My name is Mila Jade Cullen and I am 11 years old. I dance at Elite Performance Studios.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
From a very young age, I was dancing and singing around my lounge room at home. It was obvious I loved to perform. At 3, my mum put me in gymnastics, dancing, and cheerleading…but my favourite was dancing, so I ended up choosing to just focus on dance.
When I first started out, my memory of choreography was terrible. So I began doing the improvisation sections at dance competitions. Once I could finally remember choreography, I did a jazz and a lyrical solo. Since then, I haven’t looked back. I do all genres and have many solos and troupe routines. Luckily now I remember choreography easily!!
My goals in life are to be in professional musicals, choreograph major performances, travel with dance, teach and inspire young dancers, and hopefully, one day have my own studio.
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 wouldn’t say it’s always easy, but when you genuinely love something, it’s not a chore. I love to train and feel grateful I get to do this. I think the hardest part for me is getting up early when I have morning training sessions or an early morning competition. I’m a bit of a night owl. But once I’m up, I’m happy to get into it.
I’ve been lucky in my journey to pursue my passion for dance as I have had a lot of support from my family and have had great mentors in my life.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I wasn’t born with amazing talent. I had naturally really turned in feet when I was a toddler. It made me walk a bit oddly. My mum took me to the doctor, and he recommended doing lots of ballet to correct it. Luckily I loved to dance, so that was no problem. I still do more ballet than any other genre to help my turnout and technique.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
The majority of people in my dance journey have been amazing. But yes, I have experienced this, unfortunately. I won’t go into detail as I never like to focus on the negatives. But all I can say is that if someone is making me feel sad or limiting me in any way, I choose to remove those people from my life. I surround myself with people that lift me up and provide a positive, happy environment.
How do you conquer negative talk?
There have been times I have doubted myself and questioned whether I’m good enough. But my studio director always reminds me that we all improve at our own pace. And growth will happen if we consistently work hard. So I keep focusing on myself and have stopped comparing my progress to that of others.
What is your favorite quote?
"Look in the mirror. It’s you versus you." - Original Author Unknown
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am so excited to be heading to America in June to compete at KAR in Los Angeles. I won the Get the Beat World Finals, so I have the opportunity to be on Team Australia for Get the Beat. I can’t wait!