Schedules for an average high schooler are painfully busy and stressful without considering aspects like personal and social time, so throwing in outside of school dance takes it to another level. Being a part of a dance studio that is not tied to the school leads to difficulties with schedules because teachers often don’t make accommodations, making the intensity even higher for overworked students.
Senior Halle Troadec, who dances at the Washington School of Ballet, focuses mainly on ballet, but is also required by the studio to take modern dance and jazz at least once a week to be the most well-rounded dancer she can be. At her most intense times, she may have dance for up to 26 hours per week. Balancing that with the regular heavy school workload, college applications, maintaining a social life and getting a good night’s sleep can seem like the ultimate challenge. Troadec said, “To be honest I am not that good at balancing my schedule because I procrastinate a lot, so I end up pulling a lot of all-nighters.”
One thing that high school dancers tend to struggle with is whether or not they want to dance after they graduate and possibly turn dance into a career. Troadec, who does not plan on dancing after high school, said, “I was in the pre-professional program at my studio since freshman year but I dropped it this year to focus on school and applying to colleges, which was a super hard decision to make because for a long time I wanted to be a professional ballet dancer.”
Freshman Emma Song, who dances at the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, also struggles to find a happy medium when it comes to working and dancing, “I am not amazing at balancing schoolwork with dance, but I try to finish a lot of homework during school,” Song said.
Song is also going to be dancing as one of the Claras in her studio’s performance of The Nutcracker this year, which is one of the main parts.
Junior Cynthia Chen, who also dances at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, feels somewhat different about her time constraints. “If I don’t waste time and get my homework done, then it is not that challenging,” Chen said. She is also part of the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre Nutcracker show and does ballet, jazz and modern dance.
Senior Iman Shumburo, who dances at CityDance Conservatory at Strathmore, also has trouble managing the chaos. “I dance 15 hours a week, going later than 9:30 three days per week, so finding time to travel or just chill is really hard since when I am not dancing I am typically participating in other commitments and pursuing academics.”
Schedules or not, all of these talented dancers have made it clear that the chaos of their busy lives are always worth it, because they get to do what they love as much as they can. Struggling to find a balance may be stressful, but it pays off when they dance. “I really do enjoy dancing, it is always something that I look forward to. I am having fun being expressive, and also getting a workout while I’m at it,” Song said.