My name is Presley Baird, 14, and I live in Dallas, TX. I go to Dana’s Studio of Dance/ DV8.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing at 2, and I became competitive at 7. I would say I started to get noticed when I stopped focusing on other dancers and trying to be like them and instead focused on myself, my strengths, and what made me uniquely myself.
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?
Things definitely have not been easy. I am not a naturally gifted dancer with the perfect dance facility. I have extra bones in my feet that limit my arch my range of movement and often cause pain. I also have an athletic build with shorter legs, unlike those dancers with legs for days. I have had to work extremely hard to get where I am and know that I may never get where I want to be. But dance is my life, and there is nothing I would rather be doing or that brings me more joy.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
As I mentioned above, I have extra bones in my feet. Surgery for my feet would take me out of dance for 2 years, which is not an option I want to take. So I continue to push to get the most out of my limited range of motion.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Absolutely! I had a teacher that basically told me I wasn’t good enough to make it in the industry. My response to that is “Thank you, Next." Surround yourself with people who will push you, and believe in you. And work hard every day to silence the haters.
How do you conquer negative talk?
When people try to tear you down, that says so much more about them and their insecurities than you. I have noticed that the best dancers in the country are very supportive of each other. If you are secure in your own abilities, you can look at others with an appreciation of their abilities also.
What is your favorite quote?
"Practice like you’ve never won. Perform like you’ve never lost." - Author Unknown
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I recently got signed to talent management at Clear Talent Agency in LA. I am excited to get the pandemic behind us so I can start auditions and pursue a career in commercial dance.