My Plans for College

As high school is quickly coming to an end I’ve been wondering what my future will hold. I’ve had several ideas about what I want to major in like: nutritional studies, speech therapy, and early childhood education. I have finally decided on becoming an elementary school teacher because I enjoy spending time with kids. I regularly babysit and I absolutely love it because kids are fun and exciting in so many ways.

In the fall I will be attending Cypress College and then I plan on transferring to CSULB to continue my studies. I’ve always wanted to stay close to home when attending college because my family is very important to me. Also, I don’t know what’d I do without tap dancing in my life and I want to continue my journey in tap dancing.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, my fall semester of college will probably be online. I’ve taken online classes before so I am not too worried, but I really hope that things will return to normal soon. In quarantine, school is not as engaging because social interaction is limited.

I’m really looking forward to college because it is a new and exciting chapter in my life. In other words, when one door closes another one opens. But for right now, I’m staying patient and hopeful that things will one day change. My friends and I are going our separate ways, but I know that our friends will continue to stay strong. In college, I’m also looking forward to meeting some new friends and having a lot of fun!

Dear High School

Four years goes by in the blink of an eye. One minute I was walking into my first class as a nervous freshman and now, graduation is a few weeks away. My journey through high school has been fun, crazy, and absolutely memorable. It’s truly been a wild ride, with ups, downs, and twists and turns.

I met my best friend on the first day of school in health class. We instantly became best friends because we were always there for one another. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from high school, it’s that friends will come and go. But my best friend always stood by me even when our friend group split apart.

My best experience in high school was joining journalism and ASL. It was kind of a coincidence that I joined journalism because all of the Spanish classes were full. At that time I wanted to take Spanish, not ASL. So I ended up joining journalism because I needed a career class and I loved writing. I was a little bit nervous about interviewing people because I was kind of shy. Journalism quickly became my favorite part of high school because I met so many incredible people and my teacher was amazing. I loved journalism because I was able to play an active role in my school.

In fact my worst year of high school was the year I didn’t take journalism because I loved it so much. As a freshman I became equipment manager so I organized the laptops and cameras. Then in my junior year, I became a layout editor so I helped design the layout and aesthetics of the school newspaper. In my senior year, I became the Editor in Chief and I had a blast collaborating with my friends in journalism. Journalism is one part of high school that I will never forget.

I was hesitant to join ASL because I have a hand deformity and I was worried that it would be a challenge. But, my best friend was already taking ASL and she reassured me that I could do it. So, I took my first ASL class in my sophomore year and it was so much fun. Not only that, but I overcame my challenges and I didn’t let my hand deformity limit me. It felt great to try something new that I thought I would never be able to do. I ended up taking 3 years of ASL and I have learned so much and I am so happy that I didn’t take Spanish. ASL class taught me that I can do anything as long as I put in the hard work.

My Suprise Graduation Parade

A few days ago, my mom told me that we were going to take graduation pictures to send to the school for my graduation ceremony. But with COVID-19, an in-person graduation is not possible. So, my school will be live streaming our graduation ceremony on YouTube.

I was a little bit sad putting on my cap and gown because I was so excited to be the class of 2020. I’ve always looked forward to graduation as the moment when I will start a new chapter in my life. I also really miss my friends and teachers, and I never imagined that my senior year would end this way. For graduation, I had planned to wear my tap shoes because dance means so much to me and it’s been a huge part of my life since the age of three years old. So I put on my tap shoes to take my graduation pictures because I really wanted it to be a special moment.

As I was lacing up my tap shoes I heard a loud commotion outside like someone was honking really loud and wouldn’t stop. My mom had said that my Nana wanted to come to see me take my graduation pictures. My Nana has always loved honking the horn on her car because she has a silver Camaro! So, I was laughing and thought ok my Nana is crazy 🙂

I walked outside to see a huge line up of about 30 cars all honking their horns with posters and decorations that said Congrats Avylon! I immediately started crying because I was so surprised that my friends from dance and my family members had come to support me. My mom had decorated our whole front yard with streamers in the trees and Class of 2020 banners on our garage door. A lot of the neighbors came outside too because they heard the loud commotion!

It was such a sweet and memorable moment that I will cherish forever because my friends from dance are my second family and I have grown up with many of them. Also, it meant the world to me that they supported me even through a difficult time when we can’t gather for a graduation party. I think that in these difficult times it’s very important to connect with your friends and loved ones even if it’s via phone call, video chat, or text.

