Dancers of Minnesota: Alexa Leonard

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Alexa Leonard Photo by @mattebphoto / #dancersofmn #mystorymn #mndancenews

Favorite color: Blush

Favorite show or movie: Movie – Pitch Perfect

Favorite beverage: Starbucks Pink Drink

Favorite game or sport (besides dance): Gymnastics

Favorite musicians: Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Ariana Grande

When I grow up I want to be… I would love to be a dance choreographer when I grow up.

Alexa Leonard

When and where did you start dancing?

I am 13 years old and go to Westonka schools. I started dancing when I was 3 years old at a smaller studio in the Lake Minnetonka area. When I was little I loved wearing all the fun costumes and being on stage. I did ballet, tap and jazz. When I was 8 years old I was able to tryout for the Mini competition line. I have always loved dancing, but it was so much fun to be able to go to competitions and be on stage more often. I have been in competition dance since and do ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and improv.

How has your style progressed?

When I was little I loved the high energy, sassy style dances, mostly jazz and hip hop. I still love all genres of dance and I am thankful that I have kept up my skills in all of them. However, today my favorite styles are contemporary and lyrical. I love being able to express emotion in this style of dance and I think it also highlights my flexibility the best. My solo this past year was a fierce type of contemporary and I loved being able to do something different and more mature.

Photo by @mattebphoto / #dancersofmn #mystorymn #mndancenews

What do you love about dance today?

Dancing has always been my passion. I truly can’t imagine my life without it. When I go to dance I forget about everything else. It relieves any stress I have and just makes me feel good. It gives me something else to focus on and pushes me to be mentally and physically stronger. I love the inner motivation it gives me to work hard and become better. There is also nothing better than the adrenaline rush of performing on stage and the feeling of accomplishment after.

What are some challenges you have overcome in your dance career?

Last year I decided to move to a new dance studio, Summit Dance Shoppe. This was a big decision for me. I had always been dancing at a smaller studio and had a lot of great memories and friendships there. However, I felt like a bigger studio would provide more opportunities and the chance to dance with many others at my age and ability. I had never been the new person before so I was nervous to leave, but inside I knew it was time to take the leap. I will never forget the first audition class at SDS. I remember how nervous I felt being in a room with so many talented dancers and many of whom I had admired watching at conventions and competitions. However, I knew after my first night that this is exactly where I wanted to be. I loved the instruction and I felt so energized to work hard and show them what I could do. It wasn’t easy being the new person and not having friends in the room, but I was determined that I could do it.

Photo by @mattebphoto / #dancersofmn #mystorymn

What is a lesson you learned from the challenge above?

From this experience, I learned that sometimes you need to push yourself through uncomfortable, stressful situations in order to get where you want to be. I am so happy that I made the decision to move to SDS. I absolutely love it there. It also feels great to accomplish something that I had to do on my own. I really feel re-inspired to be the best dancer I can be and know I am at a place that can help me achieve my goals.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

My parents have always been so supportive of me and my two older brothers who are in basketball and football. They encourage us to do our best, be respectful, kind and humble and work hard to achieve our goals. I am so thankful that they help me make my goals and dreams come true. I sometimes doubt myself, but they are always there to pick me back up and cheer me on.

Do you want to give a shout out to anyone?

I really want to give a shout out to everyone at Summit Dance Shoppe! They have been so welcoming to me. The instructors have been so positive and encouraging. I have made so many new friends and love my new dance family. I feel honored to be a part of such a great studio and dance with such incredible talent.

A special thank you to Mike Dietz for taking me on as a soloist my first year there. He choreographed an amazing first solo for me at SDS. It was so fun working with him and he always was there with a smile and a hug. I really appreciate his positive energy, dedication and instruction.

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