Young Achiever: MeShalae has Ri-Ri on her mind
A young dancer with dreams of becoming a back-up dancer for Rihanna has found industry experience with one of Bermuda's largest theatre groups.
MeShalae Hayward-Furqan, 23, took a semester off from her studies to work as a dance captain for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Bermuda.
She will now appear onstage with her peers during their production of the Broadway musical Mamma Mia! this weekend.
MeShalae said: “This is my first time being a dance captain for anything.”
“I'm usually just learning choreography, so I've never had to have an authoritative role, but it's definitely a learning experience having to oversee things.
MeShalae, from Pembroke, auditioned for the position in the dance ensemble during a break from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, but was soon made a captain — second in command to the production's choreographer.
She explained that her role allowed her to study the choreographer's methods as well as instruct others, all while being a member of the dance ensemble.
MeShalae said: “The dance captain is always part of the ensemble; they're just the person in the ensemble that should know the book.
“In Broadway theatre shows, the choreography is all written down like a bible, and as dance captain you have to know that bible cover to cover.
“This is a way for me to get my feet wet as a dance captain.”
MeShalae's first time in the position taught her much about working with other people and understanding those you help.
“Patience is definitely a virtue,” she explained. “Working with new people can be fun, but you've got to be patient.”
MeShalae added that, while her position was not authoritative, the role of dance captain made her partially responsible for fine-tuning the movements of the ensemble.
She said: “People come and ask me questions a lot, and I'm not used to that.
“But I'm pretty good at knowing what beat counts the choreography is on, so eventually I thought to myself, ‘I'm actually pretty good at this because I actually know what's going on'.”
MeShalae will return to school on October 14 to complete her final year before graduating in May 2020.
She plans to find a similar internship after graduation to develop her ability to create choreography.
MeShalae said: “I definitely want to get into a lot more audition rooms and audition for some back-up dancing gigs.
“My dream role is to be Rihanna's back-up dancer. If she ever decides to put some more music out there and she decides to go on tour, I would love to be backing up for her.”
• Mamma Mia! will be shown at the Earl Cameron Theatre in City Hall, Hamilton, from October 3 to 12