Hamlin Student Lights Up The Ballroom Dance Stage

Annika (Grade 6) and her dance partner Nathan are currently highly ranked ballroom dancers competing on a global stage. The two began dancing in San Francisco in September 2014 at the SDA Sukachov Dance Academy. By the end of 2015 they were American Dance League’s couple of the year in Pre-Teen 1 category for two years in a row.

Annika has recently started competing in the Junior category where the competition is tough and the dancers are older. Even though they’ve only been competing in this new category since July they have already won numerous regional and national competitions including winning in the West Coast Junior Olympics and placing 2nd in the country at one of USA’s most competitive national competitions. They have competed in Paris, and London, and will be dancing in Vienna (Austria) next week.

We had a chance to interview Annika.

How did you get started with dancing?

My mom signed me up for a dance camp. At first it started as an after school hobby, but soon became one the most important things in my life.

What do you like most about dancing?

I love that after each competition I become more and more hungry to improve. Nathan and I are always working to be our best.

What is your training like?

I practice every single day of the week, 2-5 hours a day. Some days we go through our whole routine, other days I’m in a group class. During the week I also do one on one sessions with my teachers. On Thursday I do a stretch class with ballet. The training works your core, your rib cage; you have to pay attention to every aspect of the human body in motion. Nathan and I will also watch YouTube videos of other dancers to get inspiration.

Do you ever get nervous before a competition?

I do sometimes get nervous, you should always be a little nervous so that you know you are ready and not overconfident. Our teachers pump us up by getting us to focus on the process of dancing, not the result. They don’t want us to dance better than the other couple; they want us to do better than our previous performances, to compete with ourselves.

What are your future dance goals?

I have a lot of goals. I would like to be a National champion in Juniors I and II in Ballroom. I would like to be top 3 at the competition in Blackpool, London. I would like to be a world champion.

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