Dancing Queen

Sydney Simons, Cub Reporter

PORTLAND– After seeing an advertisement for “Shake It Up” on YouTube while perusing the internet four years ago, 14-year-old Zoe Kersten decided to take up dancing, an activity lots of people do for fun, but not everyone takes it as seriously as she does.

“I’m at dance for 10 hours each week,” said Kersten. “I do hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theater, and I am on a competitive team.” With dance 10 hours each week and school 35 hours a week, Kersten still manages to uphold a 4.0 as a freshman at Cleveland High School in Sellwood.

Due to the fact that she started with hip-hop, it gave her a great base and the opportunity to expand into various other types of dance.

“I love dancing because I forget about everything else except music and counts, and I think it’s the greatest way for me to express my emotions it’s really healing.” said Kersten.

As all high schoolers do, Kersten says she has many stressors and emotions, and appreciates the fact that she can put them into her dancing, in one way or another.

“Performing makes me happier than anything else in the world, the way I feel when I get on stage is one of the best things I’ve ever felt,” said Kersten. “It sounds really cheesy but when I dance I can’t imagine doing anything else except for this.”

She has been to six competitions over the course of two years since she joined the competitive team at her dance studio, Independent Dance Project.

At her first competition, two and a half years ago her team was only five people, which has now doubled. She was very nervous and the fact that she forgot her shoes made it even worse.

“I sprinted out to the lobby but couldn’t find my mum with my bag, so I ran back to the stage and started freaking out because we had a turn sequence and I was barefooted,” said Kersten.

Luckily, she said everything ended up being fine. She danced without them and landed all of her turns.

“A couple of hours later I remember at awards we were all talking about how we probably won’t even place because this was our first competition and there were so many good dances and then we ended up winning our division and getting a Judge’s Choice Award.” said Kersten.

After high school, she said she would love to be a dance teacher or coach, but she’s also very interested in cardio-thoracic surgery and sports medicine. She also thinks it would be cool to be a physical therapist for athletes because she wants to be able to help other dancers be able to keep doing what they want to do.

“I know that a very low percentage of dancers go pro, so I would honestly be perfectly happy just teaching and passing this onto other students” she said. “I do hope that I have or will inspire other people to dance, knowing that someone was inspired by my passion or skill enough to dance too would be an incredible feeling.”