Wearing suits every day and flocking to Huntsman Hall for OCR information sessions are not the only ways Wharton students chase their dreams. Nick Silverio, a Wharton sophomore, is pursuing his dance career while taking a short break from Penn.
Starting November 2014, Silverio toured 15 different cities — mainly in the Midwest and the West Coast — as part of the national tour of “Elf.”
“Elf” is a Broadway musical based on the Will Ferrell movie with the same title, about an elf who finds out that he is actually a human and goes to New York to find his father. Silverio’s role was called “M6,” which included many different parts such as an elf, a security guard, a worker and a businessman.
“A lot of people think I was an elf for two hours, but I was an elf for about ten minutes,” he said.
Although Silverio said he loves Penn and the Wharton School, in the second semester of his freshman year, he said he really felt like . In June 2014, Silverio was chosen for the eleventh season of the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.” The next thing he knew, he auditioned for Clear Talent Group, a talent agency in New York, and signed his contract.
“Most of the casts [of ‘Elf’] had 10, 11 auditions, but I had a different audition experience,” Silverio said.
He went to the audition at 10 a.m., and by 5 p.m. the same day, his talent agency booked him for the national tour.
“It was really competitive. There were about 150 guys for two spots,” Silverio said.
However, this is not his first time performing in a professional show. Silverio started dancing at the age of three and began performing in professional shows at nine including in productions of Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Carol.
Kelly Furukawa, a Wharton junior and the marketing director of Arts House Dance Company first met Silverio during Penn Preview days, and she said she thought, “Why is he even in a regular school?”
“Business seemed like a good option because you can do whatever you want to do with the degree,” Silverio said. He thought of attending New York University’s Stern School of Business because it has an option to minor in dance, but he said the Arts House Dance Company was one of the reasons he eventually chose to come to Penn.
“He intimidated everybody during auditions. He was so good,” Furukawa said.
Both Furukawa and Allie Zamarin, a College junior and chair of Arts House Dance Company, said Silverio can adapt to any type of dance across different genres.
“Nick is very strong at performing. He is a very theatrical dancer,” Furukawa said. “He has also learned how to use his body in various movements and make smarter choices as a dancer.”
Zamarin added that Silverio is also incredibly effective at teaching other dancers — when he teaches the group his choreography, it takes as little as one day for them to learn it.
“He is very efficient and can convey exactly what he wants,” she said.
On top of his active involvement with the dance company, he did a really good job balancing his interests in Wharton and dance, said Paola Gamarra, Wharton sophomore and fellow Wharton Ambassador with Silverio.
“He was always in love with Management 100 and eventually became a TA,” she said. Silverio is expected to start his TA position once he is back at Penn.
Gamarra added that Silverio also showed a lot of interest in fashion and had worked at Urban Outfitters on campus.
“It is pretty common to see students in Wharton combining two very different and separate passions,” Gamarra said.
Silverio said that he is still not sure how to combine his two interests and is in preparation for both, possibly combining them with an individualized concentration. Before returning for his sophomore year in fall 2015, Silverio will stay in New York City, auditioning for other shows and attending dance conventions on weekends.
“Now I go to an audition, and almost every time I know somebody,” he said.
The venues he performed at include the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas, which has more than 2,000 seats, and the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, Calif., which is doomed to close with “Elf” as its last show.
“‘Elf’ is the largest scale performance I ever had,” he said. Silverio added that the entire cast and crew were incredible and that it was a “jaw-dropping experience.”
Silverio said his experience of touring the nation helped him grow a lot.
“I thought I was a grown up when I came to college, but I was not,” he said.
However, Silverio has not lost his love for Penn. During his time away from campus, he still choreographed for Arts House Dance Company and is even considering performing in its spring show.
“Dance is my life,” he said.
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