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Spotlight Dancer

Spotlight Dancer: Erin Barnes

Get to know this months Spotlight Dancer Erin Barnes winner of our Travel Scholarship. 

Hello everyone! My name is Erin Barnes and I am 16 years old. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been dancing since I was two years old. My passion for dance has developed since then into an unimaginable lifestyle that I cherish every day. By age five, I was already very involved in the performing arts industry with modeling, acting, and dancing. At age seven, I moved to Port Orange, Florida marking the beginning of my full-time investment into dance training of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary. I begin competing the following year at age eight, in which I choreographed my own solo. Upon starting middle school, I began training under Sheri Metcalf at Xtreme Dance Studio in Sanford, Florida. I have trained and competed with Xtreme’s company for six years. This year, 2019, will mark my eighth year as a competitive dancer. I get to perform in Xtreme Dance Company’s annual winter performance called “The Nutty Nutcracker”, in which we raise money for a foundation called Base Camp, a children’s cancer foundation. Based on the connections that I have established over these years with various teachers and my peers, I have received numerous opportunities to travel across the United States to perform, assist, obtain further training, etc. NRG Dance Project is a convention that I currently assist at as their teen National Prodigy on their regional tour of the U.S. On the behalf of furthering my dance education, I have earned various scholarships to college intensives like Pace University in New York. I have also performed in other projects such as dance concept videos with choreographers such as Josh Killacky, Jona Biddle, and Lars Brown. Besides dance, I enjoy art, photography, and music. School is also important to me as well. I take it very seriously being in the IB (International Baccalaureate) program.

With all that she has going on within the month of February, we wanted to get to know her better.

What is your favorite dance class?    

Personally, I do not have a favorite dance class. I love all styles of dance and I truly cannot pick one as a favorite over the other. I train regularly in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary.

What are three things that you have to have in your dance bag?

Three things that I always keep in my dance bag is a first aid kit, hair supplies, and stretching equipment like a TheraBand and foot massagers. I keep my dance shoes in my locker at the studio.

If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?  

If I could perform a duet with any dancer I would want to perform with Haliee Payne. Haliee is a jazz dancer that has an incredibly unique and strong style. I fell in love with her dancing ever since the first time I saw her audition on season 11 of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Just recently over the summer, I was lucky enough to have her judge my contemporary solo at nationals in New Orleans, LA. I am so grateful that I have gotten to build a stronger relationship with her by attending her classes at convention throughout the season.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?  

If I didn’t sleep I would use the extra time to stretch and workout. I already get limited sleep because I am in the IB program at my high school. I have had to acquire disciplined time management skills to accomplish as much as I can in a day. I usually have an 18 hour day so I do not sleep much anyway. I am very hard on myself about not getting work done. I have to balance my time in different areas like school, dance, family, and personal health while switching my mindset and staying focused on the bigger picture.

What is your favorite piece of dance clothing that you own/ owned?

Most of the time, you can catch me wearing my black So Danca trash bag shorts. They have been really helping me with my hip flexibility by keeping my hips warm during class. I love to wear them at barre during ballet, or with a cute sports bra in jazz class. I have even made them work with a baggy sweatshirt during hip hop class.

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Well, I do not have a go-to band or artist, but I do have a go-to radio station which is 100.3, “Cien y punto tres.” (Spanish radio). I have taken Spanish for 4 years in school and I will earn my biliteracy stamp on my diploma at the end of this year. I love the beat and overall vibe of Spanish music, especially when it comes to dancing to it.

You can pick up a phone and talk to your number one dance idol–living or dead–but you can only ask them three questions. What are the three questions you would ask them? Why?

My dance idol would have to be Katherine McCormick. Katherine is alive and if I got the opportunity to ask her three questions over the phone I would her ask her:

  1. Did you ever imagine that someone would be calling you up right now wanting to talk to you because they are your dance idol?
  2. What is your favorite quote that represents your life philosophy?
  3. Why do you dance?

The reason why I want to ask her these questions is because she inspires me deeper than a dance idol. She inspires me as a person. I trust the beautiful things that she has to say whole-heartedly, and not a day goes on without me trying to apply some of the essential life lessons she has taught me. She makes me feel motivated to always strive for greatness through the love of dance, the people surrounding me, and the gift of life itself.

Don’t miss her take over on our Instagram starting Friday 15th.

Spotlight Dancer: Alana Adams

This month’s spotlight dancer is Alana Adams and she is an amazing dancer that you can follow on Instagram @alanaadams05. She was one of the winners of the Norelle model shoot. So we wanted to get to know her a little better.

What is your favorite dance class?    

I really like Contemporary classes because each one can be so different. The combo could be pretty, quirky, groovy or even dark. It allows me to express my many feelings.

What is your go-to style for leotards?  

I like leotards that are comfortable and well made. I seem to usually pick out darker colors like black and navy blue.

If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?  

I would love to do a duet with Eva Igo. She has amazing technique and would push me to do my best. She can dance any style and I think we’d have a lot of fun together.

 If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?  

If I didn’t have to sleep I would spend more time dancing, hanging out with my friends and watching TV.

What is your favorite piece of dance clothing that you own/ owned?

My favorite piece of dance clothing is my black Purple Pixies Reflection leggings. They fit well and are so comfortable. I’d wear them every day if my mom would let me!

Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

I always choose Lady Gaga. I love her!

You can pick up a phone and talk to your number one dance idol -living or dead- but you can only ask them three questions. What are the three questions you would ask them? Why?

I would call Eva Igo! I would love to know what it was like being on World of Dance. I’d ask her what her favorite convention to go to is. And I’d want to know if she could only choose one style of dance what it would be.

