Interview with Zoe D’Angelo Nomination & Photography by Heather Wanninger of Sweet Lemonade Photography llinois
The Nomination: This girl lives and breathes dance. She has spent 6-8 hours a day after school daily dancing, then going home to study and then back to school again. She is strong, mentally tough and just amazing how she can still maintain a balance. It's incredible. As a freshman last year, she actually studied in NY with Conplexions contemporary ballet dance company as a pre-pro. The teachers back home in IL worked with her to provide her school work and give assistance online when necessary. She trained all day, then went to her hotel room and did her school work to ensure she didn't fall behind. That work ethic is incredible.
How were you introduced to dancing? I started dancing at 3 years old and dancing competitively at 4 years old. After my first time performing on stage, I realized that dance made me the happiest.
Tell me about your Freshmen year in New York? I was asked to join a pre-professional dance program for one month in New York City with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. At first, I thought it would be impossible to step away from everything for a month during the school year. I sat down with my parents, school, and dance studio and came up with a plan to work it out. With the graciousness of my family, my school, teachers and dance studio we got everything organized and planned out and soon I was packing to leave. Once I made it to New York I was overwhelmed, being a small-town girl in such a big city. I did school work in my hotel room during the day and trained with my pre-professional group every evening. The school work was a huge challenge considering I was working on my own each day with communication via email with my teachers. Every evening I would train with the founders of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and my pre-professional group. It is like a high school football player training with the NFL players. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be in such an amazing dance environment. We also worked on a performance piece which we would perform at the end of the month at the Complexions Gala. It was a dream come true, this opportunity to perform and share the stage with the Complexions dancers whom I have admired and looked up to for years. The day of the show was surreal. I was stretching and preparing alongside the professional dancers. The feeling of performing that night was one I will never forget. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. What I learned from that one month away was more than just dance. I learned what it means to work hard for what you want, what it takes and the life of a professional dancer, and the strength it takes to be independent and take ownership of yourself and your dreams.
What are some ways that you balance your school work, dance life and personal life? Pre-planning and organizing my days, keeping focus at each task and continued reevaluation of my goals. This allows me to have time for all three which are very important to me.
Do you plan on continuing to dance in the future as you become older? Yes, I would love to major in dance and my dream job would be to be a company dancer at Complexions Contemporary Ballet.