TheaterMania U

We’ve Only Just Begun: My Keyboard and Me

Indiana University sophomore Allison Schwartz details her personal artistic journey.

Allison Schwartz
Allison Schwartz

Growing up, I was always that girl providing entertainment for anyone and anything that would watch me—shoes on the wrong feet and all. The freedom to express myself through art has been engrained in me since I “shuffle stepped” in a bumblebee costume at the age of three at my first dance recital. Yes, I had caught the “bug.” The burning, powerful sensation that makes an artist’s heart beat each day. Sixteen years ago, I stood on a stage and felt that rush, and now, years later, I still crave that unexplainable indulgence of pure bliss we “theater people” know so well.

I grew up in a suburb right outside of Atlanta, Georgia, where the music and hip-hop scene enhanced the caliber of the dance studios in the area. In third grade, I was accepted into Rhythm Dance Center’s performing company. I very quickly began to spend more time at the studio than my own home, and the girls in my company became my second set of sisters. My social life became late night rehearsals and dance conventions, and for the most part, I loved every second.

My training at Rhythm opened up many doors for me in the professional world: teachers from New York and Los Angeles would come teach at our studio during the year, and we flew to New York or L.A. every summer to take class. I was forced to either grow up quickly and take on whatever challenges I was presented with, or sink. It was tough, and my training at Rhythm definitely laid on the first layer of the thick skin I need to survive in this industry.

Freshman year of high school, however, I started to itch for more. More fuel, more outlets, more artistic freedom. So, with an untrained voice, a school picture as a headshot, and an untailored resume, I attended my first Broadway Dreams Foundation Intensive. The time, tools, and training I have received with the foundation have completely transformed me. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for all of the growth and joy BDF has given me. Broadway Dreams transformed me into an artist and not just a singer or a dancer. Believing in me from the start, the faculty members have watched me grow into the woman I am today and give me the extra push when I need it most. It fills me with such joy that the friends I made in this foundation are quickly lighting up Broadway stages, and I have no doubt that many more are on their way.

This past summer, I was lucky enough to be a Social Media Intern for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, where I became obsessed with everything technology. My father and sister both work in the marketing and social media fields, so I guess it was only a matter of time until I continued the Schwartz legacy. In addition to managing their social media websites, I created a blog for the foundation. Writing posts for the blog made me realize that my passion for self-expression was not only on the stage, but also the page (yes—the rhyme was necessary). I became obsessed with writing this summer, and my keyboard became its own mini kickboxing class, always allowing me to relieve my emotions and stress in the most eloquent and harmless way possible.

Now, as a Sophomore BFA Musical Theater major and Telecommunications Minor at Indiana University in Bloomington, I am proud to combine my passions and represent TheaterMania U as one of their newest bloggers! I am at such an amazing school in an amazing program, and I really am surrounded by love. I cannot wait to share with you the magic that my class (class of 2015) creates. I have always been told that “good artists borrow; great artists steal,” so through the experiences I share, I encourage you to take and apply every little piece of inspiration to your own life.

In my blog posts, I will also share interviews with Broadway stars and people in this industry who have helped fill me with the passion and fuel that I cannot wait to pass to each and every one of you. Whoever you are reading my blog and whatever profession you choose, it is important to never lose sight of the amazing and unique person you are, and I hope to share with you the wisdom I have acquired through my readings and personal hurdles.

For whatever reason you came to my page, I invite you to go on this amazing TheaterMania U journey with me. You all are the reason I am writing, and I thank you for allowing me to have an audience to share what I love. I encourage you to check out all of the other bloggers’ pages as well—it is so exciting that we have a wealth of invaluable knowledge from our peers at the click of our fingers. Technology these days…

Well, it looks like I’m in for an amazing semester. With my brain, my heart, and my keyboard…let’s do this.