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Legacy Press

The Student News Site of Klein Collins High School

Legacy Press

The Student News Site of Klein Collins High School

Legacy Press

Dancer Travels to New York for Summer Intensive

Sydney Cook/Legacy Media

Bright lights shine down as dancers leap across the stage. The audience holds its breath as the music comes to a climax. Among the dancers is junior Shantelle Rush, who participated in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s summer intensive camp in New York City this past summer.

For Shantelle, the decision to go to New York was simple.

“My life is always about dance, it’s what I do, so I would choose it over anything,” Shantelle said. “There wasn’t anything that competed with it, the decision was just ‘go to New York,’ no questions asked.”

Dancing under Richard d’Alton of the International Ballet of Houston, Shantelle practiced for months for her audition.

“Our idea for her to go ultimately became her dream,” d’Alton said. “Acceptance to the school is difficult, and those that do make it in are blessed to train with some of America’s finest teachers. The Ailey School is the gold standard of excellence. Because she is pursuing a career in dance she needed to get a taste of what a dancer’s life in New York is all about.”

As one of the few hundred participating students, Shantelle was among the best dancers in the country.

“All the kids there looked older, like they’d been there before, but then I met them and they were just as good as I was, so it was okay,” she said. “The instructors were very serious about what they do and they know what they’re talking about, so they’d tell me straight up what I was doing wrong. It was kind of scary.”

At the end of the camp Shantelle was notified that she had been selected for the Alvin Ailey Scholarship Program.

“Words cannot express how I felt when I received the letter of her acceptance to their scholarship program,” Tessie Rush, Shantelle’s mother said. “They invited her to come back to train the whole year on a scholarship attending the Professional Performing Arts School for her high school academics. As much of an honor as it is to attend their institution, her dance teacher, Dad and I felt that she’s too young to be on her own in as big a city as New York.”

With the experience gained from the intensive camp comes many opportunities for the future. According to Shantelle, being able to put dancing with the Alvin Ailey Company on a résumé comes as a privilege.

“It’s a really big deal to be a part of that,” Shantelle said. “They’re one of the most famous companies in the country. It shouldn’t be taken for granted. If someone was a part of that and just wasn’t fully there, then they’re just wasting their time.”

With 10 years and counting of dance experience, Shantelle has her sights set on a career in dance. Thriving under the spotlight, she cannot picture herself doing anything other than performing.

“Dancing is my life, so if it was taken away from me I’d probably end up homeless, because I don’t know how to do anything else and I don’t like anything else, except dance,” she said. “When I’m dancing on stage I feel like that’s all I’m doing, I don’t have to worry about anything else. I can just be myself and express whatever I want to.”

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