My name is Andrea Kruse, 12, from Arnold, Missouri. I go to DPU Dance.


Photographer: @russophotography_

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I’ve always been in the studio pretty much since birth. My mom is a dance instructor, and I have two older sisters that dance competitively. So I just watched them all the time, and it made me want to dance as well. I started competing at age 6 doing groups, and at age 7 did my first solo. I think watching my two older sisters helped a lot because I was always trying to be like them. As I started to get older, they would give me tips along the way to help me. I credit my success to the work ethic my mom instilled in me at a young age. You have to work for what you want. I set tiny goals along the way, and they just keep changing as I reach a goal. I also have the most amazing support system at my studio DPU Dance. Our Director, Ashley Claybrook, and Assistant Director, Bridgette Fletcher, are so amazing at providing us with all the tools we need to succeed. From our weekly class schedule, master classes, private lessons, and convention opportunities, they truly want the best for every student and help us get to where we want to be. If it weren’t for all of these people, I wouldn't be where I am so far.

Photographer: Joe Duarte Photography

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

No. I put in a lot of extra work outside of the mandatory classes I take. I’m always working on my technique, turns and flexibility. I wasn’t born bendy at all. And If I don’t stretch daily, I can feel it. I also don’t want to just stay where I am, I want to keep improving, especially my movement quality. I’m always very focused on the technique of things that sometimes I forget to just let go and have fun. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement.

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

I wasn’t born flexible so I had to train really hard to get where I am. I was born with great spring, so jumping and tumbling have come a little bit more naturally.

Photographer: @russophotography_

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

No, I am lucky in the fact that I have an incredible support system in and out of the studio. They are always realistic with me but are also very supportive.

How do you conquer negative talk?

I turn it into a positive, which can be difficult at times, but you won’t get anywhere if you’re always looking for the negative. You have to find the silver lining in everything. Sometimes it’s just hard to see.

Photographer: @through_a_lens_photography

What is your favorite quote?

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" - Original Author Unknown

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

There are a few plans in the works for next season, and I’m very excited to start competing with my whole studio at the end of March. But I am excited about Nationals in Orlando. Other than that, only time will tell.

Apr 20, 2021

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