It’s natural to smile when you see little girls dancing with every step they take. They twirl down the side walk and skip in the grocery store. That was BlazerDancer Rea—and in her case she was dancing around her home and breaking vases in the living room.
With her glass collection on the line Rea’s mom enrolled her in dance classes and harnessed her movement in a structured and productive setting. Little did she know her small decision would change her daughter’s life forever. She was five years old at the time and she hasn’t stopped performing since.
By the age of nine Rea had joined her first dance company, Dues Vult. The studio traveled to local schools promoting anti-drug and anti-gang lifestyles to students. At fourteen she’d added Rose City Ballet and Elan, a semi-professional group, to the list of teams she performed with and she completed all of this training while dancing with the Hillsboro High School Dance Team.
At seventeen Rea began what would become her career. She started sharing her passion for dance through teaching. “The reason why I enjoy teaching so much is because I bring it full circle,” Rea said. “Seeing the kids learning the same way I did and hopefully being inspired the same way I did.”
For the last eight years as Rea’s been teaching at local studios, she’s been fulfilling her own need to dance professionally. At eighteen she spent a year dancing as an original cast member of the Disneyland live production of Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. And since 2006 she’s been a proud member of the BlazerDancers.
Heading into her sixth season with the team—her second as a captain—Rea’s excitement to perform in the Rose Garden hasn’t waned since the moment she found out she made the squad and excitedly jumped around the airport in Guam.
“The rush and the thrill of performing in front of the crowd is hard to beat. The crowd is so loud and you feed off the energy that they bring,” Rea said. “It’s hard to define something that exciting.”
From the carpet in the living room to the hardwood in the Rose Garden BlazerDancer Rea as made her passion for dance into a success personally and professionally. As she says, “I feel like my entire life is dancing, has been dancing, will be dancing. It’s what I’m passionate about, it humbles me, it’s what inspires me, hopefully it inspires other people.”
Meet BlazerDancer Leisel!