School of Dance Dancer Brings Home the Gold: Spotlight on Alex Gallagher

The Ballet Hispanico blog is back and better than ever–ready  to give you updates and behind-the-scenes stories of what really goes on at BH. We’re all a flutter over here over the recent success of School of Dance student Alex Gallagher, who won a gold medal at an international dance competition last weekend. Check out her guest blog post below:

Alexa with SoD's Caridad Martinez.

Alex with SoD’s Caridad Martinez.

         This September I began training at the Ballet Hispanico School of Dance in Level 5A of the Pre-professional Program. I also train in ballet three mornings a week with Caridad Martinez, for a total of six days of dancing a week. I have known Caridad for a few years and we had discussed possibly traveling to attend various competitions and workshops. Right when I began classes last month, she brought up participating in the Danza Activa competition in Panama. My family and I decided that it would be a great experience that would help me grow and gain confidence in my dancing, so I rehearsed a variation for the entire month of September.
 
On October 3, I left for Panama with Caridad on my first trip abroad. I was both nervous and excited because I had also never performed a solo, or even participated in a competition before, and I did not know what to expect. Upon arriving in Panama, I was immediately relaxed: the weather was warm and sunny and I was warmly welcomed into the country by everyone I met. Before the competition started, I met many of the competitors who came from all around Latin America, and I took workshops in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop, which were taught by the judges of the competition.
Two days later, I found myself in the theater, preparing for my performance, and to my own surprise, I remained calm. The nerves set in a few numbers before me, but as soon as my music began, I just danced.  I didn’t worry about any of the steps; I embodied my inner Swanhilda (I was dancing her variation from Act 3 of Coppelia) and simply enjoyed performing as I always have ever since I started dancing. I came off the stage beaming – not only had I just finished my first solo and competition, but I was happy with my performance. I was, and still am very proud of myself.

“The nerves set in a few numbers before me, but as soon as my music began, I just danced.”

The following night at the gala, I was called onstage with my division and after the presenters called my name they said “Oro!” Though I didn’t understand much else of what they had said since my Spanish isn’t very good, I did understand that I had just won a Gold medal and I was thrilled.
My trip to Panama was such an enriching and enlightening experience for me even though I only spent three full days there. Not only did I learn about the culture and people there as well as do some sightseeing, I also learned about myself and my dancing through watching and speaking to other dancers from around the world. I loved every minute I was there and I am so grateful to Ballet Hispanico and Caridad for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. I only hope that my dancing will allow me to continue to travel and maybe even visit Panama again soon.

Congratulations to Alex and Caridad! We couldn’t be prouder!

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