Center Stage: To start off our season I am here with one of our seniors – Olivia Ruffine. Hi Olivia!
Olivia Ruffine: Hi!
CS: You have been with us since the very beginning, back in Marlboro… how old were you when you started?
OR: YES! Been here for 15 years!
CS: Is this something that you had expressed interested in, or was it something your mother enrolled you in?
OR: My Mom wanted me to try everything, and dance and gymnastics was it. Then I started competing with dance and gymnastics already, and the schedules were conflicting so I decided to choose dance.
CS: Did you like it from the very beginning?
OR: YES. My first teacher was Karen Pajak, so it was a while ago.
CS: Yeah, that was a while ago, do you remember what the dance was?
OR: It was something with a cat, we were cats. I wore little cat ears. I don’t remember what it was called.
CS: The Cat in the Hat… Everybody Wants to Be a Cat…
OR: Everybody Wants to be a CAT!
CS: You are a CATs Dancer… when did you start competing?
OR: I started competing when I was 7, with Sue (Garahan). My first dance was “I like to Move It.”
CS: And that was Jazz?
CS: Since then, what has been your favorite dance?
OR: Any of Sue’s, like “Car Wash”, I liked those little dances, like “Mandolay”, I loved Jazz, that was my favorite.
CS: What style of dance are you most passionate about?
OR: Hip-Hop… because I feel like it’s totally me. I can let my hair down and be free. I feel like in Ballet, everything is so uptight. I like Ballet but like, Hip-Hop is my thing. I like the music to it, I can get along with it well.
CS: How does Dance fit into your life?
OR: DANCE is my LIFE! I’m here all the time. It’s my second home.
CS: Do you do well in school?
OR: I keep my grades up very well…. A’s and B’s.
CS: So how do you fit that in, how do you make school AND dance work?
OR: Before or after dance when I have time I do homework or I try to get homework done in other classes, or during my lunch period. So I have time to relax at home if I need.
CS: So you make it work.
OR: I make it work!
CS: So do you think your experience at Center Stage taught you time management?
OR: Definitely! I know exactly when to leave my house, what time I’m going to be there. And if I need to pick someone up, I leave earlier and for everything with school.
CS: So what happens next? Where are you going?
OR: I actually decided that I would do 2 years at Brookdale and then I’m going to transfer to probably Seton Hall. I’m doing the AT Program which is Athletic Training and sports medicine.
CS: What do you want to do?
OR: I’m hoping to open my own business or helping with another one. My Dad’s friend owns his own Physical Therapy, so he said he could get me internships.
CS: So is that the route you want to go, Physical Therapy?
OR: It’s all together, Physical Therapy, OT, AT, but mainly it’s only for Athletic People so it could be for Dancing, Football, Basketball, I could follow around a girls team or a boys team.
CS: So it’s geared towards your life now.
OR: Yes, and I get injured very often, so I’d like to know how to avoid that as much as possible.
CS: Have your interests changed throughout your years at Center Stage?
OR: I was always interested in Jazz the most, Tap the second, and Ballet the least, even though that’s the technique needed. I ended up quitting tap when I was little because I didn’t like the sound of the tap shoes. Then I ended up going back to it, and then I ended up having to choose between Tap Company and Ballet Company because it was getting to be too much, with homework and everything. So I chose Ballet Company and that year Lainie dropped the Ballet Company. So I just do Jazz Company.
CS: So, do you work, do you have a job outside of here?
OR: I just help with classes here at the studio.
CS: So you are an assistant?
CS: What about being an assistant do you like, what attracts you to being a dance assistant?
OR: I just like showing the little kids that, that’s where I started and you can build yourself up to be in the highest company with hard work and you have to pay attention and focus and listen to the teachers. Yes, they are little and they don’t really get that understanding like now, but I bet they will appreciate it later in life.
CS: If you could meet anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
OR: Channing Tatum… he’s very attractive.
CS: And if you met him, what would you say to him?
OR: You’re hot! And I watch all of your movies hehehe
CS: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actor would play you, and what would it be called?
OR: I probably want to have either Heidi Klum or Blake Lively, because they are blondes. I don’t really know what it would be called… like maybe “The Experience of Life”.
CS: What’s one thing you can’t live without?
OR: FOOD! And my phone.
CS: Oh, ok… so if you have food and your phone, you’d be good to go!
OR: I’d be good to go!
CS: If you could live anywhere in this world, where would it be?
OR: Probably California. There are so many opportunities out there, the beaches, doctor practices, Football Teams, everything is there. My Parents lived there. They moved because my dad got a job here, they were born and raised there. I’ve always told them I wished they didn’t leave.
CS: Favorite Music?
OR: Rap and R&B
CS: Favorite Artist?
OR: I like Drake, but I’ve always loved Beyoncé.
CS: Favorite TV Show
OR: I’m actually watching ‘90210’ on Netflix right now so, it’s really interesting, I like that show.
CS: What’s one word people would use to describe you?
OR: Bubbly. Friendly. Outgoing. Blunt Person.
CS: What do you think you will be doing in 10 years?
OR: I hope to have my life settled in. Working as an AT and hopefully meeting someone that I think I will spend my life with, not yet starting a family but just getting on that path.
CS: Looking back at your 15 years at Center Stage, what would be your favorite moment, not so much a dance but a moment?
OR: Probably meeting all my friends from dance and like creating a really good friendship with them, they are basically all my sisters. I’m an only child so, they are all my sisters. And also getting closer with the teachers was also really great.
CS: Who had the most impact on your life, which teacher?
OR: Probably Mickey DeFranco. When I was little I always had the confidence to speak out how I wanted to, not really caring what people thought. Then when I was in middle school I was that little shell, but I was a little out there but not in my dancing. Mickey got me to come out of my shell.
CS: What can you take away from Center Stage?
OR: All the friendships and family aspects of it. I will definitely come back and visit you guys. You are my second family. I wrote my college essay about you guys. It’s my safe place.
CS: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
OR: Thank you to all the teachers, George and Stephen, thank you.