Richmond, VA –Recently, VCU Dance asked alumna Bravita Threatt (BFA 2007) to share an update on her budding Broadway career. Needless to say, Bravita has been exceptionally busy dancing while continuing to learn and take her place on the stages across the United States in THE LION KING.
Before sharing my experiences as a professional artist, I want to thank all the faculty and staff at VCU Dance. Soon you all will graduate and become an official professional dancer – and that means no more school, all work and ceaseless training. There is no time for excuses or “trying” to do a step. You will be expected and hired to always do your best. When I was dancing with Lula Washington, we were working on a piece and LuLa asked me to do it again. I explained that “I was trying to do it like this” and she quickly replied “why are you trying, your try is wasting my time and money just do it, NOW, and do it right this time”. There’s no time like the present, don’t try, just do it!
What is it like working with Disney’s THE LION KING? It’s awesome! I love it! The story of the show is great and keeps you grounded. With a 150 minute run time, 8 to 10 times a week, physically, it takes a toll on any body. The floor is steel and on Broadway the stage has elevators, turns, rises and rakes and it all moves as you dance and leap with heavy costumes and head pieces. The movement is a lot of fun and aggressive, and I give 100% to masterfully complete very full, technical and athletic movement despite the added weight of the beautiful costumes.
I must stay strong to perform efficiently nightly and to avoid injuries. For longevity in this experience and my career in general, I took my lovely castmates’ advice and began supplementing my training with HOT Yoga and Pilates in addition to regular gym visits. Weekly, I take at least one dance class, go to the gym 3 to 4 times and yoga about 2 to 3 times. Massages have also become more of a priority since being in the show. The combination of performing, attending yoga, pilates and regular massages help me realign and maintain my body.
I have been with the show on and off for nearly three years. I am a “Swing” on the North American Tour until May and will then be returning to Broadway as Dance Captain and Swing. A Swing knows all the tracks and can go on stage at anytime. I go to work, get ready, hair, make-up, go through a warm up and wait. I love being a Swing because every show is different. I am expected to know the entire show – music and choreography, be super mindful of what’s happening around me and spaciously aware. My mission when I’m on is to not disturb other performers’ normal show and be a source of positive energy on stage.
I am grateful to have been a member of THE LION KING Las Vegas, THE LION KING Broadway and THE LION KING Gazelle North American Tour and continuing to learn, grow and meet new talented people. There are many people involved in the productions, and they are all outstanding! There are several departments including stage management, puppets, make-up, hair, carpenters, sound, props, physical therapy, company management, the Orchestra, front of house staff, creatives, retail, and the list goes on and on. One of my favorites is Donna Vaughn (BFA 2006), a VCU Dance alumna who graduated a year before me. Go Rams!
I am thankful of the support I receive from VCU Dance and the encouragement of students like you. I continue to send my love to my VCU family. I can’t wait to meet you all when we work together one day. Peace and Blessing to you all.
VCU Dance encourages all alumni to share stories about their careers in dance and the arts by emailing VCU Dance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance. For information on applications and auditions, visit: arts.vcu.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/undergraduate/