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Daily Discipline

Dedication to dance has encompassed senior Elizabeth Ericson's days, her nights and even college applications.

Senior+Elizabeth+Ericson+ensures+that+her+fingers+are+in+the+perfect+position+while+practicing+Nov.+5.
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Daily Discipline

Senior Elizabeth Ericson ensures that her fingers are in the perfect position while practicing Nov. 5.

Senior Elizabeth Ericson ensures that her fingers are in the perfect position while practicing Nov. 5.

Ava Rawson

Senior Elizabeth Ericson ensures that her fingers are in the perfect position while practicing Nov. 5.

Ava Rawson

Ava Rawson

Senior Elizabeth Ericson ensures that her fingers are in the perfect position while practicing Nov. 5.

Ava Rawson, Print Co-Editor in Chief

Preparation starts before school stops, as she uses whatever time possible to begin what will soon be a tightly wound bun on the crown of her head before driving to collect her tights, leotard and thoughts at her home before dance. Senior Elizabeth Ericson’s pre-dance routine with its scheduled half-eaten dinner and the lacing of pointe shoes at stoplights is all in a day’s work.

She took classes as a child and was always moving and bouncing around. She had a background in gymnastics too when she started dancing, which helped prompt her parents to put her into classes. When she was little she was always moving and had background in gymnastics before starting dance classes. In addition to her energy, she loved putting on dance shows, showing her love for the stage according to her mother Lauren Ericson.

“She would make us stay at the dinner table and she would put on a show for us,” Ericson said. “Sometimes it was jokes that she would tell, sometimes she would act something out and sometimes she would dance. She would do it almost every night, and we called it the after-dinner show. That’s my favorite memory, just from how much fun she had doing it.”

At her studio, Culture House, Ericson dances five days a week. Her training always starts with over an hour of ballet technique. Then it’s on to pointe and then jazz, modern or contemporary depending on the day. Overall, she dances close to 20 hours a week.

“Sometimes I will put my ballet shoes on under my birkenstocks if I am really running late,“ Ericson said. “Then every day starts with ballet.”

It can definitely be a negative with reaching for perfection that you’ll never obtain. But it is also satisfying doing that because you can keep on continuing to get better and better without and ending place.” ”

— Senior Elizabeth Ericson

It is understandably hard to manage homework when you are not dancing for the majority of the week. But with her 17 hours a week spent in the studio in addition to the daily grind of school, it gets harder. Late nights are a common occurrence with the looming burden of schoolwork and everything that comes with it fades to the background as dancing is the only thing on her mind.

“My favorite part of the day is the car ride home just because I can listen to my podcasts and my music and I feel satisfied. I feel like the day is complete,” Ericson said. “And I try not to think of the homework waiting at home.”

Her current studio provides her with a strong foundation in ballet, but with Ericson’s weekly dance marathon of jazz, modern and contemporary classes it is a plethora of styles. She said the major difference is the rigidness found in ballet is absent from the latter two. One of the major reasons she loves contemporary and modern styles of dance over ballet is because she falls into the very structured formatting of ballet too often, according to Ericson.

“I think the strong base on ballet has really helped in other styles,” Ericson said. “I am wanting to go into a modern or contemporary major in college and I think my love of that has grown out of ballet.”

She switched studios after reaching the top level of the dance program that she was at in the beginning of her high school career, which was a musical theatre focused studio. With her background in musical theatre firmly established, in addition to her dance schedule, she is helping to choreograph the school’s upcoming musical “Into the Woods.”

“I think that it is really cool that we have a student choreographer,” senior Jordan Harrison said. “I don’t think we have ever had one before.”

On top of choreographing for the musical, Ericson also has to choreograph audition pieces for college, staying after in the studio to work on them. In addition to writing supplements and bookmarking the common application homepage, she has to film a ballet variation and choreograph a modern or contemporary piece. For the audition, Ericson has to physically be present at all the schools she is applying for.

“I have my first audition in less than a month, which is terrifying, so that’s something that no one can really prepare you for,” Ericson said. “It takes a lot of energy time and money to get to all of the colleges. It is three billion nevers because your entire life is pre-packaged in these auditions. It’s just a ton of pressure that you put on yourself.”

In addition to the pressure of college, dance – and especially ballet – have the reputation of being tiring mentally on the dancers themselves. The ever elusive goal of perfection leads dancers down a never ending path. But Ericson puts a nice twist on it. Because there is no ending, she said it’s up to her to face a steady stream of never-ending improvement and constant gratification.

Ava Rawson
Senior Elizabeth Ericson extends her body in a tilt in between classes Nov. 5.

“I think with dance there is such an extended satisfaction from improving and there is constant improvement,” Ericson said. “It can definitely be a negative with reaching for perfection that you’ll never obtain. But it is also satisfying doing that because you can keep on continuing to get better and better without and ending place.”

The mental trials where the dancers serve as judge, jury and executioner would be near impossible to endure without the support of her family throughout her journey according to Ericson. She chalks most of the heavy lifting up to her inspiration and best friend, her mom, as she has supported in her life, inside and outside of dance.

“I do have a lot of moments where I just get supper distraught with dance and how it makes me feel and how I feel about myself,” Ericson said. “She’s always been a constant to speak the truth to me and tell me that I am enough and that it doesn’t define me. So I think that without her telling me that, I wouldn’t still be dancing because I probably would have given up before.”

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Ava Rawson, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

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