Kristen Hellar – October 2013 Judges’ Choice Winner

I am so thrilled to have been chosen for the Harlequin Floors Scholarship Judge’s Choice Award. Thank you.  I’m very honored. I am 12 years old and I have been dancing since I have been 4. I study tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, lyrical, ballet, pointe, musical theater and hip hop. I train at The Dance Academy of North Jersey in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. I have such wonderful dance instructors:  Jason Luks, Mark Burrell, Angelica Stiskin, Tom Richardson, Joelle Cosentino -- just to name a few.  All have inspired me to challenge myself in order to be the best dancer I can be.  Dancing is my passion. I realized how important it is in my life when it was suddenly taken away from me.  When I broke my leg and I couldn’t dance for months, it was like I lost my best friend. This could have been a devastating experience but I believe it made me a stronger person.  I had to work that much harder to get back in shape and my efforts paid off.  I earned a National Title that year.  It was a National’s I will never forget.  Another highlight of my life was when I traveled to Germany representing the United States to compete in the International Tap Dance Championship where I earned the Silver Metal for my tap solo -- Handful of Keys.  It was such a fantastic experience meeting tappers from all over the world including Russia, Italy, South Africa and other countries. It was an experience of a lifetime! 

Last season, after I danced my musical theater solo, dancers from other studios approached me and said that my dancing inspired them to be better dancers.  That’s a moment I won’t forget because after all, that’s what competition is about.  Meeting new people and hoping you can inspire others to be the best they can be. Being on stage performing my solos are defining moments in my life. It doesn’t matter if you win or place.  It’s the moment where all eyes are on you and every movement you do has your heart and soul exposed for everyone to see who you really are.  For me, it’s the moment of where I can just be me.