Senior dancers dance to their own beat

October 19, 2010 — by Apeksha Sharma

Seniors Shir Nehama, shown in the middle, and Lauren Mather, not shown, excel at jazz, hip-hop, and modern dancing.

In the midst of college applications and the everyday school load, seniors Lauren Mather and Shir Nehama both manage to spend their evenings doing one thing, dancing.

Both girls started dancing at a young age, but for Mather, it was before she even realized it.

“My parents tell me that I started dancing as soon as I started walking,” said Mather. “They would put on music and I would dance and put on a show for them; this happened almost every Friday night.”

Mather, who practices genres such as jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and many more, is a member of the Los Angeles Dance Magic National Company. She is also the first overall senior soloist at conventions such as Starsystems, Monsters of Contemporary Show, Finalist Scholarship and was asked to be in an NYU Tisch choreography reel.

“Dance has helped to make me a well-rounded person, in that now I know how to manage my time, make good first impressions, network, work really hard and separate my normal life from my professional life,” said Mather.

Mather’s dance company makes sure that all the dancers uphold the proper conduct during performances and conventions.

“My national company makes sure we are always professional and that we never show that we are having a bad day, are injured, tired or sick,” said Mather. The motto is ‘happy to be here, easy to work with.’”

Despite the hectic schedule that dance creates for Mather, she appreciates the doors dance has opened.

“I am grateful for all of the life lessons I’ve learned and how it has made me grow up quickly,” said Mather. “I am also grateful for the friendships I have made and the fact that dance is the one artistic median in my life where I can really express everything I want to and be a creator, artist and performer.”

For her part, Nehama has been dancing since age 4, not letting the many obstacles classes and schoolwork pose affect her at all.

“I haven’t stopped dancing for any year even with obstacles such as moving to a different country and different cities,” said Nehama.

Nehama’s dedication greatly affects her after-school activities, often telling friends, “Sorry, I have dance.”

“This dedication made me realize that with hard work and passion I can get almost anywhere I want,” said Nehama. “Therefore, I think dancing has been one of the biggest contributors to why I like to be dedicated to what I do.”

Nehama, like Mather, practices jazz, hip-hop, and modern dancing, and performs with her dance company, the East West Music and Dance company, at small events throughout the year.

“My studio participates in Dance Masters, Youth Focus, and New York City Dance Alliance, and we do many performances throughout the year for smaller events,” said Nehama. “We won a lot of Gold Awards this year and received outstanding choreography awards.”

Nehama recently traveled to New York City to dance in a national competition, where the combination of the vibe of the city and all the passionate dancers was truly inspiring for her.

“Dancing really opens so many new doors. I got to take class with amazing and prominent choreographers,” said Nehama. “In addition, dancing has led me to opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. For example, this December, our studio will be participating in being one of the opening numbers for the Radio City Rockettes at the HP Pavilion.”

Nehama’s dancing has recently been showcased during the senior homecoming quad day, and her friends have been continually impressed by what Nehama has to offer.

“I have seen Shir dance before, but I was really impressed by how she and others choreographed the peppermint girls dance for quad day,” said senior Parisa Mirzadegan, who is also a close friend of Nehama’s. “It is cool that Shir was able to show off her talents to the school.”

Both Mather and Nehama will continue dancing once they leave for college.

“I can’t imagine my life without dancing,” said Nehama. “Talking to other dancers who kept their dancing alive during their college years made me realize that there are many opportunities for dancers in college.”

Mather, who will be applying as a double major in business and dance, is happy to move on with the art that taught her how to maintain and earn self respect.

“I’m hoping to double major, so I am definitely continuing and I am applying and auditioning for scholarships,” said Mather. “So we will see what happens!”

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