Meet Mattie

What is meant to be will be and I was meant for dancing.  
— Mattie
 Richmond-VA-Capital-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company

It all began the morning of my third birthday.  I looked my mom in the eyes and with certainty said, “now I take ballet” and dance has remained in my life ever since.  I think this came as a surprise to my mom since no one in my family had ever taken dance lessons and as the little sister of two older brothers I was surrounded by more camouflage and baseballs than pink tutus.  However, what is meant to be will be and I was meant for dancing.  

That year my mom signed me up at a local dance studio where I learned the fundamentals of dance.  My world was filled with sparkles, colorful costumes, exaggerated facial expressions, and most of all, movement that made my mind and body happy.  I enjoyed class so much I continued dancing even after leaving the studio.  I danced down the aisles of the grocery store, at home in my bedroom, and all the places I went in between.  I may have been a bit of a danceaholic and after eighteen years of dance not much has changed.

Over those eighteen years my love and passion for dance grew stronger and when it was time for me to go to high school I was ready to take my training to the next level.  In the Fall of 2010 I attended Thomas Dale High School’s specialty center for dance where I was faced with several new challenges, including classes in improvisation, modern, and choreography.  Soon enough I became obsessed with using these modes of dance to explore all the possible ways to move my body.  I learned to apply the techniques from modern class to my improvised movement then piece it together to create my own choreography.  I still use those skills to escape for hours in a vacant space choreographing or just simply moving to the music blasting through the speakers.  In those moments I am completely free, vulnerable, sweaty, and lost in a whirlwind of movement.  

I truly fell in love with dance in high school and even more after following Shannon McConville in the opening of Stavna. I always had a complicated relationship with ballet, however because of Shannon it has and always will have a significant place in my heart.  She not only taught me the steps, but to appreciate the magnificent art form.  

As I applied for colleges I crossed those without a dance program off my list and found the College of Charleston was the best fit.  For the past three years I have studied dance and arts management hoping to follow Shannon’s footsteps in starting my own non-profit and dance studio after graduation.  Throughout my time at the College of Charleston I have expanded my skills in performance and choreography, as well as formed a greater understanding of other art forms.  The College of Charleston and the opportunities it has given me, such as interning at the American Dance Festival, teaching at local dance studios, and choreographing for numerous school productions, have better prepared me for taking on challenges in the artistic world.  Although Charleston has provided me with the skills I need to further my career in dance, Richmond will always be home to me and where I found my passion for dance.  I look forward to returning home one day to share my joy of dance with the Richmond community.

 

 Richmond-VA-Capital-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capital-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capitol-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capitol-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capitol-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capitol-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company
 Richmond-VA-Capitol-Photography-Dance-Session-Dance-Photographer-Gianna-Grace-Photography-Stavna-Ballet-Company