9 months. 8 countries. 13 cast members. 142 show days. 1 massive cruise ship.
I still remember and don’t think I will ever forget, the day I received my very first contract from Royal Caribbean Productions.
I was in Cape Town, on the phone to my mom in Johannesburg. I needed help typing an email to an audition that I was supposed to be going to the next day. I was in the middle of my first professional contract dancing at the Kalk Bay Theatre in their beautiful show – ‘Another Day’.
I was planning my next step in the professional industry – I love to plan ahead to make sure that I have work and can keep my dance career busy! I went into my mail to compose a new email, I clicked refresh and from the RCCL casting directors, there it was – MY VERY FIRST CRUISE SHIP CONTRACT!
I auditioned for Royal Caribbean whilst I was living and studying dance in New York City. The audition was definitely the hardest that I have yet to go to. I had to miss two days of college to attend the audition. After my first day of making it through all the cuts, I knew I just had to go for it. As a South African citizen, I am unable to work (dance) in the states without an Artistic Visa. I have always dreamed of dancing on a cruise ship. RCCL doesn’t hold an audition in South Africa, only a couple of the main cities in the world. I never have dreamed I would land up working for the biggest cruise ship company in the world! It may have just been worth missing those two days of college ?
My contract then with Kalk Bay came and went. It truly was a beautiful show and time in my life. I wished Cape Town, my home-away-from-home, well and cried my ‘SEE YOU LATERS’. I flew back to Johannesburg to pack up things and two days later I was flown to Miami to begin rehearsals for Voyager of the Seas. It was all so exciting arriving in Miami, I had been before to compete in the American Dance Awards in Hollywood so at least my surroundings felt familiar as everything else was so new. I meet my 13 new cast mates who in the end became family to me. We rehearsed for the next six weeks learning the two major production shows, in the biggest and most equipped rehearsal studios I had ever been to.
On the 4th May 2018, we boarded the ship in Singapore. YESSSS that’s right ASIA!!!! It took a grueling 2 days as they flew us across the world to then spend the night at a fancy hotel. With the time difference, I never saw May 3rd!
I was in and out of 13 different training courses (slowly going crazy) making sure we were cruise ship worthy. We installed our show on the La Scala Theatre stage. This was 2 weeks of hardly any sleep, not seeing the outside, over-tired crazies and not much time to eat. It was all worth it after two successful opening nights – and so then it was time to start exploring SOUTH-EAST ASIA.
This entire experience was truly the most magical journey and exactly what I needed at the right time in my life. This experience allowed me to grow not only as a dancer doing shows every other night but as a human being opening up to new perspectives of the world through travel!
You go for days without service and wifi on your phone, so I was forced to become independent and truly explore who I am and how I want to carry myself. I made the best and closest of friends from all around the world, being exposed to their incredible talent and the same zest for travel and love of performing as me.
Heartache was evident when it came to saying goodbye. t didn’t feel real, spending all day every day with these precious humans and then it’s suddenly over. Especially my cabin mate Soph, who literally lived on top of me! I wish only the best to my Voyager family and I’m grateful to every single one of them! My smile radiates and my heart feels full when I reminisce over the memories and adventures I lived – waking up in a new country nearly every day and getting to live and perform on my floating home.
I want to blog and share all the beautiful and widely interesting places I’ve been to!
I only spent only about 2 weeks in my hometown, Johannesburg, the entire 2018, HOME and MY BED are waiting for me!
I feel so lucky to have done it all. How truly beautiful is LIFE when you just let it take you where you’re meant to be.
I cannot wait to see where my dancing takes me next.