Tony-winning Broadway star and groundbreaking Latina singer and dancer Chita Rivera died Tuesday at 91. Remembered for her trailblazing roles in “West Side Story,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Chicago” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” she was also subject of a bio film on PBS’ “Great Performances” in 2015.

As part of the promotion, she sang and danced at age 82 for reporters at the TV Critics Association summer press tour out in California.

Afterwards, she fielded questions, and I asked about young performers who, unlike her, felt like they had to lip sync their songs during concerts because dancing at the same time as singing was so difficult.

“It’s a pity because they could be so much stronger. And they’re so gifted, and they’ve got these great things,” Rivera said.

It was something she had to pick up on the job. 

“I learned how to have amazing breath control from Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics of ‘America,’” she said, referring to the song in the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” in 1957.

“I mean, I remember when Lee Becker Theodore said to me — she was the Anybodys in the original ‘West Side’ — and there was an audition for something, and I said I was going. And she said, ‘Well, you have to sing in that.’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve never sung, so maybe I’ll learn something.’

And she said, ‘No. Dancers dance. Singers sing.’ That was the way it was. And if I hadn’t had a little bit of courage, you know, things would have been different,” Rivera recalled.

“I like to work hard because if I don’t work hard, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything. And even in the silences, silence is as strong as any energetic thing that anybody could do, flying all the place.”

She credited Peter Gennaro, who largely choreographed “America” and “Mambo” uncredited for Jerome Robbins in “West Side Story,” for teaching her fast, intricate steps that she enjoyed doing. “I loved it.” 

And as for the contemporary pop stars who feel they can’t sing while dancing, she said, “I feel sorry that the kids are taking it easy.”

Rivera never did.