Isabel Wallace-Green (ʼ15) performs in Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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Maya Addie

Isabel Wallace-Green (’15) is performing in the Christmas Spectacular as a member of the ensemble.

Abigail Poag, Assignments Editor

The first time she stepped foot on the Radio City Music Hall stage, Isabel Wallace-Green’s heart skipped a beat. 

“In that moment, I felt like I had made it,” Wallace-Green said. “I realized this whole opportunity was a dream turned reality—a dream that I didn’t even believe I was capable of achieving.”

Since early November, Wallace-Green (ʼ15) has been performing up to 15 performances a week as an ensemble member in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Wallace-Green auditioned for the show this past April, just a month before graduating with a dual Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Fordham University and the Ailey School, which is affiliated with the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

“She can do everything—she’s very versatile,” her former dance teacher Victoria Arizpe said. “She’s extremely graceful but at the same time strong and dynamic.”

Wallace-Green and a close friend had decided to audition for the Christmas Spectacular “for the experience.” Since the open ensemble auditions fell on the first day of their Easter break, their plan was to go in, dance and enjoy the rest of their vacation. As it turned out, Wallace-Green and her friend made it through the first round of auditions and were invited to return for callbacks the following day along with 30 other women.

“I just remember telling myself each round to go out there and confidently present myself like I’ve been trained to do,” she said. 

Needless to say, both dancers booked the job.

As an ensemble member, Wallace-Green dances up to four shows a day for audiences of over 6,000. She performs in an abridged version of “The Nutcracker,” among other iconic scenes.

Her favorite dance is the finale “Christmas Lights,” a technically-advanced number that requires sharp, precise movements and lots of stamina. For a portion of the song, the dancers gather at the edge of the stage, where they can connect directly with the thousands of audience members. 

“These moments are extremely special to me because I get to witness the direct effect of our hard work as performers,” Wallace-Green said. “Throughout the show, we’ve created this magical escape for the audience to enjoy, and now they get to share it with us.”

With such a demanding schedule, Wallace-Green learned quickly that she needed to prioritize taking care of her body. After a three- or four-show day, she takes ice baths to aid recovery.

But Wallace-Green is no stranger to hard work. Her dance teachers at St. John’s noticed her unique passion, drive and ability to express herself through dance. 

“When she dances, you see how much she loves it,” Arizpe said. “It’s in every ounce of her being. It comes from her heart and soul.”

Wallace-Green danced in Terpsichore, the School’s most advanced dance group, for all four years of high school, an achievement she shares with only a handful of other students. 

In addition to her aptitude for dance, Arizpe recalls being impressed with Wallace-Green’s maturity and focus even as a freshman, which made her more than capable of dancing alongside upperclassmen in Terpsichore.

Wallace-Green trained at the Houston Ballet Academy for nine years but decided to “hang up the pointe shoes and quit” the Academy after her freshman year of high school. While she continued to dance in Terpsichore, she had stopped seeing a professional future for herself in ballet and instead wished to devote herself to a wider range of extracurriculars at St. John’s, including cheer, yearbook and musical theater.

It was in the Fordham/Ailey program that Wallace-Green realized that she had the ability to pursue dance as a career. For the recent college graduate, that career began sooner than she had expected. 

“There have been several times this season where I’m rushing to rehearsal or a costume fitting or a performance and think of how my reality is a huge dream come true,” Wallace-Green said. “To perform on one of the biggest stages in the world with a renowned company day in and day out is something I’ve dreamed of.”

Her journey to the Radio City stage may have been riddled with self-doubt, but the significance of her role is not lost on Wallace-Green.

“Having the opportunity to perform at Radio City Music Hall is an affirmation that I am right where I am supposed to be,” Wallace-Green said. “I am so grateful everyday for this experience and more so to be a part of it right out of school. It is truly the best Christmas gift I have ever received.”