Lauren Gifford 16 ~ Point Park University Scholarship
My name is Lauren Gifford, I am currently studying at the Booker T Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Dance Department as well as Taylor Dance Center and Dance Industry Performing Arts Center. I take classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, choreography, and lyrical. At Booker T, I am in the Advanced Repertory class and am learning works by many diverse choreographers. This is my second year at Booker T and I have greatly enjoyed my time there. I have been studying at Taylor Dance Center under Suzan Taylor for 9 years, and have been studying at Dance Industry PAC since the beginning of the year.
My goal for the next couple of years include graduating high school with honors, getting accepted into a university with a distinguished dance program, and continuing my dance studies and improving my technique the best I can.
After receiving the Dance Council of North Texas’ scholarship to Point Park University International Summer Dance, I attended the intensive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During my time at Point Park I learned so much in only three weeks.
Going into the intensive, I had the mindset of just trying my hardest and learning and growing as much as I possibly could. My number one goal was to improve as a dancer and an artist. Overall my experience this summer was incredible; I met so many amazing people, worked with great teachers, danced my heart out, and thoroughly enjoyed the city of Pittsburgh. Probably my favorite part of my experience was meeting people from all over the country and being able to compare our different ways of dancing and training. This summer, dancers from Argentina came to the program and it was so interesting talking to them and learning about them. I also absolutely loved the girls I got paired to be roommates with. After about three days we were like best friends who had known each other our whole lives.
The faculty that I got to work with in those three weeks were some of the best teachers that I have ever been so blessed to learn from. I liked that we got a new teacher for each genre every week so we were able to work with as many as possible. Since I was only there for three weeks instead of the full six week program, I was unable to perform in the final show. I did enjoy watching those who were in the final show audition and rehearse the pieces being set on them after a full day of dancing. I was most inspired by my jazz teacher the first week, David Storey. I loved the way he taught and the way he wanted us to just move and be free. He had us improvise for the first part of every class and I felt that the experience of just dancing for me was incredibly liberating and fulfilling. Every time he would teach us a combination, he would get so into it and pull everyone else into it with him and it didn’t matter how tired we were we would always have enough energy to do what he pushed us to do. Each and every person I worked with at Point Park was inspiring and amazing and the program was just beyond words. I would most definitely recommend this program to absolutely anyone!