Andy Blankenbuehler Discovered Her in High School. Now She's in Hamilton
Justice Moore, right from center, in Hamilton. Joan Marcus, Courtesy Moore
June 3, 2016, was a big day for Justice Moore: It was her 19th birthday, high school graduation and the day she found out she'd been cast in the ensemble of Hamilton's Chicago production. Her controlled, versatile approach to movement, honed on the competition circuit, has only brought her more opportunities since then. Last summer, Andy Blankenbuehler chose Moore for a workshop for his new musical, Only Gold, and this March, she transferred her much-loved "bullet" track to Hamilton on Broadway.
Britney Holmes, Courtesy Moore
Shows: Hamilton productions in Chicago, on tour and on Broadway
Hometown: Allen, Texas
Training: Academy of Dance Arts and Next Step Dance, both in Texas
Accolades: New York City Dance Alliance top 16 senior female, The Dance Awards 3rd runner up senior female in Las Vegas
Moore currently dances on Broadway in Hamilton's much-loved "bullet" track.
Josh Lehrer, Courtesy Moore
Breakout moment: Blankenbuehler taught a master class at Moore's studio and, a year later, asked her director if Moore could fly to New York City to audition for Hamilton. "I always thought that I would start out in L.A.," she says. "I was never really interested in musicals. As soon as I auditioned, I fell in love."
New terrain: Diving into the show gave Moore a crash course in musical theater. She learned how to manage everything from the lightning-paced rehearsals to vocal training to eight shows a week. "I had to learn how to call out. How to take breaks and be like, 'I can't push through this.' "
Meeting her idols: At the workshop for Only Gold, Moore found herself in the room with dancers like Peter Chu, Alessandra Ferri, Georgina Pazcoguin, Ricky Ubeda, Cindy Salgado and Ryan Steele—many of whom she'd looked up to or taken class from at conventions. "Now we were all in the same boat," she says. "I could not believe I was there."
What Andy Blankenbuehler is saying: "Besides being fabulous onstage, Justice has a maturity and work integrity that are far beyond her years. I trusted her immediately," says the Hamilton choreographer. "We will continue to cross paths for years to come."
Overcoming doubt:"Just graduating from high school and then doing Hamilton, I felt unworthy," says Moore. "It took me a while to get over that, and that's why I want to encourage anybody not to let anything hold them back."
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?