Alyssa Allen – Judges’ Choice Winner December 2013

Since 2009 my main training has been with Westside Dance Project, a pre-professional contemporary company, under the direction of Jessie Riley. I have been a student at Orange County School of the Arts since my freshman year. I am currently a junior and participate in the commercial dance conservatory.  I am also a student at Dmitri Kulev Academy of Classical Ballet. Lastly, I enjoy taking workshops and master classes whenever I can. My main focus is contemporary ballet. I also study hip hop, jazz, tap, lyrical and modern.

It was a true pleasure working with Sonya Tayeh on the piece in my video. Working with Sonya is a non-stop, full-out, 100 percent workout. She demands what she envisions and as a dancer you're more than happy to show her what you can achieve and show her what she wants to see. Sonya works in a way where she will give 100 percent and you must reciprocate that and more. I absolutely love working with Sonya and with expressing this love and dedication during rehearsal time that I felt that she loved working with me. 

Without my dance teachers I wouldn't be the dancer I am today. My mentor, Jessie Riley has not only trained me in contemporary but has shared her knowledge, gifts and passion of dance with me over the past 6 years. Words can't acknowledge my love for her. Every dance teacher I have ever taken and that has shared their talent and wisdom with me has made a difference especially Sonya Tayeh. She has so much to offer. I look up to her in so many ways. Her original choreography is astonishing and I just love her work ethics. She pushes me to a place where I didn't know I could go. All my dance teachers will always have a special place in my heart.  

I love convention workshops like competitions. I feel like I get so much training from the convention workshops. One thing I learn for sure is the skill to learn choreography in a fast-paced setting. Performing in these convention/competitions is also helpful because I get to hear helpful critiques from my dance idols. This community is so supportive and I get to meet so many amazing dancers from all over the world. 

I plan to go college for dance. I hope to get into a good dance college where I can continue my education academically as well as my dance training. Perhaps with hard work and an open mind and heart,  I can one day be a part of professional contemporary ballet company. I don't know what my future brings but for sure it will always involve dance.