Monique Coleman, who plays brainiac student leader Taylor McKessie in the “High School Musical” movies, loves to dance. She just doesn’t like being judged while she’s doing it.
She discovered that during her 2006 stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Coleman’s passion for performing propelled her into the top four, but she never vibed with the contest aspect of the show.
“One thing I learned is that I am not a competitive person. I only compete with myself. So, that sort of platform…isn’t really suited for my personality,” explains the versatile entertainer and DePaul University graduate.
At the time Coleman had no way of knowing that “Dancing With the Stars” was prepping her for the third and final “High School Musical” flick. When director and choreographer Kenny Ortega announced that the young cast would have to waltz for a prom scene in “HSM3,” a lot of the actors got nervous. (Leading lady Vanessa Hudgens thought Ortega was joking at first and she says the waltz was “the most difficult dance that I’ve had to do throughout these three movies.”) But Monique was excited. She knew she could handle the dance and she loved the idea of adding old school elegance to a movie about teenagers.
“Whatever you expose kids to is what they’re going to absorb,” Coleman opines. “If you expose them to (a dance) that is very difficult and does require trust and does require you to be intimately close to someone without it being sexual then I think we’re really sending out an awesome message.”
Coleman believes that “High School Musical 3” also has a message for parents: take some of the pressure off of your kids!
“We’re living in a time when kids need to know what they want to do by the time that they’re 7 and that’s ridiculous,” Coleman declares. “What this movie does is it says is that you don’t need to know by the time you’re 18… you have a whole world of possibilities that lay before you and ultimately the only thing that is important is that you do make a choice and that the choice is yours.”