NU dancers make their mark on the world
Nevada Union High School is proud to be a vital component in the dance education of the teenagers of Nevada County. To train to be a highly accomplished or professional dancer in jazz, ballet or modern requires years of patient and intensive mental and physical training. The high school program focuses on providing excellent physical training, performance experience, and artistic mentoring in this highly competitive and exclusive art form. Combined with their academic study of dance and a thorough scholastic education, many of our dance students transition from their high school years to their young adult years with placements into some of the nations best B.A., B. F. A., and professional conservatories. Many of our students earn sizable scholarships in their dance majors to help defray the cost of their dance and academic education. The life of an artist is often one of struggle, and a successful college education combined with a dance education can make the difference between success and failure as a dance artist. Since a dance career is often short lived (typically a span of 10 to 15 years) an academic dance education can help dancers develop the scope and exposure needed to transition from performing artist to producer or business artist.
This year, 16 of our advanced and intermediate dancers are excitedly planning summer sessions or college majors in the study of dance. All over the nation “summer intensives” offer 1 to 6 week workshops in the training of dance: Sophomore Amelia Eisen is attending of San Francisco for a 4 week intensive and Napala Pratini is attending Washington’s . Three more sophomores have applied and are awaiting the news from California State Summer School for the Arts. We’re especially happy for the number of seniors who have applied to prestigious colleges and universities as dance majors and have been accepted into these highly competitive programs: Lily Curtis-Harris has been accepted to Marymount Loyola; Sarah Alaways and Tal Lee Anderman to the University of California, Irvine; Sierrah Dietz to California State University San Francisco; Jenna Larson and Kelly Stanley to The University of California, Santa Barbara; Molly Katzman to Goucher University of Baltimore, Maryland; Danny Howerton to the certificate program for of San Francisco; Jennifer Bond to the Alvin Ailey School of Ballet and Modern Dance in New York City; and Christopher Selbie to the University of Arizona.
These are only sixteen of over 200 dancer studying dance at Nevada Union High School this year. Many of our other gifted dancers don’t plan careers in dance but have spent their elementary and high school years in dedication to studying this art form. Their skills reflect their hard work and talent. There are 120 students studying “Beginning Dance;” 40 studying “Intermediate Dance” and 35 studying “Advanced Dance.” To see them all perform and to see the work of successful alumni choreographers, come see our annual dance concert on May 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13. Our concerts each year are staffed with alumni choreographers who have ventured into the world and come back home to share what they’ve seen and heard and felt in dance. We’re especially pleased to welcome home Alison Clancy, recently graduated from New York University, and a graduate of Nevada Union High School’s Theatrical Dance Program. She’ll be presenting a new piece of choreography that she created on the 12 dancers she selected to perform her work. Currently working with Todd Williams, of , a new modern dance company situated in New York City, Miss Clancy brings to our dancers the excitement, energy and professionalism of big city modern dance. Alumni Jesse Beck, who has been spending a semester at sea on leave from Chapman University has also created a piece that will be part of a suite of dances that tell a story entitled, . Increasingly, our dance alumni have found success in the world of performing dance or creating it, and we are able to hire them at a small stipend to choreograph for their high school age counterparts. This exchange of energy and experience has helped create an atmosphere of professionalism in dance at the high school, as well as inspired the younger dancers to have the courage to commit themselves to giving their dance dreams an opportunity to come true.
Our slogan at NUHS should be “We Love Dance.” This has been an incredibly successful year, but many of the last 15 years have outstanding student success stories; stories of opportunity in dance, prestigious placements, scholarships to places like Stanford University, and other highly academic programs; not necessarily as dance majors, but because the students applying had an incredible talent in dance. Good schools are interested in creative thinkers, problem solvers, and diverse personalities: people who have proven themselves in not only academic arenas but also in other highly challenging and interesting ways. People with passion and commitment and accomplishment bring their expanded vision to all their work, and they tend to become the leaders of tomorrow. To become an accomplished dancer requires hard work today, dedication to discipline today, the ability to visualize and then perform today, and patience to wait until “tomorrow” for some of the greater rewards to be realized. We’re so proud at Nevada Union Theatrical Dance to have helped develop these outstanding citizens.
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