In April 2009, Keltie Colleen graced the cover of Dance Spirit with the headline “She’s Got It All: Keltie Colleen on booking gigs, keeping it real and dating her rock star boyfriend.” She had been dating Ryan Ross, the front man of Panic at the Disco, for three years, and the article was filled with adoring quotes from him about their relationship. But by the time Colleen got her much-anticipated issue in the mail, the two had split in dramatic Hollywood fashion.
Colleen took to her blog “High Kicks and High Hopes” to write about the breakup, among other things. Now, she’s turned her story—about making it as a professional dancer and her relationships through the years—into a book, Rockettes, Rockstars & Rockbottom.
Dance Spirit: Why did you decide to write a book?
Keltie Colleen: I expected being a professional dancer to be one thing, but it turned out to be totally different. People say follow your dreams, never give up, but they don’t talk about the things that are going to make you want to give up.
After my DS cover came out, I was devastated because Ryan and I had broken up. But I fell back on my love for the stage—I knew dance would never leave me. The book follows me through three seasons as a Rockette, three rocker boyfriends and my time working in Las Vegas on Peepshow, where I fell in love with dance all over again.
DS: What do you hope this book will accomplish?
KC: This book is for the back-row competition dancers, like me, who never won a gold medal. I want this book to inspire dancers and give them an honest look at what life is like as a working professional. There were a million times where I walked into an audition and was cut in the first round; for each amazing job that I got, there were 25 awful rejections leading up to it.
DS: After everything you’ve learned, what’s your best advice for DS readers?
KC: Be yourself and love the things that make you unique. There is a place for everyone, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.