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Rising Star: Tiny Dancer

A young local actress gets her big break at the Disney Channel


Courtesy of © Disney Channel

Oakland’s Zendaya will dance her way into Disney lore—and most likely stardom—with her lead in the new tween television series Shake It Up. The show follows in the footsteps of megahits High School Musical and Camp Rock, and it’s a dream-part-come-true for the 14-year-old actress. We caught up with Zendaya on the Shake It Up set in Los Angeles.

Diablo: Congratulations on your part, Zendaya! How are rehearsals going?

Zendaya: We have very long days, but it is so much fun. We rehearse first with the cast and with an amazing choreographer named Rosero McCoy (Camp Rock 2: the Final Jam). I can’t wait to get to work every day.

Diablo: You aren’t new to performing arts. You grew up backstage at the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda.

Zendaya: Yes, my mom has been the house manager at Cal Shakes since I was little. I’m very lucky to have grown up around [artistic director] Jonathan Moscone and these amazing artists. They are definitely the reason I want to do this.

Diablo: What would William Shakespeare think of Shake It Up?

Zendaya: I think he would crack up at the physical comedy. He would definitely be surprised to see young girls on stage. In his time, it was all men on stage, even for a girl’s part.

Shake It Up premieres November 7 on the Disney Channel. 

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