Montana Dalton - Judges' Choice Dec. 2014

I have been dancing since I was three years old when I asked my parents to put me into dance class.  So this means I currently am working on my 14th year of study training in ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, lyrical. pointe, hip hop, acrobatics, and rhythmic gymnastics; contemporary ballet is my favorite.  

Currently I am a senior company member for Dance Industry Performing Arts Center run by Christy Wolverton-Ryzman in Plano, Texas.  Our company brings in master classes almost monthly and I have had the opportunity to train with professionals such as Jessica Hendricks, Rose Yager, Ida Saki, Billy Bell, Benoit Swan Pouffer, Brooke Pierotti, Matt Luck, Francisco Gella, Jon Bond, Kim Wolfe, and many others! I also attend Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas as a senior.  I have been a member of  Dance Ensemble 1 and have had the opportunity to perform works by amazing choreographers such as Andy Noble, Dwight Rhoden, Take Ueyama, Sidra Bell and Jessica Lang.  

I need to thank every coach and dance instructor I have ever worked with. Every one of them have helped me to become the dancer I am. Each person has made an imprint on my dancing and through all of their help, I am the dancer I am today.  I especially want to thank my current studio teachers Christy Wolverton-Ryzman, Rose Yager, Liz Collingsworth, Jessica Hendricks and my current school teachers Lily Weiss, Lisa Stoller, Brian Devine, Michelle Hall and Ceyhun Ozsoy.  I also cannot thank my dancer teachers in Florida enough for creating my solid dance foundation: Debbie Ford, Kellie Landen, Samantha Reyes, Jennifer Turbyfill, Mayra Fernandez. Rhonda Stampalia and Dr. Penney.  During my freshman year of high school I travelled as a dance assistant with Artists Simply Human and cannot thank Braham Logan Crane enough for believing in me and allowing me the opportunity to travel with Sascha Radetsky, Wes Veldink, Lisette Bustamonte, Christopher Huggins, Tokyo, Dee Caspary and Jason Samuels Smith.  This year helped me to learn to manage my time, pick up choreography quickly and to be flexible in all that I do. One last shout out to every teacher at every dance convention that I attended for helping me to be a better version than I was when I walked into your class.  

The solo I submitted was choreographed by the amazing Jessica Hendricks, who I am forever grateful to be so close with. Going into my sophomore year in high school, I moved from Florida to Texas, and Jess inspired me in so many ways when I came to DI. She was the one who actually introduced me to contemporary dancing, has created my solos the past three years, and constantly pushes me to grow and try new things developing my dance style. Working with Jess is a unique and challenging experience. She often comes in with an idea or a new thought that she wants me to focus on, whether it be the dynamics of my dancing or the technique or the use of my body in movement, and then she implements those tasks in my solo. But the next time she comes the tasks could be entirely new to keep the solo from becoming complacent. It's an adrenaline rush when I work with Jess, I never know what to expect and you just have I dive right in. I will be forever grateful for moving to  Texas and meeting her.

YoungArts is an incredible program that promotes and supports young dancers. I was an honorable mention recipient last year and was able to attend the Miami regional program. The instruction and focus on collaboration of art is really scintillating and a unique experience. Everyone there was so supportive and appreciative of each others art forms. Towards the end of the week everyone participated and viewed shows and galleries that displayed amazing work by every artist that attended. The connections I built there were pretty fantastic and definitely life lasting. My advice for anyone who is thinking of attending YoungArts would to not hold back and just submit! If you do get to go, you will learn so much, receive one on one feedback on your solo, and take classes from masters in each of your art forms. This is an opportunity that a dancer can only dream about participating in. 

There are many things that inspire me to dance.  At times it can be a moment in my life, or a song I hear on the radio or an emotion I am feeling that I need to express.  Dancing is life and it allows me to feel complete.  I love being in a class next to amazing dancers who push me to grow.  I love performing on a huge stage in front of thousands of people who enjoy watching dance as much as I enjoy performing dance.  Inspiration comes from every teacher who has corrected me or pushed me to be better than I am.  I am thankful that inspiration is always around me. 

In my near future I will be going off to college, however I am completely unsure of where I'd like to attend yet. I do know that I'd like to be in New York area.  I have or will audition for NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Marymount Manhattan College, Pace University, SUNY Purchase, Fordham University, Point Park University and Juilliard. So far I have received a number of both academic and artistic scholarships but will not make any final decisions until after I have heard from all auditions.  After completing my secondary education, my dream is to work as a company member in a dynamic company such as Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet or Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Again, I am truly thankful and honored! 

Sincerely

Montana Dalton