Ballerina blossoms at dance convention

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By Alyssa Simeone

As a ballerina my entire life, I was hoping to attend a college at which I could pursue my love for dancing.  I did not realize, however, just how many wonderful opportunities I would have at Union.

Last spring, I was awarded  the Edward Villella Fellowship. Mr. Charles Lothridge and the Union Dance Department gave me the opportunity to travel into New York City to attend dance classes of all different styles.

It was amazing to receive this award, especially because I have grown up hearing stories about Villella.  This was an unforgettable opportunity that I could not have experienced if I had attended any other school.

Being among professional ballerinas, from companies including the New York City Ballet, in my ballet classes at Steps on Broadway was so motivating.

I have learned new, different, and exciting techniques from each instructor that I took classes with. This summer, I also took classes in jazz, contemporary, and salsa. My jazz classes allowed me to work with new choreography in a performance style I had never done before.  Prior to this summer, I had never taken a contemporary dance class, but it has always been a desire of mine.

Being taught contemporary dance by different instructors, I was exposed to different teaching styles, allowing me to learn unique ways to use my body when I dance; I was not expecting to learn as much as I did!

Traveling into Manhattan was refreshing, enlightening, and inspiring.  NYC has the ability to captivate one’s passions and to bring dreams to life. I am looking forward to continuing with my classes during winter break, which will include various ballroom styles, hip-hop, African, tap, jazz, and contemporary.

Dance is not just something you do, it is who you are—something that is never right or wrong, just what you feel.

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