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.

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