From acro to theatre and ballroom to ballet, little miss Dora Dolphin does it ALL. Her dance idol happens to be past featured dancer Alyssa Ness, so it was a no-brainer to ask this pint-sized powerhouse to be a part of our “Next Generation” group of featured dancers. With a heart almost as big as her talent, Dora is living proof that kindness and passion are keys to success: she’s earned perfect scores on her solos, has been told she could be on Dancing With the Stars someday, and was offered the opportunity to train at the Kirov Ballet Academy until graduation. Everything Dances was lucky enough to chat with this pint-sized powerhouse not only once, but twice—before and after a performance-packed summer! Don’t forget to view her feature video on our YouTube channel, everythingdances!
Part One (Spring 2013)
Q: What is your favorite style of dance?
A: My favorite types are lyrical, ballet, and jazz. I like lyrical because it really gets to tell a story and I really like feeling the music. And jazz because you really get to be fun and it’s really jazzy…and ballet is because I love learning a lot of technique. And I love ballet because you really get to flow with your arms and it’s really fun.
Q: What is your favorite part about doing dance competitions?
A: My favorite part about doing dance competitions is that you get to perform for other people and you’re nervous before you get on, but once you get out on that stage, it’s just really fun! And I also love my friend Sage, I love her, she’s awesome. I actually met her at a dance competition! I love meeting new people, that’s also what I love about dance competitions—meeting new people and performing for new people.
Q: What is your favorite part about dance conventions and taking classes?
A: I get to experience new teachers!
Q: Where do you dance?
A: I dance at Minnesota Dance Theater and Dance Attack when I’m in Miami, I love it so much! At Dance Attack, I love working with John Culbertson and Cookie Ramos.
Q: What has been your favorite dance moment so far?
A: Well I really just in general love performing for everybody. I liked meeting my friend Sage, I loved that because there’s a thing at Masquerade competition that’s called Pre-Stars and I met her there, and we were next to each other for a lot of the dance, and then we started loving being with each other. I really love her a lot. She lives really far away from me, usually when we want to get together my mom or dad calls or texts her parents and we just get together. She lives a little far away from us, so it is hard to get together, but we try!
Q: Who has helped you the most in your dance journey?
A: My dance coach Jennifer, and then my ballet teacher, and my mom and my dad, and all of my friends—they’ve really supported me—oh, and my grandmom who created all of my props. I have a lot of people who support me!
Q: What is your favorite solo?
A: My favorite solos are my new solos, they are really interesting & fun. They are really different and creative.
Q: What’s your secret to success?
A: Just practicing seven days a week, just making sure I do practice and not miss a day.
Q: What is the hardest part about dance for you?
A: I’ve been taught to really encourage other people and to be happy for other people, and other people haven’t been like that to me. I’ve had people who haven’t really supported me. But I have a lot of people who do support me. I be myself and be nice and don’t really worry about it.
Q: Who is your favorite dancer to watch and look up to?
A: On Dancing with the Stars Derek Huff, and Alyssa Ness. And I really like Sophia Lucia. Oh, and I love Maddie from Dance Moms!
Part Two (Summer 2013)
Q: This summer, you were the youngest dancer at the Kirov Ballet Academy intensive in Washington, DC—and yet you were also invited to attend Kirov as a year-round ballet student in their professional training division! What was that experience like?
A: It was fun, I like being the youngest. I got a chance to look up to people. The school program starts at 7th grade, but I’m in 5th grade so I could stay in the dorm there, but I would have to move there. I’m in 5th grade so I’m going to do online school so I would do that on the computer and then I could do ballet there because I’m not old enough for the education part.
Q: Congratulations on being showcased as a special guest this summer in an Annual Ballroom Championship Show dance! What was it like competing in ballroom as one of the youngest contestants?
A: That competition was really fun. I like to collect rhinestones off of the floor! Ballroom is just really different from other kinds of dances. I like the way the other ballroom dancers move.
Q: You also take rhythmic gymnastics as well, how has that helped your dancing?
A: I’m actually not competing in rhythmic, I’m just doing the moves. I’m doing ball and ribbon, and I’ve had the ball in some of my dances.
Q: How was your experience performing in “This Side of Paradise” with the History Theatre?
A: It went really well, it was really fun. The cast was really nice. I got to act, which was different.
Q: How are your performances with “The Belmont Hotel” going so far?
A: We just performed at the state fair! I was just on the news last night with some of the other cast members. I’m doing both, dancing and acting. You have to act through your dancing. This company is Collide Theatrical, it’s about dancing and acting together.
Q: With all of this acting, could you see yourself on Disney Channel one day?
A: Yes! I would really like to do that. [Dora would love to be on Jessie!]
Q: What’s new coming up for little miss Dora?
A: I tried out for The Christmas Carol at the Guthrie, and I got in! There’s going to be singing, and dancing, and acting. There are only like twelve or thirteen kids in the show. I’m an understudy for a Crachit kid, and I’m Belle’s daughter, Wimple’s daughter, and a Fezzwig guest!
Q: What advice do you have for other dancers your age on how to improve as a dancer and deal with others who are not supportive?
A: Don’t give up, and if you feel like you can’t do it, you can do it. Don’t say you can’t because you really can. Reach for the stars and just have fun! Always love each other and be nice, and believe in yourself and be yourself.
Q: You said your dream dance role or career would be to be a movie or Broadway star, why those?
A: I think it would be really fun to be a different person. I love how the whole Broadway and movie stuff works, like how cool it is. I’m going to be in “This Side of Paradise,” the story of F. Scott Fitzerald and Zelda. I’m going to be Young Scottie, and I’m young Zelda as a ballerina.
*At the time of her first interview, Dora had not yet performed in this production. Since then, she has completed 32 performances as Young Scottie in This Side of Paradise at the prestigious History Theatre!
Q: Why do you like to dance?
A: I like to dance because I like performing for everybody and it’s really fun and I get to meet new people. Other people don’t know how hard dance is to do, and I love it so much. To express and perform—I really love that.
Q: Why do you admire past featured dancer Alyssa Ness?
A: I look up to Alyssa because she is a sweetheart with a very big heart and a beautiful dedicated dancer.