My name is Emma and I am 10 years old. I live in Hawaii and I dance at Pas De Deux Hawaii.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was 3 years old, my mom signed me up for a princess pre-ballet class at our local community center. She thought it would be cute to dress me up in a tutu! I was always so shy to the point of freezing up around people (I would literally stand like a statue hoping no one would notice me haha). But on that first day, the teacher was so bright, warm, and welcoming. She made me feel comfortable and safe, and I instantly fell in love with dancing! I have never stopped since! I now dance competitively in different genres, and it’s what I live and breathe. I can’t imagine my life without it, and my love for it continues to grow the more I learn.
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?
I am still young and haven’t experienced enough yet, but I do know that when you’re pursuing what you love, you will inevitably have to make sacrifices as well. That popular saying “I can’t, I have dance...” is very relatable! Finding balance gets more difficult each year, especially because I now live 45 minutes away from my school, making the commute difficult at times on top of the growing workload at school. This year I have been navigating how to best balance school, dance, and staying healthy.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
Although I have come a long way since my first day of dance class at 3 years old, I still struggle with confidence and learning to grow in it. I am learning how my mind directly affects my body and how what I choose to believe affects my performance and artistry.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Unfortunately, I have had things said to me by people who were supposed to be my friends that were meant to tear me down. It has taken me a while to process, and I didn’t even start talking about it until recently with my mom. At the time though, I fought it by not letting it affect how hard I worked or how I treated others in response.
How do you conquer negative talk?
Your vibe attracts your tribe. Surround yourself with the people whose opinions matter, who genuinely care and want you to succeed! I’m so grateful for my dance family who is all these things! Also, don’t fight negativity with negativity because that will just weigh you down, and it’s not worth it! Don’t allow negative words to affect how you treat others. Be kind always. You never know how that will have a lasting positive impact on others.
What is your favorite quote?
"Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you." - Misty Copeland
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am working hard and having fun! I’m excited to travel and start competing in the new year and to learn and grow along the way!