Justice Wooden, Class of 2021, is graduating from Charleston County School of the Arts with scholarships to some of the top collegiate dance programs in the nation, including University of Southern California, Point Park University, Marymount Manhattan College, Southern Methodist University, Hartt School, and Texas Christian University.

“These scholarships have created a ton of opportunities to take my dancing to the next level. They make it possible for me to pursue dancing without an overwhelming fear of student debt.”

As part of its Nationals experience, New York City Dance Alliance brings dancers and college/pre-professional program directors together for scholarship auditions. It is an incredible way to help dancers make the transition from competition dance to the pursuit of a career. It is one reason Just Dance! always encourages dancers to attend NYCDA Nationals.

“The NYCDA College Audition program has been so instrumental in aiding dancers looking to pursue dance as an option for college,” explains Lindsey Gentry, Charleston Dance Center co-owner. “Their audition process and the amazing scholarships offers Justice received majorly influenced his college application and audition process in such a positive way because he knew that finding a great dance program wasn’t just a dream, it was a reality. I’m so thankful to NYCDA for providing these opportunities to dancers, and I’m incredibly proud of Justice’s accomplishments. He has a great future ahead of him!!”

In addition to the obvious financial benefits for recipients, it also helps to prepare dancers for the post-high school audition process and to be exposed to top talent from around the country.

Justice says, “Because I have been artistically accepted into these programs, it encourages me to also apply for other rigorous dance programs around the country with more confidence.”

That is exactly what Justice did. He has accepted a full college scholarship to the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and will start in the fall.

In addition to dance college scholarships, Justice also earned a full scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive and a scholarship to the Steps on Broadway Summer Intensive.

2020 was different from previous years because the event was virtual. Dancers took a ballet class followed by a contemporary class led by Desmond Richardson. At the end of both classes dancers learned a combo, ran it a few times, and auditioned in front of the judges panel. After the live auditions were over, dancers filmed audition videos and submitted them online. 

“Overall the NYCDA College Scholarship Audition process was an amazing opportunity and I’m so thankful for NYCDA and my Charleston Dance Center family for preparing me for these auditions!” Justice says.

Hopefully in a few years, we will see Justice dancing with a contemporary company in a larger city.

Currently, Just Dance! alumni are actively pursing dance careers. Jade Boerman (class of 2020) is attending Marymount Manhattan College for dance, Gracen Nelson (class of 2019) is a senior assistant for Intrigue Dance Intensive while attending the College of Charleston, and Abby Haynes (class of 2018) is attending New York University.

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