Life as a Dancer


Melanie Thomas, Reporter

Olivia Burton (‘19), the Colonial Forge Dance Team captain, has had a passion for dance since she was one and a half years old. Her dream has always been to make a living in the professional dance world as a backup and Broadway dancer. She works hard toward that dream, spending about 42 hours per week dancing (not including competitions, conventions, and recitals).

Her household was centered around dance and sports. At a young age she would watch her sister dance which enhanced her passion for dance. She also played soccer during this stage of her life, but eventually gave up playing to focus solely on dance.

“After quitting soccer I put my all into the dance studio and working on my craft. I don’t know if I would be where I am now if I hadn’t quit soccer and as much as I miss it I’m grateful that it gave me the chance to pursue my dream.” Olivia said.

Throughout the years, she’s acquired many different titles at several different competitions.

“I’ve won Petite Miss Dance Explosion, Junior Miss Dance Explosion, Junior Miss Star Power, Junior Miss World Class, Teen Miss World Class, Teen Miss Star Power, Senior Miss Dance Explosion, Senior Miss West Coast Dance Explosion, and Senior Miss World Class,” she said.

Olivia has an extensive support system that has helped through the journey and will continue to as her dance career evolves.

“My mother, my sister, my brothers, my best friend, my best friend’s mom, my aunt, my cousins, my dance studio, and my dance team all support me and want me to succeed,” Olivia says.

With the support she receives and years of dedication, she’s been able to attend many notable conventions and has won awards recognizing her dance skills.

“I go to dance conventions yearly, and I assist for WILD [a dance intensive/convention]. I’ve also won scholarships. I actually got a scholarship for Pace University from DMI, and I got a scholarship to Millennium a few weeks ago at Groove Dance Competition, and a scholarship to their nationals,” she said.

Olivia has applied to Pace University in New York City, Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey and was accepted into all three.

“All schools I applied for include skill building, performance opportunities, and post college prep. They allow you to create and innovate through their programs,” she said.

In the end, Olivia chose Pace as her future college because of the many opportunities and variety of classes it provides.

“At my top school, Pace, dance students undergo conservatory style training alongside a liberal arts education. This school offers ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, tap, theater dance, aerial arts, choreography, and more. Pace also allows us students to travel to Los Angeles to study dance and choreography,” Olivia stated.

However, before she embarks on her college journey, she wants take a year off to travel via cruise ship, dancing while aboard, and teaching dance classes whenever she can.