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Zoey Anderson Is a Role Model for Comp Kids

Zoey Anderson with Justus Whitfield of Parsons Dance; photo by Lois Greenfield, courtesy of Parsons Dance

Zoey Anderson is the role model competition kids need today. As trends for the rising generation move more toward versatility and comprehensive training, 25-year-old Anderson is a professional who actually has been able to do it all. While training at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, Utah, in ballroom, ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop, she flew back and forth to L.A. for gigs like the Macy's Passport Fashion Show, a Pepsi One commercial and the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Always a ballroom competitor, in 2010 she became the Ballroom National Smooth Champion.

After high school she moved to New York City and honed her classical and concert skills at Marymount Manhattan College. After graduating, she joined Parsons Dance, where she's performed professionally ever since. In 2018 she was nominated for the Outstanding Performer Bessie Award.

On doing it all "From the time I was 10 years old, I knew my main goal was to end up in New York City, either in a company or on Broadway. Of course, at my competition studio in Utah, those weren't the opportunities that were available to me—ballroom and commercial gigs were. I'm the type of person who gets completely wrapped up in whatever they're doing. I can't help but love where I am at any given moment. I've always understood that the more styles you know, the more you have under your belt to offer an employer. I've made sacrifices in order to pursue multiple avenues of the dance world. At the end of it all, I've just enjoyed the journey."

On her plans for the future "I'm definitely going to stay within the concert world for as long as possible. I want to do it until my body says I can't anymore. I could see myself pursuing certain Broadway or commercial opportunities down the road that aren't as time-consuming or taxing on the body. I'm hoping to get a master's and then teach in a university setting. My college years were so important for me in terms of finding myself as a dancer, and I want to be that kind of support to others. It's humbling to give back after everything that I have been given in my life. "

On what she wishes the rising generation of comp kids understood "There are endless possibilities. It's about showing up, doing your best, putting yourself out there and taking risks. Expose yourself to as much as possible. The connections you make will be hugely beneficial to you. There will be auditions and opportunities that you'll be tempted to skip because they are different than your end goal. Don't do that. Don't limit yourself to one Broadway show or one company or one artist. Go for everything you possibly can. Each job is a stepping-stone closer to your dream—or even, something else that's better altogether. Lastly, the comp world is not the end-all/be-all. It's a learning experience. Don't think your placement at a competition defines your future. I can't tell you how many times I came in as first runner-up, and yet here I am."

The Conversation
Dance Teacher Tips
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James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

A productive class depends, in part, on how well it is paced. If you move too slow, you risk losing students' interest and creating unwanted heaviness. Move too fast and dancers might not fully benefit from combinations or get sufficiently warm, increasing their risk of injury. But even these guidelines may differ depending on the students' age and level. Good pacing is a delicate balance that can facilitate mental and physical growth, but it requires good planning, close observation and the ability to adapt mid-class.

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Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

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At Dance Teacher Web's Conference and Expo, attendees will spend July 29–August 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada learning everything from new teaching methods to studio management software. And as if the dance and business seminars weren't enough, participants can also choose from three certifications to earn during the conference to help expand their expertise, generate new revenue and set their studios apart:

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David Galindo Photography

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Studio Owners
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Courtesy of Roxey Ballet

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To Share With Students
Shared via Dance Teacher Network Facebook

I'm a part of a popular group on Facebook called Dance Teacher Network which consists of dance teachers across the country discussing and sharing information on all things dance. Yesterday morning, I spotted a photo shared in the group of four smiling young boys in a dance studio. And I couldn't help but smile to myself and think, "Wow, I never had that...that's pretty damn amazing."

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Studio Owners
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Q: How can I improve my pointed feet?

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Just for fun
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Did you know there is an annual contest in which scientists turn their PhD research into dance? Well there is, and it's even better than you're imagining! I mean, honestly, if our grade-school science teachers had us turn our schoolwork into dances, we may have enjoyed chemistry a bit more 🤣.

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