Senior year. The grand finale I’ve been working towards since I started dancing 14 years ago. As I feel this incredible experience slowly drawing to a close, I feel a newfound sense of respect for my teachers, fellow dancers, and our craft as a whole. The 5 years I have spent on ensemble have shaped my character, in more ways than you could imagine. The people I have been surrounded with push me to always be the best version of myself. So, I want to thank each and every person who I have come in contact with these last few years. To start, I would like to thank the true heart and soul of this whole operation, Mrs. Nancy Laurie. Without your generosity and unbridled confidence in us young students, none of us would be where we are today. The trust and support exhibited does not go unnoticed. Thank you to Jen Lee, for the just the right push towards greatness. The amount of time and effort you put in outside of the studio takes all things to a new level, encouraging drive and precision from every dancer. I greatly appreciate all the faith you have in me, to become something better, no matter what that may be. Thank you to Kristen, for taking stake in me, allowing me to rise to a level of equality with my peers, despite my later start. From my very first ballet class, I felt comfortable to learn and grow, which was such an important part of this journey. Thank you to Jordan for encouraging me to blossom out of my comfort zone, expand my horizons, and become increasingly comfortable with different styles. From my first contemporary class to the last hands-feet, I will always remember the good times I’ve had in your classes. Thank you to Tessa, for all the challenging ab combos, amazing dances, and stories shared. Your fun loving energy was all something to look forward to after a long day. Thank you to Chris, for pushing me so much, forcing me to accept a new talent. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be excited for my tap solo, I would have laughed in your face. But your program has shaped me into a true tapper, something I appreciate deeply. Thank you to Christy for the introduction to ensemble, establishing a strong foundation for me to build on as I continued. Thank you to the costume shop, for always making me look amazing on stage. A huge thank you to my family for allowing me to go on this whirlwind journey for the last 14 years. Without your help, love, and support I would honestly never have made it. I love you guys. Lastly, I want to thank my fellow dancers for every last backstage huddle, chant, goofy handshake, and audience scream session. I love you all, and the memories we’ve made will never be forgotten. So now, on to my sappy senior advice. Cherish every moment, the good and the bad, the stressful and the satisfying. Nothing will ever provide you with the same exhilaration as feeling everyone breathing together, moving in unison, performing with everything you have. It is all so perfect and irreplaceable. Live in the now and believe in yourself, all else will come. I love you now and forever. Chaka, Werk, OUT!