The search for a good summer job can be tough, but one Carroll native will be able to put “princess” on her resume thanks to the gig she landed.
Zoe Moore, who grew up near Westminster, is performing this summer at Hersheypark. She has a busy schedule, performing four shows a day as Snow White in “Once Upon ...” where she sings and dances for crowds at the Pennsylvania amusement park.
“We try to make people happy and fulfill something in somebody every day,” she said.
A dancer since age 2, she says her upbringing prepared her for the challenge.
“Way back when I was at my dance studio being told to turn out and smile, and make it look easy — everything that I’ve learned since I was 4 years old I put into my job every single day.”
She danced at Tami Gee’s Studio of Dance in Finksburg from when she was a toddler to age 18 when she went to study dance at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.
Throughout her childhood, she performed in productions at the Carroll Arts Center and other local theater venues.
She doesn’t feel that growing up in a rural area of Maryland was any obstacle to breaking into the performing world. With the support of her parents, she began attending summer dance intensives when she was in eighth grade.
“My parents were very driven into making sure I was getting a taste of reality at an age where I could handle it because they knew this was what I wanted to do with my life,” she recalled.
Going to college, she met dancers from around the world who had been studying with big names in the dance world since age 10.
“When I started out I was a little overwhelmed. But I was told as a child to do hard things; that is my family’s motto. So I rose to the occasion, and I would have to say, I felt extremely prepared once I graduated,” she said. “Without my parents’ mentality and their drive and their support, I would definitely not be here today.
“I [think] these days we’re made to feel like we should quit something when something isn’t handed to us, and where something is challenging, but honestly, it makes everything so much more worth it when you’re finally standing on that stage.”
She came across the listing for the Hersheypark audition online last February, but most of the details were kept under wraps and she didn’t know what to expect.
“I was ready to be a Kit Kat bar. I don’t care what I have to do,” she said.
“I went, and it was blizzarding and snowing outside,” she said. “And then a few weeks later I got a call from [RWS Entertainment Group] asking if I would want to be Snow White.”
Keeping on top of her daily schedule requires lots of sleep and protein.
The performers warm up with their dance and vocal captains every single day. Between each show is a 45-minute break.
“Come the third show, we’re pretty much really pushing it … throughout the show I really focus on my breath,” she said. “I like to call it a marathon. It’s not a sprint. You have to take your time with everything you do.”
She said as an employee, she is “treated extremely well” and has enjoyed spending time at the park with family and friends on her days off.
“The people I have met, my cast, are people that I’ll forever hold dear to my heart,” she said, “since we’re going through the same adventure and the same journey.”
Connections with the audience are just as special to Moore.
“There’s this one little girl who comes every single day. She sits house right, front row with her father and she knows all the choreography,” she said.
At one point in a certain song, Moore’s choreography brings her right next to the girl where she makes sure to smile or whisper a hello.
“The smile she gets on her face just reminds me why I do this every single day,” she said.
When Moore gets to speak to audience members at the stage door, “it’s just so extremely rewarding and it’s why I went into performing in the first place — to touch people with what fulfills me every day.”
“I can finally say that I’m taking a step into my professional career,” she said. “You can never forget where you came from. … It takes a village to raise a true artist, and I have had an extreme village raise me.
“This industry is so small, so you always have to be thankful and grateful and humble and remember why you’re here in the first place — and that’s to touch people. … We’re very lucky to get to do what we do every day.”