12 Things I’ve Learned From Being at Home 24/7

  1. My two dogs, Latte and Mocha have become my best friends, my personal therapists, and my Netflix and Chill buddies. I especially love giving them belly rubs at night and watching them race around the backyard.
  2. The best qurantine snack hands down is pretzels and hummus or apples and peanut butter. An occasional piece of chocolate helps boost my happiness levels!
  3. My top Netflix quarantine recommendations are: Locke and Key, Outer Banks, Lost in Space, The Society, and The 4400.
  4. I already feel like a college student because Cup of Noodles is the best quarantine meal. My favorite is the original chicken flavor, because I don’t like spicy foods.
  5. It already seems like summer is quickly approaching, and my senior year has gone by so quickly. Class of 2020 🙂
  6. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my laptop and my Photoshop skills have improved immensely from my online class.
  7. Now that I’ve been home a lot more, I secretly think my house is kind of haunted. The other day I swear I saw a shadow in my brother’s room! I wouldn’t be surprised because my mom owns a lot of antiques. My dad swears that he’s seen shadows too.
  8. My entire schedule and daily routine longer exists because I go to bed late and wake up late. I actually miss waking up super early to go to school and dance practice.
  9. The best feeling in the world right now is going outside and taking a breath a fresh air while the sun shines brightly.
  10. I really miss my best friend Daphne, and we used to hang out after school every Thursday. So now, we text and call a lot to talk about our plans for college.
  11. I now have an even greater appreciation for the little things in life like: going grocery shopping, eating at a sit-down restaurant, getting my hair done, going to school and seeing my teachers and friends, going to dance every week, participating in Girl Scout meetings, and hanging out with my friends at the mall or the movie theater.
  12. This is all temporary, and like everything else we will eventually overcome it. But for now, we can do everything in our power to stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy, and help those in need.

A Tap Dancer’s Tips for Dancing at Home

tap-dance

  1. Set aside a certain time out of your schedule to practice your dance skills. Some people like to practice everyday, every other day, or even once a week. The best time to dance is whatever works for you
  2. Prior to dancing, warm up your muscles by doing a 30 minute stretching routine that focuses on your legs, feet, hips, back, etc. Adding music to your stretching routine helps prepare both your mind and body for choreographing new dance routines or practicing your technique.
  3. Find a place in your house that is somewhat open that you can tap dance on without damaging the floor. If you have an old piece of plywood that works really well as a makeshift tap floor. But, if not you can always practice in your socks or put shoe covers. or socks over your tap shoes to prevent damaging your floor.
  4. Start with technique before you begin practicing your dance routines. Technique is essentially a second warm-up, but it also helps you improve your dancing skills over time.
  5. Before you choreograph a dance, it is best to practice your other dance routines because making the connection between steps and music helps boost your creativity.
  6. When choreographing a dance, don’t be afraid to have fun by brainstorming new ideas or thinking outside of the box. In my experience, some of the best dances steps are choreographed when multiple people have input. So, if you have a friend that also tap dances, you can FaceTime them or send them a video of your routine and ask them to critique it.

A Tap Dancer’s Time Off

A lot of dancers will tell you that missing dance for more than a week is like missing a part of your heart and soul. The past few weeks have felt surreal because my tap dance practice is canceled until May 1st because of the coronavirus. The scary thing is that I can’t remember a time in my life where I missed more than two weeks of dance practice at one time. So, a month and a half without dance practice seems like an eternity.

It’s not just tap dancing that I miss, I also miss teaching the younger kids in our Friday dance class. I never thought that I would miss waking up early every Saturday morning at 6 so I can be ready to start dance at 7. I also miss my friends at dance because we have so much fun laughing and dancing together. Everyone at dance is my second family because we all support one another. Not only have we danced together, but we’ve also grown up together.

Tap Into Reading

Almost every Girl Scout dreams of the day when they earn their Girl Scout Gold Award, because it is the highest honor in Girl Scouts. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout must complete a service project that involves a minimum of 80 hours of work and it must be measurable and sustainable. I’ve been a Girl Scout for over ten year and I knew that for my Girl Scout Gold Award I wanted to combine my favorite passions in life: tap dancing and reading.

From a very young age, I was an avid reader because books always inspired me and I loved reading about other people’s lives. I also loved tap dancing because it was just like reading a book, except I was telling the story live in front of an audience. When I first started tap dancing, I was extremely shy and reading helped me break out of my shell because it opened the door for new and exciting opportunities. I think that reading actually helped me become a better tap dancer, because it helped me become a better storyteller.

For my Girl Scout Gold Award my main goal is to inspire young children in my dance group to read and dance more to build their self-confidence and to perfect their performance skills. I also want to film a series of videos where I can read a book to the children and choreograph a small tap dance routine, so that they can have fun and learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, I plan on making a reading log for the children to encourage them to read at home. I believe that reading and dancing are both therapeutic because they are forms of self-expression and they act as a stress reliever.

