Alison Stroming is the kind of person who can do everything. She's a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has 80,000 followers on Instagram (and counting), where she spreads positivity and words of encouragement to the next generation of dancers. In 2010, she walked away with the Miss New York Outstanding Teen title (part of the Miss America Organization). She recently started her own dance-clothing line, and she has multiple modeling credits with national advertising campaigns, like American Eagle, Free People and TUMI. With so many talents, it could be hard to pick a focus, but Stroming—with her pristine technique, inherent grace and compelling stage presence—says she is committed to her ballet career. If you're in New York, you can see Stroming perform with DTH April 4–7 at New York City Center.
On joining DTH "A few years ago I came to New York on vacation and decided to take class at DTH with a friend who was in the company. She had mentioned that they were looking for an extra girl, but I really didn't come to class with the intention of auditioning. After class [artistic director] Virginia Johnson asked if I was available to come back the next day to take class and learn some rep. I did, and from there, I was hired. It really just happened unexpectedly, and I'm so grateful it did."
Her daily schedule "I wake up at 7:45 each morning to commute from midtown to Harlem for company class from 10 to 11:30 am. Our average workday ends at about 6:45 pm, with an hour-long break for lunch. The schedule changes daily, but because we're such a small company, we all have to know every single part, so everyone can expect that they will be called for rehearsal each day."
On her as yet unnamed new line of leotards "I'm always the girl in class with the crazy leotards, so it's been fun for me to start a dancewear line that matches my style. Right now, I have three or four leotards that are sold exclusively at JUMP dance convention, and they've been doing really well."
On the surprising challenges of a beauty pageant "I thought, 'This will be easy. I'm just going to strut around in a bathing suit.' But no—it was really hard. As a dancer, I never speak in public, so the interview was really difficult. It was my first and last pageant, but I won. Then I got to do a year of charity work with the organization."