Anna Williams – Ohio Nomination by Andrea Williams Photography by Maria Kirkland/12.9 Dance Issue 57 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Anna is kind, smart and works hard at everything she tries. And makes the effort look easy. She is an Honor Roll student, plays piano, is involved in choir, band, theatre and several other clubs, all while focusing on ballet in the pre-professional company in her hometown. She manages her time so well and truly understands the importance of hard work, a positive attitude and taking time to relax and “just exist.”
Photography by Maria Kirkland/12.9 Dance
What do you love most about ballet? I love ballet not only because it keeps me active and busy, but because it is my home away from home. When I am doing Ballet all of my troubles and worries leave, it is my true stress reliever. I love everyone I dance with, I love the school, and I love creating art with movement.
What do you wish people knew about dancers that they probably don't? We work HARD. Football, baseball, soccer etc. players, think all we do is twirl and jump. This is nowhere near how hard we work. We push our body to the limit, way farther than anyone else could.
What is your dance schedule like and what do you love most about it? Hectic. My dance schedule is HECTIC. I dance six days a week during most of the year, and if we are preparing for a show, every day. But, crazy and hectic doesn't mean I don't LOVE it. It keeps me busy, but it also keeps me focused and I have to work just as hard to keep up with school and my other activities.
What is a favorite memory from dance? My favorite memory of dance was when I first got accepted into "The Nutcracker." I cried happy tears. When it all ended, I had GREAT friends, and that is when I decided I wanted ballet specifically to be a big part of my life.
How did you find and why did you choose 12.9 Dance for your photographer? I had been following 12.9 for a while through Instagram because one of my close friends was an ambassador. I did a session with one of my other best friends and the experience made me feel SO strong and confident. I knew applications come out once a year, and I was so excited when I read she was looking for her 2022/2023 ambassadors. I thought it would be an amazing experience to continue to represent the person who helped me feel so confident, so I applied and was accepted (along with those two amazing friends!).
What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? My experience is beyond what I could have imagined. I love all of the old and new friends and fellow dancers I have met so far, and all of the GORGEOUS photos that have been taken. I am quirky and anxious, and although I am good at ballet, at school am often told I am weird or too tall or too chatty. Those pictures help me see myself in a different light and I hope they help others realize they too can be confident and quirky.
Photography by Maria Kirkland/12.9 Dance
How do you find time to do everything you're involved in? How do you stay balanced and focused? The only other things I do are choir, band (I play the flute), piano and the middle school theater, including Muse Machine and acting in the middle school play/musical. Choir and Band practice are during the school day, and the concerts are later on in the evening, so I never really have to worry about those because grades come first. Piano practice is usually scheduled after I have my ballet schedules so that is always perfect. My piano teacher helps me prepare for the middle school play, and I have learned how to leave one, go do another, then come back if it isn't complete. My teachers know my schedule and as long as I am open, honest and upfront, they work with me! Time management is very important since ballet is such a commitment. I truly appreciate my study hall period and never take that time for granted.
Tell us about your music career. When did you get started and what do you love most about it? My music career consists of Choir, Flute and Piano. I voluntarily did Choir and Band. When I was about five, my mom signed me and my brother up for piano lessons and said we could stay in it if we wanted but didn't have to after that first year. My brother and I decided to stay in piano and love it, and especially our piano teacher. I love the concerts. We get to show what we have learned through a certain period of time, and the growth is amazing, but she is very clear that mistakes are OK...and expected.
What instrument do you play in band and why did you choose it? I play the flute! I chose it because the flute is very relaxing and elegant, just like Ballet. I initially wanted to play the saxophone, but my mom was in band when she was little and introduced me to a few instruments. She thought I "looked like a flute player" because my ballet posture pretty is noticeable, and I can sit up really straight. Turns out, she was right!
Tell us about your band and where you fit in. Our band is small, and I am one of two or three other flute players in my grade. I fit in with kids who love band because ultimately, art is art, whether instrument, voice or dance. I have great friends in band, but everyone is truly nice and we are a good team.
Anna - My last piano recital. I was playing the theme song to The Office.
What have you gotten to perform in theater, and which has been your favorite? Why? I have performed "The Great Gatsby," "Alice in Wonderland," "The Nutcracker," and the pre-Professional company Showcase, along with three amazing productions at my second, recreational studio. The pre-professional were basically at the Victoria Theatre, with "The Nutcracker" being at the large venue, the Schuster Center, both in Dayton, Ohio. While "Alice in Wonderland" had all of these really fun dances, "The Nutcracker" has my heart because of all of the traditional parts that everyone knows and loves (especially the Sugarplum Fairy). Getting to see the professionals so close up on stage, it just makes you feel special and there is something about the sound the pointe shoes make when they land on the stage. It's magical.
What are some of the clubs you belong to and what leadership roles have you been provided through them? I am with Bethel Middle School Muse Machine. My first year was last year and I was a member, but next year I will be one of the Muse Machine Captains. This position helps organize what we see and how the trips to the theater are structured. We also get to help with the in-school performances, where outside professionals come in to perform and discuss what they do.
What is a favorite accomplishment in one of your clubs? Becoming Captain in Muse Machine for this next school year is definitely an accomplishment. Our school is smaller, but over 40 people tried out, less than 10 making it!
What should we definitely know about you? I work very hard to get everything I need to get accomplished done. I also try and find time for myself to relax or hang out with friends and family because they are my biggest supporters. Overall, I want people to know that being dedicated to your passion and being quirky sometimes means not everyone is going to get you. And that's ok as long as you continue to be kind and work hard.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I love to read and write, and am working on a children's book! It is about learning to not need or want to grow up so fast. I am hoping one day soon to have it published!
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? How hard work pays off, and sometimes the hard work isn't what you want to be doing in that moment, even if it is your passion. I promise, you never regret it afterwards.
Look for Anna in issue 57 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!