Are you a fan of the big screen? Many successful Hollywood actors worked hard in a variety of different jobs before getting their big break. For many of these stars, the love of acting and performing started at an early age. Dance classes and high school musicals provided the start for many famous celebrities.

Some of the most talented actors started out in the dance world. Which actors began their careers as dancers? You may be surprised:

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez is considered a triple threat because she can dance, sing, and act. However, before she was famous, she was a dancer in stage musicals and music videos based out of New York City. In 1990, she joined the cast of dancers for the popular comedy series, “In Living Color.”

Soon, she began acting in TV movies and appeared in a variety of feature films. It wasn’t until 1997, when she starred in the movie, Selena, that Lopez got her big break. A few years later, she launched a successful singing career, and now she’s a superstar.

Penelope Cruz

Before Cruz launched her acting career, she studied classical ballet for almost a decade at Spain’s National Conservatory. However, when she was 15 years old, she auditioned for a talent agency and began acting in addition to dancing. In just a few years, Cruz was one of the most sought-after actresses in Spain.

In the late nineties, Cruz began acting in US movies, and by 2001, she was a sought-after actress. At the time, she starred alongside actors such as Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp in movies such as Vanilla Sky and Blow.

Channing Tatum

If you’ve ever seen Magic Mike, you’ve witnessed Tatum’s gyrating dance moves. Growing up in the South, Tatum was mostly a jock, excelling in football, baseball, soccer and track. However, after dropping out of college, Tatum adopted the stage name, “Chan Crawford,” and soon began working as an exotic dancer in the Tampa area.

Moving from Tampa to Miami, Tatum signed on with a talent agency and worked as a model, actor, and dancer. You can see Tatum dance in Ricky Martin’s 2000 music video, “She Bangs.” After signing on with the Ford Talent Agency in New York City, Channing began appearing in movies, such as the She’s the Man, with Amanda Bynes in 2006.

Christopher Walken

You may be wondering if your eyes are playing tricks on you right now. Born in Queens, this lovable eccentric actor started dancing when he was just three years old. Not only was he a talented hoofer, he was also a gifted actor and he was accepted into the prestigious Professional Children’s School.

Walken’s performance career began as a dancer in stage musicals, including the theater production of The West Side Story. By the late sixties, Walken began acting more in Broadway productions. By the early 1970’s, he began acting in films. Walken’s big break happened when he appeared in the 1977 Woody Allen film, Annie Hall.

Amy Adams

Born in Italy, Adams moved with her family back to the US when she was eight years old and planted roots in Castle Rock, Colorado. While attending school, Adams sang in the chorus and studied ballet.  When ballet dancing proved to be too extreme for her, Adams threw her heart into musical theater.

Singing and dancing in a variety of theaters across the Midwest, Adams landed her first movie role in the 1999 film, Drop Dead Gorgeous. Relocating to Los Angeles, Adams pursued a movie career, which quickly took off.

Mia Wasikowska

Born in Australia, Wasikowska began training to be a professional ballet dancer at the age of nine. By the time she was was 13, she was training 25 hours a week and injured herself. Turning to acting, Wasikowska began her acting career in the popular Australian drama, All Saints in 2004.   

Following a successful film and TV career in Australia, Wasikowska began acting in the American TV show, “In Treatment,” which led to other roles. One Of her most famous roles was the role of Alice in the Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland.

Some of these dancing actors may surprise you. In our next blog, we’ll further discuss more celebrities with a background in dance. If you would like to dance with the grace of J Lo, consider signing up for our adult dance classes at our ballroom dance studio in Woodbridge. Contact the Modern Ballroom Dance Studio today.