Senior finds passion beyond movements in dancing

January 12, 2015 — by Rachel Hull and Michelle Leung

At the age of 2, senior Madison Seagraves was already exploring a passion that would blossom further as she grew older: dancing.

Most 2-year-olds spend their days toddling around, developing their burgeoning motor skills. Senior Madison Seagraves was an exception. At the age of 2, she was already exploring a passion that would blossom further as she grew older: dancing.

Seagraves said she began dancing because her best friend at the time was interested. She has never stopped.

Seagraves started at The Dance Company of Los Gatos, where she still dances today. She said she has known the other girls in the company for almost her “whole life.”

“They’re basically like my sisters. I’ve been with them for so long,” she said.

Seagraves used to take tap but now focuses mainly on hip hop, jazz and contemporary types of dancing. She also had to learn ballet in order to be in The Dance Company’s competition teams.

Her favorite style of dance is contemporary because of the creative flexibility it allows her. 

“You can just move [your body] in so many different ways, so many different angles,” Seagraves said. “It’s really cool to keep learning new styles of contemporary, and I think that you can express how you feel, show how you feel through dance, and that’s one of the really cool things about dance.”

As a child, Seagraves sometimes felt the weight of the mental toll of dancing. At one point, she considered giving up dance because it was so mentally tiring and competitive.

“It kind of affects you mentally because you’re just staring at yourself in the mirror the whole time you’re dancing,” she said, “and so you’re constantly looking at yourself, and you’re constantly trying to be perfect.”

As she grew older, however, this desire to be perfect dissolved as she discovered a “whole different world” of dancing, with meaning beyond the movements.

At The Dance Company, Seagraves is part of the Teen Elite Contemporary, Jazz and Hip Hop teams. These teams attend a plethora of competitions throughout the year, including Kids Artistic Revue (KAR), StarBound and Showbiz.

Last summer, the Teen Elite Contemporary Team she is in won the StarBound Nationals in Las Vegas as a senior group, which Seagraves said is “the hardest category to get judged in.”

Seagraves also teaches younger students at The Dance Company for two hours every Monday and Thursday. She said that sometimes it can be “a struggle” because the girls she teaches have known her so long and initially did not take her seriously. As time has passed, however, they have gotten more used to seeing her as a mentor rather than a friend.

Despite its challenges, Seagraves ultimately finds that teaching is a reward in itself.

“I love it,” Seagraves said. “It’s like the best thing ever. I don’t even think of it as a job, really, because it’s so much fun.”

Seagraves must balance her time with The Dance Company and her time with the school’s dance team, which she started last year with current senior Joy Tang. After school dance team practices, which often take three-and-a-half hours, Seagraves heads straight to her studio, where she dances until as late as 9:30 p.m.

Seagraves and the school dance team compete in competitions run by the United Spirit Association (USA), held at local high schools such as Homestead, Bella Vista and Monta Vista. The team plans on going to Nationals in Anaheim in March.

Tang, who is a co-captain along with Seagraves, said that Seagraves is one of the central members of the team.

“We’re both different, but we work well together, and when one of us is not there, it’s kind of of like part of our team is missing,” Tang said. “Without her, I don’t think our team would be the same.”

Through all the late practices, taxing competitions and difficult classes, Seagraves never forgets why she loves dancing.  She plans to either major in dance or join a dance team in college.

“Whenever I’m sad or depressed about something stupid, I literally just go to the studio, and I just dance, and I feel so much better,” Seagraves said. “I think it’s just really cool that you can tell a story through your movement in dance.”

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