Tons of you wrote in to tell us who your idols are—and Keltie Colleen rocked the votes. Here, our grand-prize winner, Shannon Hood, gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interview her dance icon. Shannon, 21, is a dance minor at College of Staten Island. She chose Keltie Colleen as her dance idol because of her passionate dancing and the encouragement she provides her fans. Check out her interview!
Shannon Hood: What made you decide that dance was going to be your career?
Keltie Colleen: I’ve always been outgoing and hyper and liked attention, so when I started dancing I realized that I liked being on stage. And mostly sequins—I loved costumes! I decided I wanted to travel, sleep in every day and wear glittery costumes every day. It was either that or a pirate.
SH: What’s your favorite type of dance?
KC: I love to take contemporary and lyrical classes, which are my favorite, but I’m not actually the best contemporary or lyrical dancer. I’m the best at nothing. I’m like the master of nothing but kind of good at everything, so I can be good enough at hip hop, jazz and musical theatre so I can get jobs. But there’s not one area where I feel like it’s my special spot, which is good.
SH: What type of dance do you like to choreograph?
KC: I have my own kind of style, which is showgirl with a lot of beveling, tipping and arms, sort of Vegas old-school glamour, but mixed with hip hop. It’s girly hip hop. Really sassy.
SH: What’s been your favorite job so far?
KC: The Radio City Rockettes because I met some of my best friends doing that show, and it’s taught me a lot about discipline as a dancer and also about being a professional. I’ve been able to take that work ethic and obsessive determination to other areas of my career. That’s one of the things that makes me successful—I’m that person that’s working for more and doing her homework. I also loved dancing for the Knicks and Nets. I got to travel to Europe and Hong Kong and be on the court in those big arenas. 20,000 people watching was exciting!
SH: What’s your dream dance job?
KC: My dream dance job has been and always will be to dance for Janet Jackson. The “Rhythm Nation” video is the reason I became a dancer. When I was young there was a dancer in Canada who was dancing for Janet, and I was in junior high and always looked up to her. I thought that was the pinnacle job because Janet’s shows were so amazing. I had 5 goals when I moved to NYC, and the only one I haven’t reached is dancing for Janet, which I don’t think will happen now, but I keep trying!
SH: Who’s your favorite person or company to work with?
KC: Jerry Mitchell, the Tony Award–winning Broadway director who is currently directing a new show that I’m in opening in Vegas called Peepshow. Whether he’s working with a cast of three people or 500 people, he makes everyone feel like he or she is the most talented, most beautiful person that he’s ever seen. In dance, we’re cut up and criticized a lot, but with Jerry, he’s just like, “That’s so Keltie of you, and you’re so great. I love you!” Every time you walk into a room, he makes you feel loved. I think that’s really special. Some people are just so busy they forget to treat dancers as humans.
SH: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet who you’d like to?
KC: Janet. I also have a secret want to be on “Dancing with the Stars” because I think that Julianne Hough is the sassiest girl I’ve ever seen. I would love to dance with her. I’m not very good at ballroom, so I don’t think I’ll ever be on the show. I had this plan that my boyfriend and I were going to start doing infamous things around L.A. so we could get to be D-list celebrities. Then I could be on “Dancing with the Stars!” I still want to do a Broadway show, and I’d like to start my own company.
SH: If you weren’t dancing, what would you be doing?
KC: I’ve only ever danced! I’d probably still be in entertainment. Maybe an agent? Oh! I know! I would be a professional crafter! I would knit and make purses and paint.