Dancer to Dancer

What It's Really Like to Dance with J.Lo in Vegas

Natalie Romero (far right) onstage with Jennifer Lopez in All I Have (via Instagram)

Las Vegas has been home to some of the most fabulous shows of all time—including, these days, the dance-filled Jennifer Lopez showcase All I Have. What's it like to perform on The Strip with a world-class artist? We asked J.Lo dancer Natalie Romero for the inside scoop.


Booking with Jenny from the Block

Since J.Lo has real dance chops and works with big-name choreographers like Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo and Kyle Hanagami, spots in her dance crew are especially coveted. Romero's All I Have journey began in an unusual place. "Tabitha and Napoleon held a very exclusive, invite-only audition for Jennifer Lopez—at her house!" Romero remembers. "The room was filled with talented dancers. When Jennifer came in to watch us in small groups, I swallowed my nerves and danced my heart out for her." Romero was first booked as Lopez's stand-in for a one-time performance, and that role helped her secure a spot in All I Have.

natalie romero Romero working that fringe onstage in "All I Have" (courtesy Romero)

Lopez's packed schedule leaves her with limited time to rehearse. That means she works hard and picks up choreography fast—and she expects the same of everyone around her. "When she walks into the room, there's an elevated energy that follows her," Romero says. "Working with her is like working with a whole team of masters. She sees, she hears, and she feels it all."

Onstage on The Strip

Every All I Have show is a bit of a whirlwind. Each performance begins with a prayer circle to focus the group. Once the dancers hit the stage, you'll hear them hooting and hollering to pump each other up. Wardrobe techs are stationed in the wings to help with the crazy quick changes, which involve everything from ballroom-style dresses to sexy unitards.

A backstage selfie (courtesy Romero)

All I Have opened three years ago. "We do our show about three times a week, and sometimes we have breaks for over a month between our runs," Romero says. To keep things lively night after night, the dancers might challenge themselves to perfect an especially tricky section in one performance, or choose a new character to play in another. "The show also gets repolished by the creative team each time it returns," Romero says. "That's really kept it interesting and fresh."

Viva-ing in Las Vegas

Typically, dancing with J.Lo would mean touring the world. But while touring is an incredible experience, Lopez's residency in Las Vegas definitely has its perks. "The residency provides stability," Romero says. "On tour, you're changing time zones and traveling on your down time. Being in one city allows you more time to rest and reset your body before every show. Plus, we're able to take other work between show runs." Romero is also a Vegas native, which means she gets to hang out with her family and friends when she's off. (Talk about work/life balance.)

How does Romero stay grounded during All I Have's intense runs? "I like to start my day with meditation and some yoga, followed by a veggie-filled smoothie," she says. "Before heading to the theater, I'll spend time working on the furniture company I run with my fiancé, Mattalie Design, and tend to my large garden." After lunch, she'll take it easy to make sure she has plenty of energy for the night ahead. "We have a rehearsal onstage at 5 pm to smooth out any issues from the previous show," she says. "Then we do hair and makeup and BOOM—it's show time!"

Being Prepared

Courtesy Romero

Want to follow in Romero's footsteps? If you dream of dancing with an artist of J.Lo's caliber, Romero suggests sharpening your dance skills—all of them—and taking really, really good care of your instrument. "We do every style in our show, including salsa, hip hop, and vogue, and we learned from multiple choreographers," Romero says. "And dancing in a show like this means thinking and training like a professional athlete, especially in terms of nutrition and physical therapy."

Show Comments ()
Dance News
2018 graduate Meredith Santoro in a shot from the PURCHASE DANCE x SUPREME series (screenshot via @issadancelook on Instagram)

Our story begins on January 3, 2018, when an account called @issadancelook suddenly appeared on the Insta-horizon. Almost immediately, the page was chock-full of artsy shots of SUNY Purchase dancers in their quirkiest, most stylish classwear and rehearsalwear. Barely half a year later, the page has an intensely engaged base of followers, and even mainstream fashion has taken notice—but more on that in a minute.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Lucky you! You get to spend a week full of dancing with amazing choreographers, teachers and dancers! As exhilarating as this is, you need to know how to get the most out of your camp experience in order to create those memories that last a lifetime.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Fashion
Photo by Erin Baiano

Throwback jazz duds that feel impossibly current? Groovy, baby.

