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Meet Rachael Leitson '10

Posted April 01, 2021 in Alumni Profile

Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10
Meet Rachael Leitson '10

Lawrence School, Class of 2010
Chapman University, Class of 2014

Since graduating from Lawrence, what have you been up to?
After High School, I furthered my education—it was really important to me to continue to learn and grow. Ever since I was a young child, I wanted to be a professional dancer. Growing up, I trained 25-30 hours a week with this goal in mind. So, when the time came to research colleges, I focused on schools that had strong academic and dance programs, and great resources for someone with dyslexia. Many schools had programs in place to support someone with a learning difference and this put my mind at ease. With hard work and dedication, I got into all ten schools I applied to and was even offered scholarships. In the end, I selected Chapman University in Orange County, California. In 2014, I graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned a BFA in Dance.

Tell us about your career...
After I finished college, I was fortunate to book a professional show called a Night of Entertainment in Prague, Czech Republic. I spent the summer in Europe performing. After returning home, I set my sights on Broadway and that meant one thing—I had to move to New York City! I relocated in the fall of 2014 and started auditioning right away. I was hired to perform in A Christmas Carol, which was a wonderful and life-changing experience. Unfortunately, after the show ended, I needed to have open heart surgery. This news was devastating, but I did all I could to stay positive.

I spent 18 months off my dancing feet before I could get back to my dreams. However, as I recovered, I discovered a new passion. I saw how fitness training helped my body not only to heal from my operation, but become stronger than ever before. I realized I wanted to help other people reach their fitness goals, too. Exhale Spa, one of the top fitness and spa studios in NYC, asked me to join their team as a teacher. I teach barre, cardio, and HIIT classes, while still working as a Master Teacher for several national and international dance conventions. I sometimes instruct 500+ kids during a weekend convention. I also judge national and international dance competitions. This allowed me to travel extensively in Australia. I count myself very lucky—I’ve been able to see the world, guide young dancers, and help people realize their potential.

Has the pandemic affected your career?
This past year, I’ve had to make adjustments and reimagine my career. With face-to-face teaching no longer an option, I now teach virtually from my apartment! New York City is slowly starting to open, so I hope to work with my clients in-person in the future.

But my biggest news of the last year is that I got engaged! I met my amazing fiance here in NYC. He is a producer and works in film/TV. We’ve been together for close to five years. We can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends in May of 2022.

How did Lawrence prepare you for life?
I came to Lawrence in the first grade and I’m not sure where I would be today without the school. Being a student at Lawrence taught me to be confident in my learning style, to be the best I can be, and that I could do anything I set out to do. I am dyslexic and I embrace it! I know I always have to work a little harder, but Lawrence gave me the tools to not only succeed, but to excel.

One of the biggest life lessons I took away from Lawrence was the importance of time management. I always had a lot going on between dance and school and I traveled a lot when I was younger for dance competitions. The faculty taught me how to balance school with dance and to stay on top of my studies. That ability has carried me through college and my career!

What advice do you have for current Lawrence students?
Trust the process. Believe in yourself. Work hard. Embrace yourself. Lawrence taught me so much and brought so many wonderful opportunities into my life. I know the school will do the same for you.

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