Keeping The Faith: From Homelessness To Broadway
I first started dancing when I was 15 years old. That age can be difficult for any young man, but was particularly a challenging moment in my family’s history. At the time, I was living in a homeless shelter with my mom and siblings. Yet amidst all of this I managed to set foot in a dance studio for the first time.
With the surrounding pressure of living in the shelter, I truly began training. With six solid months of ballet training at my new studio, I got accepted as an incoming sophomore to the most iconic arts school in Miami: New World School of the Arts. Between my dance studio and my new school, my life became life so separate from what I had to call my ‘home.’
It’s clear that those circumstances were the impetus for me chasing and living the dream.
Opportunity after opportunity led me to live and work in Los Angeles, overseas and Las Vegas, and more before making a home in New York City.
Fast forward to this past November, when I lost my best friend, my mother, to cancer. On the heels of this, seven months later, my aunt, her sister, also passed away. Only two days later, I found myself auditioning for Frozen. I was beyond conflicted about attending this call for an emergency replacement. I just couldn’t find the will to try and wake up another day and move forward.
Yet, a voice came to me. It made me understand that, for as much pain as I was in, deep down inside, mom would have wanted me to go. So with that new faith, I got up, got ready and went with my aunt and mom in mind.
After hysterically crying on the train, I showed up to find more than 40 men auditioning for this one part.
I knew at this moment what I needed to do: succeed. I made the first combination cut, then the partnering cut and then it was narrowed down to seven men to sing and read. I couldn’t believe it.
Three hours later, I’d booked one of the most epic and influential shows of my career.
Being in the state I was in, I was still in complete shock. I just knew deep down those two angels were above watching over me. I am happy, grateful and changed that I didn’t give up. Either before the Frozen audition, or as a 15-year-old boy. I’d be lying in saying this has been an easy road these last couple of years. However, I know that everything, good or bad, has taught me so much character and has given me thicker skin.
Mom, you never gave up on me and made me believe. I pray anyone reading this would be compelled to keep that faith and NEVER GIVE UP as well. No matter what everyone’s journey is, just remember we’re all in this together and WE CAN DO THIS. Here’s to them…
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Published in collaboration with The Ensemblist