After a knee injury forced me to retire from a professional dance career two years ago, I accepted an offer to direct my own preprofessional ballet program, Ballet Academy North. It is housed alongside a competition based dance program at The Dance Academy, in Austin, Texas. It was there I first saw 11 year old Alycia Williams in a Hip Hop class and learned her incredible story. My eye went directly to her. She was a teeny tiny girl, but with fierce passion, strength, and a very natural ability to dance. She moved with incredible musicality, ease, precision, and with a huge smile on her face that can only come from doing something you truly love. I will never forget that smile, that infectious giggle.
Alycia’s supreme work ethic and versatility, have allowed her to stand out in every class she takes, hip hop, contemporary, jazz, ballet and pointe. Alycia is at the studio every day, not only working hard in her own classes, but assisting with the younger ones, always humble and gracious, willing to lend a helping hand to anyone. She is role model not only in her dancing, but in her demeanor, in her generous heart. She is special and rare. She has not only the potential to be a professional dancer, but the potential to be a star. She is a member of the Ballet Academy North pre-professional ballet company, as well as The REALM Hip Hop Company, with which she performed in a music video to promote higher education. Alycia has beautifully arched feet and a petite, toned body, excellent for all forms of dance. She is a “jane of all trades,” flowing effortlessly from fluid contemporary movement to the sharp, strong movements of her hip hop training, and executing strength, grace and ease in her ballet. She can turn for days, and has a powerful jump, excelling especially in the precision of her petite allegro. Her genuine artistic presence is rare for someone so young, and you cannot help but gravitate to her. She placed in the top ranks in Houston at The Youth America Grand Prix Competition for her vivacious portrayal in the Kitri Act 1 solo, as well as her contemporary solo, Killer Legs, in addition to winning every local competition she attends, as well as standout awards and scholarships. Alycia was accepted into every ballet program she has tried out for, including American Ballet Theatre NYC, Boston Ballet, School of American Ballet, The Rock School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Cincinnati Ballet Academy, and Houston Ballet, where she attended last summer. She performed the role of Odile in Ballet Academy North’s production of Swan Lake and also the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy in Ballet Academy North’s production of The Nutcracker. She will perform the role of Aurora this spring in Ballet Academy North’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. She has recently been chosen as a finalist for the Brown Girls Do Ballet Jr. Ambassador Program.
After speaking with the owner of the studio, Maria Sorensen, about more opportunities for Alycia and her potential for a bright future in dance, if it was indeed what she wanted, I learned that Alycia’s mother, Toshia, was not well. In addition to having Krohn’s disease, she had recently beat brain cancer. Maria let me know that the Williams family struggled a great deal financially, and that she too, personally covered any costs she could for Alycia, as she knew Alycia was not only deserving, but the family could not afford it.
Toshia is still struggling with many serious medical conditions and needs multiple costly treatments. Alycia’s father, Alvin, works two jobs, but with medical bills piling up, and a family to support (they have two other children) things are still incredibly difficult. Alycia has worked tirelessly training and rehearsing, and is in need of funding for required dance activities that her full tuition scholarship does not cover. These costs include but are not limited to; dress code requirements, leotards, tights, pointe shoes, costumes, competition fees, and audition fees. Competing and auditioning allow Alycia opportunities to not only refine her performance skills, but also enable her to win more scholarship money and gain the necessary exposure to move forward on her path to becoming a professional.
Maria and I have done everything we can, paying for anything we can out of our own pockets. Maria has her on full scholarship at the studio. I give her private lessons for free and I have paid for her to compete, as well as audition for multiple preprofessional ballet schools, but it is now that I am asking for your help, your generosity to donate to this GoFundME, so that we may fund Alycia and give her every opportunity that she deserves. I do not want her to miss out on her future in dance because of the unfortunate financial circumstances her family has faced, on top of dealing with her mother’s illness. I would not be where I am today without generous financial support and scholarships and it is my time to give back. No amount is too small, and every little bit helps. You have the opportunity to make someones dream come true. I sincerely hope you take the time to donate to whatever you can to The Dance Academy/Ballet Academy North so that we may allocate these funds in support of this incredible child. Please forward this on to anyone else who would be interested in helping.
Ballet Academy North Director