DLChristina_NYCsummer_MAINBy Christina Ricucci

So many dancers work hard all year, learning choreography, training, practicing their solos and group routines, then getting them ready by performing them at regional competitions and conventions throughout the year. Finally, the hard work pays off, and it’s time for the big finish… Nationals! Whether your studio goes to a big competition or a week-long convention, it’s always fun to experience a National Finale! This year, I get to spend my summer dancing in New York City! First, dancing at two of the largest dance conventions in the country, and then attending the Summer Dance Intensive at The Juilliard School.

I love coming to dance in NYC. Not only is the city action-packed, but there seems to be dance everywhere! I’ve loved seeing Broadway shows, taking classes at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and Peridance – I’ve even seen dancers performing in the subways! This summer, I am excited to be dancing at two conventions in New York; New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) Nationals and The Dance Awards. I am not competing at Nationals this year, but I am excited to be taking all the classes and trying new things.

There are amazing teachers, diverse styles and incredible opportunities at these conventions. There are challenging classes in jazz, contemporary, ballet and tap as well as amazing improvisation classes, hip hop and even musical theater. There are Broadway audition classes where you get to work with real Broadway choreographers and even a Rockette workshop class. At NYCDA, high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to audition for several colleges at once through NYCDA’s College Scholarship Foundation. For this audition, we had a challenging ballet class taught by ABT’s Kenny Easter and an intricate contemporary class led by Cedar Lake’s Alexandra Damiani and Jon Bond. Just watching Jon Bond dance is so motivating! I was nervous, but happy to have had the opportunity to be able to dance for colleges and ask questions about the admissions process.

Another great thing to experience at these conventions is their final gala, where the top dances recompete for titles and surprise guest artists appear too. These galas are exciting and show how talented these amazing dancers, choreographers and studios are. I am looking forward to the next two weeks of convention. The classes and teachers are so inspiring and I love to take class with dancers from all over the country. Everyone is so dedicated in class and on stage. One of my favorite things about traveling for dance in the summer is being able to reconnect with my dance friends that come to New York to learn and dance. It’s great to make new friends too. I love having that support and comradery and I know these friendships will carry forward through the next year, until we get to dance with each other again at next summer’s Nationals!