Jazz Alumna and Former Rockette Eileen Grace Hosts Precision Jazz and Kick Line Workshop in the George Rowland White Performance Center Alumni Profile
Meet Eileen Grace
- Job Title & Employer
- Freelance Director/Choreographer/Instructor
- Dance (jazz)
- Murrysville, Pa.
- High School
- Franklin Regional High School
- Now Living In
- North Huntingdon, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- My favorite job is raising my twins!
"After I graduated from Point Park, I felt completely prepared to pursue my career in dance. My instructors pushed me beyond my expectations and gave me the strength, both physically and mentally, to go with confidence into the professional world."
Highlight your career path since graduating from Point Park University.
Soon after graduating from Point Park, I succeeded in being cast in my first Broadway show, 42nd Street. That was followed by National tours and regional theatre work around the country before I headed back to Broadway to be in the original cast of The Will Rogers Follies.
When that show closed I landed a spot as a Rockette, where I danced for eight years before becoming a director and choreographer for the Radio City Rockettes. There I staged the Radio City Christmas Spectacular touring productions for eight years. I also designed and became artistic director of the Rockettes Summer Intensive Program which I ran for 10 years. I always had a passion for teaching and choreographing, so transitioning to other ends of the spectrum was quite natural.
To date, my choreography credits include more than 40 musicals at theaters all over the country. My career has taken me all around the world, including Dubai and Tokyo, and some of my television credits include the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, One Life to Live, Today, Good Morning America, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas at Rockefeller Center, the Kennedy Center Honors, The Late Show with David Letterman and The Oprah Show. I've taught all ages, levels and styles of dance and I love sharing my knowledge and lifting students up to their full potential in every way.
Some of my directing and choreography credits include Singin' in the Rain, On Your Toes, Guys and Dolls, My One And Only, The Will Rogers Follies, Crazy For You, Cabaret, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun (starring Andrea McArdle), Fiddler on the Roof, No, No, Nanette (starring Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie), the World Cup Opening Ceremonies and many industrials. I also staged the Rockette appearances on The Jay Leno Show, Donny & Marie, Oprah, the Columbus Day Parade and Today.
Here at Point Park University, I choreographed The Boyfriend, co-directed and choreographed The Drowsy Chaperone, and directed and choreographed 42nd Street and the Opening Gala performance for the new Pittsburgh Playhouse.
In what ways did your college experience and training prepare you for your career in dance?
After I graduated from Point Park, I felt completely prepared to pursue my career. My instructors pushed me beyond my expectations and gave me the strength, both physically and mentally, to go with confidence into the professional world.
What was it like returning to campus to train the next generation of dancers in the George Rowland White Performance Center?
I always enjoy coming to my alma mater to pass on my knowledge and share my experiences in hopes of inspiring others to follow their dreams.
What were some of your key messages to the dancers?
As dancers we need to always strive to be better and to continue training with a keen eye. Dedication and commitment are key as well as letting your passion shine through with confidence.
What are some of your favorite memories as a former Rockette?
I have many favorite memories, but the brightest one in my mind is the first time I performed in front of an audience at Radio City Music Hall. It was electrifying to dance on that stage with a full house of about 6,000 people. There were so many other exciting appearances over the years but as choreographer for Rockette special events, I got to teach Hugh Jackman how to do kicks as the Rockettes were part of the celebration of O, The Oprah Magazine at Radio City. That was certainly a highlight!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of the Arts and Point Park University.
In Their Own Words: What Participants Said About the Workshop
"I had a great experience learning from Eileen Grace and made new friends along the way. Attention to detail and precision is important in dance, but it is also important in every aspect of life. It's what sets you apart from everyone else." — Elizabeth Rarick, Kutztown Area Senior High School
"I have gained knowledge about the life of a former Rockette as well as tips and tricks to navigate the audition process. It was so great to work one-on-one with a former Rockette." — Madelyn Pietrusinski, Westinghouse Arts Academy
"I learned that precision is key in being successful. I loved meeting new people at this workshop and getting the Rockette experience." — Jonna Banko, Valley High School
"Point Park's GRW Performance Center is state-of-the-art and absolutely beautiful, and the whole facility is conducive to the safety of the dancers." — Ava Namar, Morristown-Beard School
"Eileen Grace encouraged us to be as versatile of a dancer as possible. It was so fun learning a little bit of everything at this workshop." — Mikaela Kapeluck, Carlynton Junior-Senior High School
More About: Conservatory Alumni, success story, Franklin Regional High School, Dance Alumni, dance, Conservatory of Performing Arts, high school programs, alumni, George Rowland White Performance Center, guest artists