We had the good fortune of connecting with Genene Wallis-McGrath and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Genene, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA. I was raised by a single mom alongside one older sister. Being raised by a single mom molded me into the person I am today. My mom, Christine Wallet, is the hardest working person I know. She has owned her own business since I was little and she has always lead it with her passion and heart first.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been dancing professionally for over twelve years. I have performed with companies such as Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, MET dance and currently performing with Houston Contemporary Dance Company. It has not been an easy journey navigating the concert dance world thus far. I grew up wanting to be a part of a traditional ballet company but I was also constantly being told that I didn’t have the “body” for that and that wouldn’t happen. Even though when this was presented to me I was devastated thinking that I would never have what I always dreamed to have, I feel that hurdle let me find more of myself through other styles and aspects of dance. I went on to work for amazing directors and choreographers that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if I was only pursuing a career traditional ballet. I wish I could say that those days were not the only days I was told to fix my body to fit someone’s else’s standards, but that’s not the case. Now, starting my twelfth season in a professional company, I can finally say that I proud of the way that my body takes care of me on a day to day basis, I find beauty in the way I look, and I feel so lucky to grace the stage with it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting town, I would take them to all of my favorite spots. Hopefully we would be able to see a show at the Miller Outdoor Theater, if not just walk around Herman Park a bit because it’s so beautiful, get some tacos at Taco Deli, check out what is going on at the CAMH, and spend some quality of time at home with all of my fur babies (shoutout to Larry David the dog, Kassie the dog, and Baby Girl the cat.)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to my amazing wife, Brit. Because of her support I am where I am today.
Photos by Katie Ging, Ben Doyle, and Raul Nava