Dancing his way into Princeton!
One of the great joys of being a studio owner is watching your dancers grow from uncertain children into strong and confident young adults. This is especially true of company dancer Jon Golden who is getting ready to embark on the next stage of his dance journey at Princeton University.
Growing with the studio
When I first opened my studio in Jenkintown in the summer of 2009, a shy young boy walked in the door and said he’d like to try the kids hip hop class. He’d never had any formal dance training but had done some dancing at summer camp and thought it might be fun. Within a few weeks, it was obvious that Jon was someone very special; the following year he joined our Company competition team and two years later he was winning awards as a soloist.
In the nine years he has been with Edge, Jon has taken every class the studio offers – hip hop, jazz, modern, ballet, acro, lyrical, tap, musical theater, and contemporary – and he has excelled at every one. He has performed in groups large and small, in duo/trios, and as a soloist, and at every performance he gives 100%. He has won numerous high scores, dance scholarships, and Male Title awards over the years. Just as important, all of the choreographers and teachers who have worked with him comment on his attitude: he never stops trying to perfect his technique and he always focuses on the team. From that shy little boy, Jonathan has blossomed into a true leader, coaching and encouraging younger team members, and always looking for ways to bring the whole team together.
When I opened Edge dance studio I sought to create a positive space that would encourage dancers to be the best they can be, in an environment of mutual support and respect. As he gets ready to graduate from high school and from the Edge Company, I am so very proud to say that Jonathan has come to exemplify everything I want Edge Dance to be, facing every new challenge with determination and dedication to constant improvement.
Boys dance too!
The world of dance can seem daunting to boys, who are always very much in the minority at competitions and conventions. Jon was a little hesitant to be on a team with mostly girls all those years ago, but quickly came to realize that dance knows no barriers. Yes, he’s had to spend a lot of time over the years waiting in hallways while the girls change costumes for the next number! But, when everyone is working hard together and supporting each other, the differences between us become irrelevant.
He also quickly found out that dance is very physically demanding! He once told me about a high school fitness evaluation in gym class. The other boys couldn’t believe how many pushups and crunches he could do, and how many ‘suicides’ he could run, without flagging. One classmate asked him, “Dude, how are you so fit when you don’t do anything athletic?” Jon retorted, “Yeah? You try doing two hours of ballet on a Saturday morning, then tell me I don’t do anything athletic!”
Last fall, Jon told me he was applying Early Action to Princeton University and he described their fabulous new performing arts center. I was so honored when he asked me for a letter of recommendation; and the whole team celebrated when he told us he’d been accepted!
The past nine years has been a beautiful journey filled with love, laughter (and sarcasm!). That shy little boy has grown with the Edge studio and has danced his way into Princeton. I will miss him very much, but I know that he will be back to visit us often, and I know we will get to see him dance on ever-bigger stages.