Robert Roldan's dance moves have appeared on such shows as Glee and Dancing With the Stars
Dancing With the Stars contributing choreographer Robert Roldan has his mom to thank for finding his métier.
She had been urging the diehard jock to try a dance class for years, and at age thirteen he finally did. "There was this all-guys hip-hop class, and I was like, 'Okay, fine, I'll go,'" he says. "I walked out of there knowing I was going to be a dancer for the rest of my life. There was such a sense of freedom — and I'd never felt endorphins like that before."
Roldan began his career straight out of high school, joining a contemporary dance company, The Bad Boys of Dance, whose European tour took him from Helsinki to Berlin to Barcelona. But his heart was in television, so he soon packed his bags for Los Angeles and Roldan didn't miss a step. He competed on So You Think You Can Dance in 2010 and was a top-three finalist, then returned to partner with contestants as an all-star. The doors kept opening, with appearances on Glee, Rent: Live and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist.
Roldan also began working as a contributing choreographer on Dancing with the Stars. "Performing as a dancer is the most euphoric feeling you can get, but choreography is the epitome of expression," he says. "Taking the visions in my mind and creating a whole entire world is something I never thought I would love as much as I do now."
After the current season of DWTS wraps in December, he'll hit the road in 2024 with the show's live tour, working with renowned La La Land choreographer Mandy Moore. "It's a dream to be able to do this," says Roldan, who has even bigger dreams for the future. "I'd like to produce my own reality competition show, because it's time for something new that no one has ever seen. Hopefully I can create something magical."
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #12, 2023, under the title "Born to Dance."