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New York Cool - Interview

Elias Stimac Talks with Actress Dina Rose Rivera

Actress Dina Rose Rivera has made quite an impression on NYC theatergoers over the years, and loves living in the big city. “Living and working in New York has its ups and downs, but I love it. There are so many avenues open if you are willing to go out there and look for them. NYC keeps me going!”

The brunette beauty began acting almost nine years ago, starting out as a dancer before landing roles in musical theatre favorites such as “Phantom,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Music Man,” and “West Side Story.” Since then she has progressed into more eclectic fare, playing characters as diverse as a Texas debutante in "Precious" to Jackie O in "The House of Yes." Once she even performed in a revue at an Egyptian supper club alongside a drag queen, belly dancers, and a whirling dervish!

Rivera takes her preparation for each role very seriously. “I first read the script or play and get an idea about the theme of the play or the film on a whole. I then start to ask myself questions about the specific character; What does she want? What is she trying to do? What are her secrets? What are her relationships with the other characters? I also try to relate the character to myself in some way because in the end you are the one playing the character and you only have your own experiences to draw from no matter how much research you do.”

She also displays a sparkling sense of humor, both on and off stage. She humorously reveals what goes through your mind while she’s performing under the lights. “On a good night: only the characters thoughts and feelings. On a bad night: ‘Are they getting bored? What the hell am I doing up here?’”

Her ultimate goal as an actress would be to land an assignment that would showcase both sides of her personality. “I would love to play a character which would showcase both my wacky side but have real underlying depth. Also, I would like to write and direct my own projects in the future.”

While her acting career keeps hitting new heights, Rivera hasn’t forgotten about her dance beginnings. Having studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Joffrey Ballet School, and Ballet School NY, her training and experience has led her to teaching dance and movement on both coasts. These days she continues to teach dance in Brooklyn. “I have my own dance studio called Let's Dance Brooklyn! It is located in Fort Greene, and I would like see it grow even more. The website is www.letsdancebklyn.com.”

Rivera is also the co-founder of Strange Sister Theatre Company. Participating in a theatre company helped your career in several ways. “It gave me a chance do some roles a director may not have cast me in, in terms of my ‘type.’ And it gave others in the business a chance to see me in a completely different light.”

When she is not on stage or at the dance studio, you can still find her on TV and in magazines. “I have been going out for lots of on-camera commercials and doing tons of print work. I'm currently in a LensCrafters national commercial and did print for Snuggle, Chivas Regal, Southern Comfort, T-Mobile UK, and Cat footwear. Recently I shot an editorial feature for Women's Health Magazine.”

She offers the following advice for actors just starting out in the business. “Be prepared! Have good technique, know the business of acting – including protocol, unions, agents, casting directors, etc. Have a flexible day job that doesn't suck the life out of you, work as much as you can and keep track of all the people you meet in the business.” She also is a firm believer in performers keeping up with their training. “I've been studying the Meisner technique for the last nine months at the Ward Studio in NYC, and it's been really taking my acting to a higher level.”

Here is Rivera’s suggestion for finding acting work in NYC: “Audition for everything. You never know the connections you will make. Use resources such as BackStage Magazine. As hard as it is to accomplish, try to get an agent. Send your headshots directly to theatre companies -- don't forget to do some research on them first and send a cover letter that specifies why you would be a good addition to their group. Don't wait for work to just come to you...it won't! You must make it happen!”

 

 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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