September 12, 2021

Local Dance Students Meet Long-Time Broadway Star

Local non-profit DanceOn provided a unique opportunity for young dancers.

Broadway Star Ronald Young

Broadway star Ronald Young stopped by Naperville to impart some of his knowledge to the next generation of talent. The actor, singer, and dancer from a small town in Oklahoma carried his big dreams and took them to New York.

“I went to New York with $500 in my pocket. No job, no place to stay. I was going to share a hotel room with a friend from Summer Stock. I arrive on a Friday and he said ‘hey there’s a big show auditioning on Monday, let’s go,'” said Young. “Ok, so I went. Now in the 1960s they had separate courses for singers and for dancers. Well this little green boy from Oklahoma said, well I can do them both. So I went to both auditions and that was never done.”

He got call backs for both auditions and was hired for his first show in the city – Hello Dolly with Carol Channing. The Broadway star followed his dreams for 33 years, and that’s exactly what he says to those taking the same steps.

Local Students Meet Young

“I have a lot of dreams but I probably just want to be a total super star,” said dance student, Taylor. The fifth grader does all types of dance. She knows meeting Young is a big opportunity. “I’m probably most excited about being with somebody who was on Broadway and I think that it’s going to be super inspiring for the future. It will be super cool,” said Taylor.

The last four days, Young has met with over 100 Naperville students at Neuqua Valley’s theatre department and multiple dance studios. At Steps Dance, he imparted wisdom he’s gained from his experiences and career, gave the young dancers advice on their numbers, and a quick lesson on how to put an extra pep in their step.

“I put all this out there and their reactions to it and their smiles it just warms my heart,” said Young. “And I’m glad to be able to share my vast store of knowledge that I’ve gained.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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