Charleston Dance Center congratulates the Class of 2022: Claire Teed, Lana Baird, and Savannah Rose. Each of these Charleston Dance Center seniors took a different path with dance.
Lana has danced at the studio for 12 years, always a Just Dancer. She says, “Just Dance! is a family that will be a part of your life forever. The hard work that you put in not only reflects on you as a dancer, but you as a human being.”
Claire joined Just Dance! at a young age, but then decided to focus on classes. She says, “There seems to be a trend at the studio that leaving team equates leaving the studio. CDC is my home away from home, despite not competing.”
Finally, Savannah came to the studio as a high schooler. She has excelled in her years as a Just Dancer, being named an ACE with National Dance Honors and earning thousands of scholarship dollars.
Next year, Claire and Lana will be attending the University of South Carolina and majoring in exercise science. Lana plans to double major in dance with a focus on performance and choreography.
Savannah will be attending the CLI Conservatory, a nine-month training program designed to prepare students to enter the professional world of dance. While in New England, Savannah will train six days a week with teachers she has looked up to her entire time as a competitive dancer.
Q: What is your favorite dance memory?
Claire: It’s hard to pick just one, but Ms. Andrea making me scream during class is definitely up there. I was a timid and anxious 12-year-old, and I let my perfectionistic mindset hide my genuine personality. Yelling in the middle of ballet was awkward at that time, but now I do it every class! Guess I grew from it???
Lana: My favorite Just Dance! memory is going to Folly Beach as a team to paint the Folly Beach Boat for Ms. Kim.
Savannah: Well, this one is hard because most of the time that I am around these dancers, it is my favorite but, I really loved a couple weeks ago when we spent the day at one of the younger dancer’s houses just having so much fun swimming, sliding down water slides, and eating pizza. It is my favorite because recently, all I have been thinking about is how stressful graduating and moving on is, but when I got just one day to be with the dancers, I could not have been happier. They remind me why I do what I do. They remind me why I put so much of my blood, sweat, and tears into what I do every single day. I fight for these girls so much. Their happiness is my everything and to be honest, I am not sure how I will cope when I am alone and off on my own transferring into the next big step of my life. This one carefree day with this big family that has grown to love every single part of me has reminded me that whenever I come back come, they will always open their arms for me.
Q: What is your most embarrassing dance memory?
Claire: My most embarrassing dance memory is *letting out some gas* during a fairly serious conversation during ballet. It was at the beginning of seventh grade, and I had just started taking class with the seniors.
Lana: My most embarrassing dance memory was in hip hop class this year, we were working on a lift, where I was on she shall who not be named shoulders and I got dropped on the wood floor. I was hysterically crying worried about my butt being numb, turns out I fractured my wrist instead.
Savannah: My most embarrassing memory from being at Just Dance! has to be when I tore my meniscus at Jump Dance Convention. I was in the back of the teen room trying to learn a Lex combo which, as most dancers know, is hard. I went to do this one trick over my knee and completely kicked my leg so hard I fell. I thought at first that it was just the hard concrete floor that made the fall hurt so bad but.. it was actually me tearing a part of my knee (that I probably need). That was very embarrassing but, now that I think about it, it was more embarrassing when I was leaving the stage on crutches after surprisingly still getting a scholarship. Leilah was right behind me, as well as an entire team of Columbia City Jazz girls and I completely tripped over all the backstage wires. It has got to be one of the funniest things to look back at, but at the time I have never been so mad at Leilah for literally standing there laughing her lungs to dust while I could not stand up. Now that was quite embarrassing.
Q: What is your advice for younger dancers?
Claire: Take ballet and work smart! Being a hard worker is not as productive as being a smart worker. You could be working the wrong muscles!
Lana: My advice to the Just Dance! minis is no matter what happens, know that the friends that you make now will be with you forever.
Savannah: Never forget where you came from or who helped you get there. I know there are so many of you guys that want to be dancers when you are older, and it is okay if that want changes anytime in the future. Dance will always be a part of you and you should never forget that. Dance teaches you manners, appreciation, courage, and so much more. So, all I can say to you guys is to never forget your past and to never give up. I cannot wait to watch you guys grow.
Q: What is your advice to older dancers?
Claire: Don’t be so afraid to take risks! I am the first one to own up to being a timid dancer as a junior, and I’m also the first one to tell you that worrying so much about what your peers and teachers think of you is not worth it. I do not mean that you should be disrespectful, but rather that you cannot constantly be looking for approval. You must have intrinsic motivation, or you’ll get a few years older and be completely burned out.
Lana: My advice to the Just Dance! juniors is to trust yourself, listen to your mom, and do not be afraid to grow.
Savannah: You guys are training to be the people that the younger kids look up to. I need you guys to find a way to be your strongest selves no matter what when you are around younger dancers. They look up to you guys and you can’t forget that, especially if they are in your presence. You guys now hold a huge responsibility. You guys have the strength to carry these younger girls in your hands and arms when their parents are not around so never lack effort.
Q: What was your favorite dance costume?
Claire: My favorite dance costume was our senior ballet for recital in 2018, because it was my first time wearing a tutu! I still have it somewhere… probably in the black hole that is my closet.
Lana: My favorite Just Dance! costume was a junior musical theatre competition piece, “Can’t Stop Talking About Them”, the open back, feathers, and gold stones were so fun to wear on stage.
Savannah: My favorite costume is “Dead Hearts,” from my first year as a Just Dancer. I was so thankful to be put in that dance for their last year doing it, and on top of it the costumes were so pretty.
Q: What was your least favorite dance costume?
Claire: My least favorite dance costume was our Matilda musical theater dance. There were so many pieces to it, and the sweaters were hot and itchy!
Lana: My least favorite Just Dance costume was one of my junior solo costumes “Egyptian Lover”, I actually loved the costume, it was more of the head piece I had to wear. We had to glue it to my head and use about a bottle of hairspray.
Savannah: My least favorite costume is “Lost It To Trying.” The dance was so amazing but the costumes… oh god. I have never felt more masculine in my life. They also had a pattern on them that made me feel like I was breaking out of jail. It was not AT ALL what I was looking for.