Daylee James 16 ~ Mama Peggy Scholarship
Everyone has their own story on how they were first enrolled into dance. Some say “I started dance classes because my best friend did” or “I just enrolled because I don’t have anything better to do.” However, my story of how dance first made it’s way into my life is more unique than most. My parents had me twirling around in dance as soon as I was out of diapers and I was in love as soon as I learned first position. Although, my parents thought it was necessary to have me play T-ball just to see if I was good at any other sports. My coach would always say “Daylee, if you would quit dancing in the outfield, you might be able to catch a ball!” that’s when they knew Fine Arts was my forte. My name is Daylee James and I am in love with dance.
I am a junior and have been dancing for fourteen years and have enjoyed every move dance requires. I attend Raevin Dance Factory and have been in competitive dance for eight years and travel around the United States with my team competing against the best. The dance team I am apart of has been to the Dance Worlds the past three years and recently received a jazz bid to the 2012 Dance Worlds. As well as being on a competition team, I am also a contemporary/jazz soloist and have received many awards for my accomplishments. Last summer, I received a scholarship to the Lyric Stage Broadway Stars Camp from the Dance Council organization and accumulated knowledge of what life would be like as a Broadway dancer. This year I hope to extend my studies to the summer dance intensive at Oklahoma City University, which focuses on polishing “the triple threat” attribute of a Broadway dancer.
After I graduate high school in 2013, my dream is to try out for “So You Think You Can Dance” and see how far I can excel in the competition. If I were to be accepted onto the show, it would open many doors for my dancing career and I would learn a plethora of different dance styles. I also plan on applying with hopes of being accepted into Ann Lacy school of American Dance and Arts Management at Oklahoma City University to obtain a master’s degree in Dance Performance.
This summer I attended The Broadway-Bound Dancer Workshop at Oklahoma City University for ten days during the month of July. This program was filled with knowledge not only about dance, but also about acting, singing, as well as how to audition for a class, and how to be a swing dancer. This program definitely changed the way I dance today.
During the program we danced from nine in the morning until eight thirty at night. We had ballet, tap, and Jazz everyday (Jazz and ballet for an hour and a half and tap for a hour). Later on in the day we had a two and a half our rehearsal of our routines that we would showcase at the end of the program. Finally, depending on what day it was we would have an hour and a half class on either Dance Health, acting, singer, theater dance, and a musical theater class.
Some of the many things that I loved about the time I spent at OCU was getting to learn more about how to use your body when you dance. I learned to use muscles that could possibly help make a certain skill easier. At OCU they warm up/stretch for forty-five minutes and make sure your body is completely warm before dancing. At my studio we do not have a class just for warm up. So when I got there it was a bit of a shocker to stretch for that long. Now that I have experienced it, I would love to have that opportunity at my studio. Another thing would be that they made all dance styles fun. For me, ballet has never been my favorite dance style. However, when I was at OCU it was one of my favorite classes. I came back to my hometown feeling like a new dancer with an open mind to new things.
In the program each student was allowed to participate in two numbers for the showcase. I was in a sassy Jazz number called “Secret Love” and the other number was an outgoing musical theater/ Jazz piece called “Chicago, Illinois.” In “Chicago, Illinois” I had the lead role and I had an absolute blast playing the part. I got to act like an obnoxious, Chicagoan woman who was completely full of herself. I enjoyed acting like someone that I wasn’t. After dancing in those two numbers I could definitely see myself being on Broadway!
There were 31 students who were involved in the Broadway-Bound Dancer Workshop and all of us left the workshop closer than what we expected. At first I was extremely intimidated by all the talent there, but after a couple of days, dancing with someone you didn’t know wasn’t too bad. I could learn from the students around me by watching them and seeing what I like about their dancing and trying to better myself. Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only student who was from out of state. These students were from all over the USA so when it was time to say goodbye all of us were upset to leave each other.
The Mama Peggy scholarship was a blessing from God and I couldn’t thank you enough for the wonderful opportunity. I am a better dancer than I was yesterday and I hopefully will continue to improve. If it wouldn’t have been for Dance Council of North Texas and their generosity I wouldn’t have been able to attend OCU and know that is now the college I want to attend. I will audition in October for their dance program and I couldn’t be more excited. I would definitely recommend this scholarship to other students! As a matter of fact, I already have! Thanks again for everything!