Name: Borris York
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Favorite Class in NYC: Richard Perlon's Int/Adv "Theater Dance" at Steps.
Favorite NYC Restaurant: I really don't eat out much because my diet is so strict but when I do feel like having a treat I LOVE to go to Babbaluci in Harlem on 127th and Lenox. Best pizza ever!
How did you get into dance?
I started when I was 17 years old. I was visiting my cousin for the summer and her best friend is a dancer. She would come to the house to teach me basic ballet for fun and I started to really like it. Before then I was actively involved in choir and theater at my high school. Mostly just singing and acting. I also played tennis.
What challenges did you face as a student?
Since I started pretty late for most professional dancers I always felt like I was playing catch up. It was pretty difficult at first learning all of the terminology as well as the technique.
When was the moment you knew that you wanted to dance professionally?
When I saw my first Broadway show at 17.
When did you move to NYC?
I moved in the Fall of 2011.
How was the transition from BFA student to auditioning artist?
I came to New York with no job, no agent and no place to live - just 3 suitcases and a smile. It literally felt like being dropped into an ocean. You either sink or swim.
Walk us through a day in the life of Borris York.
I wake up and say thank you to the universe for another day. I then check Actors Access and casting networks for any new audition postings that I might be interested in submitting myself for or emailing to my manager. After that I make myself a full breakfast and do a little morning music meditation. If I have an audition that day I'll pack my bag with everything I need and head out, but if I don't I'll grab my gym bag and head to NYSC. I usually workout 2 hours a day at least 5 times a week. I do cardio, free weights and stretching. Depending on the day, after the gym, I'll either head to Steps on Broadway, head downtown to take acting class, head home to work on some music, or head over to my best friends apartment and have a laugh fest. I like to keep my days filled with activities that bring me joy and help me move forward in life. I'm fortunate enough to not have to work a survival job anymore so I make the most out of the blessing I've been given. I also like to make time to go to museums and concerts in NYC. This is such an amazing city and I think it's important to take advantage of living here.
How do you stay healthy/take care of your body while performing every day in New York?
I really love music mediation. Music is such a big part of my life and I love how being still and listening to certain songs can bring me clarity. I also love working out - it's therapeutic for me. I make sure I go to the gym at least 5 times a week. It's important to me to keep my body in great condition. I also have a very healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and water. I eat very little meat, no dairy, no gluten and no processed foods.
What was the timeframe between moving to New York and booking the First National Tour of Pippin?
I was in NYC for about 2 1/2 years before I booked Pippin. When I first moved to NYC I worked pretty consistently doing regional out-of-town gigs and a couple of TV shows. About a year and a half in to living in NYC the work just stopped. It was like I hit a brick wall artistically, emotionally, financially, you name it. At that moment I had to really decide that I was not going to give up. So I worked any job I could find to survive. I worked at LuluLemon, LaDuca Shoes, EVF Crossfit Gym, and I catered...all at once (while auditioning and doing work study at Steps!). It was one of the hardest times of my life and I learned just how strong and determined I could be. I learned no matter what the circumstance I will survive.
What was life like touring across the country with Pippin?
I did the Pippin tour from start to finish - 2 years. It was amazing. I think it's extremely important to travel, especially as an artist. It was pretty difficult at times when we would only stay in a city for one week. Once you feel like you're settling in it's time to go. But it taught me how to adjust quickly and the importance of enjoying my life no matter where I am.
Do you have any funny stories from tour to share with us?
Umm....lol I think I'll save those for my memoirs.
What was your audition process like for Holiday Inn?
I would describe that process for me as ordained. It was the first audition I had scheduled when I came home from the Pippin tour. I wasn't even going to go because I wasn't feeling well (later I found out I had strep throat) and I felt like I needed to rest before I just jumped back into auditioning. But something told me to just go! The first round went well and I got a callback for the following week. I went to the callback and I remember thinking to myself I feel the same positive/connected energy in this room that I did while auditioning for Pippin. It went well again and two days later I got the call. The process was fairly quick because they were only looking for a couple of people. I'm glad I got myself up and went to that first audition. It was meant to be.
Who was the first person you called when you found out you booked Holiday Inn?
My mom, of course.
You've done quite a bit of on-screen work. What has been your favorite moment?
So far my favorite moment on-screen has been performing on Good Morning America. There's an energy about a live performance on camera with a live audience that is so special. I'm grateful for those experiences.
How did your expectations of life as a Broadway dancer differ from what it's really like?
Honestly I thought dancing on Broadway was all I ever wanted to do, but now that I'm here and doing it, I realize I'm capable of so much more. Dancing on Broadway has only made me want more out of life. It's a great feeling.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to have a role on a television series. I hope to be living life at my fullest potential and never looking back.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mom. I'm inspired by her strength and will to continue moving forward. She does it with a level of kindness and understanding that I hope to one day achieve.
Do you have any advice for dance students who want to break into the Broadway scene in New York?
Learn to love yourself first. Get to know yourself. Learn what you like, what you don't like, what you'll allow and what you won't allow. It will help you guide your way through the process of living and working in New York. And also don't give up. There's room in this business for everyone you just have to find where your place is.
Thanks for joining us! Be sure to follow Borris on Instagram to stay up to date with where he goes from here.