I always thought when the seniors told me “soak up every second you have at CPAC because it really flies by” they were kidding. I didn’t think it was possible it would feel like it was over in a second but somehow it does. CPAC has become my home and the people here my family. Truly every single person. From teachers to every dancer. Taking class with these people every day, since I joined ensemble in 2016, has been such a blessing. Every convention, competition, weekend rehearsal, and dress rehearsal has been memorable in every single way. I’d like to thank first of all Mrs. Nancy Laurie. Without you, this studio wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for supporting us and making all of our dreams come true. I truly cannot thank you enough. I’d also like to thank Jen Lee, who is like a second mom to me, and I’m sure every other dancer at CPAC. Thank you for every back stage hug and listening to my worries in times when I said I “couldn’t do it” or doubted myself. You have pushed me to never give up. Thank you for making me always feel safe, loved, and most importantly, reminding me to spread love always. Thank you to Jordan. Performing your pieces and solos honestly has changed me. Thank you for always being there for me and reminding me that dancing shouldn’t have the end goal of looking perfect, but instead to make people feel something, including myself. Thank you to Kristen for pushing me to go further in so many ways. For showing me the artistry in something that seems so technical there seems no room for it. Thank you for making me fall in love with ballet and being a positive light at competitions for all of us. Thank you to Tessa, I’m not sure how but you actually can be in more than one place at once and I’m so thankful to have you as a coach and a teacher. You always push me to work hard and have taught me that I can truly get past anything if I put my mind to it. I know I can count on you for anything and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you to Zack and Amy, for starting me on this journey. I’m not sure if I’d even be on ensemble if you wouldn’t have told me about it- and thank you to Ms. Candace. I still look back at my recital pictures from when I was 3 and wonder where all the time went. I still feel the same amount of joy I did as a little girl, today, as I did in your class dancing to “pretty woman”. Thank you to the amazing costume shop for putting in countless hours to make everything come together. Thank you to my family. You sacrificed so much for this. I can’t thank you enough honestly. This whole experience truly is a dream come true for me. Thank you for letting me share what I love with you. To everyone I dance with. Every back stage prayer with you energy circle means a little more to me than I think you understand. I love you more then words. Chaka always and forever.
It is unbelievable that my time at CPAC is coming to an end. I am so thankful to have called CPAC my second home for so many years. Some of my fondest early memories are of watching “my girls” perform at CPAC and dreaming that someday that might be me. I started dancing at CPAC when I was 3 and made the competition team when I was 9. These 15 years have grown and shaped me into the person I am today.
To Jen, thank you for never giving up on me and pushing me to be my best. You never let me give up on myself even when I felt discouraged. You have not only made me a better dancer but a better person. You have shown me what true dedication is in life, not in words, but in action. You are the heart and soul of CPAC. None of us would be who we are without you! You will forever be in my heart.
Candace, you were my first dance teacher and made me fall in love with dance. You created a fun and loving atmosphere ~~ from the stickers on the bottom of my ballet shoes (we still have every pair) to all the love and light you share with all your tiny dancers, thank you!
Kristen, Tessa, Jordan, Zach, Christay thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. Your beautiful dance minds have created so much beauty in my life. Your passion for dance has inspired me to give my best in every dance. I could not have asked for better teachers than what you are. You are rockstars!
Costume shop, I’m in awe of and have so much respect and admiration for you and the amazing and beautiful costumes you create. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you!
To the stage lighting crew, thank you for bringing our dances to life. We could not share the full story without your help.
To my teammates, We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve spent countless hours practicing, rehearsing, we’ve laughed together, cried together, prayed before dances together and celebrated together. I’m thankful for every moment spent with the best teammates. Thank you for your love, your inspiration, and your dedication to make CPAC the best.
Mrs. Laurie, there are no adequate words to express my love and gratitude for all you’ve given me. None of this is possible without you. You have given us opportunities that most dancers could never dream of and I’m forever grateful for every opportunity CPAC has given me.
To Mom, Dad, Jordan, Luke, Grandma, and Grandpa (in heaven), you have been my biggest supporters and my greatest role models. You’re my rocks and that quiet voice in my head always telling me I could do it; I was good enough! I love you all so much!
It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of such an amazing studio.
Forever Love, CHAKA OUT!!
