Tap Dancer Named Finalist in National YoungArts Competition
The phone was ringing. The caller ID spelled out Miami, Fla.
Addi Loving, junior, was in rehearsal for the school musical, “Into the Woods,” when she first got the call.
Although she couldn’t initially answer, after searching up the number online, Loving confirmed the number was from the National YoungArts Foundation.
“I actually auditioned my tap dancing last year and didn’t win anything,” Loving said. “After getting the call, I checked my email and there was nothing there, so I checked the junk mail and my acceptance letter was there. I could not believe it and I was freaking out.”
YoungArts is an award for emerging artists ages 15 to 18 from across the United States. Selected by a panel of highly accomplished artists, finalists receive awards of up to $10,000, professional development and performance opportunities at leading cultural institutions.
From Feb. 19-24, Loving went to Miami for a week-long program sponsored by YoungArts. Loving said she enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from all over the country and to see the creativity and expression from all different types of art.
“Everyone is just extremely driven and passionate about their art form,” Loving said. “I know I’ll be friends with many of the people I met for the rest of my life.”
Throughout the week, Loving participated in master classes and had the chance to perform. Additionally, she said she had the opportunity to collaborate with people in other disciplines and took dance classes outside of her comfort zone in other styles of dance.
“Although it stretched me, I found a different side of creativity and technique that could actually help me with my tap dancing,” Loving said. “Before YoungArts, I was just so focused on getting my technique perfect, and I wasn’t thinking about my intention with dance.”
Loving said she does not currently dance at a studio or with a mentor in St. Louis, but travels to many tap festivals, where professionals fly in and teach classes for a weekend.
“I watch a lot of videos online and video chat with my friends and learn that way,” Loving said. “I have a little studio in my basement where I dance everyday, just working on my technique.”
In the future, Loving said she hopes to be a part of a dance company and eventually open her own dance company. She said although she already knew she wanted dance to be a part of her future, YoungArts has helped her in truly focusing on her passion.
“In a perfect world, I would go to college in New York and dance there since New York has so many opportunities,” Loving said.
Missy Loving, Addi’s mother, was in complete shock and surprise when she heard the news that Addi had been selected as a YoungArts finalist.
“Not that she wasn’t talented or gifted in tap dance, but just that the level of talent and dedication associated with the program is just such an honor and a wonderful opportunity we never thought she would be able to have,” Missy said.
Missy said Addi began her dancing at age 9, when many of her peers had already been taking tap dance for a couple of years. Although she didn’t begin her dancing career with tap dance, she enrolled in a basic tap class about six months later, where they moved her up two levels within the first week.
“She always just found connection in the sounds and rhythm and musicality of tap dance,” Missy said. “It was something that attracted her and was a natural gift for her.”
Missy said it is important to give back to people who also have an interest in tap dancing through teaching and mentoring others, while continuing to be a student at the same time.
“To continue to grow and learn from people that are gifted and successful in her craft is a very important thing,” Missy said. “I just hope to continue encouraging her in becoming the best she can be.”
Claire Schmitz, junior, first met Addi as a sophomore when they were both part of the musical.
Schmitz said she is constantly inspired by Addi’s motivation and passion for dance. Personally, Schmitz said it has inspired her to look into auditioning more and continuing to work hard towards her own goals.
“She inspires everyone around her to work hard,” Schmitz said. “I don’t know a day in her life where she isn’t dancing or working on her dreams in some type of way.”
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