By Kylie Garrett
Many 21 year olds dance just when they’re in a good mood or are ready to hit the dance floor on a Saturday night. This isn’t the case for senior dance major Diamond Avant. Dancing for Avant is not just an extracurricular activity. Dance is her life and is something she wants to take beyond her college career. “To be a dance major, it takes a lot of focus and time. It takes dedication, determination, and a love for the art because if you don’t love it you won’t grow,” Avant said.
Growing up in a family of dancers, Avant had no choice but live a life full of dancing. Dance goes back for generations in her family. Her mother and her grandmother were both dancers. Avant started dancing, when she was two, at Wendy A Cutting Dance Studio, the same studio where her mother grew up dancing. Then in 2001, her mother opened her own studio that she named after her daughter – The Dance Diamond Studio.
Avant began dancing there at the age of five and from there she started with the studio in competitions at seven years old. Since age seven, she has been competing in solos, duets, trios, small groups, and large group competitions. Throughout all these competitions, Avant has has never lost.
She realized that she wanted to make dance her career when she starting looking at schools and saw that she could major in something she loves. She chose LIU Post for dance because most schools mainly focus on certain styles of dance and here she had many options of master’s classes to choose from. She is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, African, hip-hop, step, modern and contemporary. Avant says her favorite type of dances to perform are African, hip-hop, or tap. She likes anything upbeat or hard-hitting.
“She is such a hard worker; I really think she is going to be very successful in the dance world,” Sarah Meehan, a friend and former dancer, said. Being a dance major is physically and mentally hard. It takes a toll on her physically; it’s such a hands on major. It demands a lot from your body; you’re always dancing and rehearsing.
Being a dance major requires a lot of required academics as well as rehearsals late at night while trying to balance other academic classes. For anyone looking to major in dance, “it is a tough field, you have to work harder than the competition. There is always going to be someone out there that is going to want it more. You have to make it a priority or major in something else. You have to love it,” Avant said.
Along with going to school and rehearsing for her end of the semester show, she is currently working as the dance coordinator at the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club. After graduation, Avant says her main goal is to move to the west coast and to dance on tour with a singer. Her dream is to go on tour with Beyoncé.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs and mixed feelings, but I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” Avant said.