Everyone has a story. I don’t ever want to assume that the people around me have nothing of interest to share. So I stop, ask questions, listen. I love it! People are fascinating! I am surrounded by people at Ballet Austin who could regale me for hours with their stories. Inside every one of our dancers, staff, and incredible instructors is a wealth of life experience. Today I share just one.
Vincent Sandoval teaches theatre dance, tap, and Musical Theatre workshops at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School. We sat down the other day to talk about his upcoming holiday workshop Santa’s Gonna Rock and Roll. Not having been a performer myself, I am intrigued by the stories of those who are.
Vincent began to paint a picture of life in New York; life on Broadway and beyond. It was a journey. Vincent shared; I listened.
When I first arrived in New York I was performing in midtown at a cabaret. It was only 2 doors down from Phantom of the Opera. I was close, just not close enough. Eventually I found my way to Radio City Music Hall, the world’s largest indoor theater, home of the Rockettes and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I performed with the Rocketts for 6 years and was then asked to be Assistant Director and Choreographer to put up the LA company. That was the year we were asked to be in the Jay Leno Show. Jay Leno! Fun memories!
My biggest highlight while performing with the Rocketts was when I was asked to be a featured dancer in the show. For a time I was the only guy on that big stage with those 38 girls and their legs. Just me; pretty awesome. The Rockettes stood posed behind me in the background; I danced. To dance on that huge stage by myself was a thrill.
Beyond the Rocketts I had the opportunity to do many wonderful shows. My favorite was CRAZY FOR YOU because I got to go on the European tour to Switzerland, Germany, and France. The sights, the people, the food. I loved the food! Of course, there were a few times when we just craved some good ‘ole home cooking. I remember the time we toured to Japan. I grew tired of rice and soup. Being from Texas, I was missing some red meat and so I went looking for a cow. Thank goodness for Outback Restaurants in Japan!
The other reason I love CRAZY FOR YOU is that it was a tap show, and tap is my favorite!
I remember how much I loved tap right from the start. As a kid I had to tag along to the dance studio with my sister. It was my only way to eventually get home if I wanted a ride. My sister was the dance student. I was not. Tap was my sister’s last class of the day. I did my homework (or was supposed to) while waiting in the lobby. But the rhythm of the feet caught my attention so I would start tapping in the lobby. One day the tap teacher told my mom, “You might want to enroll Vincent into a tap class. He’s actually better than most of the other kids.” To this day my sister still gives me notes when I dance.
So many wonderful experiences and incredible memories. I still perform at times, but through teaching dance I am able to tell my stories, share the experiences and memories, and keep the shows and performers of Broadway alive!
Join Vincent beginning November 29 for the Holiday Musical Theatre Workshop. Learn some of the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular. Can’t make that workshop? Dance the 80’s in January! Or drop in to a tap or Theatre Dance class. Learn to dance while listening to the stories of Broadway and beyond.