For today’s Student Spotlight we give a warm welcome to dancer Kelsie Moreno…
1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
My mom put me in gymnastics when I was 5. I did it for 2 years but because I wasn’t very flexible I didn’t really enjoy it after a while. I tried soccer at 8, but it wasn’t for me. My mom put me in ballet just before my 9th birthday. I did ballet 1 hour a week for 6 months before I also added jazz. I started taking more classes after that and by the time I was 12 I was competing. Even though I had been competing since I was 12, I didn’t really get into dance or discover my passion for it until I was 16. I am so glad and very grateful that I was put into dance.
When I was 17, my old studio closed down and it left me without a place to dance. I went to another studio for a bit but it just wasn’t the right one for me and I started to question my commitment to dance. I found Nuevo School of Contemporary Dance after seeing them at a dance competition. Once I started taking classes at Nuevo, I rediscovered my passion for dance and why I wanted to be a dancer. Being here has given me the right tools to develop into a much better and well-rounded dancer.
2. What do you find you like best about dance class?
What I like best about dance class is coming to class every day to work hard and to do the movements to the best of my ability and then after that do them even better. I feel great when I go to class everyday looking nice, knowing that I will give 100% of myself to everything that I do. Ballet is my favorite class! It’s the foundation for everything you do in dance. Ballet is beautiful and graceful and I try to project that when I dance. Coming to Nuevo has made me look forward to classes so much more because I enjoy them and work hard. Francisco Gella has given me a LOVE and RESPECT for BALLET that I did not have before I came to Nuevo. His passion for dance comes through in his teaching and it has made me that much more passionate about dance.
3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?
The hardest thing about dance for me is that I am my biggest critic. I am 10 times harder on myself, especially when I mess up. I like things to be perfect but not everything is always perfect. I need to not let an off day in class get to me to the point where everything is off. I have a hard time not getting upset when I do mess up and I need to not let my emotions get the best of me. When you are taught the wrong way to do things in dance, especially ballet, it is hard to correct sometimes. I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was when I first came to Nuevo and that going back to the basics before I could grow again as a dancer was ok. I had to realize that it was ok to leave my pride at the door and that taking two steps backwards to relearn the right way to do things just meant that now I’m five steps forward. Francisco Gella has retaught me how to do things the right way. He has helped me overcome many things in dance.
4. What advice would you give to other dancers?
My advice would be to just be you and be true to yourself. Always work hard even when you fall down because working hard will pay off in the end. Make sure that you enjoy dancing because if you don’t enjoy it then you won’t improve and it will show in your performance. Know that you can do anything you put your mind to and believe in yourself, no matter what. Working hard will also give you a great sense of pride when you finally step over a boundary that has been keeping you back. Yet never rest when you do step over that wall because there is always a way to make yourself a better dancer. Don’t become complacent because that is when a dancer will plateau and start to even move backwards. Even when you get rejected you should learn from it and realize that it will make you work harder so that next time you can show that you can do it. Always be careful while dancing making sure you do the movements the correct way, even if the way you want to do it is easier, because doing things wrong is an easy way to injure yourself. Make sure you always dance from your heart and show your love for dance!
5. How has dance changed your life?
At first it was just an extracurricular activity that was exercise, something that kept me in shape. But now it’s what I love to do. Dance has made me into a very hard worker and to also not give up and work hard, because in the end the hard work will pay off. It has taught me not to give up on something. Dance has taught me to be dedicated to the things that I do and to respect myself. It has also taught me to respect my teachers, what they do for me, what they can teach me, and to even when I don’t agree with what they are doing or saying, to respect their expertise. Dance is beautiful! It has made me into a more confident person, not as self-conscious and shy as I used to be when I was younger. Dance has helped me embrace who I am and to not be scared of things.