Welcome to our new feature - alumni spotlight! We are showcasing Alaska Dance Theatre's alumna Kelly Chase for our first artist. Ms. Chase is currently working on her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance and a Psychology Minor at Florida State University! She also dances as a corps company member at that Tallahassee Ballet. Kelly graduated from Alaska Dance Theatre's program in 2019.
Interview with Kelly Chase:
What was your first memory of dancing?
KC: My first memory of dancing was my first day of ballet class! I think I was about eight years old, and I remember getting confused about all of the different positions for your feet.
When did you know you were serious about being a dancer?
KC: I always said that I wanted to become a professional dancer since I was around ten, but I never really knew what that meant until I moved to Alaska and met professional dancers. When I first saw all the professional dancers that would come for Nutcracker or our other shows, they would always be stretching in rehearsal. I wanted to be like them, and that is a huge reason why I stretch so much, even to this day.
A silly young Kelly Chase.
What challenges did you face during your time training at ADT? How did you overcome them?
KC: One of my biggest challenges at ADT was retaking jazz class! I hadn’t taken any jazz for years before I came to ADT, and I always felt like I looked too much like a ballet dancer in the class. I always had fun, though, and pushed myself to embody the style more and improve. One of the biggest things that helped me feel more comfortable in a jazz class was treating it like an upbeat contemporary class because I love contemporary and felt way more comfortable in those classes. By treating it as an upbeat contemporary class, I got past my discomfort and found my quirky jazz style!
What is your fondest memory of dancing at ADT?
KC: It is so hard to pick a favorite memory of my time at ADT! I did love my last showcase, though, because I felt so much love from everyone I danced with and had a lot of fun! I loved dancing on stage with everyone I had grown so close to during my time at ADT. Plus, I got to dress like a mermaid and surprise Farah on stage!
Kelly Chase taken by Gutierrez Photography
Interview with Erin Chase, Kelly's Mom:
Do you remember your daughter's very first dance class or recital? What was that like?
EC: I remember that she LOVED being on stage! Her smile was infectious!
Do you remember her last performance at ADT? What was that like for you as a parent?
EC: Her last performance at ADT coincided with her High School graduation and 18th birthday. All of Kelly's grandparents were in town, and they hadn't seen her dance (other than videos) in years—they were AMAZED! During that recital, a piece Kelly had choreographed was included. For me, it was extra special to get to see a different aspect of her creativity and leadership.
What made you choose ADT? Did you start here or transfer from another school? If so, why?
EC: Kelly started to dance on a competition dance team in Florida. We moved to Anchorage for her 7th grade, and we chose Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy because she wanted strict ballet instruction. After Ms. Farah taught her for a couple of years, she recommended Kelly audition for LINES Ballet Summer Intensive. Once accepted, Kelly spent a summer growing artistically and stretching the boundaries of her training. When she returned to Anchorage for her Junior year, she decided she wanted a more well-rounded dance education. ADT offered many more options, including partnering, jazz, acro, and contemporary. Knowing that Ms. Farah would continue to give her excellent ballet instruction made the transition a no-brainer.
A young Kelly Chase.
At what point did you realize that your child was serious about pursuing dance?
EC: Kelly was serious about dance long before we seriously considered her pursuing a career in dance. Again, after attending LINES Ballet's Summer Intensive (between her sophomore and junior years), she started to articulate very clearly why and how she wanted to become a professional dancer. Kelly has always been very thoughtful, disciplined, and self-motivated, so we fully support her effort. Watching her resilience and grit come through this past year makes me proud of her and more confident than ever that she will achieve a career in dance performance.
What would you tell other parents about the journey of being a "dance mom"?
EC: Well, it's no different than being a mom of any other activity that your child may choose. Be their biggest fan and not their teacher or coach. I was never a dancer growing up, so I've enjoyed learning about this fantastic art form and activity through Kelly's eyes. I love how my world has expanded through her love of dance!
Are you interested in being featured in our Alumni Spotlight? Email Sara at email@example.com!
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