“People have asked me why I chose to be a dancer. I did not choose. I was chosen to be a dancer, and with that, you live all your life.”Martha Graham
Name: Victoria Chimenti
Country: United States of America
City: New York City
- Classical 30%
- Contemporary 60%
- Commercial 60%
- Technique 60%
- Flexibility 70%
- Strength 60%
- Creativity 80%
- Flare 80%
* Total of 150% between Classical, Contemporary and Commercial. Total of 350% across all other categories.
Featured Dancer – Victoria Chimenti
I don’t remember life without dance and really don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have it. I love to perform and put myself out there. I believe there is always room to be better, but you can never be better if you don’t push yourself. To me, being a female dancer is one of the most difficult careers a person could choose because there are so many amazing female dancers, especially in New York. Auditions are difficult. There will always be someone prettier, skinnier, taller, and better than you. But my goal is to be so good and so memorable that they need me, even if I’m the polar opposite of the description in their casting call. I think people so easily get put in a box and either limit themselves or allow themselves to get limited by others, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I get told that I can be pretty stubborn. But I like proving people wrong in the most positive way possible. Other people’s doubts about me motivate me and push me to be better. As a kid in the competition world, I was never the best dancer, didn’t have the best technique or body or flexibility. I had enough to get by, but I was always told my passion is what gets me remembered on stage.
Today, I still don’t have the best technique or body or flexibility. But my passion has never left me. I didn’t enter this career to make money. Most people don’t. I do what I love because I love to do it. There is no better feeling than having the chance to dance every day and share it with people around the world. That feeling is better than anything money could ever do for me. It’s a vulnerable thing to get up on stage and perform for a bunch of strangers that may or may not like you. It can be scary and intimidating, but it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
1. At what age did you start dancing?
I started dancing at 2 years old and training competitively at 7.
2. Where did you train professionally? If you did not have formal training how did you learn?
I trained at a studio called Dream Makers Performing Arts in the Bronx, NY for most of my training. I also spent a lot of time taking class at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway.
3. What is your favourite thing about being a dancer?
Getting the chance to perform. Hands down. Being on stage is an indescribable feeling that nothing else in the world could ever fulfill for me. I love being able to portray an emotion to an audience and get them to connect and feel that emotion with me.
4. Who/what is your biggest inspiration/reason and why?
True talent inspires me. There are so many performers out there who just have gimmicks and get remembered for only that. But I’m totally impressed by people who are just so good at what they do that you can’t forget them. Yeah, of course there usually is some kind of gimmick that goes along with it too. I’m just really inspired by the performers who don’t need it to be successful. They use it only to help further their career because they can.
5. If you weren’t a dancer, what do you think you would be doing?
I don’t really know, to be honest. Ever since I was little all I wanted to do was dance. I tried sports and I liked them. But I always found myself coming back to dancing. In school, I would count down the hours and minutes until the school day was over so I could leave to go to dance class. I do enjoy singing and have tried playing guitar, but didn’t really invest in it. If I couldn’t dance, I would probably have to go with singing and playing guitar because it would still allow me to perform. It wouldn’t be the same as dancing but I think it’s the only way I could get that same sort of feeling of fulfillment.
6. Have you ever had a dance injury and how did you recover and prevent it from happening again?
I’ve had all types of minor injuries here and there all throughout my life. However I did have a really bad spasm in my back a few years ago. It happened right in the middle of rehearsing a dance for a competition that weekend. I couldn’t move as soon as it happened. I thought there would have to be re-blocks and I wouldn’t be able to make the competition. I went for a few massages to help the muscles loosen up but definitely didn’t really give it time to rest (because what dancer ACTUALLY takes time off when the doctor tells them to?). Sure enough, two years later it comes back to haunt me and happens again. Since it happened again I just try to make sure my back is really warm and well stretched before I work out or dance. And of course I’ll go for a little massage every now and then when I get the chance to spoil myself.
7. Is there is a piece of advice you wish you had when you were starting out?
I think I was pretty well prepared for the real world. I do wish, however, that I had taken more ballet and vocal lessons earlier on in my life. I wish that I was encouraged more at a younger age to be extremely versatile versus just good at many things. There’s a big difference when you go to auditions and see people who are killer at everything they do because you see that they can book almost any job they want. But my advice would be to not limit yourself. Try everything. If you’re not good at it or don’t like it, fine. But you may surprise yourself with how much more you’re capable of than you think.
8. Do you have an interesting story from being in a show or on tour?
When I went to one city on tour, the first day I got there, I thought it would be a good idea to find a Walmart and stock up on some food for the week. It was really snowy and cold, so I felt it only made sense to have stuff in my hotel room so I didn’t have to go treading through the snow every day to find something to eat. Since I wasn’t from the area, I had no idea what the neighborhood was like. And I definitely didn’t know that this Walmart I found was right in the middle of the worst part of town. Long story short, I couldn’t get a cab back to the hotel because it was such a bad neighborhood that no car service picked up from that location. I was stuck at this Walmart for probably 2 hours making phone calls to all cab companies in the area, the hotel I was staying at, my manager… Just anyone that could do anything to help. But nothing was working. After the longest 2 hours of my life, I finally lucked out with a cab dropping someone off and hopped in faster than ever. I made it back to the hotel and was hanging out in the lobby sharing my story with everyone. One of the waitresses from the bar overheard me talking and started telling me how lucky I was that I made I out completely untouched and unharmed. So essentially I had a better chance of getting robbed or shot than not. Moral of the story, do some research before making a decision when you’re in an unfamiliar place!
9. What is the most exciting dance job you have had so far?
Touring as a dancer in a magic show. It’s something I never thought I would do, but it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I got to see so many places just in the U.S. that I have never been to before and cannot wait to go back to. We even had a 6-week Broadway sit down at the Marquis Theatre in the middle of Times Square for the Christmas season. Performing on Broadway has been my biggest dream for as long as I can remember. But it’s also a really fun show to be part of because magic doesn’t always happen the same way every time. So it really keeps you on your toes and doesn’t allow you to get too comfortable and bored of doing the same show every day.
10. What is your dream dance job?
Right now, I would be so extremely excited to be part of any production or Rock of Ages. The dancing is killer, the singing is amazing and it’s just a fun show all around. I’m a huge 80’s rock fan and being able to do a show of all covers of some of my favorite songs would be so much fun. Whether it be Broadway, a tour, regional, in Vegas or on a ship, if I got an offer for that show, the contract would be signed and sent back within 20 minutes.