ESSENCE Network: From Juilliard and Alvin Ailey to Broadway, This Dancer Is Living Out Her Dream
Chris Jones

It all started at the age of two for southern Belle Amber Pickens who is not only a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Dance, but who also worked with the legendary Debbie Allen and Alvin Ailey. Now, she’s combining her love for acting and dancing on Broadway in New York City. Find out what sacrifices she made to live out her dream and why her story moves us.

Full Name: Amber Pickens 

Age: 24

Title: Professional Dancer (contemporary, modern and jazz)

Location: New York City 

Hometown: Dallas, Texas 

Social Media: @fiestadoll1 (Instagram)

Inspired by Debbie Allen: When I first saw Debbie Allen dance, she just had such a story and really uses her voice on the stage. Her career alone really inspired me. One of the best moments I’ve had with her was being awarded the Debbie Allen African Dance Summer Intensive Scholarship. I was the first person to get it, which was really exciting! 

Sacrificing For Her Dream: I actually never learned how to drive. While all my friends were learning how to drive, I was always at acting or dancing camp. Financially, there were many sacrifices I had to make. There were times when my mom couldn’t pay the light bill just so that I can have some of these experiences. 

Dancing On Broadway: I started Broadway in the summer of 2015 after I graduated. It is a great way to get people’s attention. I love how the writers are finding ways to push expectations, especially with shows like Eclipsed that introduce stories that educate and bring awareness to a new audience. I love it more and more every day. 

Giving Back in South Africa: I went to Durban, South Africa to initiate my organization, Art Belongs To People. It was important for me to start it there to continue my grandmother’s legacy. Sharing the art of dance there reminded me of the importance of sharing your knowledge with the next generation.  

Her Advice For Aspiring Dancers: Be a sponge and take everything in. Also, leave the essence of your soul on the stage and really be open. 

Her Superpower: The power to make people laugh. 

Her Theme Song: I Feel For You By Chaka Khan 

Amber Pickens will be performing on Broadway in New York City until mid-April. For tickets visit here.