eet Jillian Davis, 10, from Panama City Dance Academy @panamacitydanceacademy.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I actually started as a competitive gymnast but wanted to take dance classes also. So I started dancing at age 5, but after one year of recreational classes, I wanted to compete! After trying to do both competitive gym and dance for two years, I decided my passion was dance and I wanted to focus on my training. Now I am determined more than ever to pursue dancing after college!
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?
Not at all!! I have to work hard to gain every skill I have, and I still have so much growing to do. Plus I’m from a small town that doesn’t have the opportunities that other areas have. Then two years ago we got hit by a category 5 hurricane and it nearly destroyed my studio. I was out of school and dance for several months! Now we are dealing with a pandemic that has left us to find new ways to train and dance! I missed an entire competition season!
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
When I first started dancing, my studio owner told me I needed to be more fluid and let go of gymnastics. Plus, I have never been flexible , so I have to work even harder than others to get to where I want to be. So I feel like I have personal battles I have to deal with when it comes to training.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Yes!!!! Sometimes I felt like I was put behind others who may have had more flexibility or had been there before me, so I wasn’t given certain opportunities that my teammates had. But that gave me more fuel to work that much harder!
How do you conquer negative talk?
I am a very determined and self-disciplined ten year old! I believe that God gave me a unique talent and made me exactly who I am supposed to be. So I always remind myself that when I have disappointing things happen or I hear negativity!
What is your favorite quote?
Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’ve started working on my new choreography for next season, and I hope to attend live conventions and competitions to get back to dance! I’m also looking forward to my next trip to NYC to see Wicked! I love the bright lights of Broadway and the big City! I hope to live there one day, so I’m just going to keep working toward my goals to dance as much as I can and perform for people to make them feel what I feel when I’m on that stage!