Letter to My Teenage Self: Jessica Lee Goldyn

Goldyn with ADM21 in "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises (photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy ADM21)

Triple threat Jessica Lee Goldyn got her professional start in musical theater during high school, when she earned a spot on the national tour of Fosse. But her big Broadway break came four years later, when she played Val in the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line (you can see her audition for the part in the film Every Little Step). During the Broadway run, Goldyn also understudied the lead role, Cassie, which she later played at the prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse in her home state of New Jersey. Goldyn has also appeared on TV in NBC’s “Smash.” This month, she’ll reprise her take on Cassie when the musical theater revue company American Dance Machine for the 21st Century performs at the Joyce Theater in NYC. —Jenny Dalzell

Goldyn as Clara in the Paper Mill Playhouse's The Nutcracker at 14 years old (photo courtesy Jessica Lee Goldyn)

Dear Young Jess,

You’re such a bright, fun, passionate and positive young lady. Revel in your optimism and have patience—God has perfect timing. Quit trying to plan for the future, because you’re in for a bunch of surprises. When in doubt, use your killer sense of humor and laugh, because worrying will get you nowhere. Live one day at a time and enjoy every moment. Take care of your body. Always warm up. Eat healthy, and stop obsessing over what you see in the mirror. You’re beautiful. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect—you’re perfect just the way you are. You’ll never please everyone, so focus on what makes you happy. I know you’ve sacrificed so much to do what you love, and you’ve missed out on a lot socially. But don’t worry about being “normal.” You’re not normal, and you never will be. It’s your dorky, silly, zero-inhibition self that makes you wonderful. Don’t let the pursuit of friends or boys sidetrack you. Be yourself, stay focused and the right people will come into your life when the time’s right. Remember there’s more to life than singing, dancing and acting. After all, the more life experiences you have to draw from, the richer your performances will be. So live! Pay attention in school (you’re not fooling anyone with that script under your textbook), take a dang hip-hop class and learn to drive! Most important, embrace yourself. Let your free spirit soar, and show the world your hopeful heart. You’re one of a kind. Love yourself, and SHINE!

Love,

Older Jess

Latest Posts


Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search