Meet our Latest Student of the Month – Vanessa Yasay-Gayo


What companies/classes are you currently in?

I am a senior in the C.A.T.S. Company and Tap Cat 1s.


When did you start at Center Stage?

I started dancing at Center Stage when I was in 4th grade.


Do you remember your first dance routine?

My first dance routine at Center Stage was “Jungle Boogie” with Christy Rak-Samson.  I wasn’t the best dancer but I loved performing. I loved this dance because it was very up-beat and energetic.


What was your Center Stage journey?

My Center Stage journey is something that I will never forget and will cherish forever. While at Center Stage, I was able to express myself through something I loved doing alongside my talented best friends. CS has introduced to such amazing people who I am able to now call family. My time at Center Stage has taught me so much about discipline, drive, determination, focus, growth and maturity.  I will never forget all of the amazing advice and inspiration that my teachers and fellow dancers have given to me over the years.  Center Stage was my second home for many years of my life and I will never forget my time here. 


Why has it been worth all of the energy you’ve put in to it and the sacrifices you’ve made?

Being a company dancer at Center Stage is a big commitment and at some point in time, you have to decide what is truly important to you.  I made the decision to put my commitment to Center Stage first.  I love to dance and my experiences/training at Center Stage was worth all of the sacrifices that I have made in the past.  At the end of the day, you recognize your growth as a dancer/performer and it is truly rewarding.


 Center Stage seems to produce a lot of ‘friends-for-life.’ Are the people you dance with going to be forever friends? Why do you think that happens?

I think Center Stage creates “friends for life” because dancing together for so many years, we have created a bond and a sisterhood that will last forever.


Who are your role models? Whose life and values, either from your personal life or famous people, would you like to emulate? 

My maternal grandfather is a great source of inspiration to me. He always fights for what he believes in and is always able to speak his mind.  He has alot of courage to stand up for causes that will help people and society.  I admire him so much and I hope to be as impactful as him some day.


Do you do other outside of school activities?

I am captain of the East Brunswick High School Dance team. We performed at many basketball games and other school events.


What’s your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie is The Dark Knight because Heath Ledger was amazing as the joker. I also love the Harry Potter movies.


Favorite Broadway show?

My favorite Broadway show is Chicago because I’m obsessed with the Fosse style dance. 


Favorite food?

 I don’t really have a favorite food because I love eating! If I had to pick one, I would say Chipotle. 
First celebrity crush?

My first celebrity crush was Justin Timberlake. 


TV Show you’re embarrassed to admit you used to watch? 

I used to watch Tom & Jerry and I still do.


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I would choose to be a butterfly because I’m very social. 


When do you remember laughing the hardest?

I laugh the most when I am with my dance friends. We have so many inside jokes and we always have so many fun adventures. 


If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?

If i could have dinner with any historical figure, it would be Audrey Hepburn because she was beautiful and empowered women and I love Breakfast at Tiffanys.


What’s next?

I am going to Clemson University in South Carolina!  While I was accepted to the undergraduate Pre-Law program at Clemson University, I intend to also take classes in Communications, until I ultimately figure out which field I want to pursue.  I will miss my friends and family but look forward to carving my own path with new and exciting experiences!


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years I see myself traveling the world and hopefully settling down with a family shortly thereafter.


Will you come back to visit Center Stage, or are you gone for good when you’re out the door?

Center Stage is my home.  You can’t get rid of me that easily!  I will definitely be back!!