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Tamara and Dominque, Der Konig der Lowen

On my journey, Get the Gig

Sep 15, 2023

If you’re not up to speed with the journey, please go back and read because you won’t be disappointed. You know that I quit my corporate job and I took a leap of faith and moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a dancer. Along my journey I was helped by my cousin Christalyn Wright. I was motivated by my former boss Maria Zimmerman. I was inspired by Faune Chambers, Princess Mhoon, Asha Thomas, and Edward Franklin. 

Now right before I stepped foot in New York I had just completed a six week dance intensive at the American Dance Festival. It was an amazing experience to introduce me to the world of dance that I wanted to be in. Many of the teachers were given the opportunity to choose a cast and I was blessed to become a part of Shen Wei’s cast. Hailed as “one of the most expansive, creative minds in the arts” (Pia Catton, The New York Sun), choreographer, director, and painter Shen Wei is internationally renowned for the breadth and scope of his artistic vision.

(Shen Wei Dance Arts)

I had never met or heard of Shen Wei, but I just knew that he was a beautiful man and his work was intriguing. He was very soft-spoken but commanded the stage with his presence. He also knew how to pull out the best out of his dancers despite a little hard work and pain along the way. Insert tears…..I remember tears from being given critiques that would only make me stronger. I needed a moment to exhale. I needed a moment to cry and rid myself of the anxiety that I’d probably been traveling with since I decided to take this journey. At the end of the six weeks of the dance intensive, Shen Wei was developing his company. Among the other members of our cast, I was asked to be a part of Shen Wei Dance Arts. This began my first concert dance experience. I did a few rehearsals but I did realize that my true passion was to be on Broadway. I had a simple Conversation with Shen Wei and told him what my passion was and he began to direct my path. He told me to get into class fast! And to get into certain types of classes, to get a vocal coach, and to begin doing my research. Mind you the research was not on the Internet at the time in 2000, it was in a newspaper…the Backstage Newspaper. Backstage was the newspaper for artists to alert us of auditions and more. It was in Backstage that I saw the advertisement for Disney’s The Lion King. I had never seen The Lion King but I knew from the movie, it might be a good place for me. Let me tell you when I stepped foot in that audition room I knew it was for me. I had on a brown camisole unitard. I was pretty snatched back in the day and the movement just mesmerized me. I caught the eye of Aubrey Lynch who would later hire me to become a swing in the Hamburg Germany first cast of Der Konig der Lowen. I spent a year and a half in Hamburg before Aubrey selected me to become a member of the second national tour.


You would think that you already need it to be a pro to be in a Broadway show, but the truth is you can grow anywhere and I surely grew in the seven years that I was a part of the magical journey of the pride lands. This is where I would meet friends that I have stayed connected with for more than 20 years. The same friends I can call on when I need advice, they stepped in to be teachers, God parents, friends, and colleagues. The same friends are the ones who partied with me late but were on stage shining bright for rehearsals and shows the next day. I was privileged to be a swing covering so many dancer and singer roles. I believe it was how I developed such a multifaceted career. The Lion King changed my life for the better.


Don’t forget to:

  • Exhale or cry when you need to
  • Move on once that is done
  • Don't waste time sitting around continue to learn even if you are in a great place

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