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BWW Interview: My Dance Selfie with Khori Michelle Petinaud of Broadway's ALADDIN

Khori Michelle Petinaud was more of an athlete as a child yet she still sashayed around her house in tutus, tiaras, and dance slippers. She didn't actually start formal ballet classes until she was thirteen. Having been bitten by the "ballet bug" was, in a word, transformative. Given her age, the young Petinaud was not one to waste time. She attended the summer program at Dance Theatre of Harlem that very same year. Eventually she discovered her love of modern dance while studying at Alvin Ailey and subsequently attended Tisch School of the Arts where she received her BFA in dance. Her foray into musical theatre was with the national tour of The Color Purple. After performing in other musicals and dabbling in contemporary dance, she made her official Broadway debut in Aladdin.

I caught up with Khori after watching her in class. Read what she has to say about being a fitness buff, dance class addict, and a cast member of Aladdin.

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Being a part of the original cast of Aladdin is special:

Because I got the chance to put my own little stamp on a show that's now being remounted all over the world! A really cool moment for me was meeting the young lady that was to play my track in the London production. She was so excited and already knew who I was because she'd heard my name so much after she got the job! In Australia, the props have all of the original cast members' names on them to help the new people learn the tracks. It's so cool!

Moment I look forward to performing every night in Aladdin:

Watching the faces in the front row light up during the opening number!

Tai Altinay, Khori Petinaud and Rhea Patterson in "Aladdin."
Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Getting my degree at NYU gave me my artistic voice:

It exposed me to so many points of view in the dance world. We were often encouraged to choreograph and I got the opportunity to dance in the pieces of my peers often. We were given the chance to explore a great deal versus people telling us what to do.

Being a self-professed dance class addict is:

The most fun! I never want to stop learning and I know there is always something to be gained from all the incredible teachers here in NYC. My love for dance energizes me to learn all I can while I still can.

If I were to tell my younger dance self one thing it would be:

Relax! Everything is going to work out just as it should. Closed doors hide no good thing from you, so find joy in the journey and keep learning along the way!

Oddest survival job in New York City:

Working the overnight shift at the front desk for the Holiday Inn in Chinatown. 6pm-2am! Didn't last long. Ha-ha!

Bob Fosse musical I would love to dance in someday:

I'd love to dance in a Fosse revue of some sort where I'd get a chance to sink my teeth into a bunch of different numbers of his. I love the Fosse style! I was introduced to it by a series of Fosse workshops I've taken and his work has really changed the way I see movement in general.

A dance teacher who has inspired me:

Well this is the hardest question ever because there are so many that I love and am so inspired by but if I had to pick just one, it would be Al Blackstone. He showed me a new side to dance. One where celebrating who you are makes you special, not how many turns you can do or how high you can lift your leg. Because I had such intense training in such a short period of time, I focused so heavily on technique that I'd lost sight of my artistic voice and me. He is one of many who are helping me find it.

Khori in Al Blackstone's "Freddie Falls in Love." Photo: James Jin Images

Movie musical that I am obsessed with:

I'm absolutely obsessed with Little Shop of Horrors! Ha-ha! Rick Moranis for life!

What I love about my fitness regimen:

Is how fun and varied it is. I love trying new classes around the city and as a fitness instructor it's also very helpful to experience lots of different types of workouts. I've taught barre for almost 5 years at FlyBarre and I LOVE it. It's an incredible strength training and sculpting class that complements the many other workouts I love like Flywheel (cycling), Barry's Bootcamp, and yoga at Jivamukti.

My favorite thing to do after a show:

I love hanging after for a little while with the ladies. We have such a close bond and it's nice that we can talk about so many things with each other.

Khori's dressing room selfie at "Aladdin.".

You can catch Khori twirl, shimmy and shake in Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

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