Iliana Schiffelbein – Colorado Nomination & Photography by Everyday Moments Photography Issue 68 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Iliana is, without a doubt, an inspiring young woman. When I first met her, her quiet gentle spirit along with that pretty smile just won me over instantly! Iliana has a passion for dance and theater. Iliana is a model student-working hard in classes and also seen in her dedication to her school and her community with active involvement in both. As my camera lens began to capture Iliana, I could see the grace and beauty she exudes from the inside out into the world. Her heart certainly radiates warmth to all those lucky enough to be around her.
Photography by Everyday Moments Photography
What would you like to talk about first? It was already briefly mentioned but I would love to explore further my personal acting and dance experience. I have danced from the age of two and also have taken vocal and acting classes throughout my life as well as been in a handful of shows.
Tell us about your dance career. My parents enrolled me in dance at my preschool at the age of two. I found a studio I loved around the age of five and stuck with it for a lot time until they unfortunately closed. After years of working hard I got on pointe but after covid and an injury moved on from ballet and joined a dance team. Ever since I have bend focused on developing my art away from the classical sense and into a more performative style that I can hopefully find a job in later in life!
What dances do you study, and which is your favorite? Why? I have studied almost every type of dance that you can think of including ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. My favorites are definitely contemporary and lyrical because I love the way that I can feel the music more than with other styles and show more emotion and character. Hip hop is also a lot of fun for a lot of the same reasons and because the crowds get really into it and it’s motivating to get that feedback and support as I dance. Dance styles that allow me to have some creative freedom and character work are my favorites.
What is a favorite accomplishment from dance? My greatest accomplishment that I gained from dance was learning how to overcome difficult situations as make the best out of them.
How did you find your photographer, Everyday Moments Photography? What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? I found my photographer after a few friends had taken pictures with her. I was also invited to be a part of her model team for the 2023 year which has been an amazing experience so far and I am so grateful to be a part of! Being behind a camera is one of my favorite things especially when doing more candid shots because I feel like I can let parts of my personality shine through and it also helps me to grow more confidence with myself.
Photography by Kelly Schiffelbein
What have your roles been in theater? I have had quite a few roles in theater, a lot of which were ensemble and featured dancer. However I have had a couple main characters including Alice in Journey Through Wonderland (sadly canceled because of covid) and Lina Lamont in Singing in the Rain.
Which was your favorite and why? My favorite character that I have ever played was Lina Lamont. Even though there was not a lot of dancing it was amazing to play a character that had so much personality and that I got to do more character work, something that I absolutely adore.
If you could be any character in any play on Broadway, who would you be and why? I would want to play Anastasia from the musical by the same name even if it is off Broadway now. I love her story line and the emotional intensity that she has and builds throughout the show. The songs are amazing as well as being based on, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating stories in history.
What do you think non performers may not know about performing? I think a lot of people may not know how much work goes into everything that goes into performing. Objectively we can see that this is a very hard song but there is so much behind the scenes work that goes on which people have dedicated their life to. Years of classes, long hours, people working on sets, all are fact . Most even struggle mentally with the toll it takes on a person and I think that more people need to be aware of that and not be so hard on performers.
What was your favorite class this year and what was the most interesting thing you learned? My favorite class this year was European History because I got to learn about something unrelated to me but yet still really cool.
What do you love about being involved in your community? One of my favorite things to do is to do community service! I volunteer at the soup kitchen almost once a month and also perform theater for title one schools and families with life threatening illness. I love doing this because it really makes me feel like I am giving something back to the community that has given me so much!
Photography by Kelly Schiffelbein
What is another way you are involved in school? I am also on the Student Council at my school and would like to run for Philanthropy chair my junior year.
What are your roles and responsibilities on the Student Council? Last year I was just a part of the general assembly and did not have a leadership position. I mostly helped to paint posters and work at fundraisers and basically helped with all those menial tasks though we all would share ideas and work together when making big decisions such as a theme for a school dance.
What are you most proud of having accomplished being in the Student Council? I am most proud of being a part on Mr.PR at my school this year. It is like a pageant show for senior boys to help raise money for make a wish. This year we raised over 8,000 dollars on this one night and I am very proud to be a part of the team that coordinated this.
What do you hope to achieve if you gain the Philanthropy chair? I really want to do even more fundraisers for the school and make the entire student body as well as the community involved. Right now things are done by a select few students and clubs but I think that we are capable of creating a community that wants to get involved in these things if we just make them a little more exciting. We also are in a small town so I think that we could do more advertising to places like churches and restaurants to create these ties and gain better outcomes.
What else would you like to talk about? I would also really love to discuss things like personal body image, which is something I have really struggled with, so that maybe I can help someone else out in a similar situation.
Please tell us more. In dance there is always such a culture of being very thin and in shape. You look at yourself in a mirror all day, so it is very natural to criticize yourself. I developed a sort of eating disorder later because of this but I do want people to know that no matter what you do you do not need to look like all the people around you and it has nothing to do with your self worth.
What do you feel passionate about or could talk about forever? One thing that I could talk about forever is criminal justice. Both my parents work in this field so it has been something that I have been around and experienced from a very young age. I love talking about the process of law and all the ways that it can be applied. Forensic science especially interests me as well because of the way that it is all one big puzzle to solve! There are so many different fields to research and explore. I feel that I could never get bored!
If you had nothing to do and all day to do it, where would we find you? You would probably find me either reading or writing. I love being transported into a different world or learning about something new and also love dumping my own thoughts, feelings, and ideas onto paper!
What is up next for you that you are super excited about? I am traveling a lot this summer and cannot wait to experience different countries and make new memories!
Look for Iliana in issue 68 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!