Artist of the Week: Ava Kemp with the St. Augustine Dance Conservatory

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Ava Kemp as Snow Queen in the Nutcracker with the St. Augustine Dance Conservatory. Contributed photo

Ava Kemp is Artist of the Week, a ballet dancer with the St. Augustine Dance Conservatory. Read more about her below. She will be performing in Cinderella, on stage at 7 p.m. May 28, and at 2 p.m. May 29 in  Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., downtown St. Augustine. For tickets, go to danceSADC.com

Question: When did you begin dancing?

Answer: I began dancing when I was four, but only danced for two years. Then I started training in classical ballet when I was eight, after my sister started to dance. I didn’t take dance seriously until a few years ago when I realized how much dance meant to me and how important it was in my life.

Question: What are some of your favorite roles?

Answer: Some of my favorite roles have been Snow Queen in the Nutcracker, Flounder in the Little Mermaid, and in our upcoming show, Cinderella, I play the Spring Fairy. However, my most memorable role was when I was chosen to play the role of Dona Antonia, in last year’s spring ballet celebrating St. Augustine’s 450th.

Question: What dancer inspires you?

Answer: Misty Copeland, who is the first African-American dancer with the American Ballet Theater to be promoted to principle dancer. She came from a lower-class family and couldn’t afford dance classes so she took her first class at her local Boys and Girls club. Copeland has overcome every obstacle since, and is just such an inspiring person to anyone. She proved that if your try hard enough you will succeed.

Also, I am very fortunate to have my teachers at the St. Augustine Dance Conservatory who are fantastic role models that are always so motivating and encouraging.

Question: What do you enjoy most about dancing?

Answer: I love the feeling of individuality in dance. I can go to the studio and not really focus on anything else. I love that when I have a stressful day at school, I can go to the studio and focus on myself and my dancing. When I dance, I feel eager to learn new steps, and I love the feeling when I go onstage. I also love that I can express my emotions through movement. I can tell stories with my dancing, which I think is a wonderful gift that many don’t get the chance to experience.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answer: In five years, I hope that I will still be dancing. I plan to dance through college and perhaps minor in dance. I have considered dancing professionally or training to become a dance teacher, but I am still unsure about what I want to do.

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