Ida Sheldon - Virginia Nomination & Photography by Suebee Sheldon Issue 58 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Ida began tap dancing at the age of three. Ida works in and out of class, constantly working out new tap combinations and working to improve other dance styles. This past year she was the first ever from our studio to have her solo place in the top 20 at Nationals. She aspires to bring her love for tap dance to others through performance and as a teacher/choreographer. Ida sets goals and doesn't stop until she achieves them. Ida is kind and generous. Ida is my hero.
Photography by Dancemakers Inc
What are the roots of tap dance? For the past year I have been working with Jalen from @taptitanstoday on Instagram, and he has taught me so much about the African American Roots of Tap Dance. American Slave owners took away percussion instruments from the slaves. The slaves had used the drums to communicate with each other, so they took to doing percussion with their feet and used tap dance as both a form of communication and expression. Later, white men decided to exploit these tap dancers and brought it to the stage for entertainment. Bill Robinson, known as “Bojangles” is known as the father of American tap dance. He was from Richmond, VA and you can find a statue of him there.
How do the different types of dance benefit you? Ballet – Ballet is the base for all other types of dance. It teaches you proper technique and builds strength Jazz- Jazz has helped me strengthen my tap performances by exploring moving all parts of my body, not just my feet! Tap – Helps with rhythm and musicality Modern – explores self-expression and even more different body movements All different types of dance can benefit you in different ways, these are the ones that I know best.
Tell us about your trip to Nationals. Our studio always goes to Nationals with Dancemakers Inc. in Myrtle Beach, S.C. I always look forward to the week, especially when they have the “Making Noise” tap class! I performed with my team and took classes. My solo was called “Club Nine” and can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/suebeesuebee/videos/446335017316365/
What was your favorite part about the trip? I would say the last day. That entire day felt like a party, even after a tiring week of dancing and competing for up to 8 hours each day. Also, performing in the Wrap It Ceremony at Dancemakers Inc. Nationals with everyone was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had! Also, I got my hair cut really short for the first time, like, ever! We can never have it really short because of all our dances, so right after my last dance this year my mom took me to get it cut. I love it and will grow it out before our first dance performance in January.
What is a favorite accomplishment from dance? Placing 16th at Nationals this year!! I am very proud to represent my studio in being the first from Linda Watkins School of Dance to place in the top 19, and to make my teachers proud.
What is a favorite memory from dance? I have a lot of wonderful memories, but one that comes to mind was when I performed my first duo at Nationals "Moses Supposes" with Cara Wardell. I think it was one of the first times that I had really enjoyed and connected with a dance. After performing it, I was in tears because I was so happy. I will never forget that.
What do you think non dancers don't realize about dance? How much strength that you have to build up to do ballet, as well as jazz and tap and all of the other styles. Ballerinas are STRONG! - It’s not all about tutus!
Ida Sheldon - Cell phone photo by my mom of me with the Bojangles statue in Richmond, VA January 2022
Tell us about your farm. I love my farm! It is not a very large farm, but we do have quite a few chickens. We currently have goats that we used to milk, but we are taking a break from that this year. When we begin milking again, we are planning to make soap and butter. My parents have a huge garden, and they can and freeze as much veggies as possible. My sister has 3 pet ducks, and we have Anatolian Shepards that guard the chickens, goats and ducks from coyotes, bears and other critters that come in the night!
Where do you sell the eggs and how often? I sell eggs to neighbors and my mom's friends on Facebook. We just ordered labels for my business "Ida's Pretty Little Layers" and in the future I will be selling them at "Grateful Produce" - the new local produce store that opened here on Bent Mountain! Sometimes my chickens decide to sit on a nest and steal all my eggs so that they can hatch babies, so they interrupt my cash flow!
What did you love most about assistant teaching dance? The kids. I love watching them learn and grow as they go. Especially when I start with the little ones. Being there to help them through that is something that I will always be grateful to Linda Watkins School of Dance for providing me with the opportunity to assistant teach as I plan to teach when I get older.
Tell us about your favorite drawing. We'd love to see a picture of it too! Unfortunately, my absolute favorite drawings were in a sketch book that I lost on one of my dance trips! I have attached one
What is a unique way you mix and match clothes? Photo please! I love to mix darks and lights and different patterns.
What is your family like? We have a farm with a lot of animals, so there is always something interesting going on - sometimes more than we'd like! Our house is a fixer-upper and so our life is a bit chaotic at times, especially with mine and my sisters' schedules - but there is always so much love.
What is a memory with them that you'll never forget? Camping and Rock Climbing with Family Friends. I was 10 years old and got scared near the top and everyone cheered me on until I got up there. Then it got super cold and we told stories and roasted marshmallows are a fire.
Ida Sheldon - This was my favorite memory with her and the camera
What do you love most about having your mom as your personal professional photographer? HaHaHa Paparazzi! Lol, sometimes she drives me a little crazy with photos (she knows this!), but seriously she taught herself and practiced on us and so whenever we need anything – she takes the photos. Or she will barter photography to help pay for things, and all of her earning go towards my dance and travel expenses.
What has a favorite experience with her and the camera been? My sister has a deficient immune system because of a severe run-in with Lyme disease. This happened right before Covid hit, and so when it came time for dance photos with our studio, my mom felt it would be safer for her if we stayed away from crowds a little longer. She took us to our neighbor’s property, which has the most amazing mountain and sunset views, and we did my photos there. An adult dancer friend came and helped pose me, and then we all sat on blankets and watched the sun set over the mountain.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Keep dreaming. Not everything will go your way but keep searching for opportunities and work hard and you will get where you want to be.
Ida Sheldon - An updated photo, with a mixed and matched outfit and my short short haircut!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I am still exploring my options, but I am hoping to continue performing, I would like to learn to choreograph, and I have always wanted to teach dance. Aside from dance I would love to continue my artwork in some form, and I am also considering a career in physical sports therapy.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? Gaming with my friends
3 Things on your bucket list Visiting Japan, Voice lessons, Go on a plane (I have only flown once when I was 3 months old!) Look for Ida in issue 58 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!