"I Love Dance" Essay Contest
"I Love Dance" Essay Contest
Students submitted essays during the month of February about why they love to dance, how dance and BAC has influenced their lives, and how dance makes them feel. Winners were chosen by a panel of BAC faculty and staff.
Upper School Winners:
First Prize: A $100.00 scholarship towards tuition at BAC
Michelle Zhang - Age 14
Angelica Maloney - Age 12
First Prize: A $100.00 scholarship towards tuition at BAC
Madeleine Blandy - Age 9
Lily Swilling - Age 6
" . . . Dance has always been my passion. Maybe it's the control of the dancer's body to execute each move flawlessly that intrigues me? Or it could be the smile on the dancer's face that says they're loving what they are doing? Either way I absolutely love dancing. It brings such joy and happiness to so many people, both the person dancing and the people watching . . ." - Sydney, Age 12
" . . . BAC has influenced my life in a ton of different ways. It has just made my life more exciting. All of the teachers are so nice to us. I have been coming here since I was three years old and I've enjoyed every moment of it. I don't think I've ever had a bad day at BAC! . . . " - Brenna, Age 11
" . . . I love Jazz the best. Jazz is very upbeat and fun. You are straight and sassy and always moving around. My second favorite is Ballet. Ballet is as graceful as a swan. It is delicate and soft. Ballet is very mellow and pretty. It is like a floating leaf dancing in the wind . . . " - Leila, Age 9
" . . Dancing is one of my biggest passions. When I dance, it's like everything clears from my mind and I'm in a totally different world, especially with modern. A lot of people think dance is really easy. But I bet if you took one of my friends that do lots of sports into a modern or ballet class, they would have a very difficult time. Being a dancer, you have to reach deep inside and find a very different person in yourself, and express that person. That's a very hard thing to do and to discover about yourself . . . " - Taylor, Age 12
" . . . I love to do gallops. Dance makes me feel happy and excited! . . " - Lucy, Age 3
" . . . I love dance for many reasons. One reason is that it makes me twinkle and happy inside. I love learning a new step because it's fun and hard, and that's what I like about dance . . . " - Emily, Age 8
" . . . BAC has made my life more full and meaningful. BAC has helped me to become a better dancer so that I can express myself better through movement. BAC has influenced my life by helping me grow as a dancer and as a young woman. Dance catches my heart and sets it twirling . . . " - Natalie, Age 14
" . . . Sometimes, after a class, your muscles feel sore. I love that feeling! It tells you you've accomplished something, it tells you you've worked hard . . . " - Sophie, Age 11
" . . . It was one day in the Spring of 2012 when it hit me. It was like a little bug or something bit me; I was addicted. Dance makes me feel a certain way I can't explain. Like I'm on the top of the world, flying. I can express all of my emotions through movement, and that alone is incredible. Whenever I feel stressed, sad, or just angry, I listen to my favorite song and just, dance . . . " - Beaujena, Age 13
" . . . BAC is beautiful, lovely, awesome, active, nice, great, cool, creative, and loving! The Ballet Arts Centre rocks! . . . " - Chloe, Age 6
" . . . I love to dance and it is my passion to one day become a principle dancer, and it starts at BAC. My life revolves around dance. It feels like I do dance every day, and I like it. The reason why I wanted to do dance is because I wanted to try something and go out of the box, and I think I made the right choice . . . " - Tea, Age 11
" . . . At BAC, every week I learn something new. And when I hear the music come on I feel like a star rising. From what BAC taught me, I feel like an awesome dancer, and the teachers are so nice - when I come in they always have a smile on their faces . . . " - Fiona, Age 8
" . . . Dancing makes me feel happy. Every once in a while I like to do a little twirl. When you dance, you express your feelings out lively. Dancing can tell stories. Just using your body can tell a story without using any words. That's why dancing is still blooming in the world, continuing to share stories all over the globe . . . " - Sydney, Age 10
" . . . Dance is a symphony that is heard from movement and not sound
Dance simply slowly lifts you off the ground into another world
There are too many types to explain
But surely I will keep coming each year again and again
The voice of each step is unique and special to each and every dancer who has ever laid foot in a studio at BAC . . . "
- Eva, Age 9
Example of Dancer's Artistic Statement
Dane LeAnna is a 2013-2014 recipient of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Excellence Scholarship program, the most prestigious scholarship program at the UNCSA.
“To the Pointe”
By Dane LeAnna
I am a dancer. I dance to bring meaning, to bring beauty, to bring possibility, and to bring inspiration and hope into a concrete world. I dance for clarity and for charity. I dance because it makes me whole, and when I am whole, I am a better daughter, student, girlfriend, employee and person.
Sixteen years ago when I was a thigh-high, tiptoeing toddler, being a dancer meant I lived in a cozy home without living-room furniture, dressed daily in rummage sale prom dresses and pink tutus, leaped and swirled to the crescendo of Antonio Vivaldi from the stereo, and beamed when my mom glorified my final bow, “Bravo ma petite enfant! Bravo!” before serving lemonade and shortbread refreshments to our make believe audience.
As a child dancer, the love and gift to dance came to me like a birthright. Through my joyful, magical childhood, I danced spontaneously and experienced how creativity occurs in the moment, timelessly and freely. There were no blocks, only building blocks to something new; no competition, only more creation; no fears, only love. To dance was life and it was just what I did. I was yet to understand a big life lesson: the things you need to learn -- but resist-- first may whisper to you, then shout at you, and finally knock you off your toes to help get you back on the right road.
But what has changed within the course of a recent yearlong injury rehabilitation and more than 8,500 hours of dance training and performing, is not my dream as a professional ballet dancer, but rather, the road taken in pursuit of my dream.
The right road, or true north for me, always meant a professional ballet career on stage, being the best of the best, the prima ballerina. It still does. But what has changed within the course of a recent yearlong injury rehabilitation and more than 8,500 hours of dance training and performing, is not my dream as a professional ballet dancer, but rather, the road taken in pursuit of my dream.
Two summers ago I was given an opportunity I had dedicated myself to for years: to join a professional ballet company. When the Artistic Director of the Eugene Ballet Company offered me an apprenticeship I could feel my dream unfolding within my grasp. It took me but twelve seconds to say, “Yes!”
That fall, I left high school and enrolled in an online academic program while dancing seven hours a day with the Company. I felt the joy of the dreamy, tiptoeing toddler within me. Persistence, perseverance, practice, and luck worked! I was dancing the dance of my life. Then, within the year, the dancer’s bane of injury crept its way around my ankles, knees, and hips like invasive ivy. It knocked me off pointe, and I crumbled. But what followed changed me forever.
I weathered the storm and grew, and that is the point. I knew then, and still know now, that the best way to alter the future is to focus on the present. Focusing too much on the big picture can ignore the reality that a dancer’s dance is grounded on many small steps and very few large steps.
The enthusiasm and authenticity of those thigh-high dancing days remain in my core. The sure-footedness of being aligned and on the right path in life is a childlike legacy that I am grateful for, along with my mom’s “Bravo ma petite enfant! Bravo!” playfulness. A performance career is still my true north point. But now, the never-ending process of becoming a dancer rather than just being a dancer has broadened and matured my trajectory. There are smaller pathways to explore along the road of my dream now. As a college-bound dancer, I get to take many small steps in becoming a successful human being, contributing meaning, beauty, possibility, inspiration, hope, skill and stewardship in the world. With this balance I will be able to dance the dance of my life, for a lifetime.