Even though dance is not a sport offered at the KO Middle School, many students still decide to explore dance outside of school. Some of these students include eighth-graders Madi Oh, Olivia Dufresne-Achatz, Naisola Sarfo-Mensah, Bella Theodorou and Grace Deng. Each of these dancers began at a young age.
Madi started to dance when she was two years old, and similarly, Olivia began Irish step-dancing when she was three. Grace also started to dance when she was around five years old. Dancing became a true passion for them, and as a result, dancing takes a lot of time out of their normal weeks. “You could say 24/7 because if I am not at dance, I’m thinking of dancing, watching videos, or practicing, ” Madi said.
Their passion taught these important lessons. Madi and Olivia said they agree that dance has helped them learn discipline, while Grace believes that dancing has taught her how to pursue challenges. “[I learned how] to persevere through hard challenges, because dance is harder than it seems,” Grace said. Bella has realized that she might be disappointed after an audition. “I’ve learned that sometimes you won’t always get the part you want,” she said.
Olivia said she recalls that her grandmother has influenced her since she started to dance. “My grandma definitely has been the biggest influence on my dancing, just because she takes me to every single class unless she is on a trip or something, and she’s just been so supportive,” said Olivia.
Naisola said that Misty Copeland inspires her to become a better dancer. “I get inspiration from dancers I see in performances and on TV, but Misty Copeland has been a really big inspiration in the dance world,” she said.
These five eighth graders have made substantial progress as dancers after so many years of lessons and practice. Following their passion, these dancers will continue their journey throughout high school.