Dancing in the Big ApplePublished 11:56am Monday, October 8, 2012
By Seth Johnson
The empire city, the city that never sleeps, the greatest city in the world. New York City and Fergus Falls couldn’t be more different, but one Fergus Falls graduate’s dream of becoming a professional dancer has taken her to the big apple.
“It can be an intimidating place, but I love it,” Amanda Lewis said.
Lewis graduated from Fergus Falls Public High School in 2008 before attending the University of Minnesota for dance. Over the summer, she went to New York City for a six-week intensive at the Alvin Ailey dance school in Midtown Manhattan.
“I felt like I needed more training if I went into performing,” Lewis said.
While she was at the school, Lewis decided to audition to get into the program for the school year, and Alvin Ailey accepted her. Lewis is in an independent study program to focus on dancing performance.
“I want to focus strictly on technique and my body as a dancer,” she said.
At the University of Minnesota, Lewis took a variety of dance classes, many of which didn’t involve dancing. This year, she will be able to focus in on her skills as a dancer, she said.
While she has fully immersed herself in the world of dance now, in high school, Lewis wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
“I honestly thought I was going to play basketball or end up coaching,” she said. “Dance just really took off for me, and I ran with it.”
Lewis began dancing at the Fergus Falls School of Dance when she was six years old, and she still credits her dance teachers Ramona Jacobs and Mary Pettit for providing her with a strong foundation from which she has been able to build exceptional dancing skills.
“At the Fergus Falls School of Dance, they give you technique and strength, which was so helpful,” Lewis said. “We were able to perform multiple times a year. I didn’t dance as much in high school, but I was still able to get into the University of Minnesota from the dance experience I had when I was younger.”
FFSD director Ramona Jacobs said Lewis was one of the most naturally talented dancers she has ever had.
“We were shocked and totally thrilled beyond words when she decided to go into dance in college,” Jacobs said. “She is fearless in so many ways. It’s incredibly exciting to see her go off to New York.”
Lewis is taking advantage of her time in New York to learn about various dance companies. She said she wants to figure out who she would like to dance for and work toward being able to audition for those companies.
“Being out here, I have more opportunities to learn about the greater world of dance,” she said.
Lewis said her dream would be to dance for a company in the Netherlands.
“I would also be happy with a local company,” she said. “The Twin Cities has such a great dance community that dancing there would be wonderful too.”
Lewis plans to start auditioning for companies over winter break.