Dishing with Elf the Musical's Callie Carter

If you've been dying to answer the phone with, "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" all year, we've got a show for you! Elf, the Broadway musical, has returned to the Great White Way just in time for the holidays. Based on the hilarious Will Ferrell flick, Elf promises lots of laughs, holiday cheer and great dancing. We caught up with associate choreographer, dance captain and swing Callie Carter to learn a little more about being in Broadway's most joyful show of the year.

 

Dance Spirit: What's the dancing like in the show?

Callie Carter: There's quite a bit of dancing in Elf. "Sparkle Jolly" is a full-impact dance number that make me feels like I'm being shot out of a cannon! But my favorite piece in the show is "Just Like Him." It's a jazzy number where I get to let my hair down and have a lot of fun.

DS: Tell us about your role as associate choreographer.

CC: I got to help director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw put the show together. I would take the choreography Casey created and put it on the cast—cleaning it and making it flow. It was a lot of work, but it was really fulfilling to be part of the creative process.

DS: How do you keep your stamina up when performing multiple shows a week?

CC: I try to take yoga and Pilates classes every week. I'm very injury-prone, so I have to be conscious about staying strong and keeping myself fit. When I was on tour I would go to the gym a lot, but now that I'm in the city, there are more classes to choose from. I also frequent Body By Simone for killer cardio classes.

DS: Talk about being a swing in the show.

CC: Being a swing means I have to know all the tracks in the female ensemble and be ready to go on at any given moment for any one of them. It's a lot of work, and it's really scary going on for the first time in a new "track." But the great thing about it is that once you're finished with a show, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment because you got through it!

DS: What's your advice for DS readers who want to be on Broadway?

CC: Take voice lessons! So many dancers forget that when they come to NYC they're going to have to sing. If you can sing and dance, you're already way ahead of the pack. There's so much competition here and having an edge is really helpful. Sing all the time, and get used to singing in front of people.

Catch Carter in Elf through January 6 at the Hirschfeld Theater. Click here for tickets.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search