eet Ali Kennette, 14, from Ontario CA Edmunds Towers School of Dance.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dance when I was 3 years old. I was a shy kid and dance has really helped me to become a more outgoing person. I started dancing competitively when I was 5 years old. I immediately fell in love with the stage and I have been dancing competitively ever since. I have trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary styles. I was lucky to attend The National Ballet of Canada summer school in July 2017. It was a great experience! I was also blessed with the opportunity to perform in the FINA opening ceremonies and gala that was held in Windsor, Ontario with Border City Dance Company. It was my very first professional paid dance job! Two years ago I decided to only focus on ballet, as I was determined to get acceptance and move away to a full-time professional ballet program. I worked so hard 5 days a week and with the help of my amazing coach, I was super excited to be accepted into the full-time professional training program at The Rock School for Dance in Philadelphia! Even though I had my acceptance, I was also looking into a new studio to possibly continue my competitive dance journey. In the end, I chose to stay home and move to a new studio and become a part of their amazing competitive company. I still love ballet, but I just wasn’t ready to give up my love of the other styles I studied as well. Also since I attend French school, it would’ve been difficult to continue my french education if I moved to Philadelphia. I am still continuing my competitive dance journey with my studio and I love it! Dance is so important to me and allows me to express myself without words but in movement. I love how you can tell a whole story to an audience through dance!
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 would have to say no. I have had to work really hard for all my achievements and goals. I am not naturally flexible and that is something that I’ve worked really hard on. Over the years, there has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears... literally. There have been many days/nights that I feel I’m not good enough, etc. I have heard the word “no” in auditions and classes, and I just have to remember that there will always be another opportunity. If it’s meant to be, it will be.
I work hard every day (even on the days when I don’ t feel motivated)
“No one is born a dancer, you have to want it more than anything” Mikhail Baryshnikov
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I was blessed with tight, and not very flexible hips haha. I have worked super hard with coaches and physiotherapy at attaining the flexibility I now have. I continue to stretch and work on flexibility every day.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Fortunately no. I have amazing coaches/teachers that always push me to try new things, step out of my comfort zone, and increase my technique.
How do you conquer negative talk?
If people are being negative, I tend to just walk away from it. I try to live with a positive mind. I have a hard time with dancers always trying to compare themselves with each other. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and we should never compare ourselves to each other. Negativity is not good for anyone. Focus on the positive, find the silver lining!
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote would be: You are braver than you think, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think - Christopher Robin
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am starting high school in September and will continue dancing at my studio with my competitive company. No big plans right now, but there could always be new opportunities and adventures that pop up anytime. I am happy to be able to be with my dance family for another upcoming season.