Modeled by Amber Pickens and Carey Segal

Photography by Erin Baiano

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Once competition season has ended, it can seem like forever until you're ready to compete again. Don't let the down time between competition seasons drag on. Dance conventions are an easy and fun way to learn new skills, meet inspiring choreographers, and stay involved in dance all year long. Showstopper's Dance Conventions offer dancers an experience you cannot get anywhere else. Here is why you cannot miss Showstopper Dance Conventions!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Nathan Sayers

Few things are more beautiful than perfectly arched feet. While us normal humans are on a never-ending quest to make our biscuits look a little bit better, some dancers are just born with gorgeous bananas. Here are 9 artists—from big-name icons to up-and-coming talents—whose feet are all kinds of #goals.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via Vogue

Dancer and choreographer Sherrie Silver is living her best life. The 23 year old, who's most recent choreography was featured in Childish Gambino's controversial "This Is America" music video, continues to bring African dance to the forefront of pop culture with the help of Vogue magazine. Brooklyn is the perfect backdrop for this dancing queen as she breaks down five of her favorite Afro dance moves: the Gwara Gwara, the Hipjook, the Neza, the Snakula, and the Shaku Shaku.

Keep reading... Show less
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a lefty turner, and am more flexible on my left side than my right. My one-sidedness is especially noticeable because most people in my classes are stronger on the right side. How can I even myself out?

Camryn

Keep reading... Show less
Editors’ List: The Goods
Via @joandjax on Instagram

Summertime...and the dressing is eeeeeeeeeeasy. When you're heading straight from the dance studio to the pool or beach, you don't want to be messing around with complicated cover-ups. That's where these 5 MVPs of the romper room come in, bringing their breezy style to your pre-class, post-rehearsal, and everything-in-between looks. Oh, and three out of the five are on sale right now. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and romper-ound! (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

The Soline, by Wear Moi

Via wearmoi.us

This oversized cap sleeve romper with a half zip in the front features four-way stretch and extra-comfy wide leg openings. You can get it now on Wear Moi's US website for less than half of its original price.

Just for Fun
#6: We're never NOT stretching. (Giphy)

Dancers are truly a special breed. And that means some of the stuff we do every day—stuff that seems totally normal to us—completely weirds out our non-dance friends. Here are 10 funny dancer habits we're guessing you can totally relate to.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
2018 graduate Meredith Santoro in a shot from the PURCHASE DANCE x SUPREME series (screenshot via @issadancelook on Instagram)

Our story begins on January 3, 2018, when an account called @issadancelook suddenly appeared on the Insta-horizon. Almost immediately, the page was chock-full of artsy shots of SUNY Purchase dancers in their quirkiest, most stylish classwear and rehearsalwear. Barely half a year later, the page has an intensely engaged base of followers, and even mainstream fashion has taken notice—but more on that in a minute.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Nathan Sayers

Few things are more beautiful than perfectly arched feet. While us normal humans are on a never-ending quest to make our biscuits look a little bit better, some dancers are just born with gorgeous bananas. Here are 9 artists—from big-name icons to up-and-coming talents—whose feet are all kinds of #goals.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Quad Squad performing their routine on the "WOD" stage (screenshot via YouTube)

Last night's episode of "World of Dance" proves that there's literally an endless supply of talented dancers in this world. We're on week SEVEN of Qualifiers, and each week, we're continuously blown away by the competitors. Last night was no different, as eight more groups (all of whom deserved to advance) vied for a spot in the Duels.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
The cast of All Styles (courtesy Shout Factory)

What do you get when dance all-stars like Fik-Shun Stegall, Heather Morris, and Christopher Scott join forces for a movie? That'd be All Styles, the new dance film that just might give Step Up a run for its money. And you can watch the trailer exclusively right here.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
USC Kaufman Students in Class (courtesy Glorya Kaufman School of Dance At University of Southern California)

You can still dance at a high level while attending a school that has no dance department. Just ask these two recent grads—their post-college careers bloomed because they took charge of their dance education.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
"My comeback on 💯" (via YouTube)

We've always been impressed by Ciara's very legit dance skills. But for "Level Up," the first single she's released since 2015, the star decided to create a dance vid that is actually on another level.

How'd she do it? By recruiting choreographer extraordinaire Parris Goebel and her epic ReQuest Dance Crew. We knew "Level Up" was a banger from the second we first heard it, but by their powers combined, Ciara, Goebel, and the ReQuest dancers make it into an absolutely irresistible dance jam.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Photo by Sophie Elgort, courtesy Isabella Boylston

Last year, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston decided to bring world-renowned ballet to her hometown of Sun Valley, ID. The first three-day Ballet Sun Valley festival featured stars including Maria Kochetkova and Misty Copeland, performing solos, pas de deux, and a world premiere by Gemma Bond. Audiences raved so much that the festival will continue this year, July 17 and 18. The talent list has expanded: There'll be 25 dancers from companies including the Paris Opéra Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and New York City Ballet, and the festival will again offer a day of free dance classes for local students. Dance Spirit caught up with Boylston to get all the details—and to find out what starting a ballet festival is really like.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Giveaways