Dancers share love of art form

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Dancers share love of art form

Emma Mussleman started dancing when she was three years old. She practiced different styles of dance over the years.

Emma Mussleman started dancing when she was three years old. She practiced different styles of dance over the years.

Sufana Hamid

Emma Mussleman started dancing when she was three years old. She practiced different styles of dance over the years.

Sufana Hamid

Sufana Hamid

Emma Mussleman started dancing when she was three years old. She practiced different styles of dance over the years.

By Sufana Hamid, Altoona Area Junior High School

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Students are involved in other activities outside of school such as dancing. Dancers must make a time commitment daily.

“I’ve been in the same studio since I was three or four years old. I took small little classes. As the years continued, I took more classes and joined the competition team. It just gets a little more serious  every year,” ninth grader Emma Mussleman said.

Mussleman does ballet, tap,hip hop, jazz,lyrical,contemporary, modern and musical theater.

“My one dance teacher, Miss Pauline, she’s I think 84 and still does cartwheels. She shows how dancing is an art. I mean it’s a sport, but she still shows its art side,” Mussleman said.

Mussleman has competed in competitions.

“My dance teacher, Miss. JoAnn, she came from LA. She grew up with a really hard teacher, so Miss JoAnn didn’t like dancing that much. Then when she came here to teach us, she realized what’s the true meaning of dance. Now she’s in love with dancing,” ninth grader Emma Peterman said.

Peterman has danced since she was three years old.

“When I was little, I didn’t tie my tap shoes tight enough, and when I got on stage the shoes flew off. I wasn’t the only one though,” Mussleman said.

Mussleman has been dancing for 13 years.

“In my very first recital, I was like three or four, and I cried on stage. My dance teacher pulled me out to make sure I was okay. After making sure I was okay,  I got back on stage. I’ve never cried on stage since, and I loved dancing from that moment,” Peterman said.

Different shoes are used for different dance styles.

“There is a different pair (of shoes) for every style. The point shoes are probably the most expensive. It can range from $100 to $300 or so depending on the quality or shoe brand. There is the part where your toes go in. It’s like a box and in the bottom there is a little piece of wood. You usually put a toe pad in there to protect your toes, but it always hurts no matter what. Then to break them in because they’re wood and they’re really hard, we shut the door on them. We also rip the soul part off the shoe,” Mussleman said.

Peterman looks up to her friend Conner because of her outstanding talent.

“I always look up to my friend Sydney. She’s a senior this year. I don’t really know how to describe her, but she has a natural talent. She’s naturally flexible, and she just looks amazing in every dance she does. I really look up to Sydney.  I wish I can become as talented as her,” Mussleman said.

Dance falls in between the categories of art and sport.

“Our lyrical dance teacher is trying to have a meaning behind our dance not just a pointless dance this year. This year we are doing a song about people in the army coming home. A bunch of the older girls have siblings in the army and the Air force. I think the dance teacher wants us to have a connection to the dance,” Mussleman said.

Mussleman does multiple dance styles.

“I think the relationship is  incredibly important although they’re two different types of art. Music helps to get the point across. It helps to clear  the meaning behind the dance. I just think dancing speaks louder and music helps it to do so. I also feel like dancing gives us better emotional expression through actions and words. I believe that we can  write better essays in English classes because of our experiences with emotional training. It also influences the way we think about people and their background in general,” Peterman said.

Dancers carefully choose their music for their choreography.

“I took a master class in New York. It was very hard because there were many older people with more experience. I also got a scholarship for a Hollywood thing,” ninth grader Sophia Caputo said.

This story was originally published on Livewire on February 5, 2020.