Professional dancers who have the ability to adjust and adapt quickly to changes in style are prized in the dance world.
Renee Ritchie, a former contestant on Season 3 of Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), celebrity teacher, choreographer, and dance assistant, is one of those versatile dancers colleagues are happy to work with again and again.
“Renee has a very strong technical background, including contemporary. She makes beautiful shapes and lines with her body,” says Cat Rendic, a former NBA Miami Heat dancer who has toured with artists like Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Iggy Azalea, has worked with Richie on multiple projects. “As if that wasn’t enough, she [Ritchie] has also trained in various street styles, making her a chameleon of dance.”
Ritchie has spent many years developing her talent and abilities through hard work and commitment to growing in her art and skills in the dance industry. A dancer from the age of five, dancing gave a shy child like Ritchie confidence.
“I loved dance so much, it was all I ever wanted to do.” she says.
Ritchie’s journey from Top-12 SYTYCD contestant has been filled with successes that have taken her on tour throughout Australia and the United States. In addition to working as a dancer for major recording artists like Kylie Minogue and Kelly Clarkson, she was selected to be part of the Nigel Lythgoe and Brian Friedman-produced Go90 series, Every Single Step, making it to the top 6 in this talent search for young, fresh choreographers. Richie currently travels the convention circuit with Hollywood Vibe, working with all of its celebrity choreographers as a dance assistant, demonstrating their work for thousands of young dance hopefuls.
The work is demanding but also very creative. Ritchie must be able to quickly learn new choreography and execute it with a high level of performance immediately. Getting to know each choreographer, all of whom work very differently, and deciding when to offer creative input is a big part of the job.
“You’re always working and pushing to be better,” explains Ritchie. “To work at a high level with these choreographers and others around you is rewarding. It’s nice to be appreciated and know your hard work has paid off.”
In addition to her work with celebrity dancers like Alexa Anderson, Caitlin Kinney, Kent Boyd, and Allison Holker–all of SYTYCD fame– Ritchie collaborates frequently on creative projects with choreographer Kevin Maher, including his work on Jennifer Lopez’ Las Vegas show at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort.
Ritchie also co-choreographed the Paula Abdul award-winning music video, “Check Yourself” which raised awareness of breast cancer and was assistant choreographer to Lucas Newline on the show Absinthe in Las Vegas, choreographing one of its numbers in 2013. Ritchie is excited to soon tour with KAR Elite Dance Competition as one of their celebrity judges and choreographers.
Ritchie knows that when things get tough, she always has dance as a kind of cure for life’s difficulties. She is inspired most by mentors Kevin Maher, Jason Winters and Tony Tzar who she says stay true to who they are as creators and teachers and give selflessly of their time and advice.
Ritchie seems to follow their example well. Aside from the positive, contagious energy that she brings to the room, Rendic describes Ritchie as someone consistently willing to step in and offer help.
“Renee is always going the extra mile,” says Rendic.
This habit is why a dance chameleon like Ritchie will go the distance. She plans to continue to work behind the scenes on tours, hoping to someday work with artists like Beyoncé and Nick Jonas. She also wants to share her talent and knowledge with a younger generation of dancers as a faculty member of conventions traveling America. Well on her way toward these goals, Ritchie’s future in the dance industry looks bright and multi-colored.