By Sophia Nguyen
April Chen, a freshman at Summit Tahoma, has been dancing for eight years. Earlier this year, she performed a cha-cha routine at the school talent show. Now, she discusses her background and history in dance.
- What type of dancing do you do?
“I do all Latin dances, including cha-cha and many different other dances,” Chen said. “I do Chinese traditional dance and a little bit of ballet. I do mainly solo and partner dance for Latin dance and group dance for Chinese traditional dance.”
2. Why did you choose this genre of dance?
Chen said her mother sent her to the dance studio at first, but she found her dance classes interesting. As for her dance genre, Chen said, “I’m already good at it, so I didn’t want to change.”
3. What made you want to become a dancer?
“My parents decided to send me to a dance studio because I got sick really easily when I was younger. They want[ed] me to exercise more. But after I have learned many dances and went to many competitions, I like the feel of being on the stage, the feeling that everyone is looking at you,” Chen said. “I like to perform. So, I decided to keep dancing, and I love it.”
3. What external forces (i.e. media, family, role models) influenced your dancing?
“My grandma was a dancer too. My mom had great drawing skills, so I was born in a family with artistic genes. Also, I was weak when I was younger – dancing lets me exercise,” Chen said. “I did Chinese traditional dance first because many other students chose this dance too. For Latin dance, it’s because my dance teachers – they’re really good at it. I liked how they danced.”
4. How does dancing affect your everyday life?
“I am more flexible. I can accept new things. I have an open mind. I have an appreciation of art. Dance gives me more chances, and I get people’s respect too,” Chen said.
5. What have you learned from dancing?
“I am not afraid of performing and public speaking. I know many teachers that are great and can give me a lot of opportunities,” Chen said, adding that dancing has made her confident and willing to try new things.
6. How much do you practice in a day? A year?
“I practice three times a week, but I stretch daily,” Chen said. Chen included that practice times might change, but her stretching is consistent. “We learn many dance works, routines and we get used to costumes, music and partners.”
7. What do you hope to achieve as a dancer?
“I want to perform on the stage. I want to go to competitions. Maybe I will become a dance teacher in the future,” Chen shared.
8. Who are your role models? Why are they your role models?
Chen said she respects everyone because she could learn from anyone who is more skilled than her in certain areas. “I could learn knowledge from an educated person. I could learn more about how people will act in different environments and situations … so, in some ways, everyone is my role model.”
9. How do you feel about dancing now?
“When I first started dancing, it was a pain to me. I need[ed] to stretch a lot, and I didn’t like it,” Chen said, adding that she now understands “dancing is good for me both physically and mentally, and it can bring me many chances. I love dance, and I am going to continue dancing.”