Dara Orland – performer, dancer, signer and chorographer began her dancing career at The Dance Academy (TDA) when she was four (4) years old. Dara spent her early career at TDA dancing four days a week learning technique in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, point and contemporary. She spent 14 years at TDA taking classes and being part of the dance team. “I loved the classes at TDA because I became the dancer I am today, but I think more importantly, I loved (and continue to love) that TDA was a family, where everyone mattered and where you could feel supported by one another, no matter what level you were,” said Dara
After graduating High School, Dara went onto New York University (NYU) and studied musical theatre. There she took dance classes three days a week, along with singing and acting classes. At NYU, she was one of the more accomplished dancers. “I truly have TDA to thank for what I learned while I was growing up from dance classes to competitions, it has absolutely continued to help me along in my career. I am always thinking back to my roots as a dancer, because when it comes down to it, that foundation is everything,” said Dara.
Today, Dara is an Actor based out of New York City and represented by Gregg Baker Management. But the learning has not stopped, she is constantly auditioning and taking classes to improve her craft and self in her field. She has performed all around the US and has choreographed in the US and internationally.
Dara believes TDA gave her the ever-important foundation that she needed to excel in the performance business. She constantly thinks back to her roots when taking a class at the Broadway Dance Center or Steps in New York City; and in each and every dance audition she attends. It is funny, “I hear in the back of my head Miss Donnajean saying, ‘Point those feet!!’ or Miss Cathy saying, ‘Spot those pirouettes!’ or Miss Janice saying, ‘Extend that line!’,” said Dara.
One big lesson she learned at TDA was teamwork! Learning to be part of a team has been extremely important in the cut-throat business of Theatre. As a proud, TDA Alum, Dara points out how she loved the supportive, nurturing family that TDA offered. In Dara words, “I learned so much more than just how to grand-jeté or pirouette. I learned teamwork and technique. I will continue to carry what I learned during my time at TDA for the rest of my life.”
Dara offers this piece of advice to young dancers, “Take more ballet. If I could do it all over again, the only thing that I would change is my view of ballet. Because it was the hardest class to me, I didn’t try as hard as I possibly could to get my technique down. I still take beginner ballet classes today, because you never know what more you can learn.”
Dara has many accomplishments in her show business career. She was made Dance Captain for multiple productions during her school days; and has served as Dance Captain for a few musicals in her professional days. In the summer of 2018, she the choreography for “Sister Act” and has been nominated for a Broadwayworld.com award for Best Choreography. Most recently, Dara’s a cappella group won the International Championship of A cappella at Carnegie Hall.
Dara shares, “If I could give advice to dancers today, it would be to keep following your passion! There have been some very accomplished dancers that have come out of TDA, and it’s because we all have dreams of making a career out of this art. This business is truly cut-throat and you have to have thick skin, but the rewards outweigh all those times you were cut from an audition or don’t book a job. It’s taken me a while to realize this, but everyone is on their own journey with their career, so just because success doesn’t come immediately, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t destined for something great in the future!”