Sophomore earns dance scholarship

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Boston Dance Photography

Sample, a sophomore, earned a hip-hop scholarship for a Summer program

Maggy Messner, News Editor

As snow gently falls through the crisp winter air, a feeling of confidence within the dancers mirrors the sweet tune of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. As the music builds, the dancers cautiously adjust their detailed costumes, each of which will contribute to the telling of a nearly 200 year-old tale. The meticulously choreographed art provides dancers with enough freedom to convey their individual emotions, while constricting the ballerinas to following the classical Yuletide storyline that millions of people flock to see each year. With the thundering strike of a drum, and the gentle hum of a flute, Revere High School sophomore Alaina Sample gently chasses onto the stage where she has danced for more than a decade.

Although Sample started dancing many years ago, her passion and devotion to dance has only grown as she continues to excel at the sport, earning herself a scholarship from the Broadway Dance Center in New York.

With the classic purr of “Trepak,” or the “Russian Party Song,” Sample enters the scene as a Party Boy. Although she has been dancing since 2010, her favorite show remains The Nutcracker, which she has performed in for the past few years. Beyond allowing creative expression, the performing arts have additionally given Sample many new skills.

“Dance has taught me many things, including patience, self discipline, and time management skills. It has also created many amazing friendships,” Sample said.

In addition to ballet, Sample also participates in many other styles of dance including tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, hip-hop and even takes choreography classes. Through these various styles of dance, she has participated in shows such as Cinderella, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland— each providing a unique opportunity and experience. Although each individual style and show has its benefits, Sample’s favorite remains ballet, especially because of The Nutcracker, a show she dances in every year.

“I really like ballet . . . I think it’s really pretty and I like doing it [ballet] too. It can be really hard, but I like the look of it, and it’s fun for me to do,” Sample said.

Each character that the dancer must portray provides an opportunity for Sample to adapt to and illustrate the emotions of the persona which she has taken the role of. Fellow dancer Sarah Carpenter has known Sample for many years. Carpenter elaborated on Sample’s clear distinction from other dancers.

“One thing that makes her unique from other dancers is the character she puts into her performances. Whether it be on stage or in the classroom, she always has the perfect personality for the role she is playing,” Carpenter said.
Alaina’s devotion to dance has provided her with many opportunities. During the summer of 2019, she received the opportunity to dance for the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, where she later received a hip-hop scholarship to spend the summer of 2020. Sample explained what this opportunity meant to her.

“We had guest teachers come in last summer and [focus on] styles we don’t do as often. We did hip-hop, jazz, musical theater and other genres, and I got a scholarship to dance at Broadway dance center for my performance in [hip-hop]. I got a week of classes there for free in New York, which would have been fun, but unfortunately I didn’t get to do it because of Coronavirus. It’s still an honor,” Sample said.

As Sample mainly focuses on Ballet, she was surprised to find she had received the award in hip-hop.

“I was really shocked and honored to win the scholarship, as I usually excel the most at ballet. I am very thankful for my teachers and friends at Cleveland Ballet Conservatory, and I am excited to have more amazing memories in the future,” Sample said.

Sample currently dances for the Cleveland Ballet Conservatory, but has also spent time at summer programs ArtÉmotion and Mercyhurst Dance Experience. While participating in ArtÉmotion, she worked with the ballet company, Ballet West, for two weeks and ultimately put on the show Coppelia.

Sample’s hard work and dedication translates beyond dance. The sophomore additionally participates in both indoor and outdoor track, and is a member of the Revere Marching band, where she plays the piccolo and the flute. She also is a member of Class Council and International club. Participating in so many activities forces her to stay hardworking and motivated in what she does. Carpenter further explained how Sample’s dedication translates into school.

“Alaina is so hardworking, and is motivated not just in dance, but in everything she does. She is always trying new tricks the teachers show us that day, even if she isn’t perfect at it at first. Once she gets the move down, she works toward the next one,” Carpenter said.

Sample’s dedication to dance leads her to excel at the sport. Fellow Cleveland Ballet Conservatory dancer Riya Mathur explained what Sample is like as a dancer.

“Alaina has always been extremely dedicated to dance and even when she was younger she had a drive that was unmatched by anyone else around her,” Mathur said.

As the dramatic finale of The Nutcracker fades away, a sense of relief floods the dancers. Dancing allows for the culmination of their hard work to be displayed in an elegant fashion, while portraying an important story. Sample happily celebrates the show with her friends and blissfully looks forward to the next show. The dancers have honored Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece once again, and with the final hum of the song, the happy audience confirms the dancers’ job well done.