Rachelle Rak Interview: The Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition judge says “we definitely don’t always agree”

rachelle-rak THE STAR SCOOP: You’ve made a career on stage performing in front of people. How do you think being a judge (on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition) compares to this kind of performing? RACHELLE RAK: Well, coming from a dance school background sure helps. My mother had a studio for 58 years so, I competed at a young age in dance competitions and pageants and went on to a career in show business. As dancers, singers and actresses we get judged every day. I am used to receiving the criticism in my life so, I feel comfortable sharing the knowledge I have about dancing and performing. I hope to help these young students prepare for life in show business and in just setting new goals and going for it. THE STAR SCOOP: How would you describe the type of judge you are? RACHELLE RAK: I am a reasonable judge with a whole lot of sass. I get up, I tell the kids to Bite the Apple™ which means to finish you number and then take a big bite, a button. I am 100 percent in their corner to do well so, I hope that my positive energy goes right to them. THE STAR SCOOP: Why did you want to be part of “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition?” RACHELLE RAK: Well, I was a guest on “Dance Moms” and after that show aired my website blew up with visitors and I don’t really know why. I was good to the girls, they learned a little of the style of Fosse and I gave them a shot to compete with it and they did great. I got a call the next day.”Are you interested in interviewing for the position of the new judge on Abby’s Show?” I of course said yes. One week later I was in L.A. filming. Hollywood look out. THE STAR SCOOP: Tell us more about the dynamic between yourself and the other judges. RACHELLE RAK: Well, Abby’s and I have known each other for a while and Richy and I just met. We all have very different opinions and different ways of working with kids. I think there is a good dynamic between us. We definitely don’t always agree. THE STAR SCOOP: Will we see any dancing from you at any point in the series? RACHELLE RAK: Oh yes! I will teach the competitors on the Broadway Tribute show coming up in a few weeks and in the Finale Episode 12 I get to perform my singe SAS co-written by Martyn Axe on the show. Singing and dancing my song for the kids and now all of my friends across the county. So excited. THE STAR SCOOP: What other projects do you have in the works? RACHELLE RAK: Well, I am now headed to the Norwegian Cruise Line ship The Pride of America to put my new cast on the ship. It sails the Hawaiian Islands. Not a bad gig and then I have tons of teaching, some judging and living my life. Life is busy and I am very thankful. THE STAR SCOOP: What are your thoughts on shows like “Glee” and “Smash” that bring a little bit of the musical theater to the small screen? RACHELLE RAK: I think they have been amazing for all of the musical theater kids across the country. It has brought musical theater and the Broadway dream into your living room and it helps to show the kids what you can accomplish if you work hard and to believe in the arts and your talent. I think both series have had a great impact our youth. THE STAR SCOOP: Can you share with us a few of your best memories from your 25 year-plus career? RACHELLE RAK: Well, I was 17 in 1988 and I went to an open call of Cat’s the Musical at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. I went for practice to see how I measured up to the college students. They hired me. I left for the road a week later and at 17 I was ready to make my way across America and 8 years later I opened Cats on Broadway. Fosse was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I am inspired my Liza Minelli, Ben Vereen and Gwen Verdon. I think young students need to have role models and performers that they connect and strive to be like. One last thing: The movie “Every Little Step” (the making of “A Chorus Line”) changed my life. Watch it. Get to know me and get to know what life and competition can be like on Broadway. THE STAR SCOOP: Is there a (Broadway, television) show you would love to be a part of someday? RACHELLE RAK: Yes. I hope to work on it this coming year. I would love to be a guest on Ray Donovan because I love it – ahaha – but, seriously I want to create and develop a new idea on a dance show and see what we can come up with for the future. Create it and do it. You never know what can happen.

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