Dancer escapes from cruise ship in Italy on rope ladder

You’re estatic –– you’ve landed your first paying dance gig on a cruise ship. Not only do you get paid to do what you love in your contract, you receive a free room, meals, and get to see the world.

That all changes when your Costa Cruises ship hits a sandbar Friday evening near the island of Giglio, tipping the ship. Three passengers are reported dead, according to BBC Europe, and divers are still searching for an additional 40 people.

One of the British dancer’s mothers told BBC that her daughter had to attach a rope ladder to a boat or raft to get a shore. She told her mother she was “lucky to be alive.” Listen to the BBC interview.

Many of my dancer friends have worked for Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Holland America cruise lines. I can’t help but think: what if one of them were one of the eight dancers on the ship? My heart goes out to the ship’s dancers –– and all the passengers and their families in this tragic event.

Amanda Whitesell has more than 20 years of training in the performing arts and entertainment industriesShe is the Web Editor and a Staff Reporter for the Livingston Daily Press & Argus. Email her at

Dancer hopes to join Rockette Hall of Fame

This is the video component for a story I wrote about Tori Schelling, dance performance senior, who will audition in May for the chorus line for her fourth consecutive year. To read the rest of the story I wrote for The Oklahoman/, click here.