By Eliza Carlton, Staff Writer
As a senior, balancing one’s school and social life can be difficult, especially when you also have to fit in eight to ten hours of dance a week. However, Reynolds student Dani Gross, rises to the challenge.
“I have danced for about 10 years because I started at the age of seven. I started dancing because I wanted to show off my split and wear pretty costumes,” Gross said.
Although she first wanted to pursue dance for the attention and the outfits, Gross’s passion for dance grew to became an crucial part of her life. Gross began dancing at Inmotion Dance Studio before moving from Triple Threat to Ballet and Performing Arts Center, and then to the Wake Forest ballet, and finally to Advance Dance Studio.
“My favorite style of dance is lyrical because my movements are very flowy and free for all. I want to inspire other dancers through my performances to be their own person and to be comfortable with their own work,” Gross said.
Gross has performed nearly every form of dance there is, and she plans on using her favorite types of dance to encourage others to tell their story through their performance.
“Dance is a physical way of portraying art or a story. It is how you make that story help someone figure out who they are as an artist. I would like to inspire other dancers to be their own person and to be comfortable with their own work,” Gross said.
Younger students on the Dancing Boots at RJR, which Dani is a member of, look up to Gross because of her passion for dance and her kindness towards fellow classmates. Dani is a leader both inside and outside of the studio.
“Dani has great stage presence. Her love for dance and her personality make her a great performer. She was one of my very first friends on boots and she definitely helped my transition to Reynolds while making me feel welcome and more comfortable on the team,” sophomore Chelsea Hignite said. “I genuinely look up to her. She is so nice and an awesome person to be around, and she has great technique.”
Her dance teachers agree that Gross is a dependable role model for younger peers in her classes.
“Dani is always helpful in class when somebody is struggling. She is constantly stepping up to help them,” dance teacher Amelia Hailey said.
Although continuing dance past high school is definitely in Gross’s future, her goal is not to be a professional dancer. Instead, she wants to help other aspiring dancers discover the same love for performing that she found.
Once she graduates from Reynolds, Gross has no intentions of pursuing a professional career in dance. Instead, she wants to continue dancing throughout college and eventually help out at a studio or become a nutritionist for a ballet company.
Whatever she decides, there’s no doubt that Gross has contributed to the arts programs at Reynolds, and she will continue to inspire other for years to come.
Photo from RJR Black & Gold