ASHLEY MENESTRINA 18 Natalie Skelton Scholarship
Ashley Menestrina has come to the decision that she wants to make dance her career. She attends Angela Floyd School for the Dancer in Knoxville, TN and takes classes in jazz, contemporary, ballet (pointe), tap, hip-hop, and performs with their competitive company. A company member, Ashley has attended several dance conventions and received two scholarships from NYCDA-one for regionals and another for nationals.
Just recently, Ashley auditioned for the dance conservatory at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and got accepted. She is thrilled to be able to further her training in such a creative environment. She wants to take her dream of becoming a professional dancer as far as she possibly can, and her future goal is to move to New York City and become a member of a contemporary dance company or maybe even a Rockette.
Dance is such a beautiful thing because of its ability to ignite the soul no matter what style it may be. Ashley is consumed by the energy that new experiences provide, and more than eager to step outside the box. Dance is not just a word, a noun, or a verb... it is an energy, an outlet, an unexplained aura that consumes and enraptures every aspect of her life.
I feel so blessed to have been graciously given so many wonderful dance opportunities to further my education. My summer was filled with the chance to travel to several exciting places, get inspired by a fabulous variety of dance teachers and classes, and learn more about myself than thought possible. I would love to thank the Dance Council for the chance to attend the Glenda Brown Choreography Project with a full scholarship. With the Natalie Skelton Scholarship, I was able to experience all three stages of a dancer’s life- class, rehearsal, and performance- in an extremely positive atmosphere.
Daily ballet, modern, and jazz classes greatly helped refine my technique. Each and every teacher had a very unique way of developing their ideas so that I learned something new every day. In addition to three classes a day, we also had a designated period of time to learn a piece of choreography. I always enjoyed the challenges associated with the choreography process. From the assignment itself, all the way to how the choreographer approached the task was filled with such creativity. Finally, a performance of each choreographer’s creation was put on stage every night. The adrenaline of being on stage and performing freshly learned choreography truly made me rely on self-confidence. Furthermore, the concept of focus and the ability to connect with the audience so as to form an unbreakable bond, is one of the main lessons I learned to enhance and cherish.
Thank you again so much for this opportunity. I can honestly say I met some of the most amazing people ever in an intense and rewarding summer intensive. None of this would have been possible without the Natalie Skelton Scholarship. My next adventure begins as a freshman dance major at Point Park University, and having had such a positive experience at the Glenda Brown Choreography Project, I feel completely capable of fulfilling my life long goals.