Sydney Mora - Texas Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination by Laura Cook Photography by Jacie Leigh Photography Issue 27 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Sydney is majoring in dance at SMU, one of the top schools for a dance performance degree. Not only is she a beautiful dancer but she has a beautiful heart. She has worked with dance outreach programs all over Lubbock under the Ballet Lubbock & Outreach in Schools partnership program. She wants to pursue a career in dance while also working with kids to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to explore the art of dance in any form possible. She enjoys partaking in musicals and has been in over 10. She has a heart for performing but also for giving back to her community that gave so much to her.
Photography by Jacie Leigh Photography
Tell us about your dance history. I started dancing at the age of 3 and was a complete perfectionist. So much so that I refused to dance in my first class because “I didn’t have it perfect yet” as the story is told by my mother. Dancing was always something that challenged me both physically and artistically, which is probably what I love most about it. I have taken ballet since I was five and also had the opportunity to compete in jazz, tap, hip hop, and contemporary before I began dancing with the Lubbock High School Pom Squad, where I served as the captain my Junior and Senior year.
Photography by Jacie Leigh Photography
Please explain what outreach education is and how you got involved. Outreach dance is a topic near and dear to my heart because it reaches into the community and provides children with the opportunity to get quality dance training that may not be able to afford it otherwise. I had the opportunity, with Ballet Lubbock, to teach these kids and help them grow their love for dance just like my teachers did for me. Dance classes are some of the most expensive extracurricular activities that a child can partake in. Therefore, I found that the outreach program at Ballet Lubbock meant so much more to me than just teaching. It allowed me to open these kids’ eyes to a whole new world of fine arts that they may have never found.
What is your favorite part about performing? Why? My favorite part of performing is the feeling I get when I walk on stage for the first time in a show. The adrenaline is pumping and my heart starts to race. But as soon as the music begins, a calm rush comes over me and allows me to tell my story through the art of dancing, singing, or acting; whichever one I might be doing at that time.
Taken by Sydney's mom - a recent picture from her senior performance at Ballet Lubbock
Tell us about some of the musicals you have been in and which one was your favorite to be a part of? Why?
I started doing musical theatre at a young age because I loved Disney movies, particularly the song and dance numbers in them. In my first musical, I was Kate in Annie and from there I was HOOKED. I went on to be in Willy Wonka, The Little Mermaid Jr, Seussical Jr, Oklahoma, Carousel, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Peter Pan, and most recently Mamma Mia where I played Sophie Sheridan. I have to say that it is extremely hard for me to pick but my top two favorite roles were Alice in Seven Brides and Sophie in Mamma Mia because these were my two biggest roles that I have played in large-scale productions. Both musicals challenged me and pushed me to fully immerse myself into the character that I was playing.
A photo from Sydney's most recent performance in Mamma Mia
If you never started to dance, what do you think you would be doing?
If I never danced, I wholeheartedly believe I would still be involved in the arts in one way or another. I could see myself doing more acting, as I was very active in middle and high school theatre. However, I could also see myself thriving in a role behind the scenes such as stage managing or costuming because I find joy in helping people create magic just as much as I enjoy creating the magic myself.
Sydney will be featured in Issue 27 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!
Interview by Michelle Sicard Nomination & Photography by Carrie Eigbrett Photography NEW YORK
The Nomination: Carolyn is inspiring because unlike most teens, she spends 6 weeks of her summer working as a counselor at a camp for kids ages 8-15 and adults with developmental disabilities. During the school year, she spends an immense amount of time in the Theatre (public school and local shows) and in Chorus. Carolyn has been recognized for her talents and was even admitted onto the All State Chorus. In addition to all of this she maintains her academics and is on the National Honor Society and is heavily involved in her church.
I grew up at this camp, and it's one of the most positive environments I've ever been in. I always knew I wanted to work there as soon as I could. When I was 16, I did the counselor in training program, and got to meet and work with a lot of the campers, and coming back as a counselor at 17, it was spirit lifting when my campers remembered me, and were just as excited to spend another week or two with me, as I was with them.
I've played the heart breaker several times in 2018, and I've become attached to it. It's almost a game, to try and win the audience over, before becoming the bad guy and breaking not just my opposite character's heart, but the audience's well. I take it as the highest compliment when some after the show tells me they wanted to hate me, but they liked me too much.
To be selected for All State, first you must participate in NYSSMA Solo Festival, where you will be scored out of 100 on your singing and sight-reading abilities. You want to shoot for upper 90s to guarantee a spot. I am not a naturally gifted singer, so I have to work hard, dedicating extra time to rehearsing to secure an upper score.
Typically, the whole point of a choir or a theatrical ensemble is to blend in. The goal is to create a unified sound, or action. So, you learn to be a leader in other ways. I'm always on time to rehearsal, and I spend extra hours on the weekends building sets. I work one on one with chorus directors to improve my voice and the sound quality that I contribute to the group. You can't always stand out belting a solo center stage, but you can always find ways to be exemplary!