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Congratulations to the School of Dance’s 2021 Seniors!

A huge congratulations to our 2021 graduating seniors. Your talent and passion has been incredible to witness and we can’t wait to see all that you accomplish in your future! 

Enjoy hearing from our seven seniors!


AUDREY

I never knew the Lawrence Arts Center would play such a big part in my life. All the dance classes and performances were just hobbies to me at first, but the Arts Center and its wonderful staff created a world of wonder that turned these hobbies into a passion. I remember watching older dancers and wondering if I’d ever have the talent to have those big roles. Years later I landed a lead role and I stood in front of the cast list thinking, “I finally did it.” I thank all the teachers I’ve had for pushing me to keep growing. You saw the potential in me that I wasn’t able to see. I left the Arts Center for a short time to try new things, but I soon realized nothing could compare to the Arts Center and its staff, so I returned. I was so worried that I had lost my connections, but everyone welcomed me back with open arms and a smile. Dance is so important to me because it’s a way to express your feelings without having to speak them out loud. I’ve been through some rough patches, but the staff and my fellow dancers provided a way for me to release all those negative emotions and turn them into happy memories. The Arts Center truly saved my life and I am forever grateful. I am sad to see this chapter end, but I will never forget the memories, friends, and skills I learned from here.


CATHARINE 

From the first time I stepped on stage at the Arts Center I knew I had found my home. I was definitely on the later side of starting dance, but there has never been a moment during my time here that I have not felt welcomed by everyone. I have met my best friends through the dance program, and that is something that I’ll forever be grateful for. My life has been changed by the wonderful people I’ve met and the teachers who have shaped me into not only the dancer, but the person that I am today. I want to thank everyone—my friends, my instructors, my family—for always encouraging me to keep moving forward even when life was the hardest. I’d like to thank all of the audience members for their unfaltering support of the arts. I promise you everyone is truly grateful to be able to share their art with you all.


EILA 

Thank you for supporting the arts during this different time. I believe that I speak for all of us when I say that this was not how we envisioned this year to go. It has been such a difficult year to be a senior. However, I was so thankful that we had the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience one final time. 

Throughout my life, the Lawrence Arts Center has been a consistent second home. I attended preschool there and began dancing soon after. Throughout elementary and middle school I participated in SYT as well, which is where I met one of my closest friends. It is not only the building that has stayed the same, but the people inside of it too. I’ve had the pleasure to grow close with so many wonderful people and make lasting memories in this unique place.

Despite all of the chaos, I am so glad that I was able to continue dancing. In fact, being able to dance this year was extra special this year, because it was the one thing that stayed (mostly) the same throughout the pandemic when everything else in my life has been turned upside down. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to all of the people who have been supporting me since day one. Thank you to all of my family, friends, and teachers for encouraging me all these years, and thank you for coming to watch me perform.


JENNA 

Thank you so much for supporting the arts. It has always been appreciated, but even more so now. I know things have been different and continue to be different, but the fact that you all supported us in new and unique way meant the world to each and every one of us. I think one thing we have all learned through the year is to not take things for granted and to find the silver lining. I would never have thought that I’d be performing my senior showcase dance outdoors to the streets of Downtown Lawrence, but if I have learned anything from the Arts Center it’s how to be flexible and resilient. Even though the showcase was not what I originally pictured, it was almost better in a sense. There was a certain charm and essence that no one else will get to experience, making it even more memorable than if it had been exactly how I imagined it. And after a year of craving a true live performance, I was glad that I was able to share the bittersweet moment with the people who made it possible. Thank you for supporting us in our best moments and our worst moments. Thank you for continuing to support us through a year that has been insanely difficult for creators. And finally, thank you for supporting the graduating class of 2021 as we take our final bow.


MAYA

Thank you for being on the other side of the stage for us all these years. If this year has taught performers anything, it’s the value of a live audience. Hearing your applause and laughter and seeing your faces through the dark is something that could never have a price tag on it. I wrote one of my college essays about how performing makes me come alive, and that statement could not be accurate or possible without your support. You have given us the confidence to own the stage and the courage to keep going when times get tough. You are all our number one fans, and we know it and appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. You make us want to come back every year to do it all again, and you give us the energy to go out on stage and give it our all. Thank you for always being there for us. 


TAYLOR 

Thank you so much for all your support of the arts, which allows so many people to pursue and enjoy their passions. I was truly terrified to take my first dance class, but after I found the courage to walk into the studio I felt at home. Everyone was kind and welcoming to me, and my fears eventually disappeared. This experience changed my life—as I continue to fall in love with dance the more I am thankful for this opportunity. So many people are unable to experience and engage in the arts, and our community is special because we have that ability. We have a place where we can try classes, experiment, and create; and this would be nothing without you. Thank you for driving your kids to classes, watching our shows and exhibits, teaching, volunteering, donating, and encouraging us to be the artists we are. Every dance craves an audience, every painting a viewer, and every arts center a community. Thank you for being that community and for making the Arts Center the beautiful place that it is. 


ZORA 

The Lawrence Arts Center has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. During my time at the Arts Center I have had the opportunity not only to study all forms of dance, but I have participated in theatre productions both on and off stage. I have also taken numerous art classes and workshops, for which I am forever grateful. The Lawrence Arts Center has become a second home for me and I am lucky to be met with staff and teachers who have known me for so long. 

The arts have been an integral part of my life.  While I do not plan to major in dance or to become a professional dancer, I would like the opportunity to continue to study and practice my craft in a less intense environment. I would love the opportunity to continue to take a dance class each semester and to participate in dance groups while I pursue majors in history and journalism. These experiences in the performing arts have greatly impacted who I am today, teaching me discipline, teamwork, creativity, perseverance, empathy, and the value of hard work. 

To my instructors—thank you for being amazing role models and improving me not only as a dancer but as a person. To my parents—thank you for supporting me, driving me to dance every day for many years, and coming to every single one of my shows. To the audiences—I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making the Lawrence Arts Center the place that it is. 


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