The resilience of religion
January 11, 2022
Wednesday January 12th: Purpose
January 12, 2022

Called to the stage

Scott Rochard, 25, would have had a career in neuroscience, if not for a chance encounter on the dance floor. He shares how he discovered his gift in modern dance.

Your path in life can sometimes feel confusing or make you feel lost, but the answer is always to keep your faith strong and believe.

That is the mantra I have always told myself along my journey that has somehow led me to Los Angeles as a professional dancer—words that I never thought I would say.

In my childhood I had always been well-rounded. I was extremely athletic, spiritual, and intellectually inquisitive, having played tennis for 12 years, consistently reading at Mass, and having an avid interest in anything biological.

As I grew and learned more about myself and the world around me, my sights set on the field of medicine. I remember thinking if I could heal people physically then what better way to help them because helping others has always been my goal even in my day-to-day life. If I could put a smile on someone’s face, I would take the time to do just that.

I did not know what my future held, but I always trusted that I was on the right path once I kept my faith and my intentions pure. I focused on my education, putting all my time and energy into excelling at school. I knew with faith, prayers, and my drive that my efforts would pay off and it most certainly did. I was awarded a full scholarship to study Neuroscience and Psychology at Amherst College.

However, shortly into my time at university, I discovered my calling for the stage. I stumbled upon dance at the end of my freshman year and fell in love with it immediately, but I did not waiver from the medical path I believed was intended for me.

I began to train in dance just as hard as I studied neuroscience. I went to class all day and taught myself how to dance for hours at night, striving to learn the skills that set apart the industry professionals I admired. I felt my path slowly changing; there was a voice telling me that this is what I was meant to do but I still wanted to help people.

I trained blindly not knowing what I could achieve. I only had my faith in God, faith in myself and my passion to grow.

At this point, I had graduated from college and began working at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a research hospital in Boston, while I prepared for medical school.

However, I was conflicted since my passion told me I should be dancing. I ignored this nagging voice, and I continued my focus on the path I had determined for myself.

I began attending masterclasses and dance conventions taught by the people I had admired, and in a room of hundreds, they took notice of me—I stood out. This only fuelled my fire. I trained relentlessly and stole their attention more and more, hungry for a destiny I did not know should have been my own.

I will never forget the day Jojo Gomez—from whose videos I taught myself to dance—said to me how much I reminded her of herself when she was younger. Someone so highly respected in the entertainment industry, having choreographed and danced in Demi Lovato’s World Tour, someone whom I had looked up to for such a long time, saw in me a gift that she too possessed.

I had been working hard to craft my skill, but I began to believe it was a natural-born gift—the gift of dance. Every step of my journey led me to that moment and my faith kept me steadfast.

After completing my job at BIDMC, I took a leap of faith and made the biggest decision of my life to pursue my passion to dance. I believed that I could help people through dance by finding their confidence, self-love and true happiness, some things that medicine cannot provide.

I began teaching various classes at Zello Dance Studios in Boston while training with its owners Serena and Savana Petruzello, dance industry veterans who starred in ‘Annie’ and worked with Demi Lovato, Iggy Azalea and Jason Derulo to name a few.

I assisted them with multiple sold-out dance classes and collaborated on a concept video and, as a result, my dancing grew tremendously before I moved to Los Angeles, the heart of the dance industry.

While I was in Los Angeles, I was able to assist Jojo in concept video shoots and dance classes at Millennium Dance Complex and Mihran K Studios, two of the main training hubs for professional dancers.

I was cast by Jojo as a dancer for an artist’s debut performance at Choreographer’s Carnival and was part of a concept video with Nick Pauley, who has worked with Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry.

I danced in an upcoming dance reality show, for the studio that produced ‘Joker’, choreographed by Dexter Carr who has worked with Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and Chris Brown.

I have only spent 25 years on this earth but one of the most crucial lessons I have learned is that we all have gifts given to us and a path that we are meant to follow. We just have to listen and believe in ourselves.