As one of the Columbia Gorge Dance Academy-hosted Company dancers, Megan Hobbs has been working towards a career in dance. She recently completed a summer dance intensive training workshop with the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in New York City. Following is an interview with Hobbs about her path to this unique experience, conducted by Hood River News intern Katie Tolbert.
What drew you to first start dancing?
Well, it was just kind of a thing where every little girl does it and I just kept doing it because it was so much fun. Now I just can’t picture not dancing because it’s become such a big part of my life.
What’s your first memory of performing?
For my first performance I think I was like four and in this red unitard. I just remember thinking this was the coolest thing ever but now every time I look at the picture I just kinda think, “Oh that’s a bummer!”
What is a stereotypical thing about dancers that you think is untrue or over-used?
Just the pretty girls in tutus spinning with their arms above their head twirling in a circle, that’s not what it is at all — it’s much more physically demanding. Also when people say it isn’t a sport it makes me mad because it’s way more athletic than people think.
For the Rockettes intensive did you sign up through the Dance Academy or did you pursue it on your own?
I found out about it by myself; I went to their Christmas Spectacular in Portland a couple years ago and when I watched it I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that; it looks like so much fun!” So I looked it up on the Internet and I saw that they have summer intensives. In January I went down and auditioned in Los Angeles and I got in. It was an awesome and really fun thing to do.
What is it like to audition for that?
Well they show you these different combinations like doing kicks and double pirouettes and so when you audition you just try to attack it and do the best that you possibly can.
Being a Rockette is a pretty iconic role; how does it make you feel that you got to be one of them for a week?
It was amazing ‘cause I got to work with actual Rockettes as my teachers and they would tell us stories of traveling and dancing. It just made me want to be one even more; it’s something that everyone looks up to.
At school you talk about your feet; is it like a badge of honor for dancers — kinda like the more sores the better?
Oh yeah, totally! At the camp it was funny because at the beginning not everyone would tape their toes as much but then we all just had terrible blisters so it was like, “Ha, look at how many I have!” So by the end of the week everybody taped their entire foot and it was great, ha ha.
What does it take to be a company dancer?
Company dancers are the most elite dancers at CGDA. We have many extra practices and performances so they want dancers who prove that they are dedicated to dance.