McRae in rehearsal for Paramour (Andrew Atherton, courtesy Paramour)
A New Yorker through and through, Raven McRae lights up any stage with her big-city energy. She started training at a local Brooklyn community center, and went on to study at Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and The Ailey School. She performed with Dance Iquail, BalaSole and Ballet Hispanico's BHdos before being mentored by Tony Award–winning choreographer George Faison, who she met at an audition. McRae made her Broadway debut in Motown: The Musical, and is currently performing in Cirque du Soleil's newly opened show, Paramour. Read on for The Dirt.
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
“Lost Ones," by Lauryn Hill. I'm obsessed with Lauryn Hill. <3
What's your favorite TV show?
I love “Bob's Burgers." Every character in that show is hilarious!
What's something no one knows about you?
I'm still a little afraid of the dark. Every time I turn off the hallway light, I run really fast to my room.
What's one food you can't live without?
I cannot live without pizza! There's something about melted cheese that satisfies my soul.
Do you have any nicknames?
Most people call me Rae. Some call me firecracker…I can't imagine why!
Who would play you in a movie?
I would love for Kerry Washington to play me in a movie. I'm convinced she's my celebrity look-alike.
What was your most embarrassing performance moment?
I fell onstage at a recital when I was 12. I kind of deserved it because I tried to out-dance everyone and kick really high.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of myself for never giving up on my dreams. I never let anything discourage me from getting what I wanted.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a pop singer! I was obsessed with the Spice Girls and I wanted to be just like Scary Spice.
If you could work with any performer, who would it be?
Eartha Kitt to me is the fiercest performer that's ever lived. I wish I could feed off of the majestic energy she exudes.
What's your guilty pleasure?
I love to eat an entire pie of Domino's pizza and binge-watch any- and everything on Netflix.
Who's your dance crush?
Carlos Acosta. Enough said.
What are your pet peeves?
I really don't like when other dancers don't hold their spacing. I get paranoid that I'll get kicked.
What's one thing you can't live without?
I can't live without my Bible. My faith is very important to me. It keeps me sane.
What's it been like being in Cirque du Soleil's first Broadway show?
This experience is super-exciting! The acrobatics, singing, acting and dancing all come together so seamlessly!
What's your favorite part of Paramour?
My favorite part is singing a song called “Ginger Top." I love the 1920s feel it has. It's so catchy that it gets stuck in my head for hours!
Who's your dance role model?
Nicole De Weever is my role model. She is a beautiful, accomplished dancer. However, it is her devotion to giving back to the community that inspires me the most.
Who can always make you laugh?
My fellow cast member Yanelis Brooks can always make me laugh. She has her own way of saying things that is so funny to me.
What's your best advice for young performers?
I would say to know, find and investigate that unique quality in themselves that no one else has and let that shine! No one can be you better than you!