Spotlight Dancer: Kalysta Gregory

Meet this month’s Spotlight Dancer Kalysta Gregory. Kalysta is a homeschooled senior who dual enrolls at St. Petersburg and is now on track to earn her A. A. before she turns 18. In addition to her school focus, she trains, as well as teaches tap dance at A & G Dance Academy in At. Petersburg Florida. She is a company member of Nick Dinicolangelo’s Hands Down Tap Project in New Jersey. She is also a proud SoDanca Ambassador. Kalysta can be found on many weekends attending dance conventions and festivals across the country. Her plans include continuing her college studies while pursuing a career in dance. Whether it’s teaching, performing, or choreographing, dance will definitely be a part of her future!

With all of this, we wanted to get to know her a little bit better.

1 What is your favorite dance class to take?

Tap dance class of course, but contemporary is a close second!

2 If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Since I’m always busy and on the go, I would spend the extra time with my family and friends.

3 What’s your favorite piece of dance clothing you own?

I love leggings! Leggings are my go-to clothing item when it comes to dance and on a regular day-to-day basis!

4 What songs have you completely memorized?

Every song that I have done a solo to I have completely memorized. Whether it’s the lyrics or how the rhythm goes, I spend a lot of time working on my solos and therefore hear the song over and over again.

5 Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Because I choreograph, I really challenge myself to venture out and listen to all styles of music. If I have no clue what to listen to, I’ll play something or someone I’ve never heard before. However, Ed Sheeran has always been a favorite of mine!

6 If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?

I would do a duet with Aaron Tolson in a heartbeat! He has been one of my mentors for about five years now. Not only do I look up to him, I also consider him a great friend. He and I have worked a lot together on various things, however, we have never performed together, so I would love to do a duet with him someday!

7 You can pick up the phone and talk to your number on dance idol – living or dead – but you can only ask 3 questions. What are the 3 questions you would ask them?

For me, I would want to speak to the tap masters of the past; ALL of the tap masters of the past. I honestly can’t pick just one. Regardless of who I spoke to, I would ask them: 1) What did you do to jumpstart your career in tap dance? 2) What was the inspiration that drove you to continue tap dancing throughout your life? 3) What do you believe was your greatest achievement overall?

8 What do you like to do besides dancing?

In addition to dancing, I really love photography, playing piano, and doing makeup! Also, I love spending time with my family, friends, and playing with my baby sister.

Rapid Fire This Or That

Dog or cat?

Cat!

Netflix or Youtube?

Netflix!

Phone call or text?

Phone call!

Ice cream cone or snow cone?

Ice cream cone!

Cake or pie?

Pie!

Watching a movie at home or in the theater?

Home!

Sneakers or sandals?

Sneakers!

Tablet or computer?

Computer!

Amusement park or day at the beach?

Beach!

Where Is She Now? Jamie Askey

Former DanceWear Corner employee Jamie Askey has been part of the Dancewear Corner family ever since she got her first pair of pointe shoes.

Askey has been dancing ever since she was just 4 years old when she started taking classes at Raskins Dance Studio where she danced for 14 years. It did not take long before she started to substitute teach some classes at Raskins. This is also where she got her first taste of choreographing and she has even won awards for pieces that she has choreographed.

At the age of 21, she made one of her dreams come true by moving to New York City. So for anyone dreaming about moving to New York City you can do it.

The last time we caught up with her was 4 years ago and we wanted to know what she has been up to these last few years.

What have you been up to for the last 4 years?

I have been all over the world dancing and traveling. I have danced on cruise ships, theme parks, performed at Symphony Space in NYC, and worked with many talented choreographers and dancers. I have also been judging dance competitions for Starpower, Legacy, and Beyond the Stars and have also taught at various studios around the NYC area.

How has living in New York been different than living in Florida?

Oh wow! I mean the main difference is definitely the weather. I am from St. Cloud a little town in Central Florida so there is a big difference in having a car and driving everywhere to now using public transportation and walking everywhere. Grocery shopping is very different too. So I would say I miss having a car for that. Also space… My bedroom is smaller then you can imagine. Luckily I am 5’1″ so I can fit in small places. My small bedroom back in Florida is now huge to me. I wish I could have seen the future when I was growing up, I probably would have told myself to just wait…

What was the most exciting thing that you have done while in New York?

This is a really hard question. I would say it is really exciting having moved to NYC and being able to survive here. I am so happy to be included in the community here that I am able to hang out with friends, enjoy the city, and also travel to new places. I feel like living in NYC has opened many doors for me and has allowed me to travel to so many other places. Right now I am in Austin, Texas teaching at a summer camp called TAPS. I have never been to Texas and this opportunity came up thanks to my community in NYC.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love hanging out with my friends, seeing shows, cooking/baking, and of course exploring everything the city has to offer. Now that it is nice outside I love laying out and sunbathing. When I was younger and visiting the city, my dad would joke about the New Yorkers laying out in 60-degree weather but now living here I am one of them. I love it.

I see that you have performance, choreography, teaching and judging experience. Which do you enjoy doing the most and why?

I enjoy doing all of them because they are all a part of my art. I am very lucky to still be able to perform so I am going to say I enjoy performing the most. It gives me the best feeling in the world to be able to perform for people.

If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons learned would you had given your “younger self”?

I would probably say that everyone has their own journey in life and to not compare your journey to someone else’s. You control what happens to you next.

If you could give advice for aspiring younger dancers, what did you discover about the industry that you would want others to know about?  

Do not take anything personally, especially when it comes to auditions. You are talented. You made it into the audition room. Once you have made it there,  many things are out of your control. There are so many other things that the creatives are looking at that are out of your control and typically do not have to do with your talent. Keep doing what you love and continue to stay creative.

 

 

 

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