Q&A with Anything Goes Actress and Former Rockette, Kristyn Pope
By Annie Stamp, Sports Editor, and Natalie Ingalls, Layout/Design Editor
“Anything Goes” ensemble member Kristyn Pope, who plays angel Chastity in Arena Stage’s production, has also performed with the Rockettes, the famed professional dance company. This interview was conducted via email.
Q: What is your dance background? How does it affect your work?
A: I have studied (and continue to study) jazz, ballet and tap dance, as well as other styles of dance. The art of musical theatre brings together music, text and movement, so dance is one of the essential elements.
Q: How and when did you decide you were going to be an actress/dancer?
A: I don't think there was one defining moment. I've always been attracted to the performing arts. My mom was wonderful with introducing us to all forms of art and culture. After a winding road (see above answer), I somehow ended up on this path. It's one that I hope to continue, as long as I still find joy in it
Q: What was the process of becoming an actress/dancer?
A: I think the process of becoming anything is this:
Find a passion-->pursue that passion-->continue learning and challenging yourself-->surround yourself with people who understand, support and challenge you along the way-->remember that no 2 people are the same, and neither are their paths.
Q: What was the rehearsal process like for Anything Goes?
A: After our introductions, we did table work. This was a time where the cast and creative team spent time together exploring the script and all of its possibilities. Then we learned music, dancing and blocking/staging. After assembling those pieces, we then moved to the stage and added other elements-- the orchestra, costumes (including wigs/hair and makeup), lights, sound, additional set pieces and props-- and continued to explore, modify and develop our show.
Q: How involved were you and the rest of the cast behind the scenes?
A: We are very fortunate to have an amazing crew, ranging from wardrobe, to props, to lighting, to sound and everything in between, all under the guidance of an incredible stage management team. They do a wonderful job with the technical elements, allowing us to deliver the performances you see on the stage.
Q: What's your favorite show you have danced in, and why?
A: All of them! Any time I get to dance is a treat!
Q: Who are your dancer idols?
A: I have so many and keep discovering new ones day by day. Some dancers/choreographers that have inspired me include Cyd Charisse, the Nicholas Brothers and Bob Fosse.
Q: What is it like Behind the Scenes of the Rockettes?
A: It is arduous, busy, hard work behind the scenes of the Rockettes. It takes a lot of work to produce the glamour and precision for which the Rockettes are known, but it is extremely rewarding.
Q: What qualities are good to have in a dancer?
A: There are so many good qualities to have as a dancer (some that I'm still learning). Some of the qualities that come to mind include tenacity, patience, dedication, discipline and resilience.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring dancers/actors and choreographers? How does one break into the business?
A: Each journey and path is unique. Learn as much as you can-- read books, take classes, listen to music, watch movies/TV shows/ even YouTube videos. Set goals for yourself and actively pursue them, but also stay open to change. You never know what you might discover. Pursue other interests as well, because they will only enhance what you bring to the art form. Keep following your dreams and your heart.
Q: Do you have any tips or interesting information on dance auditions and how they work?
A: For auditions, all we can do is put in the work, prepare ourselves to best of our abilities, and do the best we can in each audition room. The rest is out of our hands. Learn from each audition experience, try to find joy, and then keep moving forward.