After 14 years it is hard to believe that I will be leaving the place I love most. I have made so many friends and memories that I will never forget. I started dancing at Cpac when I was 4 years old and have loved it ever since. One day, I remember coming home from school and my mom telling me about auditions for the competition team. She asked me if I wanted to try out and I excitedly said “yes”! I was very nervous but at the same time excited to start a new journey. So, when I was 7 I joined the competition team. Little did I know that that decision would be the best decision of my life. This team is family, every dancer and teacher included. My life would not be the same without any of them. Each teacher has taught me so much. Not just about dance but also persistence and dedication. My thanks will never be enough for what each one of you has provided me, but I will try. First, I want to thank Candance. Learning how to dance at 4 years old is hard but you made it fun and were one of the reasons I stuck with it. Second, I want to thank Zack. When I first joined the competition team I had never taken an actual ballet class before. I struggled excessively, and you pushed me to keep going even though I was a bit of a “brat”. Sorry Zach. Kristen. When I first moved into level 2 I was terrified of you, but you are one of the best teachers I have ever had. Even though you were tough, and even a little mean sometimes it helped me to learn discipline and grow as a dancer. You helped me find a love for a style that I never thought I would actually like. You helped me to “dance”, and I can’t thank you enough. Jordan. Thank you for sculpting me into the dancer I am today, and for teaching me how to be vulnerable and embrace new choreography. You have helped me to find my authenticity and be comfortable doing what I love. Tessa. From teaching me my first solo to helping me prepare for college I have gained so much from you. Having you as a teacher for 2 different teams has helped me to expand my dance knowledge and abilities in so many ways. My dance career would not be the same without you. Thank you. Jen Lee. Where do I even begin? You are my second mom. Your dedication and love for dance have influenced me tremendously and have pushed me to keep going. Thank you for seeing potential in me and believing that I could do what I am doing now. I would not be here without you and your support, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you Jen. I love you. Nancy. I have no words. Without this incredible facility and your support, none of this would have happened. The love you have for each one of us dancers is extremely appreciated. Thank you. To the costume shop. Every single costume you have made for me is incredible. You are so talented and the costumes always make the dance come to life. Thank you for making stories come true. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates. To the huddles backstage and the chant before showcase, your energy and love are what makes this team a team. Our bond will never be broken and I love every single one of you. CHAKA forever!
Hi everyone, my name is Brianna Keingatti. As I’m sitting here writing my senior bio I’m in disbelief in where the time went. Never in a million years did I think that this moment would actually come to be. Writhing my formal letter of goodbye to the place I’ve called home for over 14 years now. The human I’ve grown into because of this beautiful environment makes me feel incredibly blessed to have been apart of it all. I started dance in kindergarten with no objective but to be able to fool around and play. I actually initially hated dance because of the lack of focus I had as a kid. But I decided to stick with it because my family stuck with it. That’s was probably the best decision I could’ve ever made for myself. Now I need nothing more but to dance. Columbia performing arts center has got me through so much. It’s given me a place to heal myself from past wounds, it’s given me an opportunity to explore who I was as a person freely as well as an artist. It’s shown me focus, discipline, dedication, inspiration , love, kindness, this list goes on forever. But all thanks to the beautiful friends, teachers, mentors, leaders I’ve been surrounded by. I think this is truly the hardest goodbye I am going have to make. I find myself already shedding tears writing this because of the comfort Cpac has given me and my family. I have nothing but complete gratitude to God for introducing me to this place and the people that were apart of my story here. Thank you all for making me feel loved, comfortable, inspired, safe, and like a real human. Growing up I found myself constantly confused to where I stood in a society that looked very different from me, and Cpac always gave me a space to form my own voice and learn to love myself as a African American as well as artist. I feel nothing but love for this home I’ve been apart of for so long and will be forever. From me to you, if I can say thing,is to always share yourself with an open heart. You never know how many hearts you’ve touched and inspired. You’re important. The people and this home has always made me feel this way. I would like to give a special huge thank you to the one and only Nancy Laurie. You’ve changed my life in countless ways and given me opportunities I can only hope and dream of. Thank you for always believing in me and sharing your countless love to me and my family. My love for you never falls short. I am extremely thankful for you and everything you have done for this team. Words can’t express the level of gratitude I have toward you Thank you Nancy from the bottom of my heart. I also want to give a huge thank you to momma Jen. Thank you for being my other mother, and my inspiration. Thank you for sharing your whole self with me and loving me endlessly. You touched me as a person forever and left the biggest mark on me. And thank you to all the teachers for pushing me and teaching me disciple and focus while always encouraging me as an artist to constantly grow and never settle. Thank you to the costume shop for the brilliance you all have done for me and this team. Your work is something I know I will never see again. So thank you for you time, your care, and love that you’ve shown me Thank you to Ryan for all that you done for us to look amazing on that stage. You work ins incredible and one of a kind. Thank you for your brilliance as well. And to all, I am thankful to you for everything. I love you all. Chaka, Werk, Love forever. Love, Brianna Keingatti.
