- Whiz Kids: Ta'Quoara Hardieway and Shandrea White
- Nominated By: Dance St. Louis
- Accomplishment: Hardieway and White have been honored for their exceptional talent and dedication to dance, as well as their potential for a dance career, as the first recipients of Dance St. Louis’ new Dance Career Awards.
- Key To Awesomeness: The award winners were chosen from among the 150 residency students. Hardieway, 17, is a senior and White, 16, is a junior at University City High School.
Five middle school and high school students from the city of St. Louis, University City and O’Fallon have been honored for their exceptional talent and dedication to dance, as well as their potential for a dance career, as the first recipients of Dance St. Louis’ new Dance Career Awards.
"We are delighted to further Dance St. Louis’ commitment to education by creating this award that will assist students who have shown great commitment and talent, and thereby giving them an opportunity to open their horizons,” said Michael Uthoff, artistic and executive director.
A new venture this season, the Dance Career Awards are based on the two intensive three-week education programs that Dance St. Louis conducts every year in urban schools with the dance companies from around the world that it brings to St. Louis audiences.
“This program is vital to Dance St. Louis’ mission of enriching the cultural landscape and artistic reputation of St. Louis by making dance accessible to everyone, because it offers opportunities for young dancers they would not otherwise have,” Uthoff said.
The five award-winning students took part in this season’s two residencies in their schools taught by the Martha Graham Dance Company in conjunction with the company’s performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on Oct. 14-15 and taught by Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater in conjunction with the company’s performances at the Touhill on Jan. 27-28.
The five award winners were chosen from the 150 residency students by Uthoff, the teaching artists, and the students’ St. Louis-area dance teachers.
“These students showed such promise and dedication that we decided they would be the best examples for our first awards,” Uthoff said.
“Students in our new Dance Career Award Program will be offered guidance and financial assistance towards more intensive dance training and ultimately towards post-secondary education and careers in the performing arts,” said Janet Brown, Dance St. Louis director of operations and education.
“This training and guidance will be offered in collaboration with local dance studios and the professional dance companies that participate in the residency program,” Brown said. “Additional classes, summer dance intensives, and support to attend college as dance majors are all possible.
“We also very much hope to stay in touch with award recipients and continue to be of assistance in the years to come,” Brown added.
Dance St. Louis is dedicated to the enrichment of the cultural landscape and artistic reputation of St. Louis by presenting great dance companies and educational opportunities that make dance accessible to everyone.
Dance St. Louis is supported by the Arts and Education Council, Missouri Arts Council, , Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources.