Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interview w/ Janet Jackson Dancer Ellenore Scott from SYTYCD!

Photo by Lee Cherry
In a matter of months, Ellenore Scott has had the extensive, diverse, and popular dance career so many only dream of. After appearing as a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance?, the La Guardia High School for the Arts graduate has gone on to serious commercial success. She dances with Janet Jackson! (And before her fame we did an intensive with TAKE Dance together...she was fierce.)

Read my interview below with Ellenore about her recent gigs, the importance of finding an agent, and her struggle with injuries (we share the same doctor!).

You've had a whirlwind couple of years with amazing dance gigs! What have been some of the highlights for you?

My time on “So You Think You Can Dance?” was a magical and amazing experience. I had a blast and it let me to do so many different things! After SYTYCD, I had the pleasure of working with Adam Shankman on the 82nd Anuual Academy Awards, which was brilliant! Since then I worked on the soap opera “One Life to Live” as a principal dancer and am now dancing for Janet Jackson.

Let's talk Janet Jackson. What was that audition process like? How did you feel when you got the job?

The Janet Jackson audition was like no other audition I have done before. I reminded me of what auditions used to be like back in the day. Girls lining up out side the studio with full make-up and hair done, holding headshots and resumes in the rain for 3 hours just to be seen. It was very surreal. Once all the dancers were in we didn't even get to dance! First cut was appearance only...what a shocker! The next two rounds of callbacks consisted of learning a very girly routine as well as Rhythm Nation, which for me was amazing. I have been watching Janet Jackson music videos since I was 8! It was a pleasure just to learn four eight-counts from the choreography. Ms. Jackson came in at the last round to hand pick some dancers she wanted to see. When I got the phone call I got the job, I flipped out! I started to cry! I called my mom and told her and my dad and they were both so proud! I was a great moment in my dance career.

Ellenore, right, with Janet Jackson!
What was life on tour like with her? What was your typical schedule?

For about a month we work everyday [no days off!] for 8-10 hours a day learning all of the choreography. We were performing at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and she had a set list of 36 songs, 30 dance songs. So we had to learn 30 of Ms. Jackson iconic singles in the month! Talk about crazy! We had to learn and perfect about 1-2 dances a day. I have never been pushed so far in a physical sense and mentally as well. Ms. Jackson was very kind to all the dancers, taking us all out to dinner or bowling for someones birthday, always being very gracious in rehearsals. It was an amazing experience. Next stop for me and the Janet Crew in Shanghai, China in 2011!

You were a hit on SYTYCD! How did that help your career?

Gosh, I'd have to say that show single-handedly jumpstarted my dance careers. Before the show I was dancing with small dance companies here and there, but wasn't getting anything big time. I sent my headshots and resumes to different talent agencies in the city but nobody responded to me. The minute I got off the show and headed back to the Big Apple, I had a agent and I was booking jobs. It was so different for me! And now anytime I go to an audition, at least one person will come up to me and say, “Are you Ellenore from SYTYCD?” It an awesome feeling that people watched the show and enjoyed what I did on that stage.

How did you signing with an agent come about? How is that beneficial to your career?

Yes, I am currently now with MSA Talent Agency and they are great! Lucille, the head of the Dance Department, contacted me directly after the show. Many of the Alums from SYTYCD work with MSA, but most of the dancers are in LA. Since being with MSA I have been working non-stop! I love being with an agency because they find auditions they I probably never even heard of! I've danced for a Japanese Chocolate commercial, Propel Water commercial, Macy's live event, you name it! At least with MSA they treat me like family, which is so great in this industry. They really have helped me since the show and I love them for that!

Have you struggled with any injuries in your dancing? How have you overcome them?

I had my first surgery on my left knee. It was awful. I thought I'd never be able to walk again. With the help of Dr. Rose and the the physical therapists at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, I had arthroscopic non-invasive surgery and was healed within five weeks after the surgery! My latest injury I have sustained was from SYTYCD. During the Machine Gun piece with fellow dancer Legacy, I feel on my right shoulder and almost dropped out of the competition. After taking one day off the rehearsals, one of the producers got me an appointment with a nearby doctor that treated my pain temporarily. Because of that I got to finish my run on the show. However, it did not fix the problem. My shoulder still hasn't gotten better and I've been having pain for about a year. I recently had another surgery on my right shoulder, again by Dr. Rose, and I am in recovery now. All I have to say is be preventative, exercise regularly outside of dancing and always eat right. And if you do get an injury that technically isn't your fault [like falling out of a chair!] then don't beat yourself up. It can be fixed through proper care and seeing a doctor.

Who have been the greatest influences on your dance career? How have they helped you?

I have had many mentors in my life, including Christian Von Howard, Earl Mosley and Nathan Trice. These extraordinary men took me under their wings and allowed me to grow as an individual while learning from them personally. I was in both Mr. Von Howards and Mr. Trice's companies when I was in high school and Earl Mosley selected me to help him set a dance piece on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater by the time I was 17. These men helped me discover my dream and molded me into the dancer I am today. For them I am so grateful.

Any advice to young dancers looking to enter the commercial dance world?

The best advice I can give is try to get an agent. As crazy and hard as that sounds I bet if you send in a headshot and resume and a reel of you dancing with an interest in that particular agency, they will be more inclined to ask to meet with you. Also, take class with different people as much as you can. I know a lot of dancers that have gotten work from a teacher they took with at Broadway Dance Center or Steps. And when you are at an audition let your true personality shine through. In the commercial world choreographers and producers are looking for good dancers, but they are also looking for dancers that know how to perform and put on a show!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for interviewing Ellenore -she was my favorite from SYTYCD, I wish they would let her choreograph for the show! She is such an inspiration!