I’m sad to say that it’s finally senior year. Despite being a member of the ensemble team for only three years, I feel like I’ve been a part of the CPAC family my whole life. Every dancer and staff member has profoundly impacted my identity, leaving me with memories I will carry for the rest of my life. Of all the valuable lessons I’ve learned, I am most grateful to CPAC for opening my eyes. Winning various regional and national titles as a team from a small city in Missouri, I realize that you do not need a particular background to be successful. Your dreams are within reach as long as you have a strong work ethic and determination. I want to thank Tessa, Jordan, Kristen, and Chris for molding me into the dancer I am today. You all have provided a nonjudgemental learning environment, making me feel safe to take risks and grow. To the Costume Shop, thank you for pouring your creativity into every costume you design. Your meticulously crafted pieces truly bring the dances to life. To my family, thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders. I am overwhelmed with gratitude thinking about how lucky I am to have such a strong support system. You all have made so many sacrifices just to watch me perform. No matter how early in the morning or late at night, you are always in the audience. Without your constant love and encouragement, I wouldn’t have the confidence I have today to go on stage. To my team, thank you for being my second family. I have never met such a dedicated group of people. Every individual puts forth as much effort as the other, collaborating to create a clean, impactful piece. The team’s raw talent constantly inspires me to be vulnerable and experiment with movement. I will miss dancing with you all every day after school, suffering through long weekend rehearsals together, and hyping each other up for competitions. I want to give a big thank you to Nancy Laurie for providing such a beautiful facility that I have the opportunity of enjoying every day. Our team is fortunate to have so many studios to express our creativity and a stage to prepare for competitions. Finally, I want to thank Jen Lee. I love you so much. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms as soon as I walked into the studio. I cannot imagine anyone better suited for the artistic director of the ensemble team than you. You manage a perfect balance between being a nurturing leader and stretching each dancer to their fullest potential. I admire how you spend hours fine-tuning every detail in our dances, ensuring that all pieces carry out your special vision by the time we compete. Although your rehearsals can be exhausting, they have taught me to hold myself accountable and put 110% of my effort into everything I do. I love my CPAC family so much, and I wish everyone the best of luck! Chaka werk!!!
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s already my senior year. When I first started dancing at 2 years old, I had no idea it would lead me to this point. I can still remember watching the older ensemble dancers rehearse on stage when I was younger and telling myself that I wanted to be one of those dancers someday. These past years have been wonderful, and despite the hardships, I don’t think I would have it any other way. Dancing at CPAC with such amazing people has not only made me a better dancer, but a better person all around. The grit and persistence that I shared with my teammates has gotten me through so much, and I can’t thank them enough for always being there with me. You all have been so inspirational, and I hope as you continue to learn and grow you hold the lessons you learn here near and dear to your hearts. It’s been an honor to dance beside you all. Jordan, thank you for letting me into your world through your work. Being a part of your art every year has been a joy, and I will miss laughing with you during class and rehearsals. Tessa, I’m so grateful to be a member of your dances. You always gave me a space to express my emotions, and just feel, especially on the days when I needed it most. Chris, thank you for your willingness to collaborate. I appreciate your creative approach to your craft. Kristen, you’ve always pushed me farther than I thought I could go. Thank you for always believing in me. Jen, you have no idea how much I admire you for all that you do. I love you so much. A huge thank you to Nancy as well. This studio wouldn’t be possible without your support, and your generosity has touched so many lives. To my family, I can’t thank you enough for all the love and support that you have shown me. You were always so patient with me, I will always be grateful for the opportunities that you’ve given me. CPAC has been a harbor for my potential, and a homestead for my heart. I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life, and no matter what I pursue next, I will never forget how these years have shaped me into the person that I am today.
“The ship in port is the safer one, but it’s not the reason it was made”- Ben Cooper
I love you all. Chaka Werk Love <3