Ponoka’s Joel Ronnie has been picked to take part in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats for Royal Caribbean International. The 27-year-old dancer is also the understudy for the main narrator character and will be on tour for 10 months. Photo submitted

Ponoka dancer reaches new heights in Cats play on Caribbean Cruise

Joel Ronnie has been dancing professionally for the last 10 years and is seeing professional growth

Ponoka dancer Joel Ronnie’s career has grown by leaps and bounds.

The 27-year-old’s career in dancing has spanned several years and provided him with his fair share of fame. Some years ago Ronnie competed in So You Think You Can Dance Canada, placing well not once but twice. He performed in season two and season four placing well in both.

Ronnie’s love for dancing has taken him around the world with major contracts with Royal Caribbean International cruises. When he was 19 he moved to Miami, FL and then to Europe to take part in his first cruise production.

Ronnie’s skills have been able to secure him many dancing gigs for the cruise line and he has seen a myriad of countries around the world. He’s done several world tours, dancing with a group of high profile dancers and shows.

These shows are something to write home about; Ronnie not only dances but many performers, including Ronnie, also do aerial routines. Most recently, the dancer has been able to take his love for performance by being selected for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Ronnie’s working with a world-class casting agency and production team.

This production will be on another Royal Caribbean International cruise ship the MS Oasis of the Sea. This show will push Ronnie’s performance skills as he’s not only dancing but he’s the understudy for the lead character and narrator Munkustrap.

“We had to submit specific material. Singing — which was a new venture for me — as well as specific dances from the show,” said Ronnie.

“I started the process at the beginning of October and I didn’t find out about the contract until like nearly the end of December.”

His audition material was sent to Shanghai, China to Miami, FL and then to London, England.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” stated Ronnie, who is excited to see where this project will take him professionally.

He’s got a rigorous two month rehearsal process before setting up the stage and aerial rigging on the ship. The whole production will be about 10 months. Because of his singing there’s some great chances to grow.

“There’s so many more opportunities in Toronto or even Vancouver for Canadian theatre,” said Ronnie.

“You have to think smart. Dancers’ careers are so short…you have to learn to diversify.”

What’s funny for Ronnie is that he usually hated to sing in front of other people but being picked as the understudy showed him just how far he can go in the performing arts. “I think I have the knowledge I need to get going.”

For those looking for a fun vacation, Ronnie says the cruise industry has changed drastically over the years. The main theatre alone seats 3,000 people and there’s so much more to do, said Ronnie.

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