TROY students and TDRE members Caitlin Parish & Monica Bates with
Adrienne Hicks after an iLuminate show in New York City.
by Clif Lusk
Adrienne Hicks was a little nervous sitting in the University Relations
office. She was headed to New York City in two days, and didn’t have a
place to live.
“That’s still up in the air, but I have to have a place to live,” she said.
Hicks, who graduated in 2011, got hired on by iLuminate, the
dance-in-the-dark group made famous by “America’s Got Talent.” She
performed in the company’s daily show at Six Flags Over Georgia, then
was a member of the group’s corporate performance team, doing shows
in Philadelphia, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and some far-flung places like
Paris, Spain, Shanghai, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
It was after the Shanghai show that she
flew back to New York for a visit and into
Winter Storm Sandy, which stranded her in
That storm blew her into the off-
Broadway iLuminate show.
“I was planning to just ‘hang out’ and
take some dance classes, but I ended up
doing rehearsals every day, helping with
the marketing and standing in for people
missing from rehearsals, but the director
asked me to stay on board and be a par t
of the show,” Hicks said.
Not just any par t either. Cast as a
swing dancer, she ended up dancing the
Then came a five-week Central
Asian tour, much of it organized by U.S.
embassies. In each stop, the dancers
gave performances, taught master classes
at local dance studios and par ticipated
in press conferences and “talkback”
sessions with locals.
“It was unreal. They don’t have
the same sor t of fire codes, and
when the lights came up for
the bow, it was really wall-to-
wall people,” she said.
In Uzbekistan, the
performers were on
billboards. They were, in
essence, rock stars.
“Everybody knew who
we were,” she said. “It
was incredible to see the
joy we brought to those
people, especially in the
poorer cities where people
are not exposed to much ar t.
It was very humbling. It was an
awesome experience to see other
par ts of the world – very different
but very hear twarming to know that
we could make those people happy.”
For Hicks, the Asian tour wasn’t her
first jaunt. She’d already experienced
Chinese culture while on the TROY Dance
Reper tory Ensemble’s tour in 2010.
“I think that trip prepared me even more
because a lot of the Central Asian countries
were similar to China. I was prepared for the
culture – what’s polite and what’s common,”
she said. “Several people on the tour with
us had never been there and did not know
what to expect. Having been to China with
TROY for two weeks, nothing really surprised
Her transition from student to
professional has been aided by her TROY
experiences as well.
“Being a founding member of TDRE put
me in a leadership position that taught me a
lot, but also translated into my professional
career. I have more of an understanding
because TDRE was run like a company and
that means there’s not much of a learning
curve into the professional work,” she said.
“It prepares you for the whole dance and
theatre and performance experience.”
“Ar tists of Light” is reopening off-
Broadway at New World Stage and will run
through October, but as Hicks adds, “As long
as we’re selling tickets, we’ll keep doing it.”
And she has a roof over her head in the
Lusk is a university relations coordinator.