Ana Berthelson 15 ~ Denise Gallagher Memorial Scholarship
I'm Ana Berthelsen, and I'm sophomore at Midlothian High School. I'm the youngest of four children and have a passion for the arts. I first started dance in the third grade at Rhythm Dancers and fell in love. I studied at that studio for four years and then moved to Staciaís School of Dance to continue under the instruction of Stacia Woodlan. This is now my fourth year at this studio where I continue working on my mastery of jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, musical theater, pointe, and ballroom, all of which I thoroughly enjoy.
I discovered my passion for musical theater in the eighth grade and have been trying to fit in as many plays and musicals in as possible ever since. My reason for applying for this scholarship is to attend a musical theater camp this summer with as little cost as possible. With having one sister already graduated, two brothers in college, and a low income for my family, it is hard to be able to come up with the money for extending my experience as a performer. I plan on becoming a musical theater major and anything that would add to my tool belt would be great! Also, the opportunity to work with other directors and performers would broaden my experience.
Although I'm sure these next two years will most likely fly by, I have numerous goals for myself. Being a semester away from junior year, itís important that I set these goals in order to succeed. One of which is to enhance my vocal performance. Iím plan on starting to take voice lessons under the instruction of Dr. Sam Germany at Cedar Valley College and continue taking from him until I leave for college. Another of my goals for the next two years are to prepare myself any way possible for college auditions-this camp would be very helpful. I realize that musical theater is not all about the talent but knowledge, discipline and self-confidence as well. As of right now, I am ranked second in my class of 578, and I hope to keep my position. Discipline is a very important aspect of my success-doing my homework, keeping up with my grades, staying healthy, being at rehearsals, balancing my busy schedule-all of which are key to being a responsible individual. I hope to remain responsible and disciplined in my future. However, these next two years will be filled preparing me mentally, physically, and talent wise (voice, dance, and acting) for college auditions and Unifieds.
This year I received the Denise Gallagher Memorial Scholarship to attend Lyric Stage’s Super Stars Camp in Irving, Texas. The experience at Lyric Stage allowed me to meet new friends, learn from various instructors and to do what I love best.
My experience at Lyric surprised me. I expected that, like always, I would be one of the few who actually took musical theater seriously. I was wrong; many campers who attended were not forced into going by their parents, though were some, but actually wanted to be there. When I first started out at the camp I observed about forty campers, mostly under the age of 15, and I thought, “Oh, great. This production is going to end up being a mess.” After the first week, I realized I was wrong once more. Like I said before, these campers were devoted to what they were partaking in at Lyric Stage.
One of my favorite parts about attending Lyric Stage were the experienced, amazing, talented directors and instructors provided for us. None of these teachers were random picks but actors, singers, and dancers from the professional world—New York, professional work in the Metroplex, etc. They all gave helpful information that would benefit our futures. My favorite instructor while being at Lyric was Elise Lavallee, our choreographer and dance teacher. She was most-helpful and full of positive criticism—my favorite. If no one notified me what I was doing wrong or what I could do better, these would be no way for me to grow as an actress, singer, and dancer. I enjoyed learning and adding more to my “tool belt” from the other instructors such as Wendy Welch.
At the end of Lyric Stage’s Super Stars Camp, the campers, including me, were able to put on a full production of “Oklahoma!” I played the role, Gertie, which I enjoyed thoroughly. My best friend played Curly, so I enjoyed being able to comfortably be obnoxiously “in love” with him.
Dancing with other dancers was good experience and realization for me. I was able to realize where I stood technically and performance-wise compared to other dancers. Also, I was able to learn from the more-experienced dancers.
My time at Lyric Stage was a complete learning experience for me. Although it could be mentally and physically draining from the 5-day rehearsals each week, I would highly recommend other dancers and students to apply for this scholarship to have the chance to attend this musical theater camp. It’s worth it!!
~ Ana Berthelsen