eet Faith McCleary, 8, from Warren Ohio James Dance and Performing Arts Center.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I was 2 years old and I asked my mom if I could do ballet. My mom thought it would go away but it didn’t. I joined our studio at 2 and when I turned 4 I was asked to join their competition team. I did my first solo at 4 and came 4th at nationals. Got my first place a couple of months later and my first title. I have gone on to do 5 solos so far and I am in 8-10 group numbers. I have 2 National solo wins, 2 national titles, and 6 regional titles. I dance 4 Days a week. I dance 14 hours a week in the studio and 1 and a half hours every day at home. Dance is everything to me.

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 work very hard every day. Anything I earned, I have worked very hard to get. Nothing was handed to me.

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

I haven’t come across any limits yet. My parents are very supportive and my dance teacher especially miss Linda pushes me past any obstacle I think is in the way

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

No one. Miss Linda pushes me hard. She always says “ Believe in you. We all do”

How do you conquer negative talk?

I am a good dancer and my parents always told me people will try to break you by being mean. Keep my head high. Carry my confidence strong and stay humble. I ignore any negativity. It makes me want to work harder

What is your favorite quote?

Don’t dance until you get it right. Dance until you can’t get it wrong. Miss Linda says that.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

I am 8 only, but I plan on being on Broadway. That’s my goal. I am going to work very hard to make it happen

Jul 23, 2020

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