Holy spring! After an incredibly full few months, I couldn’t be more thrilled about today’s feature. I love witnessing and celebrating the vibrancy and new beginnings the season brings; my dear friend, Liz Dugas, is a shining example of living, growing, and brilliantly executed artistry. She is the epitome of light and love wrapped up with a ridiculous amount of fierce talent.
I first met Liz several years ago in NYC working together on a choreography showcase by the extraordinary Misha Shields. We then continued to work together at the Metropolitan Opera with Stroman’s The Merry Widow. Liz is strong, kind and captivating as an artist and a human. Her work ethic is to be admired as she leads by example constantly creating opportunities for our community as the Stage Door Connections Professional Seminar Coordinator in NYC, raising funds for BCEFA each year in Broadway Bares showcasing her amazing talent and sexy bod, constantly sharing her gifts with the recent tour of Bullets Over Broadway and as a dancer with the Met. Liz is a dream to work with, watch take the stage, and simply admire as she balances her life with grace and strength. #LightLoveFierceTalent
Meet Liz: Growing up in Cleveland, OH, Elizabeth's eagerness to perform was undeniable from a very young age. A winner of numerous dance awards at regional and national competitions over the years, Elizabeth got her first taste of show business when asked to perform in the New York tour of the Off-Broadway show, Red Hot Broadway featuring greats B.J. Crosby, Eugene Fleming and Freda Payne. From there she continued her training at the University of Michigan on scholarship (dual degree in Dance and Communications), where she represented the U of M at ACDFA, performed Paul Taylor's Le Sacre de Printemps (The Rehearsal), danced with Mise en Plance Dance Co., and choreographed/performed for the opening acts at Kid Cudi and Nas Concerts. Upon graduating Elizabeth moved to the big apple to pursue a childhood dream that has since become a reality. While dancing remains her first love she has branched out into singing, modeling, acting and voiceover work as well, and has appeared in numerous industrials, commercials, music videos, company performances and musicals across the map. She hopes to continue to share her passion for the arts in whatever capacity that may be for many years to come and is eager to see where this gypsy life will take her in the future. Elizabeth recently finished touring the country with the first national tour of Bullets Over Broadway and will be back at The Metropolitan Opera this season for their new production of Der Rosenkavalier.
Significant Quote: *I am an ARTIST. I possess INTENTION and demand ATTENTION. I ASPIRE and INSPIRE. To PERFORM, is to TRANSFORM, is to live the life in my DREAMS*
Q: Tell me about how you discovered your passion for performing? Any special teachers? Specific performances? Moments you remember as soul-igniting?
I heard my calling for the spotlight at a young age and began dance training soon after walking. My grandma was a dancer so pretty much all of the girls in my family danced at some point. There was never a dull moment for me growing up in dance competitions, constant tapping under the dinner table and choreographing full-out routines for the family at Christmas time. Performing in Red Hot Broadway however was the spark that ignited me into wanting to pursue dance professionally. Just being around all of those industry greats, my passion for the arts soared to a new level.
Q: What healthy habits and/or positive anchors have you found along your way to help keep you grounded and focused?
I think it's important to have a life outside of performing. Friends that aren't in the industry and hobbies that aren't performance based take you out of the tiny world that we as performers live in and give you the breath of fresh air necessary to keep you not only grounded but also well rounded. Additionally I'm very spiritual and I think that helps to keep priorities in my life and career in check.
Q: How do these habits impact your performance and how do they inform the goals and next steps of your career?
When embarking on the first national tour of Bullets Over Broadway, Susan Stroman told our cast to make sure we took this opportunity to see the country and explore each city because it would inevitably make our art better. This really resonated with me and I think goes hand in hand with this idea of having a life outside of performing. My well roundedness and eagerness to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone have given me amazing performance opportunities and helped me to reach goals I never thought possible. They've also helped me to see that dance exists wherever you share it which has been a crucial element to making plans for my future.
Q: What's your favorite way to celebrate?
Over a nice glass of wine shared with my boyfriend and puppies or close friends.
Q: How do you take care of your body, mind and spirit?
Besides dance class I'm constantly cross training with things like running, yoga, spinning and barre classes to help keep my body strong for all of the wear and tear this industry puts on it. For my mind and spirit I feel very blessed to have an amazing support group at my church as well as friends and family that keep me not only going but shining.
Q: What is the most delicious meal you've ever eaten?
AH there have been SO many but I think the most delicious meal I've ever eaten was on my birthday this year at a Laotian restaurant called Khe-yo in NYC. I've been there multiple times prior but for my birthday we ate family style so I got to try almost everything on the menu and everything was insanely amazing.
Q: Any words of encouragement for aspiring artists out there?
A recent University of Michigan grad asked me a similar question so I think I'm going to respond with what I said to her: When I was 22 I wish I would've known how hard it was going to be. Not that I'd change anything but if you ever get to meet me you'll realize how Type A I am. If you ask any of the professors at Michigan I'm sure they'll tell you I had my future all planned out. HAHA...Thats a funny thought now. The biggest lesson NYC and this industry has taught me is that you have to go with the flow and ride the wave. You can plan hardly anything and the highs and lows come often unexpectantly. Whenever I teach I like to tell young dancers (quite pessimistically) if theres anything else you can imagine doing with your life do it...this career is too hard. BUT if its all you think about when you wake up you've been blessed with the curse of loving your future job.