Today we’d like to introduce you to Cleo Magill.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Cleo. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a Los Angeles Native, I grew up doing normal activities — putting on my own productions (or more bluntly understood as bossing my baby sister and best friend around), pretending to be Pocahontas, reenacting the dance scenes of West Side Story, and singing the full score of the Wizard of Oz. At age three, my mother, upon noticing the boundlessness of my energy, signed me up for ballet.
I twirled and danced with a scarf for a quite a few years. Year by year though, things became more serious. At 13, I started attending intensives each summer at ballet schools across the country. At 17, I moved to Chicago to study as a trainee at the Joffrey Ballet. Things obviously weren’t so twirly any more — it was hard work.
This hard work is what brought me to dance professionally for two years with the Tulsa Ballet. I then returned to Los Angeles to work with the American Contemporary Ballet for four years. At ACB, I had the opportunity to dance Balanchine ballets, original works by Lincoln Jones and reenact famous Fred Astaire dances as Ginger Rogers.
While back in Los Angeles, I started teaching. I wanted to give back and teach people what I have learned. But when I went to teach my first class to a group of three years old, I realized something: I was afraid of public speaking. I remembered my paper shaking when giving a presentation in high school, but this new anxiety was on a different level. All those years of strict dancing had really taken a toll on me and I developed a fear. Luckily, teaching kids and soon adults helped me overcome this fear of what people thought of me when I was speaking.
A whole new world of possibilities opened up for me and I decided to leave the ballet company to explore them. I began pursuing dreams that I had tucked away a long time ago in my childhood — that I had never revisited because of my fear. Over the past two years, I have continuously taken acting classes with Gary Imhoff, voice lessons with Ross Kalling, furthered my dance training in new styles and started improv at the Groundlings School (which is insanely fun!). I have acted in short films, performed in two musicals, danced on a few TV shows, gigged at high profile events with Bling Divas (an entertainment company founded by Tatiana Turan), modeled for fitness companies, and even choreographed for artist, Alina Baraz, at Coachella and Lollapalooza.
I continue to teach with Align Ballet Method- LA’s Top Program for Adult Ballet and perform as a dancer. You can see me dance at the Edison with Bling Divas Entertainment every Saturday night! While teaching and dancing, I am able to support my growth as an actor. I am currently signed with Go 2 Talent Agency for dance. My next step is to sign with an acting agency.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
These two years have been the most rewarding but also very rough. Last December, my dad passed away suddenly of a heart attack on an overseas business trip. It has been incredibly hard for me and to be honest, I’m still working through it. But one thing his death taught me is how important it is to really live life the way you want. For me, that is to keep growing as an artist while staying connected to who I am.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently working for Align Ballet Method. At Align Ballet Method, we teach all levels although a lot of my students start off having never stepped foot in a dance studio. It is very rewarding to see their growth. I also am currently focused on my training at the Groundlings School. I have found that improv has greatly helped my acting as well as just being present in life. Something else you should know is that I will be acting, dancing and singing in the musical Kiss Me Kate this August with Culver City Symphony!
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
After a year of acting and voice lessons, I auditioned for Oklahoma! with Opera San Luis Obispo. I got in as an ensemble member. Alone this was a huge accomplishment for me, but the icing on the cake was that I had the guts to ask to understudy the role of Ado Annie. I got the opportunity to do a few outreaches as this role. So much for my fear of public speaking!
- Website: cleomagill.com
- Phone: 8186312920
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: cleo_magill
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cmagill
- Other: https://www.alignballetmethod.com/
Bruno O’Hara, Aastha Gaur, Iron Lily: CC Weske, Daniel Silwa, Opera San Luis Obispo, 2018: Luis Escobar