My name is Ava Riegle, and I am 12 years old. I live in Yorktown, Indiana and I dance at Dazzle Dance.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was little, my mom signed me up for gymnastics. I loved tumbling but hated the bars and other equipment. One day when I was three, my mom and I were watching America's Got Talent. There was a girl that said singing was her passion. My mom has told me this story many times. She said I looked right at her and said, "My passion is dance." She then signed me up a week later for dance classes at Dazzle Dance. I still don't know how I knew at that age that dance would be my passion, but I was so right. I have been dancing for 9 years, and this is my 8th competitive season. I love and compete in all types of dance, but I would say my favorite types are jazz and hip hop. I love being able to show my sassy and fierce side. One of my favorite things to do is to go to conventions. I love the opportunity to learn from master teachers and make new friends. I love my teammates. They have become like family to me. I really don't know what I would do without dance in my life.
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?
Dance comes naturally to me, but that doesn't mean it has always been easy. One thing that has been a struggle is balancing school and dance. As I have gotten older, it has been hard to balance the amount of time I spend at the studio with my school work. It is also hard because dance often causes me to miss extracurricular activities at school. I have had to work hard to stay organized and on top of things, so I don't fall behind at school or dance. I have learned to use every free second I have to get school work done. If I have a 15-minute break at dance, I work on assignments. It takes a lot of time and dedication to keep up on both school and dance, but I do whatever it takes.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I haven't experienced this much yet, but whenever I have doubts or issues, I always turn to my mom and my best friends. I know that they are always there for me and always know what to say to make me feel better. I think you have to work hard to shut out all the negative comments and know that if you are working hard and giving it your all, there isn't much else you can do.
What is your favorite quote?
"Though she may be little, she is fierce." - Shakespeare
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
This season I am excited to do my first ever contemporary solo. I am always looking for ways to grow and improve as a dancer, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new. I am excited but also scared. Another goal I have this season is to attend as many conventions as possible. I absolutely love conventions and learning from master teachers.