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“Doubling Down”

by Olivia Renegar

December 2022

My entire life, I have always said that my favorite part of dancing is showing it to others. Captivating someone by demonstrating something such as a simple développé à la seconde thrills me; performing for an audience only enhances this feeling. Being on a stage in front of people all seated to solely watch ballet for a long duration of time excites me like nothing else. I train for the purpose of this moment, spending hours and hours in a studio weekly working to improve my technique, on top of strengthening and stretching at home. As I take barre daily, I often imagine people seated around me… the very thought makes me dance better. When people ask if I get nervous before performing, the answer is always “No.” I am exhilarated and can hardly wait to see everyone from my view up on the stage.

In 2020, the pandemic took both the stage and my view from it away from me and so many other dancers all over the world. It was unclear when or if a live audience would exist again. I was fortunate to be in a film production of The Nutcracker through my school, but the thrill of the people in the audience was missing. The magic of people seeing my friends and me dance in the present was clearly absent. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dance, but dancing for others is a whole new level of fun. Every day, I get to dance for myself. But dancing for others is the cherry on top of it all.

The pandemic made a lot of dancers realize they didn’t want to dance anymore. But for me, it was a push of motivation to dance more–to soak up every second I could dancing in my dining room, so that when I was back on a stage surrounded by people, I could dance better than ever before.

Classical Ballet Photography by UNCSA Ballet Dancer

Olivia Renegar began taking dance classes at the age of two and a half. Before long, she was enjoying ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop. In the fifth grade, she was accepted into the UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program, where she began to focus on her favorite style: ballet. She was given many exciting opportunities there and was even cast as Clara in their former version of The Nutcracker, Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Tea. For the past four years, Olivia has attended high school at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a ballet concentration. During her time off, she has loved participating in summer intensives at Nashville Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Sarasota Ballet. Olivia hopes to join a ballet company as she continues her dance journey.