Sommer Edgerson – Texas Interview by Inspiring Teens Nomination and Photography by Angie Read Photography Issue 42 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Sommer enjoys giving and seeing happiness in others. Every year, she asks her friends to bring a new stuffed animal in celebration of her birthday. Then, she donates the stuffed animals to MD Anderson Cancer Center to help comfort the children during their chemotherapy treatments. She volunteered with IGoPink, an organization that provided care packages to women who are fighting breast cancer, until it closed its doors this spring due to COVID-19. She also volunteers through Legacy League serving and fundraising to help support many other philanthropies. Sommer always thinks of others before herself, and that is what makes her an Inspiring Teen.
Photography by Angie Read Photography
Tell us about your dance career. Dance is the art of expressing myself through the way that my body moves. My body is like my own instrument. I am able to make others feel emotion simply by the movement I make when I let the music take control. I can express sadness, joy, happiness, pain, frustration, and even anger. Dance is a universal language that you don’t have to speak to understand. I began dancing when I was 3 years old. I love to entertain, and I've always known that the stage is where I want to be. My favorite style of dance is Jazz Funk. It can be fast or slow with syncopated beats to set any mood. My favorite memories are with LA Dance Magic’s Senior Company. I am in my fourth year of LADM Company and this year I am a part of Pro Track where I am the lead dance assistant at conventions and travel to different cities throughout the United States. This opportunity gives me insight into the dance industry and business world. I have gained friendships with dancers from all over the world. I will always cherish the memories of dancing and practicing until late at night with hotel restaurant food for dinner, sharing our goals, encouraging each other, and uplifting one another. How has Covid changed dance for you? The studio has always been a safe haven where I am free of judgment and constantly motivated. Dance has drastically changed but the passion will always be there for me. At the beginning of the pandemic, I spent much of my time practicing my choreography, stretching, and watching YouTube videos of dance classes. Kevin Durant once said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Not being able to go to the studio gave me the opportunity to work even harder. Now I am having virtual and in person classes being very cautious to follow the rules of wearing a mask and sanitizing my hands and the studio. It is all worth it to be able to do what I truly Iove.
Photography by Angie Read Photography
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing I have accomplished is balancing dance and school. I love dance so much and I want to be a good student also. I work really hard at both and at an early age; I began connecting my expectations from dance to my expectations at school. This meant turning my work in on time, abiding by all classroom instructions, and staying out of trouble. I knew this behavior is what my dance teachers would expect of me outside of class. There were days when I wasn’t responsible, left my tights at home and unfortunately had to miss class, however, these experiences guided me to have the accountability of my mistakes.
Even as a senior in high school, I take pride in the discipline I have been taught throughout my dance years. I am responsible, accountable, and determined with my actions due to many of my experiences with dance. Most importantly, the people I surround myself with have never failed to be supportive. Although life is challenging, one must accept the challenge to become successful. Dance shaped me into the young woman that I am today and as I pursue my dance career, I hope to never lose who I am right now.
What is Legacy League?. What are your roles and responsibilities and what do you love most about it? Legacy League is an organization made up of mothers and daughters who work together to fund raise and support philanthropies in our community. Several high school girls and I volunteer at the philanthropies to serve at events, sort and organize donations, and write letters to comfort senior citizens. My favorite philanthropy to volunteer for is iGoPink where we create encouraging cards and gift bags for breast cancer fighters and survivors. I experienced the loss of my aunt to breast cancer last year and started a fund for donations to IGoPink in my aunt’s name. I am very sad to say that IGoPink closed its doors due to the pandemic.
Photography by NA
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? My advice is to put God first in your life. Always stay focused, stay positive even when things are not going well, be dedicated, and don’t let anyone tell you can’t do something. Be true to yourself and not follow others but be lead by your own passion and drive to become who God’s leads you to be.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In five years, I plan to start my professional dance career after completing college. I plan to dance in commercials, movies, television shows, and music videos. My biggest goal is to dance on tour with a major music artist. I love to perform and entertaining a huge audience is the kind of work I want to be doing in my future. I see myself traveling the world doing what I love. Possibly even teaching dance to young dancers who have the same dream as I do.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? My hidden talent is singing. I often break out in song and get weird looks because it is so unexpected to hear such a great voice come out of me. My mom and friends say I will get discovered one day.
Photography by NA
Who do you find inspiring? My mother has always been my biggest advocate throughout my life. I am inspired by her dedication, determination, and optimistic attitude that she puts forth in all situations. Growing up, I have always aspired to be a commercial dancer in California. From an early age, I loved to entertain and perform in front of audiences. My mother has supported me through every dance competition, dance performance, and dance convention. Her love and support have impacted the way I have grown as both a dancer and a person. At late age, my mother went back to college to achieve her goal of a Master's degree. This has shown me the importance of continuing one's dreams until they are met by never giving up. My mother has also shown me what a role model looks like and how I can encourage others to accomplish whatever they desire.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think my passion inspires others. I put my best into everything I do whether it is volunteering, my class work, teaching preschool students, or dancing. I make sure I have done my very best to complete every task with care, dignity, respect, and perseverance. I am a hard worker and I take pride in everything I do. I think others see this and are inspired by it.
Look for Sommer in issue 42 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!