Surrounded by an empty studio and watching her every move aptly in the mirror in front of her, sophomore Olivia Throop readies herself into fourth position. With mighty power, she pushes off her back foot, leaps forward, and twirls through the air. She transfers all her power into grace and artfully lands the pirouette on the tips of her toes.
Although this scene might seem like a snippet from The Nutcracker, it’s a daily occurrence for Olivia. Her passion for dance brings her into the studio for over 20 hours every week to work on her technique and skill in preparation for her numerous performances and competitions
Olivia’s story starts twelve years ago when she was just three years old. As a toddler, her mother decided to sign her up for dance as an activity for her. Little did she know, this pastime would develop into a full-blown passion for Olivia.
“When I first started, I was really young and just did it for fun,” Olivia said. “But once I turned six or seven, I started to realized how much I really liked it.”
The bulk of Olivia’s training took place at Ada Dance Academy, where she learned her basics and advanced through dozens of classes. Soon enough, her natural talent truly began to shine through as she explored the dance world and improved her skills.
“I really enjoy it, and it’s usually really great [at Ada Dance Academy],” Olivia said. “Everyone is really supportive of what you do and cheers you on. You become one big family, and everyone becomes connected.”
Olivia dances at Ada Dance Academy for the competition season, but she expanded into performances around six years ago. For the second half of her dance career, Olivia has been dancing with the West Michigan Youth Ballet and performing for hundreds.
“I think my dancing has improved a lot since joining the youth ballet,” Olivia said. “The youth ballet is a much bigger community with dancers that I can interact and dance with from all ages and studios. It really is the full package with costumes, makeup, characters, and four shows.”
Currently, Olivia focuses on ballet dancing but occasionally dances jazz and contemporary as well. In the future, she hopes to continue her dance as a minor in college. However, the strenuous labor that comes with entering the dance industry is deterring her from fully committing to a dance profession in the future.
At the end of the day, no matter where dance takes her in the future, Olivia is grateful that she was able to discover her love for dance. Her enthusiasm for the art will take her far in the dance community and beyond.
“I dance because it really takes my stress away and makes me feel really relaxed and good,” Olivia said. “You get to move to the music however feels right. You get to let your emotions go free when you perform on stage. I just love everything about it.”