Ava Ackerman – Michigan Nomination & Photography by @Flairseniorphotos Issue 71 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Ava is a dedicated competitive dancer and balances her social life, school studies and supportive family with dance! She stays busy traveling and even modeling for dance brands. She has been our customer since she was five and we have had the pleasure watching her grow to love the camera and become a beautiful young woman.
Photography by @Flairseniorphotos
Tell us about your dance career. I started dancing at the age of three when my mom placed me in my first class. However, because I was too young to enjoy what was going on, my mom pulled me out. Around the age of eleven I went to my first ever ballet performance of the Nutcracker. From there on out I knew I wanted to be a dancer. I later enrolled in classes training at many different schools and participating in many performances. When my sophomore year of high school came, I decided to join my school's dance team which I have been doing for three years now.
What dances do you study? Which is your favorite and why? Over my career, I have been able to study many different styles of dance from classical ballet all the way to hip hop. The styles I study currently are contemporary along with pom, jazz and hip hop which I get through my dance team. To pick a “favorite” style is very hard since every style is unique and makes you express yourself differently! I love how at one point I can be soft and airy during contemporary then the next moment be sharp and grounded in hip hop.
What has your favorite dance competition been? Over the years, I have been able to attend a competition called Youth American Grand Prix, otherwise known as YAGP. This year will be my fourth year attending. What makes this competition stand out from others is the everlasting impact it can cause if one places. Unlike other local competitions, YAGP is a prestige organization that takes dancers from around the world and helps turn them into professionals. It is a very high stress situation however the experiences you get from it are worth the stress! You also get to take master classes with professional teachers and learn about their dance career.
Photography by Amy Ackerman
If you could dance on any dance tv show, which would it be and why? If I could dance for any tv show, I would definitely have to choose Dancing With the Stars. During my free time, I enjoy watching the dancers on the show as they are super inspiring and talented. It was this show that made me want to start ballroom dancing and I absolutely love it! Although I don’t take ballroom classes frequently, if I could choose to perform one style on the show, it would be either swing, salsa or waltz. Like every Latin style of dance, I would love to wear the long fringed dresses, however any ballroom competition “outfit” is simply beautiful.
What is it like modeling for dance brands? How did you get started in that and what do you love most about it? Modeling for dance brands has been an absolute dream! Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to be a model, actor, and a dancer. Since I am not tall enough to model for huge runways, dance modeling has given me an opportunity to still “submerge” into that atmosphere. I started modeling for a brand called Andrea Carola Apparel last year during my junior year of high school. I applied for one of their open model calls and got accepted to model a new set which they were launching. The experience couldn’t have gone any better! I have made so many cherished memories from it.
What are some of the things you like to do in your social life? During my free time I love to hang out with the people closest to me! Whether those people are friends who I’ve grown up with or family members who I’ve experienced every aspect of my life with. I also loved to be around my pets as they are always the ones making me happy after a long day. I absolutely adore my two dogs, Kinsley and Russel, and my cats Oscar and Oliver. During the school year you can always find me dancing at football games or volunteering in the children’s room at church!
How would your friends describe you? When asked, my friends describe me as someone who is “hardworking and knows what she wants”. I am very determined and will fight for what I want. I don’t let others stop me from working to achieve my goals. If you know me, you may know that I am kind hearted, funny to be around, and always someone who can provide a listening ear when needed. My friends also know that I avoid behaviors and situations that are unheathy; unless we are talking about peanut butter cup ice cream:)
Photography by @Flairseniorphotos
What else would you like to talk about? I would love to talk about the experiences dance has provided me. When I was just thirteen years old, I was able to train in Chicago for five weeks. A year later when I was fourteen I went and trained in Tampa for three weeks. I later got a dance scholarship to New York in which I was able to meet, and take classes with, the Rockettes, take a masters class with Lane Napper, watch a few broadway shows and met the cast, etc. I am now also working with Andrea Carola Apparel in which I have had the opportunity to model for!
What do you feel passionate about or could talk about forever? Although there are many things I would love to talk about, my friends and family would agree that dance is my life. Over the years, I have been truly blessed by the opportunities that dance has given me. I absolutely love sharing my experiences with those who ask providing an example that hard work pays off!
How did you find your photographer, @Flairseniorphotos? What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? My family moved to Michigan from Indiana when I was very young. At the time my parents were looking for a photographer in which we could update our family photos. My mom came across Jen, Flair Photos, and instantly fell in love. She was the only photographer in my area that got my siblings and I to smile in our photos. I have known her since I was five and have grown up taking photos with her! It is bittersweet to finally finish my photo journey with her.
What are you most looking forward to about school this year? This school year I am mostly looking forward to all of the opportunities made available for senior bonding, since this is our last year together. Senior year will move fast, and I hope to gain many positive memories to take with me on my college journey. I look forward to dancing with my teammates at our football games and competitions, to our senior retreat, and many other events. Having spent most of my life in dance, I also look forward to this year’s statewide and National level competitions. What excites me most about this year is the possibilities that it offers!
What legacy do you hope to leave behind? I’ve been blessed by my supportive family that has encouraged me to reach for my dreams. I’m learning to take chances to achieve goals that I might not have otherwise attempted. I’m learning that hard work and perseverance promotes opportunity. I hope to leave a legacy that inspires others to dare to achieve great things, and to not allow small failures to define them. I hope that my path, when viewed by others, will light in a way that inspires.
Photography by Ava Ackerman
What is your family like? Where do you fit in and where do you stand out? I’m from a family of five where I’m the second of three children. Luckily for me, I am stuck between two boys! Although I have always wanted a sister, there have been a lot of perks with being an only daughter. For starters, everyone knows I am my dads “favorite” daughter. I also get to go on a lot of outings with my mom. Some say I look a lot like my aunt when I was her age and that I should’ve been her daughter, however I looked a lot like my dad when I was younger, and still do today.
What is a favorite family memory you will never forget? There are so many wonderful memories I have made over the years that I will always cherish, a couple of memories though in particular will forever have my heart. When I was younger my grandma would do something called “Camp Grandma”. During the week my cousins and I would stay at her beautiful house in traverse and have days filled with countless memories. To count how good we’ve been at camp, my grandma had a chart on which stickers would be added to my cousins and my name. We had so much fun helping each other cook and fight with water balloons!! Look for Ava in issue 71 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!