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!


Older Jess

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

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