Interview with Broadway Performer Karla Garcia
Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, Karla Garcia always knew she wanted to be a dancer. Check out her story from a little girl to the Broadway stage and the advice she provides to others desiring to follow a similar path.
BB: What prompted you to want to be a dancer?
KG: When I was 12, I saw the National Tour of Fosse and I knew it was what I wanted.
BB: You are originally from the Washington, DC area. How was the transition from going to school there to attending NYU and pursuing a career on the stage?
KG: It was pretty smooth. I competed in dance nationally till 18. Then I got a scholarship to TISCH at NYU where I furthered my knowledge of dance history and got introduced to modern. Going to college in New York City allowed me to be around the industry and immerse myself in it completely. I was so grateful to book my first Broadway show during my 3rd year of school.
BB: As far as schooling/training, what were some great attributes to studying at NYU?
KG: It was an eye-opening experience. Being exposed to modern dance opened up my mind and body to new ways of movement. My vocabulary grew, and I started to get into choreography as well. The collection of dancers in my class was so diverse. Everyone came from completely different walks of life and backgrounds. I learned so much being around that. And of course studying in the heart of Manhattan was incredible.
BB: How/when did you first get your Broadway role?
KG: I booked my first Broadway show Hot Feet while I was still at NYU. I landed a part as one of the ensemble dancers in this huge dance musical choreographed by Maurice Hines. I had never auditioned before that. I wasn't equity. I auditioned then never got a callback. I checked an old email, and the casting director had emailed me saying they had been trying to call my number but it was not me. It turns out one digit in the phone number they called was incorrect! I had a typo in my resume that cost me a callback. I call the casting office immediately, apologized, and asked if they had any other callbacks. They said "No, but you booked the show. Maurice loved you." I guess it was meant to be!
BB: What is a typical day like for a dancer?
KG: It depends on what kind of dancer you are. For me, on a typical day I’m either auditioning, teaching, or choreographing. Then I wind down, have a glass of wine, and watch a movie or a show. I just got into Friday Night Lights, and I'm hooked!
BB: When performing in The Addams Family, you traveled all around the country. How difficult was it to perform on different stages/in different venues?
KG: Touring with Wicked and The Addams Family, the different stages require a lot of safety measure, since the space always changes. The theatre in Boston was so beautiful but so tiny! I love getting to perform in a different theatre, for a different city every few weeks. It's so rewarding!
BB: Any words of inspiration or anything else you would like to impart for those who want to pursue a similar career?
KG: Learn who you are ... as a performer and an individual. Take classes, audition, observe. Learn your strengths and what makes you YOU. Then ... just shine and share your light with the rest of the world!
Karla Garcia was the top 7 female in FOX's "So You Think You Can Dance" season 5. She's performed in the Broadway shows West Side Story and Hot Feet; and the First National Tours of Wicked and The Addams Family. In 2010 Karla traveled Australia with Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance company, performing in Rock the Ballet as a female lead. She has danced on VH1 Divas Live and the Comedy Awards behind Jordin Sparks and on Lonely Island. Karla can also be seen on season 2 of NBC's Smash as a regular ”Hitlist dancer”.
When not performing, Karla teaches and choreographs at select studios across the country. She has showcased her choreography at “Broadway Underground” at B.B. King's in Times Square, the Joyce Theatre, BC Beat Showcase, and numerous competitions. She constantly strives for creative growth, as she combines influences from her technical background with different textures of contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and musical theatre. Karla is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.