#WhereAreTheyNow: Shanna VanDerwerker
October 26th, 2018 by Richie Kormos
At 15, Shanna VanDerwerker performed at StarQuest’s World Finals. When asked about her dance competition career, she said that“[Competing] makes you understand that you’re not perfect, that there’s always going to be someone better than you. And that makes you work harder.” She eventually went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Point Park University, giving her the opportunity to spend her last college summer dancing at the Kids of the Kingdom show at Walt Disney World.
After Disney, Shanna was able to get a job as a dance captain for a Kansas City touring production of The Wizard of Oz. Later performing in a tour of Grease, a production of Kiss Me, Kate, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. However, those productions didn’t fill her desire to be on Broadway.
It took Shanna a year and a half auditioning for jobs in New York City to land her first Broadway role. She even considered quitting dance, but persevered to achieve her dream! She finally landed a swing role in Wicked, eventually moving on to be the dance captain for the First National Tour.
Since Wicked, she has been the associate choreographer for Amazing Grace (Nederlander Theater, NYC), the choreographer for various performances at the Fireside Theatre in Wisconsin, the choreographer for Lysistrata Jones (Refuge Theatre, Chicago) and the choreography assistant for the FrozenBroadway Lab, which you can now see on Broadway!
Shanna has now turned to education; she teaches dance at the Dovetail Studios in Chicago. Her focus is musical theater jazz, ballet, tap and lyrical. Recently, you could have caught her on tour with DanceDEA teaching master classes in Musical Theatre. She also just choreographed a production of Newsies at the Connecticut children’s theater, NewArts. She is using her dance skills to inspire children every day! StarQuest is so proud of Shanna and her perseverance to follow her dreams!
To learn more about Shanna, visit her website at https://www.shannavdance.com.
To learn more about NewArts, visit their website at http://newarts.org.
Do you know a previous StarQuest dancer that has gone on to do amazing things that we should feature?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org the dancer’s name and why they should be featured!
Alyssa Denton is a writer for StarQuest. She loves Disney, iced lattes, and French Fries!