Following your dreams and passions takes commitment and dedication, and for one Punahou graduate that motto is taking her career to new heights. Nearly 10 years after making her film debut playing the lead role in the Hollywood movie Center Stage, Amanda Schull’s career is continuing to evolve.
Schull was featured on MidWeek‘s cover in August 2005 and since then new roles and opportunities have continued to arise for the dynamic performer.
In Mao’s Last Dancer , which is currently being screened at select theaters on Oahu, Schull (pictured above with Chi Cao) has the role of Liz Mackey, the wife of lead character Li Cunxin. Mao’s Last Dancer is based on the amazing true story of Li Cunxin’s rise from a peasant’s life in communist China to becoming an internationally recognized dancer.
Schull takes a lot from that recent movie experience.
“Li’s story and the way it is depicted makes you realize that so much is possible in this world. You will be inspired,” says Schull, who also has current television roles on the CW Network’s One Tree Hill and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.
With all of her recent on-air roles, Schull has not forgotten ballet, an art she worked incredibly hard to perfect since she began at the age of 3. During high school Schull studied under John Landovsky at Hawaii State Ballet. After her sophomore year at Indiana University, Schull relocated to California, spending a year as an apprentice at the prestigious San Francisco Ballet.
Days after shooting was finished for Center Stage, Schull returned to the San Francisco Ballet, performing and traveling for seven seasons.
Although she said she is retired from dance, Schull is extremely grateful and appreciative of the opportunity she had while at the ballet company.
“I got a chance to work with outstanding contemporary choreographers and perform beautiful classics as well. Being in the company also provided me with the opportunity to tour all over the world. I got to go to places that I might not have ever gone on my own like Reykjavik, Iceland, or Santander, Spain,” Schull says.
“Nothing can compare to the invigorating and sometimes cathartic feeling of getting to perform a magnificent and demanding ballet on stage in a beautiful costume with a live orchestra and audience. The feeling of stepping out on that stage in front of a packed house is addicting. I love the culmination of all those hours of hard work and butterflies in my stomach, and, of course, the energy and instant gratification that the audiences provide.”
To this point, Schull’s career has taken tremendous strides, and with a career driven by inspiration, it should take her even further.
“I think that professionally I am inspired by curiosity. Getting to portray humanity for a living is a really enjoyable process for me,” she says. “Personally I am inspired by so much: art, good food and stimulating conversation. I love to travel and explore new places. And, of course, growing up in Hawaii was like having a wealth of inspiration just out the window on a daily basis.”
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