Dancing on – Dallas ISD hosts summer dance intensive


A lifelong dancer who bounced back from an injury, Riah H. understands what it’s like to start over. 

“I never really got back out there, so I had to start from the beginner level,” she said. “That was very humbling for me, and I learned a lot. I exceeded so much in my journey, and I had to come back down and start over.”

The rising senior at North Dallas High School was one of the dozens of Dallas ISD students who spent their first few days of summer break participating in a dance intensive at W.T. White High School.

Open to all levels, the intensive featured lessons in ballet, jazz, musical theater, and modern dance. Participants were also taught how to improv a performance and they showcased what they learned with each other as audience members.

Kamila V., an eighth-grader at W.H. Gaston Middle School, said participating in the dance intensive combines two of her favorite things: dancing and being around people.

“Dancing is something I started doing with my friends, and I ended up liking it a lot,” she said. “Here, I get to socialize with my friends, meet new people, and improve my technique.”

It also serves as a way to stay active over the summer, she added.

“I probably wouldn’t have done anything else, but stay home,” Kamila said.

Her go-to styles of dance are jazz and lyrical, and she’s even performed a lyrical solo.

A self-proclaimed “hip-hop girlie,” Riah remembers always being drawn to that dance style.

“It’s the speed, the energy, the tricks you can do, and the technique,” Riah said. “No one really knows about the technique with hip-hop because it looks like we’re just doing a lot of big movements. But it’s in there, and it’s critical.”

Camila T., a sixth-grader at Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard, discovered her love of dance at 8 years old when she joined a dance club at her previous school.

“I’ve always wanted to dance, and I felt like I finally had a chance to,” she said. “I was so excited.”

Camila, who wants to attend Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, especially enjoys jazz and contemporary dance styles.

“Jazz is fun. It makes me happy,” she said. “Sometimes when I do contemporary, it connects with me, and I like that feeling.”

In fact, the shared connection with her peers is Camila’s takeaway from her experience at the dance intensive.

“My favorite part of the camp is meeting people and connecting with them about how much we love dance,” Camila said.

A member of the North Dallas High School dance team, Riah’s advice to dancers younger than her is to just go for it.

“Don’t be in your head. A lot of the work is you just doing it. Believe in yourself and keep trying,” Riah said. “You’re going to mess up because that’s a part of it. But you have to know when to get up and keep going.”

It’s a sentiment Camila shares.

“Even though it’s a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of movement, don’t give up. Keep moving forward,” she said. 


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