Dance Major Finds Success in Musical Theater

Shacura Wade is part of the national tour of The Lion King

For Shacura Wade (B.F.A. ’15), the journey after graduation has been unexpected.

“I thought the Broadway world was very cheesy and over-commercialized, so I didn’t think it had a place for me,” Wade says.

portrait of Shacura Wade

But she had a change of heart two years ago, when she was cast as an ensemble member in the national tour of The Lion King. Now she performs on stages across the country, spreading a message she deeply believes in.

“I always wanted to be a part of something that had a deeper meaning, and The Lion King is such a spiritual show,” Wade says. “It has a great story about unity and how everything is connected.”

It also allows her to combine her love of dance with two other talents: singing and acting. Wade says the Conservatory curriculum helped prepare her for her current role because she was able to take classes in other performing arts disciplines, like music.

“You don’t always get that variety at a lot of schools,” Wade explains. “That’s why [the Conservatory] produces such well-rounded dancers in general.”

She also credits her teachers at the Conservatory for helping her develop skills that set her apart in auditions.

“It’s a passion, it’s a hunger, it’s a confidence, it’s a boldness I feel as though I learned from the faculty,” Wade says. “You don’t really realize it when you’re in school, training every single day, and you’re exhausted. But when you get out in the world and allow your training to speak for itself? It separated me a lot."

This story originally appeared in Encore, the UMKC Conservatory magazine.

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Published: Oct 25, 2019

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