Beating Senioritis

(courtesy Thinkstock)

It doesn’t seem like it now, but spring is right around the corner. And once college applications are in, it might not feel like a big deal to let your academic performance slip. After all, the hard part’s over, right?

Think again. “Most, if not all, colleges and universities require submission of and consider final grades,” says Donna Mattiello, director of academics at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Torrington, CT. Here are three reasons to continue to shine during your final semester of high school, even when you’re feeling the effects of senioritis.

Focus Forward (But Not Too Far Forward)

Dancers are known for their strong work ethic and desire to succeed. But after the mental, emotional and financial strain of SATs, college applications, essay writing and auditions, try reinvigorating your focus rather than letting yourself drift into daydreams of freshman year. “Do you have an end-of-year performance to look forward to?” asks Mary Lisa Burns, dean of dance at New World School of the Arts College in Miami, FL. If not, consider organizing one yourself, as a celebration of your friendships and growth throughout high school.

“Graduating high school seniors deserve to enjoy the time they have left in school,” Mattiello says. “But make sure to always get your schoolwork done before socializing.” These skills, she adds, will carry over to college and benefit you during your undergraduate career.

Academics Are Always Important

High school students planning to study dance in college need to stay focused on two levels: artistic and academic. “It’s tempting to think of academics as running in the background,” Mattiello says. “But your career could be on the line if the school rescinds its offer due to bad grades.” She suggests thinking about academic success as an important element of a performance career.

If you take advanced placement classes, or other classes that can be transferred for college credit, declining grades can jeopardize your ability to use the credits as a head start on your undergrad requirements. “At the New World School of the Arts High School, classes can count for both high school and college,” Burns says. “So it’s vital to keep those grades up!”

First Impressions Matter

If the college you’re planning to attend notices a significant decline in your final-semester grades, there are various ways it can respond. “The school might send a letter

requesting the student to provide an explanation, and the letter could become part of the student’s permanent academic record,” Mattiello says. “Admissions might also notify appropriate faculty so that the student is carefully watched as an incoming freshman. And, it is possible that admission might be revoked.” Your first few weeks of college should be fun and exploratory, not full of worry that the dance department faculty already knows your name from your records.

Latest Posts


Trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey in his work Boys in Trouble (Keegan Marling, courtesy Sean Dorsey Dance)

8 Phenomenal Trans and GNC Dancers to Follow

Whether through color-specific costumes, classes separated by sex, or the "traditional" view of the roles boys and girls should play in ballet, most dance students are taught that their gender determines their role in the studio beginning in elementary school. And, especially for those struggling with their own gender identity, that can cause harm and confusion. "From a very young age, I did not see myself reflected anywhere in the modern dance field," says trans dancer, choreographer, and activist Sean Dorsey. "There was a really intense message I received, which was that my body and identity don't have a place here."

Despite significant societal progress in regards to gender representation, the dance world has trailed behind, and many transgender and gender nonconforming teenagers still feel lost within the world of dance. Prominent trans and GNC professional dancers are few and far between. "Being a Black trans woman means I have to work extra, extra, extra hard, because I have to set the tone for the people who come after me," says Brielle "Tatianna" Rheames, a distinguished voguer.

But the rise of social platforms has given Rheames, Dorsey, and other trans and GNC dancers a path to visibility—and that visibility helps create community and change lives. "Social media plays an extremely big part," Rheames says. "You can't just hide us anymore." Here are eight incredible trans and GNC dancers to add to your own Instagram feed.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search