When Skye Mattox struts across the stage, she’s sassy yet elegant. Her carriage reflects the legacy of her last name—her grandfather is classic jazz legend Matt Mattox—while the sizzle of her precise, flirty movement is the epitome of today’s style. Now she’s hitting the Broadway boards in the ensemble of On the Town, a revival perfectly suited to her time-traveling blend.
Hometown: Danville, NH
Training: Her mother’s studio in New Hampshire and the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio in Boston
Family affair: Mattox’s parents and brother are also dancers. “I always knew I’d be a professional dancer, though I was never pushed,” she says. “My grandfather lived in France for the better part of my life, and I only met him twice. But he played a part without physically being there. When I was first in Joshua Bergasse’s class, he came up and asked if I was related to Matt Mattox: People recognize my name. I’m proud of that. There’s a distinct through-line in terms of old-school lines and sensibility, too.”
Breakout role: Mattox attended the auditions for the Broadway revival of West Side Story, and she later landed the role of Mugsy in the international tour. Soon after she returned, fate stepped in: “The girl who had my track on Broadway left. It was the epitome of a dream coming true. My first night, I ran onstage for ‘Dance at the Gym,’ the lights flared up and I was in my glory.”
Choreographic connection: Mattox was also cast in “Smash” on TV, as well as in New York City Center’s Encores!’s It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman and Little Me, all with her current choreographer and mentor, Bergasse.
Reality strikes: “You think having a Broadway credit will make it easier, but for a year after WSS, it was hard to get a job: I was still working on my voice, as I still am,” admits Mattox. “But that’s how the business is.” Bergasse boasts: “She is an extremely strong and versatile dancer with an incredible sense of line, especially in some of the classic jazz styles of Jack Cole, Cyd Charisse and Michael Kidd.”
OTT understudy challenge: Understudying New York City Ballet’s Megan Fairchild (who plays Ivy) is calling on all of Mattox’s ballet training. Her pre-show ritual includes a daytime ballet or hot yoga class to handle the tricky choreography.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.