Alma College Highland Dancer Qualifies for Nationals
While dancing at this year’s Alma Highland Festival and Games, Maria Taylor fulfilled one of her dreams.
By placing first runner-up in the “Premier 18 and Over” highland dance category, the Alma College senior from Farmington achieved her goal of qualifying for nationals for the first time.
In July, Taylor will compete against dancers across the country at the United States Inter-Regional Highland Dance Championship.
“Maria set this goal and worked extremely hard to accomplish it,” says Alma College Highland Dance Director Kate DeGood. “She has demonstrated remarkable determination and dedication to practice daily and to improve her technique and stamina this past year.”
Taylor joins a long-standing tradition of Alma College success at the Highland Festival, which features the Midwest Regional Highland Dance Championship. She says she won’t soon forget how it felt to see her name engraved on a trophy won by alumni for over a decade.
“It is thrilling to have my name listed alongside other Highland dancing greats, including my own teacher,” she says. “Kate, Christie Freestone and my hometown teacher, Tracey Walton, inspire me with their continued support and encouragement. Their commitment to excellence remains instrumental to my success.”
Another memorable moment during the Highland Festival came after the awards ceremony, when Taylor had the opportunity to check out the judges’ evaluations.
“I was thrilled to find out that all three judges placed me first overall in my favorite dance, the Sean Triubhas,” she says. “It was the most exciting moment of the day.”
In addition to attending two dance classes each week, Taylor rehearses with the Kiltie Dancers during the academic year. If her preparation for regionals is any indication, however, her training plan is likely to change leading up to nationals.
“The month before regionals, I increased my practice and doubled the number of classes I attended,” she says. “I also attended several smaller competitions the weekends prior to the Highland Festival to gain experience performing the dances in a competitive setting.”
Though balancing the demands of dance and college academics is challenging, DeGood is confident Taylor will continue to succeed.
“Maria has handled this challenge extremely well,” she says. “I’m elated that she will be representing the Midwest region and Alma College at the national championship.”
Posted: Thu, June 16th, 2011 at 8:52AM