The Art of Passion

Tuscora Senior, Erika Skulte, gives us an inside look on her love for dance


Passion is something that everyone wants. By definition, it is a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Though sounding intimidating at first glance, one can imagine a feeling of excitement after finding one.
“With dance I want to turn my passion into my career,” said Erika Skulte, a senior at Tuscarora High School.
Passion can stem from many different places and hobbies, and for Skulte, it was the art of dance that roped her in. When asked how long her love for dance has been building, Skulte said, “I have been dancing since I was three years old, so about fifteen years.”
After dancing for so long it’s no wonder why Skulte would want to make a career out of dance, but here you may need a little more than just passion to help you through. To have a hobby and to have a career are two different things, but Skulte is more than ready to make the jump.
“I go to school all day and then leave during early release and go straight to the studio from 3:30 until 4:30. Then I have a break to get some food before classes later which can normally go from 6-10. Then I rush home, have a late night snack, stress about homework, and then go to bed. Then I do it all over again the next day,” said Skulte. With only having “Fridays and Sundays” off throughout the week, it’s hard to argue that Skulte is more than ready to fully pursue her ambition.
Though since dancing from a young age, it’s hard to believe that this was always what her schedule looked like. For two years after starting dance at the age of three Skulte shared how it wasn’t until the age of five that she really clicked with the idea of dance. “I do remember an instant click at five years old watching Camp Rock. Joe Jonas was teaching the students how to dance and be pop stars. I remember watching that scene on repeat,” said Skulte. Though even if Joe Jonas was what bright her in, it was the true beauty behind the art that made her want to stay.
Certain teachers and types of dance had an impact too of course. “I love and train in all styles of dance, but hip hop and contemporary, or ballet, stand out to me the most because hip hop is such a raw style where you can really be yourself,” said Skulte, “yet I also love the technical strength needed for ballet and contemporary.”
Though not only have different styles of dance kept her on her toes, quite literally, but a different style of teaching as well. Skulte goes on to talk about how different teachers have given her many opportunities to learn and grow, no matter how negative or positive the experience may have been. “I am grateful for the amazing dance teachers just as much as the not so amazing teachers,” said Skulte, “After learning from so many different teachers, and experiencing a variety of classes throughout the years, you get to form your own opinion and outlook on the dance world.”
Even so, not everything is all sunshine and rainbows when talking about Skulte’s filled up schedule. Though she has been dancing for years, and has been putting in the work to be the absolute best she can be, working so hard does not come without its consequences. “Without a douI wouldn’t be able to count the amount of times I’ve had to pass on activities with friends for a dance event,” said Skulte, “I wouldn’t be able to count the amount of times I’ve had to pass on activities with friends for a dance event. It’s really hard to manage dancing every day, plus finding time to be social, plus trying to keep my grades up, plus spending time with my family.” Still one can only imagine how this has impacted her life outside the studio. For most, anything to do with sacrificing your social, or school life, is a very quick and automatic no, but “I don’t regret any of it or feel like I’m missing out because of how passionate I am about dance,” said Skulte. Which if that does not sum up her love for the art, then I don’t know what would.
Though even with its hardships, many things throughout the years have inspired Skulte to keep pushing and aiming for more. One thing that has been a big positive has been “the dance connection world.” Starting to make connections in the dance world has been a big reason Skulte has been able to meet people she “looks up to in the dance industry.” Having those connections and relationships has definitely given Skulte the motivation and courage to keep on going, but not the only one. Joining the cheer team has also helped inspire her. In Freshman year Skulte said that she knew “absolutely nothing about the sport,” but “was able to go into it with tools I had learned from dance.” Though maybe not the main motivator, cheer and dance have noth intertwined themselves in Skulte’s life. Going “into practices disciplined and ready to work extra hard” is something that applies to both dance and cheerleading, and probably also helps make connections with her peers. Both have encouraged Skulte to get better and more involved.
Which all and all, these skills are vital for future plans. “I would love to work and explore all fields of the dance industry. Whether it’s television, movies, commercials, concerts, touring, Broadway, acting, teaching,” sid Skulte, “I don’t want to go down any certain path but instead be open minded and enjoy whatever is meant to be.” Which all are possible with Skulte very much earned opportunity at Pace University. In early December Skulte announced her attendance to Pace University “to major in Commercial Dance.” It has been a long journey for her, but “looking forward to training nonstop and being in a supportive environment” has been one thing that keeps Skulte going. More than anything Skulte has shown how much she has immersed herself in the dance world, and how much she deserves any and all opportunities that come her way. Even if “being a city girl” was the biggest motivator of all.