Dancers balance academic and artistic responsibilities


4 Star Productions

Isobel Souza competed in a solo jazz competition in Norwood in 2015, where she received an ultimate ranking, the highest ranking available.

Penelope Cruz, Staff Writer

Makeup, hair and costume: 9:30 a.m. Show start: 10:30 a.m. Back to school for three classes at 11 a.m. After school dance rehearsal with Cantico until 4 p.m. Call time at theater: 6 p.m. Show start: 7:30 p.m.

For many pre-professional dancers at the high school, dancing is more than a hobby. It’s part of their identity.

Sophomore Donovan Kirrane said he started ballroom dancing in seventh grade after being inspired by a dancer he saw on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I perform for other people. I perform to make them happy, I love getting up on stage and expressing myself. It’s a lot of fun,” Kirrane said.

Junior Ndaru Kartikaningsih said dancing has been a part of her life since she was a kid. When she was younger, she briefly went into acting and singing, but dancing has always stuck with her.

“It has kept me stable and kept my head above the water when things have gotten rough,” Kartikaningsih said.

Like many pre-professional dancers at the high school, Kirrane first started dancing at an early age.

“I was a gymnast up until I was about ten, then I hurt my back and couldn’t do it anymore. It’s because I couldn’t do gymnastics anymore that I decided to do dance, and I love dance. It makes me so happy,” Kirrane said.

According to sophomore Isobel Souza, dancing takes a large chunk out of a student’s schedule, so pre-professional dancers have to take on responsibilities as students and as dancers to balance their schedules.

“Last year I was dancing intensively at a studio and it was  six days a week. It was very difficult to keep up my homework. My grades had dropped at some point, and I’d say I wasn’t focusing at school as much. I’d rush through my homework,” Souza said. “Now  dance groups are only on the weekends, so I’ve really been being a student, sitting down and being interested in my work. I think it’s just balancing time and saving enough energy,” she said.

According to Souza, even though dancing can be all consuming for pre-professional dancers as students, they are so connected to dancing they prefer to work around it.

“When I had stopped the intensive program last year, and I really took a break from dancing, I felt weird, almost lost,” Souza said. “I thought, what if I’m not going to be a dancer? What would I do with my life?”

Souza said she introduces herself as a dancer, rather than saying she dances, because dancing plays such a significant role in her life.  

“That’s such a huge part of my identity and who I am, and I love to share that with people because I think it’s unique about me,” Souza said. “It’s a lot of what makes me proud to be who I am.”