CHS student Julia Cleary dances through life


By: Patrick Coveny, Spring Reporter

For many students attending Colonia High School, having a talent is an essential part of life. For Julia Cleary, dancing is in her blood. Since a very young age, Cleary has been enrolled in ballet classes, and over time, she’s refined her skills, and blossomed into a gifted, versatile performer.

“I’ve always wanted to dance ever since I discovered it when I was a toddler,” Cleary comments. While her parents dreamed their child would be athletic, and possibly play softball, they were instead blessed with a child-dance prodigy. When she was six, Cleary’s father finally let in and allowed her to pursue her dream.

Her very first sign of ballet interest came at the age of three, when Cleary pleaded with her parents to buy her an at-home ballet class video-tape. Soon, the balletist was dancing almost daily and had successfully convinced her parents to enroll her in a professional class. Since then, the dancefloor has been her refuge.

“I was a competitive dancer from the ages of ten to fourteen,” Cleary says, “ I have received many awards for solos and group dances from my dance studio.” Although she no longer competes, Cleary dances ballet at any chance she can, and holds many fond memories of her time in competitions.

The key to being successful in ballet, she says, as with any talent, is practice. Even when tired or having a rough day, Cleary practiced her steps and routines to the point of exhaustion. This incessant training eventually paid off as Cleary is now at her most flexible and performing the most difficult numbers.

Ballet classes are seen as beneficial in many ways to all students and young-adults. Learning dance has an enormous amount of educational value. For Cleary, it has taught her a lesson in confidence, and made her more outgoing and sociable. The skills she’s learned in ballet class have helped her perform better in Colonia theatre productions.

The dancer now stands at a pivotal moment in her life, with college looming and adulthood just around the corner. Because she followed her passion for dance, Cleary has been asked on several occasions to attend master classes with professional dancers. Some of the awards she has won for dance excellence have been in the form of scholarships. Dance has opened an incredible amount of future opportunities for Cleary.

“ “It’s never too late to start dancing…I know so many people who start taking classes in their late teens or even as an adult,” Cleary says. She has the hope that many teens will take up dancing and reap its benefits, as she has. Although she is excelling with her talent on a level she never imagined, Cleary remains humble:

“The quality of a dancer is not measured by how flexible they are, but by how passionate they are about their art.”