Dreams, dedication, and drive for dance


Courtesy of Katelyn Cummings

Senior Katelyn Cummings rehearses solo in a dance studio to breakdown each movement.

Arushi Gupta, Staff Writer

She started at the age of three, aspiring to be a ballerina. Throughout elementary and middle school, tutus and ballet shoes were just a hobby. But in eighth grade, it got serious. In eighth grade, senior Katelyn Cummings realized that dance was her calling.

“When I first started, it was kind of just fun, but then as I kind of developed, I saw the older girls and how happy they were and how the teams were such a family,” Katelyn said. “I just really wanted that.”

For the last seven years since eighth grade, Katelyn has dedicated herself to dance. At KJ Dance in Plano she dances close to 30 hours during the week, and during the weekends, she practices for nearly 14 hours.

“Nothing else makes me feel like dancing does,” Katelyn said.“[I feel] free, one with myself and who I am and with the world, I guess.”

The dream of becoming a professional dancer fuels Katelyn’s drive to practice her artform.

“My passion, the way it makes me feel and looking into the future and seeing success–  that makes me work hard now,” Katelyn said. “Even if I don’t want to work hard, if I’m tired, I still do because I know it’ll pay off.”

Katelyn has tried several styles of dance and has grown particularly fond of ballet and contemporary. In order to continue dancing Katelyn has made several sacrifices to be able to balance academics and dance.

“It’s very hard to manage, but it’s possible with scheduling, planning ahead, and being on top of things,” Katelyn said. “I can’t slack off and sleep is not really a thing. I’ve definitely given up my social life, which I’m completely fine with because when you commit to something you kind of have to give a little.”

Despite facing challenges such as scheduling issues and getting a stress fracture in her lower back her freshman year, Katelyn has pursued dance.

“A couple years ago, I went through a phase where I was a little burnt out, but it passed,” Katelyn said. “I’m not really sure how I got through it. In the moment it seems like it’s not going to end and that I don’t want to do this anymore, but I got through it with other people’s help and self-help.”

Throughout Katelyn’s dance career, she has received support from her parents and her dance company. Her parents attend her performances and conventions, make sure she has everything required for her performances (such as her dance shoes), and provide encouragement.

“[We let] her attend a two-week program in New York this past summer,” Stacie Cummings, Katelyn’s mom, said. “She had won a scholarship to the program, but it was very hard for me as a mom to leave her in a dorm-type setting in New York basically by herself.  We are very proud of her hard work and dedication to something she is so passionate about.”

Katelyn plans on attending college for dance, with her number one choice being the Purchase College campus of the State University of New York. Once she’s finished performing, she plans on choreographing.

“I don’t want it just to be a static legacy,” Katelyn said. “I want collaboration, and I want it to go on. Accepting other people’s artistry and joining them together.”