I believe that we were all designed by a Creator, who made us in His image, which makes us creators too. We were all made to create something; for me, that thing is movement. When my parents enrolled me in dance classes at the age of just three, they had no idea that dance would become such a big part of my life. For years, dance was an outlet for me; I could go to the studio and forget about the world outside and nothing else mattered. But as I grew and matured, dance became so much more than that. It became a means for me to work through and process my emotions and gave me the opportunity to turn negative feelings into beautiful movement. Dance is my way of expressing emotions that I can’t put into words.
As a little girl, I started off taking one or two classes a week, which then turned into three, four, five classes a week. By the time I was in middle school, my life outside of school was completely filled with classes, rehearsals, and shows. I missed out on a lot of activities that seem important at eleven years old: birthday parties, sleepovers, and school dances. But for me, it was all worth it.
When I was eleven years old, I met Shannon McConville. I have to admit, when I first met her I was starstruck. I couldn’t believe that I got to take classes and learn from a real ballerina who had danced for the San Diego Ballet. Over the years, Shannon became a second mom to me and is still to this day the best teacher I have ever had. When she opened her studio, Stavna Ballet Dance Academy, I knew I had to follow her. It was there that I really began to grow and mature as a dancer, in both my technique and my passion for dance. I was given the chance to look up to real company dancers who danced with the Stavna Ballet, which pushed me to defy my limits and grow far beyond what I thought was possible. After my first year at Stavna, I was given the amazing opportunity to spend my summer in New York City dancing with the Joffrey Ballet School. As a seventeen year old girl, this was a dream come true; a dream which would not have been possible without Shannon and my amazing parents. That summer was one of the most challenging, but rewarding summers of my life. I was dancing from 8am to 10pm some days and was pushed way beyond what I thought my physical limits were. But with every challenge comes immense growth and so it was.
Upon graduating high school, I started dancing with the Stavna Ballet as a company member, while pursuing a degree in mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a company member I have been extremely lucky to perform various roles in many different ballets. I received my bachelor's degree in the spring of 2017 and hope to continue on in my study of mathematics to one day receive my phd and become a college professor. While I don’t know what my life will look like in five, ten, or fifteen years, I do hope that I will be dancing my way through it. Because of dance, I learned extreme discipline at a very young age and I learned how to sacrifice. These two lessons are what have carried me throughout my life; through high school, through college, and now through my future endeavors.
About the location: I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, so naturally I love everything about it. When it came time to go to college, I didn’t want to leave. VCU has been my home for the last three years of my life and has awarded me so many priceless experiences and friendships. VCU will always hold a special place in my heart and my three (and possibly 5 or 6 more) years here have been the best years of my life.