Katie Wu, who has attended Academy since seventh grade, told me about her pursuits in different styles of dance, starting at three-year’s old. She has performed in local productions. Katie does Ballet, Jazz, and Modern dance.
Q: How did you begin dancing?
Katie: My mom placed me in a creative ballet class at Dublin Dance Centre per recommendation by our family-friends. She did this not knowing how much of an impact it would have on my life. At this age, I would walk into class with a leotard and a tutu, jump around and truly just have fun.
Q: How often do you do practice dance, and do you participate in recitals or performances?
Katie: I am dancing 5 days a week, for a couple hours every day, which can be quite overwhelming when paired with school and other activities. Along with this, it is important to stretch at home and keep the body in top condition as dance, especially pointe, is very rigorous. I dance at a performing studio, meaning we put on productions about 5 times a year. The main shows I attend are The Nutcracker and a June production, which tends to be a Disney-themed show. With these performances comes auditions, then hours and hours of rehearsals.
Q: How do you balance your practice schedule with your schoolwork?
Katie: Dance has taught me to prioritize and organize my time. I heavily utilize free periods to finish the most important assignments and projects first. It is very likely, however, that I am not always able to finish. Sometimes I come home from dance and complete the rest of my work then. If I am at rehearsal for a long time, I will bring homework with me to do there on my breaks.
Q: What do you enjoy most about dancing?
Katie: Dance is my greatest creative outlet and stress reliever. School and other activities can really put pressure on my mind and body, but when I’m at dance, as cliche as it may sound, all of that tension melts away. I seem to forget about every other task and just focus on my alignment, expression, technique, or whatever else it may be. Dance is also just extremely enjoyable: from the exciting music to the lively choreography, there is so much to find in dancing and movement. It is also very rewarding to achieve a difficult skill or finish a large performance.
Q: How has Covid-19 affected your practices and performances?
Katie: . . . Masks are required at the studio and extra safety precautions have been put in place. Dancing with masks was very difficult at first. Restricted breathing in any physical activity is hard to deal with, but after many months, I have become used to it. During the sudden spike in cases this past December, my studio converted to zoom. A large part of dance is the interaction between a student and their teacher, as the teacher may frequently use their hands to guide the dancer’s body, whether that is pushing their shoulders down, or raising their leg higher in an extension.With Covid restrictions, teachers were advised not to touch the students’ bodies as an extra precaution. Also, performance has been changed drastically. Our studio is extremely considerate of everyone’s circumstances and have set up outdoor performances to allow for social distancing.
Q: What is your proudest moment from dancing?
Katie: I cannot think of one proudest moment, but any time I received the role I wanted in auditions or achieved a difficult skill, I was extremely proud of myself. Also, the progress I have made in the past few years is definitely something to be pleased with.