By Anna Duning (February 6, 2007)
after portrait of perfectly posed girls wearing flashy costumes
and excited smiles adorn one wall of the
dance classroom. On the other side, long mirrors line the walls
with the reflections of teenagers in sweats, tank tops and t-shirts,
displaying expressions of exhaustion. And somewhere between those
flawless poses and tired reflections, the dancers are spinning
and leaping and flinging limbs to the music’s vibration. One of
them is senior Margaret Allen and this—sweat, exertion and expression—is
one glance into the 30-plus hours of dance that Margaret dedicates
herself to every week.
In high school, Margaret began taking classes at the Arlington Center for Dance until she was introduced to Cuppett’s, a comprehensive studio in Vienna where a select number of very dedicated and aspiring young dancers spend many long hours. “I started taking more classes there, because I wanted to be one of the better girls, I looked up to them.” Margaret’s ambitions were evident after her first year at the studio, she was offered a jazz and modern scholarship. She took advantage of the entire year’s worth of free classes, building a busy schedule that would finally grow to nearly 20 hours a week.
Margaret’s hard work and improvement landed her at the Governor’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities in the summer of 2005 and it was there that she realized she could really pursue dance as a profession. “After Governor’s school, I started taking dance more seriously. I saw that people actually do this and actually want this.” Since then, Margaret has danced with the Cappies Program at the Kennedy Center, was accepted to the prestigious summer dance school at Interlochen, made the cut for the Fusion Dance Company, scored a Gold Prize at a Dance Masters of America Workshop, and was accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University’s dance program, which she will attend next year.
So, why dance? “It’s a big world that you can do almost anything with,” said Margaret. Dance’s breadth is apparent in its many styles, of which Margaret prefers modern because, “it’s so open to interpretation.”
Margaret knows that like any performing art, success does not come easy. “I don’t want to be completely pessimistic and think I can’t go very far in dance, but I have to be realistic,” she said. In college, she does plan on studying Spanish and English, two of her many other interests, in addition to dance.
For now though, Margaret will continue to dash from school to teaching to one class to another; and she doesn’t mind. It’s all part of progressing. “I am a perfectionist and an overachiever, but I know that I will always have to work to get better.” Thus far, her dedication has certainly paid off.
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