Grace Collins, 13

I was born in Palmer, Alaska and have been dancing for 6 years. Dancing is like fun, energetic meditation. When I dance, I feel the music and nothing else. It just takes my mind off of other things. I’d like to tell younger dancers that you should commit, try hard and don’t ever give up even when it’s hard. Stick with dancing and get to know your dance mates. I like photography and I love tater tots so much! In the future, I want to travel and go to college and get my pilot’s license.

Together with the North Star Dance Company we laugh and talk and become better friends. The group is entertaining and supportive.

Alana Marie Esguerra, 14

Alana was born in Anchorage. She has been dancing for 8 years at Current Rhythms. She loves to dance because it’s fun and inspirational. Her favorite styles of dance are contemporary and hip hop.

Serena Rose Herschleb, 14

I was born in Cordova. I have been dancing since in the womb. I have taken a class at the NYC Broadway Dance Center and I love contortion. In the future, I want to teach young dancers throughout high school. I also want to go to a performing arts school and then go into some sort of job where I can perform and inspire others. 

I dance because dance makes me feel so full and I get to inspire young dancers and entertain the community of Cordova. Dance also makes me feel special. My advice to younger dancers is to do things that make you smile and enjoy life even more. Dance is a wonderful activity to stick with because it keeps people healthy; it touches a lot of things and helps with connecting socially. 

Being in the North Star Dance Company, we have so much freedom. It really gives everyone a chance to express ourselves and create.

Jaqai Kinsman, 15

Jaqai was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and his family moved to Cordova 3 years ago. He began dancing with the company just this year. He loves to read, travel, play games and watch movies with friends and family. He also enjoys being outside, hiking and camping. His future plans include being a pilot.

Together in the company, he is witty and perceptive when creating dances.

Zya Taylor, 16

I was born in Gwin, Michigan. I started dance when I was 12 years old. I’m super into BBC TV shows like Doctor Who, Sherlock, Top Gear, etc. I want to be a writer and go to Oxford. I would love to travel the world. 

 I dance because it’s a way for me to escape. It’s calming and exciting at the same time. When I dance I feel alive. I would tell younger dancers that it’s so worth it. Not only do you look great dancing, but you feel great. 

I like most about being in the North Star Company the sense of family that I get when we’re together.

Faith Kristen Collins, 16

 I was born in Palmer, Alaska. I have been dancing for 11 years at Current Rhythms. I dance because it’s a way to express oneself without words. It’s a good and fun form of physical activity and you make friends! I most likely will go on to college and probably return to Cordova after. 

One of my favorite parts about dancing is the adrenaline rush you get during performance day right before you perform. I would like to tell younger dancers to Stretch! If you want to be able to do the splits, it will not be possible if you don’t stretch EVERY DAY!

I like how close all of the dancers are to one-another. We’re like a family in the North Star Dance Company.

Ria Amber Rose Smyke, 17

I was born in Anchorage. I have been dancing for 15 years. I also play the French horn and have been to 7 countries! This past November, I went to Africa to do volunteer work. 

I dance because it lets me express my emotions without talking. I love dance because it is something that I can do when I am happy, sad, mad, or excited. I’d like to tell younger dancers that dance is something that helps you when you are sad or mad. Keep practicing and you will get better and better. Dance is definitely something you want to stick with.

The North Star Dance Company has helped me become a part of a tight knit group of friends. I love being with a group of people who share my love for dance.

Alena Katherine Craig, 17

Alena was born in Anchorage and has lived in Cordova her whole life. She has been dancing for 16 years at Current Rhythms. She dances because she loves to and isn’t interested in sports. Dance allows her to express herself and be free. Her favorite styles of dance are ballet and lyrical, but likes almost all dance styles. 

Eoghan Hernandez-Fajardo, 17

Eoghan was born in Anchorage and has lived in Cordova his whole life. He took classes at Current Rhythms when he was little, then stopped, but always danced on his own time. He joined the company just this year. He can kind of talk to animals and his favorite place to be is outdoors. He plans to work with the US Forest Service Trail Crew this summer.

His advice to younger dancers is that if you think dancing is fun and someone else thinks it isn’t, the only thing that matters is that you think it is. He enjoys being in the company because he knows everyone. 

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