|Ashlee Dupre performing in Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out|
|Ashlee performing at the Kirov Academy of Ballet|
While living in the city, I continued auditioning for various ballet companies. In an audition for Vienna Staatsoper Ballet, out of 200 women I made it to the final four. Alas, I did not make it into the company. Soon after, I became interested in musical theater. My sister got me into it. She encouraged me to audition for the national tour of Movin' Out, Twyla Tharp's musical.
I had seen the show on Broadway and fell in love with it. Elizabeth Parkinson originated the female lead. She is my idol! The audition process was soooooo long. I seemed to be doing great, though. In the auditions for the show, Twyla would use me to demonstrate combinations. There were about 4 callbacks. In the final one, she announced the cast and I was a part of it!
|Ashlee w/Adam Dulin-Tavares in Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out|
When the tour closed, I got back to auditioning and soon landed a role in a new musical choreographed and directed by Lynne Taylor Corbett in China. That’s when I joined the union, Actors Equity. I had speaking lines and had to sing in the production. I found out that I could sing, which opened doors for me. When I returned to NY, of course, I had to continue auditioning. I also started taking voice lessons. I would go to every audition on the Actors Equity website that I could possibly do. I finally got another job, Phantom of the Opera, in Las Vegas. That was incredibly exciting! I felt like I could actually make a career for myself in musical theater.
It was tough living in Vegas. Even though I was working, I still had to look for my next gig. That’s the thing with musical theater, your job can end before it even begins. I am constantly auditioning. I would fly back and forth from Vegas to NY for invited calls. When Phantom finished I was back in NY. I went to Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise's musical theater summer program as a chaperone, but was able to take all of the classes offered. It was such a wonderful opportunity because I got to network with some amazing people. And I landed my next gig, Where’s Charley?, in the Encores! program at City Center because of it. I was the featured dancer in the program. I LIVED!!!
A couple months after that ended, I received a Facebook message to join the cast of Silence! The Musical. And here I am today, a working dancer, singer, and actress in NYC. It is incredibly hard to be a part of this business. It takes a toll on your emotions and body. But in the end, it's absolutely worth it. I learn new things everyday and I'm so grateful to be where I am today.
Ashlee's Advice for Freelancers: "Networking is one of the many challenges of a freelance dancer. It is so important. I have found that half the gigs I have ever done were because someone recommended me. Always be kind and open, you never know who you're talking to or who's listening. Of course, stay true to yourself."