Students dance at Young Actors Guild’s performing arts academy



Many people use dance as a way of expressing themselves and connecting with others. Dancers Chy-Anne Wells (12), Nyla Johnson (12) and Lauren Hunter (11) attend the same local dance studio in the Young Actors Guild. Although they all attend the same studio, each has their own story of how they came to love dance.

“I’ve always had a thing for the performing arts, so given that, we do more than just dance,” Wells said. “I was really interested in it, and I just like having an outlet outside of school activities that I can just go to and be myself freely.” 

While Wells is the last one of the trio to have joined the Young Actors Guild, she always had an interest in performing arts.

“I began dance classes about a year ago,” Wells said. “ Last summer, there was a summer camp program, and I was interested, so my mom signed me up. I joined, and then we have an academy during the school year. I decided to sign up for that as well.” 

The Young Actors Guild does not only offer dance, but also acting, tap-dance, ballet, vocal development, music and many other different genres of the arts. Johnson initially joined the Young Actors Guild to pursue one of the non-dance programs; however, she realized she could use dance as an outlet to express herself. 

“I enjoy being on the stage,” Johnson said. “I came to the company to act and sing, but then our coach got me into dancing, and I just fell in love with it.”

Johnson’s experience with dance began long before she joined this dance studio, but her love for dance further developed once she joined.

“I began dancing with this company around four years ago, but I’ve always been dancing since like age five,” Johnson said. “[The Young Actors Guild] perform on and off for churches and community events.” 

Similar to Johnson, Hunter has been taking dance classes since she was four years old with various programs. Hunter is the oldest studio member out of the three, joining the Youth Actors Guild’s summer camp in the first grade. She then started taking part in their year-long academy in the sixth grade. In addition to this, Hunter is a member of White Station’s color guard and majorettes. 

“I definitely want to open a dance studio and become a dance teacher,” Hunter said. “My favorite dance styles are hip hop, African and contemporary. Although, I love ballet … currently, I’m learning tap.” 

Hunter has already made great strides to make her dream come true, recently being featured as the main character in a film about African American music.

“Two years ago, I was filming a movie in San Antonio Texas with Chronicles of Phoenix … The name of the movie is called “The Quilt,”” Hunter said. “It’s a living history of African American music …”

In addition, Hunter also took part in a music video named “Church” by Evvie McKinney. Church is a song in McKinney’s album, “Love.” Hunter’s role was being part of the church choir in yellow robes. 

“Evvie McKinney is a gospel recording artist,” Hunter said. “She had a song called “Church,” and she was a Young Actors Guild alumni, and she called us to … be a part of her music video.” 

While this trio of dancers all have busy schedules involving extracurriculars and activities outside of school, they still show up and show out at the studio. 

“There’s something about a cold weekend morning, then going to dance that is really fulfilling and refreshing to me,” Hunter said. “Dancing is sort of therapeutic to me.”