The dance season isn’t over but what a season it’s been so far! This year Lucas competed six group routines and one solo, the biggest commitment he’s had to the team in his now fifth year of competition team. He went from 3 hip hop and 1 contemporary routine last season to 3 hip hop, 3 contemporary and 1 solo this season. He went from being a hip hop dancer to getting recognition in other styles including ballroom and musical theater. Every year we’ve seen his passion, commitment and drive for dance grow but this year was a pivotal year. This was the year his passion for dance grew beyond convenience and the year his friendships grew to become lifelong.
DanceMakers was the first convention of the season, back on stage, without masks. Several of the team had the opportunity to perform in the closing show. Hand selected by the choreographer, they rehearsed between classes and competition and got to experience a slice of professional dance life.
He was always thoughtful and curious. Two qualities I observed early on that were echoed throughout his childhood in the questions he asked, the friends he made, the conversations we had. I remember swimming with him in the ocean, off the coast of Belize, chatting away as if I were talking to a friend, he was all of 9. Six years later we spend hours in the car talking about relationships, the creative process, gratitude, challenges (both his and mine), global politics, race issues and what inspires us. He doesn’t like conflict, doesn’t like to be scolded or reprimanded and therefore will use his humor and charm to calm an upset friend or an angry parent. In the past three years he’s grown tremendously in size, strength and ability. I look at this boy that is taller than me and bigger than me and I see the young man he is becoming. But at times I’ll catch an expression, a fleeting glimpse, and suddenly I see my 9 year old staring back at me and am reminded no matter how tall he grows he will never outsize that thoughtful, gentle heart.
Creative Dance Center’s Nutcracker in a Shell is an abbreviated, updated take on the classic and a festive community event. The performances raise funds for CDC’s non-profit IPAYouth, an organization dedicated to supporting dance education. With only ten rehearsals, over sixty dancers and one dress rehearsal the dancers have to be ready to perform. It is a lot of work, a lot of waiting, a lot of coordination and a lot of details. And it is a lot more than just a performance.
The Teri and Shari Malone Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing and developing the talents of selected eighth grade students from Loudoun County schools through scholarship grants. The Foundation is committed to remembering a talented set of twins who tragically lost their lives shortly after finishing their eighth grade year in school. Friends of the family established this Foundation to honor the girls in 1991.
Middle schools in Loudoun County, and select dance studios, choose the current year’s recipients, selected in one of the five areas of study in which the Malone twins themselves excelled. While Lucas is a student in Fairfax County because he studies dance in Loudoun County they were able to grant an exception. We are grateful for this recognition, for the staff and coaches at the dance studio that believe in him, that inspire him and that gave him this opportunity.
Lucas competed in Dancemakers last January, the first and last competition of the 2020 season. After months of practice and rehearsal it was disappointing, to say the least, to miss out on the best part of dance, performance. And many of these routines that had required hours of practice to achieve perfection never saw the stage but once. This season we were grateful for dance as the sole outlet for getting out of the house, seeing friends and doing something that provided achievement and fulfillment. After 7 months of practice and rehearsals, the dancers got to take the stage and compete once more. I am so proud of these talented dancers and supportive team mates. Their hard work, dedication and discipline secured all the routines the highest score with The Re-Up and Sinking earning Judges awards.