at yourself, and sometimes the studio mirrors just aren't enough. So, naturally, you always keep a compact mirror in your dance bag, just in case your makeup or your bun needs an extra touch-up.

You also love bright colors, and you're not afraid to wear more daring dancewear than any of your besties. You've usually got a couple of leotards packed in your bag, just in case you need to make a fashion statement, and they're always fun. Bright colors, loud prints, stylish necklines—you'll try anything.

But something not everyone knows about you? You're an amazing friend, and incredibly loyal, Leo. That's why you've usually got something in your bag for your dance bestie, be it her favorite brand of granola bar, a fun sparkly pin for her hair, or a note reminding her she's a star, on and off the stage.

Virgo

You're incredibly hardworking, Virgo, so you've always got the tools for success in your dance bag. TheraBands, foam rollers, tennis balls—you're the one dancer your teacher can always count on to be stretching between classes.

You also love to be prepared, so you've usually got a makeshift first-aid kit in your bag. The thought of suffering a blister or floor burn without the appropriate salves or bandages makes you shudder, and, hey, it's always better to be overprepared, right?

What's most noticeable about your dance bag, though, isn't what's inside of it. It's what it looks like—your bag is pristine. It never smells like feet, and you've got a hard-core system for what you keep in each little zip pocket or compartment. And TBH, all of your dance friends are jealous, though they'd never admit it.

Libra

Like your sister sign Taurus, appearances are important to you, Libra. You like to look good (no shame in that), so your dance bag is always stocked with the essentials: extra hair spray, lip gloss, concealer, bobby pins and a spare leotard, in case you get just a bit too sweaty.

You also love to socialize, so if this were the 1950s, we would say that you always keep your date book in your dance bag. As it is, you always have your phone with you, and it's usually blowing up with texts from your dance besties asking to make plans.

Your dance bag wouldn't be complete without your secret supply of chocolate. But to be clear: This isn't your average Hershey's bar. Libras aren't afraid to indulge, so you keep a bar of luxury dark chocolate tucked away for when the cravings hit.

Scorpio

You can't fool us, Scorpio—the contents of your dance bag aren't some big mystery, like you'd like us all to believe. In fact, they're pretty basic: For starters, you always have a black leotard or two in your bag. After all, black is your signature color.

One thing that isn't in Scorpio's dance bag? Toe pads. You love to look tough, so you'd never be caught dead wearing toe pads with your pointe shoes. However, this does mean you need a hefty supply of Band-Aids for the inevitable blisters.

You also love all things mystical and, dare we say, witchy. You're the Halloween queen of the zodiac, after all! So it's no surprise you always have a crystal or two in the front pocket of your dance bag. Let us guess…moldavite?

Sagittarius

You're an explorer, Sagittarius, and that applies to your dancing. You're always trying new dance styles, and that's reflected in your dance bag. You always have the trappings of your latest obsession in your bag: heeled shoes for ballroom, kneepads for contact improv, sneakers for breaking, the list goes on and on.

But on all of your adventures, there's one consistency: You love making memories. And that means literally—you document everything. At each performance or recital, you're bound to be the one with a Polaroid or disposable camera in your bag, and you can usually be found snapping backstage candids of your dance besties.

Your other favorite form of documenting? Writing it down. You love to learn, so you're always taking notes. You can usually be found after class scribbling down your dance teacher's latest piece of wisdom. Your dance bag is crammed with half-filled notebooks, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

Capricorn

You like to be prepared, Capricorn. And we mean prepared—for every bad scenario imaginable. That's why your dance bag is a mini survival kit. The first Capricorn dance bag guarantee? A stitch kit, of course. Losing a ribbon on your pointe shoe mid-rehearsal is your worst nightmare.

You also always have at least three spare leotards handy. After all, what if you spill something, or get too sweaty or, worst of all, show up to an audition in the same leotard as your dance rival? No, thank you. As a Capricorn, you're expecting the best and preparing for the worst.

Another key to your survival kit? Headphones, so you can drown out the noise around you and focus on your dancing. And before anyone asks, the answer is yes, you have the perfect playlist—for each and every occasion.

Aquarius

Aquarius, you love helping others. That's why it sometimes seems like your dance bag isn't even for you—it's filled with stuff you bring for your friends. Snacks for one dance bestie, Band-Aids for another, and tampons, of course, just in case anyone needs one.

But when it comes to you, you're all about originality. That's why you always have tons of fun accessories in your bag: striped legwarmers, colorful socks, tie-dyed sweats and more than a couple of fun additions to your ballet bun, just to make it a little more interesting.

You're also a rebel at heart, Aquarius, which is why there's usually something in your dance bag that just borders on breaking the rules. Maybe your studio is strictly black leotards only—and yours is gray. Or phones are completely banned—and you just put yours on vibrate. We see you.

Pisces

Like your fellow water sign Cancer, you're big on hydrating during dance class. But as a Pisces, you're a little more imaginative (and a little less practical), meaning you're usually carrying your water in something aesthetically pleasing, like a mason jar, a tumbler, or one of those fancy water bottles with a crystal in the base.

Unlike Cancer, you're a mutable sign, meaning you can adapt to just about any situation. Counterintuitively, this actually means your dance bag is pretty sparse. Unlike other zodiac signs who feel the need to overprepare in case of disaster, you're comfortable in most situations, and your dance bag reflects it. You like the basics, nothing else.

Something most people might not know about you, though, is that you get cold easily. We're not sure why, but it's a Pisces staple. That's why if you keep anything in your dance bag, it's the coziest of warm-ups.

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