Ani Mayo 16 ~ Buster Cooper Tap Scholarship
Tap has been my door to happiness since the age of two. The loud sounds, complex tricks and intricate rhythms peaked my interest at an early age. I could feel the race of my heart beat from the time I laced up my tap shoes to the time I took them off. This delightful feeling started at the McKinney Dance Academy in McKinney Texas where I was taught this beautiful art form. With the guidance of two teachers, Dari Partaine and Terry Wolter, I was introduced to a new world. Shuffles, Flaps, and Maxie Fords were my new ABC's and I was eager to learn more.
My love for tap expanded in the sixth grade as I began to realize that tap was no longer a hobby. I took my training seriously and decided that performing once a year was not enough. I wanted to feel the emotions and experience the excitement of dancing every day. I immediately signed up for competitive tap eager for more challenging possibilities. With competitive dancing I started to practice in the studio six days per week. Practicing in the early mornings and late at night was difficult but it made me stronger and more disciplined. I was anxious to have my three minutes of show time on stage in front of a live audience. The critiques, lessons and competition inspired me to pursue all types of dance further. In 2009 I was greatly blessed to join the Booker T. Washington HSPVA family. Everyday I’m learning, growing and given new opportunities. One of my most important opportunities that Booker T. Washington gave me was when I was selected to participate in the Christmas Pops Show with the infamous, symphonic conductor, Marvin Hamlisch. This show was a unique opportunity for me and my peers. I witnessed the merging of two art forms and was surrounded by renowned artist. This was a magical moment for me because I became more convinced of my dream to become a professional tap dancer. The knowledge that I am supplied with from my Booker T. Washington and McKinney Dance Academy instructors helps me get closer and closer to my goals.
Each day I prepare myself to be a professional dancer and I think about how to get to the next level as I continue to attend class and practice steps. By attending the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, I can get the correct training and extra push I need to pursue my future career in tap. Throughout the rigorous program comprised of audition workshops, master classes, and intensive residences I would be challenged with complex combinations and taught to pick up and retain movement at a past pace. Being placed in that type of setting will drive me towards the goals I aspirer to achieve in the next few years. I know that with inspiration, concentration and hard work I can get to my dream of becoming a professional dancer and attending Columbia University with a major in dance. I want to experience every expression of tap by studying the history of former great hoofers and tapping with famous dancers such as Savion Glover, Jason Samuel Smith and Jared Grimes. I want and need to strive for the best I can be and then to go beyond that as I experience commercial work and perform on Broadway in shows like 42nd Street, Singin' in the Rain, and Cats, as well as performing in a professional tap company, like Tapestry or the Rhythm Junkies. I want to show the world how wonderful and truly magnificent tap can be and, I hope that through sharing the love I have for tap, I will raise the spirits of many people and put smiles on their faces for as long as I live. With the help of the Dance Council of North Texas I hope to reach these goals. I applied for the Dance Council Scholarships because the financial assistance that Dance Council provides will help me and my family reaches the goals that I aspire to get. In previous years Dance Council has helped me discover my own talents and has help to teach me the lesson of being grateful for programs like these. I would be heavily honored to be granted a scholarship from the Dance Council to help me in my journey as an artist.
Please accept my thanks and appreciation for the “Buster Cooper Tap Scholarship”. The scholarship was used to help me attend the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. The Chicago Human Rhythm Project is a two week tap intensive located in Chicago, Illinois taught by tap dance teachers from around the United States and other countries.
Before I traveled to Chicago, I was able to meet Mr. Buster Cooper and performed at one of the tap celebration shows that were held before the musical “Memphis” in May at the Music Hall located in Fair Park.
In Chicago, I was challenged and inspired by my magnificent teachers. I was taught many different forms, styles, and techniques to help me create better sounds that I didn’t even know were possible. Everything was fast and furious. I was expected to learn the choreography in a short amount of time. It inspired me to create some of my own chorography. As a senior at Booker T. Washington, I have decided to do a tap dance as my senior project. By attending the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, I feel that I have “tapped in” on my love for tap dancing and see how much I can contribute to this art form. I still have much to learn and I am eager and excited to see what the future holds for me. I love tap dancing. I looked forward to waking each morning taking the 1 ½ and 2 hour classes in Chicago. Tap has my heart and thank you Dance Council for giving me the opportunity to have the best experience of my life.
~ Ani Mayo