Path to the Present
The path to the present is never straightforward, but when looking back I tend to find that it all makes sense in hindsight. For example, I sometimes walk to school in the morning, look out at the city, and wonder “How did me, some random kid from northern Virginia who spent a lot of time playing video games and eating cereal end up going to Juilliard here in New York City? It just doesn’t make sense!” Truth be told, this thought only arises because I’m not looking at the whole picture, and more often that not by taking a step back to see the view in full we can see that every moment in our lives has directly led up to the present which we are currently experiencing.
I began dancing when I was about eight years old at The Washington School of Ballet. Though I enjoyed dancing during those early years, I didn’t truly begin to take it seriously until I was around thirteen. It was then that I decided to move away from home to train full time at a boarding school for ballet dancers. I trained at The HARID Conservatory in south Florida for the entirety of my high school career, and it is in large part thanks to that school that I have been able to have the opportunities that I have now. I made sure to choose a school that I knew would prepare me for any eventuality. Juilliard had always been the goal, but I knew that I needed to keep my options open. HARID provided an excellent foundation in classical ballet while simultaneously exposing me to a number of other styles of dance including modern, jazz, flamenco, and character. Looking back, I can see what a wonderful set-up that was because now at Juilliard I’m asked to move in such a wide variety of ways everyday that often times I can’t even keep track of it all. Another great benefit of attending HARID and then ending up at Juilliard was that as part of HARID’s program you take courses such as Anatomy, Nutrition, Music Theory, & Dance History. These are all courses that I am either taking right now or will take in my coming years, only now at a college level. I can definitely say that by getting a strong foundation in those core subjects (which are so incredibly vital for dancers) I was much more prepared for the work that’s required of me here at Juilliard.
Keeping an eye out for Juilliard, I attended the Juilliard Dance Summer Intensive in 2015. (The summer before my senior year.) Needless to say it was a fantastic time, and I learned an incredible amount both about myself as a dancer and about Juilliard as a school. This was also a great opportunity for me to introduce myself to the faculty at Juilliard and to build a sort of familiarity with the culture here before showing up to the audition.
Aside from all of the technical things that happened along the way to get me here, there was always one simple rule that I followed (and still follow) that I credit every event in my life to. That simple rule is to always do that which excites me most. This doesn’t have to be some sort of big, life altering thing. It can be as small as “in this moment, what excites me most is going to the studios and improvising for 30 minutes” or “what excites me most in this moment is to go to the park and start that book I’ve been meaning to read.” What you’ll find is that by simply following your interests, your actions will then lead you on towards the life you want to live. Stay true to your instincts and artistic inclinations, those little feelings and desires you have are the hidden markers along the path of your life, leading you ever onward to the artist, citizen, and person that you truly want to be.
Juilliard Dance 2020