From Broadway to Book Deal

Travel to NYC? Check. Audition for Broadway show? Check. Win the starring role in said Broadway show? Check! By the time Alex Ko was 13, he’d crossed more items off his bucket list than most kids would dare to dream of. But now, at 17, he’s checked off one more: publish a memoir. Alex Ko: From Iowa to Broadway, My Billy Elliot Story tells his tale of training in ballet and dancing in the Tony Award–winning Billy Elliot: The Musical. DS spoke to Alex about how he’s done it all.

Dance Spirit: When did you decide to write a book? 

Alex Ko: I always liked writing in school, but my plan was to be a dancer. Then, I got injured a week into my run with Billy Elliot—I ripped the patella tendon in my knee and was out of the show for five months. When I couldn’t dance, I realized writing was my backup plan. I started jotting down my experiences for myself, and then it progressed into a real story over the next couple years.

DS: Once you started performing again, how did you find the time to write? 

AK: My dance training taught me focus, and I definitely needed it to sit down and write for hours whenever I could. I would write on the subway, at home in bed and even backstage during shows.

DS: What’s your favorite part of the book? 

AK: The family memories. My dad died when I was 11, and writing the chapter about his passing was difficult—it felt like I was reliving it. But in the end, writing it down was therapeutic.

DS: Who do you hope will read it? 

AK: Anyone with a dream.

DS: What’s next for you? 

AK: Right now, I’m training every day with Wilhelm Burmann at Steps on Broadway in NYC. I hope to keep dancing and to go to college to study English and writing.

Latest Posts


Monique Smith (Tom Marvel, courtesy Smith)

5 Black Women on the Obstacles of Dancing While Black

Civil rights leader Malcom X famously said that "the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman." Decades later, those words still resonate. And the dance world isn't immune to subjecting Black women to unfair treatment. After all, it wasn't until this year—and after mounting pressure from online petitions—that many major dancewear brands pledged to make tights and pointe shoes in hues that match the complexions of Black women.

But other, more insidious issues continue to obstruct progress for Black women in the dance world. Dance Spirit spoke with five Black women about the obstacles they've faced as professional dancers.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
TikTok star Niana Guerrero films a TikTok (courtesy Guerrero)

A Day in the Life of a TikTok Star

Niana Guerrero is only 14, but she already boasts 12.6 million TikTok followers—the kind of internet fanbase most people twice her age can only dream of. Of course, keeping up with her millions (and millions, and millions) of fans isn't easy. We spent a day with Niana to see what it really takes to be a TikTok star. —As told to Cadence Neenan

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
TikTok vs. Reels: The ultimate showdown. (Getty Images/TikTok/Instagram)

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Which is the Best for Dancers?

Instagram's latest video feature—Reels—has been rolled out to users over the past month and is now finally available to all. Similar to TikTok, the app's new feature allows you to create short videos to showcase your skills, whatever they may be. And for us, of course, that means dancing. Despite that, the two apps feel very different to many within our community. So which is the best for dancers to use?

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search