Though students involved in dancing in Durango is a small minority and the amount that pursue dancing beyond high school is even smaller, Durango is not the small midwestern town from Footloose. There are plenty of outlets for dancers in the Durango community with several dance studios and events.
Several students in Durango High School are involved with dance or are a part of a studio. The various studios in Durango have their differences, for example Jr. Emma Hallin dances for Ballet Durango.
“I love ballet primarily, I know other studios are extremely talented in other areas of dance but I would love to focus on ballet and Ballet Durango has one of the strongest ballet programs. It’s in the name!” said Hallin.
Ballet Durango is only one of the many studios however and is more specific to just ballet. Other studios have broader focuses, for example, Jr. Sophie Kairella Dances for Dance in the Rockies.
“Dance in the Rockies is very well rounded and just a safe environment and a good option if you want to have a high level of dancing,” said Kairella.
Each studio has its own singularities however they all share dancers with a strong passion for their sport.
“One of my favorite things about dancing is that you can lose yourself in a way. It’s just so athletic, which a lot of people don’t recognize,” said Hallin.
She emphasizes the true athleticism of dancing and clarifies what is and isn’t true in the common stereotypes people have of dancers.
So. Clarise Hise, who dances for Bella Dance shares a similar devotion and enjoyment for the challenge of the sport.
“I love how it pushes me, not only physically but mentally too” said Hise.
She explains how, like other sports, there are many barriers dancers need to overcome and times when they are measured by their skill and improvements through competitions and performances. However, Dance is described as a form of art as well.
“Beyond the physical realm, when taught properly, dance can be a vehicle for emotional and creative expression” said Jessica Perino, a Dance teacher in Durango.
For teenagers, she says this can be very important as it can teach empathy by exploring different human emotions.
“I like being able to express myself without words… and dance gives you a way to dance how you feel, it’s good exercise, and it’s fun,” said Kairella.
She expresses her love for dance and shares a common desire to continue to dance throughout her life in one way or another, though she notes the careers competitiveness and that its complexity may be realistically difficult to commit to.
Perino, a dance teacher and still in the midst of pursuing her dance career, explains that dance can stay in a person’s life in the simplest ways.
“If you love to dance, find every way you can to keep it in your life – there are so many possibilities!” said Perino.
She provides a list of ways dance can be pursued from dancing in your kitchen or watching dance performances to joining a professional dance company or becoming a choreographer.
Hallin has hopes to continue dance as a career for her life.
“In the future I would love to join a professional dance company however it is a hard working job because it does take a toll on the body. But your job would be performing, which is what I love to do.” said Hallin. The steps to get here would be to study it in college and try to become an apprentice in a dance company.
Fortunately, we have a chance to appreciate our peer’s dancing before they become professionals. While there are several competitions coming up for the various dance studios, we have the chance to see them in their spring recitals which they put time and hard work into.
“Having 12 pieces in the same show, each with different choreography, is challenging to do, but makes you feel proud after” said Hise. Overall, dance opportunities are something our small Durango community excels at providing and is a way teenagers can challenge themselves, express themselves, and have fun doing so to set themselves up for a future of dancing that can last them their whole lives.
“I think there is more dance here than people realize at first glance!” Said Perino.