Allison's Book Bag

A Dance Autobiography

Posted on: May 2, 2014

At the age of only thirteen, Alex Ko made his Broadway debut in the title role of Billy in the Tony Award-winning Billy Elliot: The Musical. Born in 1996, Ko is an American dancer, actor, and singer. I’ll be reviewing his autobiography From Iowa to Broadway this Saturday.

AlexKoThe middle child of three children, Ko was born and raised in Iowa. Ko’s father was from Hong Kong and acted as professional gaffer in the film industry there, but later became an entrepreneur after relocating to the United States in 1992. He died of liver cancer when Ko was eleven. Ko’s mother was born in Pennsylvania and raised Florida. When Ko was chosen to play the part of Billy, his mom found a job at City University of New York (CUNY), so that the family could move to New York City and support Ko in his dreams.

Although Ko started out as a gymnast, and even won National and Regional Dance and Gymnastics Championship titles from the age of five, he made a career out of dance. At the age of twelve, Ko became the youngest student admitted to the University of Iowa Dance Department, where he received college credit with honors distinction. He was also awarded full scholarships to Steps on Broadway and the Joffrey Ballet School.

Ko’s next big break came when he landed the title role in the Broadway hit Billy Elliot the Musical as the first replacement Billy for Kiril Kulish. Alex made his Broadway debut on October 6, 2009 and made his final performance as Billy on 15 May 2011.

Ko is currently continuing his dance education at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. He has appeared on the sitcom-comedy “Bunheads” about a ballet school and has had the honor of being a guest dancer at the White House.

Don’t give up! Train as much as you can from the best trainers/teachers you can find. Don’t let anybody’s criticism keep you down. I remember when one of my coaches told me I’d never have the right body type for something I wanted to do – it only made me want to work harder and succeed. Believe in yourself, in your dreams, put in the necessary work, and enjoy your life’s experience. We can’t control the future. We don’t really have control over that. But we can control our life each day we live it and that helps!

Alex Ko, Interview Alex Ko, the Billy Elliot in a Broadway Musical


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