Sara Jones has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and now at the ripe old age of 18 is headed to UNC-Wilmington to study criminal science. Why such a different career path after 15 years of dance? “I would love to dance all the time, but it’s a really hard profession to get into,” Sara explains. “I expect I’ll always dance, even as an adult, but I’m looking forward to maybe becoming a criminal profiler one day.”
Sara’s story is typical of many young girls whose parents introduce them to dance at an early age. They progress with their friends through the years, trying different dance styles and building their skills over time. But unlike many girls who concentrate on studio dance, Sara trained with Center Stage Dance for her entire career until high school, and then became very involved in her high school dance team at West Johnston High School. Although she stuck with Center Stage for studio instruction, she embraced dance team and choreography at West Johnston and filled her life with dance at every level.
Sara started performing on ballet team at a very young age and has since been on jazz, tap, and clogging teams as well. Sara’s favorite dance type, however, is actually hip hop, which surprises people sometimes. “It’s what I do least, and I don’t take hip hop classes at the studio,” she explains. “But I concentrate on it heavily at conventions and I feel that it is one of my stronger styles, I love surprising people with it!”
Sara’s dance influences include Travis Wall, who was a contestant on the 2006 season of “So You Think You Can Dance” and now works as a choreographer for the show. “I thought he was an amazing dancer, but his choreography is amazing!” Sara exclaims. “I’m obsessed!”
Another influence on Sara’s life thus far has been the quote “If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.” The thing she loves most about dance is that she never gets bored. “There is always room to grow and challenges are thrown at me in every single class.”
Sara spends most of her time doing something with dance, whether it is at school or at the studio, but when she’s not dancing, she loves to hang out with her “BFFs.” “I have met my very best friends through dance, and its all we every talk about!”
As she exits high school and Center Stage Dance as a student, she is still planning to stay involved in dance at UNC-Wilmington. “I’m going in as an undecided major because I have to work with advisors to figure out what majors I need to consider to get on the right path to a career as a criminal profiler,” Sara explains. “But UNCW has a dance team AND a dance company. I’ve talked with both and I’m in the process of deciding which one I would rather do.”
This spring, Sara played the part of the Devil in a rousing clogging number for Center Stage Dance that has won several awards and qualified for competition at the national dance competition in Morehead City on June 23. As she leaves Center Stage for college, she has a few words of advice for her friends and fellow dancers at the studio and at West Johnston High School. “Always have fun and stay focused. Hard work ALWAYS pays off in the end!”
Center Stage Performing Arts Academy is headquartered in Garner, with a second studio located on Broad Street in Fuquay-Varina. Both locations offer a full complement of dance and performance classes. Registration for the 2012-2013 dance year begins in early September. Auditions for competitive teams will take place in late July and early August. For more information, go to www.centerstagegarnerfuquay.com or call 919-779-5242.