Student Spotlight: Lucy Panush

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Today we are running another student spotlight–Lucy, from The School at Steps

Lucy Panush, Photo by E. Patino

1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?

I first became involved with dance at age 2 in “Mommy and me” classes, and my earliest dance training was in ballet and tap programs at various studios in Manhattan. I decided five years ago to audition for The School at Steps’ Pre-Professional program, where I have found my “home,” and am currently a student.  It is there that I have been able to broaden my dance education, incorporating other varieties of dance — Horton, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, theatre dance and ballet– into my dance vocabulary.

2. What do you find you like best about dance class?

What I love about dance class is the atmosphere and the people that come with it.  Dancers have this amazing work ethic, which adds to the energy in the room. Now that I have gotten to the advanced level it has become even more enjoyable to watch all the incredible dancers around me. In particular, I find it intriguing to see what choices they make because I am able to enhance my own dancing by learning from them.

I also love the dance studio because it is a place I can practice my performance skills. The feeling of dancing a ballet variation is very different than that of performing a hip-hop piece. I hone these performance skills in dance class.

3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?

The hardest part about dance for me is having the confidence and mindset to tackle a new and challenging step. If I am too afraid to mess up, or fall flat on my face, I realize I am never going to succeed in accomplishing something difficult. I remind myself constantly to be confident within myself, because 60% of the time it’s actually “in my head.” If I believe I can execute the step, I find I most likely do!

Lucy Panush, Photo by Keith Fremon

4. What advice would you give to other dancers?

I would offer other dancers the mantra: “dance is to express and not to impress.”  If you are dancing because you love it, and not doing it for someone else, whether it be a teacher or a parent, then that is all that matters. Dance is also such a great outlet to build confidence. It is important to take the confidence that is gained in class and apply it to performances and other areas of life. But mostly, rather than compare yourself to others, focus on your own improvement.

5. How has dance changed your life?

Dance has changed my life in so many positive ways.

  • It has taught me time management, which certainly helps with juggling classes and schoolwork;
  • It has given me the ability to focus better, putting all my personal issues aside for a period of time to just be in the moment and the movement.
  • It has given me performance skills to apply on stage;
  • And it has taught me, plain and simple, that your life is much more enjoyable when you have a passion!

In the studio I am my own person; I have the ability to express myself freely. Nothing beats the feeling that accompanies finishing an amazing class; I always leave with endless energy and a huge smile on my face. I know I will remain committed to this art form, as it is such an integral part of my life.

The School at Steps is a training ground for students, ages 2-18, who are interested in exploring various dance styles, as well as for those students already focused on a particular discipline. The school offers an Academic Year and Summer Programs, with classes in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, theater dance, hip hop, and Pilates. Students at the school are also given performance opportunities, and workshops on dance and career-related topics. Beginning with the Young Dancers Program and continuing through the most advanced pre-professional classes, The School at Steps provides children with an opportunity to explore the world of dance, to learn and experiment with technique, and to enrich their appreciation for the various forms of the art.

Here’s a video of Lucy dancing:

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Catherine L. Tully is the owner/editor at 4dancers.org. She has performed professionally and taught at many different places throughout the United States and Japan. To learn more about Catherine and the other contributors at 4dancers, see the "Contributor" tab at the top of the page. To reach Catherine, send an e-mail to info (at) 4dancers (dot) org

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