All She Wants To Do Is Dance


Julia Battaglia

In today’s world there are a lot of activities that people participate in and then don’t get the recognition they deserve. One of those things would be dancing, there are many dancers that are working hard everyday to be the best they can be and get no recognition for it. One of these dancers that I got a chance to speak to would be senior Emma Stein. Emma is the kind of dancer that has been enjoying it almost all of her life. Stein got into dance at a young age, “I started dancing when I was 3 years old, my mom started me in dance because I would always dance around and my older cousin did it and I always looked up to her.” 


Once starting to dance she has never wanted to give it up and it has always been a passion of hers. “I enjoy competing, going on trips, and the friends I made from it. The people are what make it so much fun and why I want to continue and better myself,” said Stein.


With the pandemic happening, dance studios had to shut down for a while, but they have been able to dance again since we went into quarantine. The dance studio that she is a part of is The Dance Alley and they were affected by the pandemic. “While in quarantine, we continued to practice on zoom with hope that we would get to a competition hopefully in the summer. The competitions worked very hard to try to arrange virtual events.” This was a hard time for them not being able to be in the studio with everyone and be in the dance environment. “Once we were finally allowed back into the studio following covid guidelines, it definitely took an adjustment from being online to being back full. All of us had lost our energy and endurance so getting back in the studio and getting back into routine was curcial.” With losing so much time in the studio this had definitely impacted how they were dancing and being able to dance with each other again instead of by themselves over zoom for so long. With that, “All of us did have a push of motivation since we were back so it was definitely good for our drive and determination going into a new season.”  With covid they have definitely had to make some changes on how much everyone is in the studio per week. Stein said, “With covid we tried to illuminate the amount of days dancers are in the studio so I am there two days a week. On Mondays I have dance from 3:30-5:00 come home then head back from 6-9:15. On Thursdays I have dance 3:30-4:00, have a break and then classes again from 5:30-8:15 each class is around 45 minutes.”  


While dancing for so long there are plenty of classes to take and lots of techniques to learn. She has grown as a dancer and learned so many things throughout the years that she has been dancing. Some of these classes that she takes are tap duet, group tap, group lyrical, technique, lyrical trio ballet, pointe, stretching/conditioning, group jazz, and large group lyrical. With all of these classes she takes she definitely has a favorite class. Stein said, “My favorite class is tap because there is always a new steps and combinations.”


The classes listed are the ones that she takes and practices to get ready for competition while bettering her dancing skills and learning new things. The dance studio performs in more than one competition a year and then has a showcase at the end of the year. “Our competitions range but usually they are in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, or even in Ohio. Most are pretty local usually 2 hours away maximum.” Dancing for a long time you can pick up and learn a lot of things, “I have been dancing since I was 3 years old, so 14 years”. While dancing for this long there are many things that she has accomplished and one of things would be competing solos. Stein said, “Each season you get one solo. This year I will be competing my fifth solo.”


Dancing has been something fun to do while also being something that she can get together with friends and compete something that they love doing together. When a competition is coming up there are many things to get ready for before the competition. “Before competition it is super important to attend all the classes, private, extra rehearsals to have all the people there so we could run everything full out in a space that will represent where we will perform.” The preparation before that competition is one of the most important things to attend to be ready. “It is important to prepare before a competition because the adrenaline and nerves definity kick in so you have to use that muscle memory and have confidence in yourself and go out onto stage and with a positive attitude and push yourself to make it your best.” When going into a competition you want to believe that you can perform to your best ability. 


Dancing is something that can be an outlet to let their feelings out and do something they love at the same time. Stein said, “Dance is definitely an outlet, but the girls that I dance with are definitely what makes it so special. The friendships and bonds I have formed are unlike anything else. Being with each other so often so many hours per week you get really close and form a different kind of friendship.” Dancing is a place to let go while making a bond with a bunch of friends at the same time. While doing this more dancers should be getting recognized for all the hard work that they put in. It takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish all the things that they do.