Dabria Aguilar on Her Meteoric Rise From Comp Kid to Moulin Rouge! on Broadway

May 31, 2024

When Dabria Aguilar moved to New York City in late 2022, her biggest dreams were to be cast in Moulin Rouge! on Broadway and to dance in a contemporary ballet company. Just over a year later, she not only accomplished both of those goals but spent a season dazzling in the ensemble of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well. Between Aguilar’s exceptional technique, boundless versatility, and commanding stage presence, it’s hard to predict where this 20-year-old will end up next. For now, she hopes to call Moulin Rouge! home for as long as possible. 

Aguilar started dancing at 3 years old at a competition studio in Summerville, South Carolina, called United We Dance. After 10 years as a competition dancer (and a quick one-year-stint at the nearby Southern Strutt), she shifted gears to focus on the classical and contemporary ballet worlds. “That movement always inspired me, and I was interested in the concert-company life,” Aguilar says. That curiosity led her to Dance Conservatory of Charleston, under the direction of former New York City Ballet dancer Lindy Mandrajieff Fabyanic. “I would train there in the afternoons from 1 pm to 4:30 pm, take a half-hour break, then pick back up again from 5 pm to 9 pm,” Aguilar says of her schedule at the time. “I did online school through middle school, and by the time I went to my public high school, I had taken enough classes to only attend in the mornings.” Simultaneous to her conservatory training, Aguilar spent her summers at programs like Boston Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. But by the time she was graduating high school at 17, she was less sure she wanted to close herself off to non-concert opportunities. “I applied to many schools but really had my heart set on Juilliard,” Aguilar says. “When I didn’t get in, I had to rethink things. My dance teacher, Dale Lam, recommended I look into CLI Conservatory, directed by Teddy Forance. She thought it could offer everything I was looking for—especially when it came to staying open to a variety of genres.” As it turns out, Lam was right. Aguilar was accepted into CLI and moved to Easthampton, Massachusetts, to attend the program’s inaugural year. “We danced our faces off,” she says. “We did every style you can possibly think of, and I spent those nine months really learning about myself mentally, emotionally, and physically.”


By the time she finished the program, Aguilar was signed to Clear Talent Agency and ready to enter the professional world. On her very first day in New York City in fall 2022, she had a callback for Troy Schumacher’s contemporary company, BalletCollective, and immediately booked the job. Her good fortune continued when she was invited to workshop with Twyla Tharp for her 2023 season at The Joyce Theater. Simultaneous to those jobs, Aguilar auditioned for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular ensemble and to join a replacement workshop for Moulin Rouge! on Broadway. She booked the Moulin Rouge! workshop in April, and fell in love with the show. “After I finished, I just sort of waited and hoped that they would pick me to join the cast when a spot opened up,” she says. But the universe had a different timeline in mind. She got a call from her agent in late May saying she was going to be in the ensemble of the Christmas Spectacular. “I was in the car with my mom in South Carolina when I got the call, and sharing the moment with my parents was everything I could have dreamed of and more. To see their pride—I just felt so blessed.” 

One week into rehearsals for Radio City, Aguilar got another call from her agent. This time, it was during her lunch break. “I ran outside to discreetly take the call, and my agent said, ‘Are you ready?’ I was already crying by the time I asked, ‘For what?’ ” Aguilar reminisces. “He said I’d been asked to join the Broadway cast of Moulin Rouge! as a swing, and I had the biggest smile on my face. I was such a mess walking back into rehearsal immediately after.” Once the Christmas Spectacular wrapped, Aguilar immediately dove headfirst into Moulin Rouge!. “I thought to myself, How lucky am I to be this exhausted?” she says. Since then, Aguilar says she has learned a lot about herself as a performer and an artist. “When I’m singing ‘Gitchi, Gitchi Ya Ya’ [lyrics of the song “Lady Marmalade”], I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be and I’m filled with happiness,” she says. 


Aguilar credits her faith for helping her get to this point in her career. “My faith is my foundation, and I have relied on that through everything,” she says. “I knew it was all in god’s timing. I had so much trust and faith in him that I had no anxiety. I knew that dream was put in my heart for a reason, and I wouldn’t be yearning for it this hard if it wasn’t meant to happen.” As for her goals for the future? She’s staying open. “Whatever opportunity presents itself in the right way at the right time that I feel personally connected to, I’ll take it.” 

Age: 20

Favorite dessert: “A good piece of chocolate cake.”

Class she can’t get enough of: “Josh Assor—he is so good!”

Product she swears by: “[Patrick Starrr’s] ONE/SIZE Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder.”