J-DHS Student Dances to Success

By Amy Shen and Marie Saba

Staff Writers

Are you living your dream? Junior Hannah Schayes certainly is. She auditioned for three top-notch dance programs around the nation and made it into all three. This is her most recent accomplishment in her 12 year career.

For this upcoming summer, Schayes auditioned for Boston Ballet in Boston, Alonzo King LINES in San Fransico, and Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. The auditions run like American Idol auditions; representatives from the three programs tour the country, hold classes for accomplished dancers, evaluate them, and choose who’ll make it into their program.

Because “you can only do one program because they overlap,” Schayes chose Boston Ballet out of the three. Boston Ballet was the most appealing to Schayes because it matched her preferred style of dance, which is ballet and pointe. In the summer of 2014 Schayes went to Boston Ballet for the first time. She’s honored to be able to go there again this upcoming summer. During this program, Schayes will dance among peers for six hours a day, excluding weekends, for five weeks from June 27 to Aug 1. Dancers in the higher levels perform a show at the end of the program while in lower levels they showcase their new skills to their parents. Schayes is unsure which level she will be placed in this year.

“I’m excited to learn new things and meet new people,” Schayes says about her upcoming experience in Boston. She enjoys dancing at Boston Ballet because it gives her more confidence in her ability and skills. “I’m capable of doing it,” says Schayes. However, she is also nervous about being away from home although she’s been through four summers of dance programs in the past.

Schayes has “always been into dancing.” Her parents noticed her interest as a child and signed her up at the age of four. Although it’s strange for her to discuss her passion, she loves dance because she likes moving to music. Schayes admits she wasn’t serious about dancing until the age of 12. She believes her good build and long legs were acquired from her grandfather and uncle’s athleticism. They were NBA stars in their time.

At the moment, Schayes participates in the Syracuse School of Dance, the Ballet and Dance Center in DeWitt, and the Draper Center. Every weekend, Schayes travels to the Draper Center in Rochester to expose herself to new teachers and dancing styles. She dances there for three and a half hours every Saturday. At these three dance studios, she has grown as a dancer with the help of her instructors Laurie Deyo, Jamey Leverett, Caitlyn O’Hara, and Karen Menter.

Although Schayes is fulfilling her dream, she realizes her dedication to dancing can conflict with her social life. “I don’t get to do as many things with my friends or with the school as I would like to,” Schayes says.

Sophomore Jamie Rieger has danced with Schayes for half a year at the Ballet and Dance Center. Rieger says it’s “really fun to have [Schayes] in class.” “We help each other,” she says. Like Schayes, Rieger is a serious dancer. Rieger believes Schayes has good artistry, expression, and technique.

Throughout her growing dance career, Schayes has participated in many dance productions such as the “Nutcracker”, “Once Upon a Christmas”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and recently worked on the production of “Alice in Wonderland,” which was produced on March 28 at Henninger High School. Each production takes around three months to prepare for.

You may be wondering, how does Schayes make time for everything? Being organized allows her to balance school work and friends with dancing. “I’m very organized and I always write everything out,” says Schayes.

Freshman Julia Schayes is Hannah’s younger sister. Like her sister, Julia also dances but is not as serious as Hannah. “I think it’s fantastic that she wants to fulfill her dream,” says Julia. “She really knows how to steal the spotlight.”  

Hannah Schayes’s friends are also very supportive of her. “When she gets stressed out I tell her to relax,” says junior Julianne Bazydlo. “She’s very dedicated and I  admire that,” junior Afua Addo says, and to Schayes she says, “keep it up, don't give up on your dream.” As Schayes dance career continues, junior Rebecca Shen wants to tell her to “keep doing you!”

“Dancing gives me great joy and happiness and I can’t see myself doing anything else,” Schayes says. She wants to dance as long as she can; hopefully through college. The Dominican University of California and Fordham University are Schayes’s top choices in dancing colleges. Schayes also wants to see herself participating in a professional dance company in the future. “Dancing is such a big part of my life and I would feel lost without it,” says Schayes.