Many of the dancers considering the Joffrey Ballet School’s summer dance intensives ask whether our intensives can really help further their dance goals, ambitions and dreams. We think the best way to respond to those questions is to let some of our successful past students speak for us. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring you an interview with one of our most recent Joffrey Ballet School success stories: Tovi Wayne.
Joffrey Ballet School Success Story Tovi Wayne
Tovi is currently a featured performer on Broadway with the mega-hit production of Mean Girls. A latecomer to the world of dance, Tovi has achieved his dreams through dedication and hard work (he used to paint the hallways and take out the trash at the Joffrey as a side job!).
He also trained with some of the best dance instructors in the world here at the Joffrey, including Michael Blake and Angelica Stiskin in the Joffrey’s Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program.
More recently, Tovi was a featured faculty member with the Joffrey’s Musical Theater summer intensive in New York City last summer, teaching his own Mean Girls-inspired choreography. It has been inspiring to watch his journey from a student at Joffrey with dreams of dancing on Broadway, to a Broadway performer and a member of our Joffrey Faculty.
We recently asked Tovi some of the questions that we believe are top of mind for many of the young dancers considering attending one of the Joffrey’s summer dance intensives. Here are the questions we asked, and Tovi’s responses.
Q and A with Tovi Wayne
What was your experience with the Joffrey Ballet School? What sessions or intensives did you attend and for how long?
I attended the Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz and Contemporary program from 2014-2017. At the time the Jazz and Contemporary program was coordinated by Michael Blake, who brought a beautiful vision, passion, and discipline to the program.
My time at the Joffrey Ballet School was my college experience and education. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned about hard work, admirability, to learn from your mistakes, and to understand your values as an individual and artist.
What was your dance experience before attending one of JBS’s programs or intensives?
Before my time at the Joffrey Ballet School I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my future. I had always done theater growing up but I knew there was something more that I wanted to accomplish. For me, that was educating myself in dance.
Dance was something that didn’t come naturally to me. I didn’t start dancing until I was 17 and even then I was known for having “two left feet on backwards”. Dance was an insecurity, which then transformed into an activity I wanted to get better at doing. Then it became something I LOVED. Now it’s what I strive to get better at, every chance I get.
What specific experiences stand out to you?
That’s a very hard question to answer. Every experience stood out to me. I like to say “every opportunity is an experience, and every experience is an opportunity”. But if I had to narrow it down to one it would be my time working with Angelica Stiskin in her piece called “Pride,” in which I was one of the soloists.
At the time, Joffrey Ballet School presented a dance concert called Billboard’s II in 2017. It was dedicated to the forever iconic Prince Rogers Nelson. (May he rest in peace.) I remember feeling so privileged to represent Prince’s songs and artistry through movement. That was an experience that I will forever cherish and to this day I’m still a hardcore Prince fan.
Shout out to Joffrey Alumni Robert Redick as well, for educating me on the genius of Prince!
Favorite classes or instructors and why?
My favorite classes would include Bradley Shelver’s ballet class, Beatrice Capote’s jazz class, and Michael Blake’s modern class. These classes were all taught with passion, influence, and a desire to inspire. I always appreciated those instructors for their ability to share their knowledge of an art form that they so clearly love.
Describe your experience with the Joffrey overall – dorm life, after hours activities, sightseeing, etc.? What are your favorite memories, friendships or relationships you developed?
My overall experience summed up in one word would be growth. I learned so much, what it was like to socialize authentically, how to cook for myself, to take care of my body when it asks for rest, to constantly be surprised and inspired by everyone around me, and my favorite part, exploring New York City. The list goes on.
NYC was literally my campus. Everyday was a new adventure and to this day I am still discovering new things about this magical place. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, so give it a shot while you can!
What advice would you give to a young dancer considering one of the Joffrey’s summer dance intensives?
If I had to give you any advice, it would be to simply TRUST YOURSELF!
To quote Hamlet: “To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Dream on and thanks for reading!
Could You Become the Joffrey’s Next Success Story?
If you dream of dancing on Broadway like Tovi, or if you’re more interested in contemporary or classical ballet, or any other dance disciplines, a summer spent with the Joffrey at one of our summer dance intensives could be the next step toward making those dreams a reality.
Register with us today to audition for one of our intensives and take the next step toward your dance future!