What personal challenge taught you the toughest life lesson?

The personal challenge I’ve grown the most from, onstage and off, was getting fired from my first couple of performing jobs. I grew up in a dance studio with my mom as one of the head teachers, so I was treated a bit like the golden child. Male dancers, being in such limited quality, are always treated much better and have significantly more leeway than the girls in what they can get away with at most dance schools.

At ages 17 and 18, I walked in acting like a hotshot, thinking I had already “arrived” and I could just breeze my way past these professionals. I was humbled quickly because of my approach to the workplace. Getting dropped a couple times taught me the importance of daily hard work—to show up professionally, ready to go every day, always stay hungry and strive to be a better version of myself. The next job I auditioned for, I was told by the choreographer that they wanted to hire me, but I had a bad reputation and I was going to need to make changes in my work ethic and attitude to get hired. I decided then and there that I would never put myself in that situation again. In the 15 years since, I’ve kept that promise to myself.

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