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University of Arizona dancer featured in Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story'

Robert Ciszak
Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 20:22:11-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — "I actually started dancing in the 5th or 6th grade. How it all came about was when my sister was a competitive dancer. I actually decided to run on the stage during one of the competitions. The owner said I should try out a dance class," said 20-year-old, Robert Ciszak.

Fast forward ten years and Ciszack is still dancing. He's majoring in dance the University of Arizona.

"I decided to just choose dance and pursue it. Now, I'm here today," said Ciszak.

All the long hours in the studio are paying off. Back in 2018, Ciszak was hired as a special ability dancer for Steven Spielberg's new movie, 'West Side Story.'

"I got the opportunity to go to this one audition for them to just look at my figure, see how I move and stuff like that. I just remember the lady saying that I had perfect hair for a 'jet'," said Ciszak.

You can watch Ciszak play a 'jet' in West Side Story's famous 'gym scene.' The movie hit theaters on Friday, December 10.

"We ended up filming in Brooklyn in June during my high school graduation. I actually had to miss my high school graduation for this scene, but it was so worth it," said Ciszak.

"I've worked with Robert since he was an incoming Freshman. It's amazing to see how much he's developed since he's been here," said University of Arizona School of Dance Manager of Student Services, Pattie Choate.

Ciszak has big dreams for after graduation, but said he'll always be proud to be a Wildcat.

"They have pushed me in so many ways. Now, I look at myself and I'm proud of the person that I've become in the last two-and-a-half years," said Ciszak.