In addition, when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, I plan to have reading discussions with the children at my dance studio so that they can share with other people what they have learned. Every year, my dance group holds an annual recital where we collect toys to donate to CHOC, but this year we are going to collect books to donate to CHOC. My main goal for my Gold Award Project is to encourage other kids to find their passion in life like reading or tap dancing, and to embrace it to the best of their abilities.

This is Not About Tap Dancing! A High School Senior’s Day During the COVID-19 Pandemic

So the past week has been absolute chaos! Lol literally I have been trying to keep myself occupied by binge watching Netflix shows like Locke and Key, and Stranger Things, while also spending precious time with my doggies, Latte and Mocha. This week, my mom’s family friend’s son is visiting from Argentina. I feel kind of bad though because we are unable to go sightseeing because everything is closed due to the coronavirus.

Yesterday, we went to Huntington Beach just to walk along the shoreline and it was like a ghost town. Usually, Huntington Beach is always packed, but the only thing in sight was a few seagulls and a handful of surfers. Today, we took my doggies on their first walk around the neighborhood and they were super excited. Then Mocha managed to wiggle out of her leash and I was chasing her down the street like a crazy person! When they came home they were absolutely exhausted and they fell asleep on the couch.

To be honest I really miss school and my friends because my senior year is my last year of high school. I was really looking forward to prom and graduation and even publishing the school newspaper. But I’m hopeful that all of this will pass soon and we can still at least have graduation. That being said, most of all I miss my friends and I miss my daily routine of going to school. While I like relaxing and being lazy sometimes, I am so bored.

The days seem to pass and I’m so excited for my birthday, March 26. But, I don’t know how I am going to celebrate because everything is closed: movie theaters, restaurants, theme parks, etc. So for my birthday I want to eat a chocolate cake while I binge watch some Netflix movies. I also want to Facetime my friends.

I’ve had one online class for this year, but now all of my classes are online because of the virus and quarantine. While I like online school I feel like I am less motivated to do it because being in a classroom setting encourages me to learn more. I’m an introvert, but I love hanging out with my friends and I miss going to lunch with my best friend on Thursday’s.

For now, I’m hoping for the best, staying inside, and spending quality time with my family. This might be the new normal for a few months so in the meantime I want to learn how to drive, complete my Girl Scout Gold Award, and complete my schoolwork.

Things Only Tap Dancers Understand

  • When someone says to you that you have a screw loose, it doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, it means a screw is literally loose on your tap shoes.
  • If all else fails in a dance routine, do wings for as many counts as you forget because they are instantly recognizable and they wow the audience.
  • Time steps are universal, and they have a rhythm of their own that can only be described in sounds, but not words.
  • Singin’ in the Rain should be called Dancin’ in the Rain because Fred Astaire is an icon and one of the best two dancers in the world.
  • Anytime you see a show or movie with tap dancing your brain immediately recognizes the steps and your feet start to dance by themselves because you simply can’t resist!
  • When your tap dance teacher changes one step and suddenly your feet can’t seem to remember the entire dance.
  • When you tap dance upstairs in your house, there is a mini earthquake downstairs.
  • The rage you feel when a tap dancer on a competitive dance show like World of Dance, or So You Think You Can Dance!, loses to a lyrical or ballet dancer.
  • When you hit your tap shoe against your ankle in the middle of a dance and smile through the pain.
  • There is that one tap step that you just can’t master no matter how hard you practice.
  • You binge watch old movies that have tap dancing, and Shirley Temple is the cutest kid tap dancer you have seen.
  • Your favorite pastime is watching YouTube videos of tap dancing so you can learn new steps.
  • Tap dancing flash mobs are epic and amazing, and you will find anyway to perform for other people.
  • When you meet another tap dancer they are either your best friend or your biggest competitor.
  • You will wear your tap shoes anywhere and you have even considered bedazzling them with some bling.
  • It doesn’t matter what song you are listening to, you instantly start choreographing a dance in your head while you tap your feet.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy tap shoes.
  • When your music suddenly stops during a performance, but you keep on going because your taps are the backup music.

Common Tap Dance Mistakes

  • Not Picking Up Your Heels Off the Ground: What a lot of people don’t realize in tap dancing is that even the slightest noise can make a difference. When someone drops there heel on the ground when it shouldn’t be there it is like playing an instrument when it is out of tune. You may not realize it, but it can be really noticeable to the audience’s ears.
  • Not Bending Your Knees Enough: Many new tap dancers will straighten their legs when they first start tap dancing, which makes it harder to keep your center of balance. Also, heel drops are almost impossible if your knees are straight.
  • Not Properly Transitioning Your Weight: In tap dancing, your center of gravity is determined by your weight placement. When you are tap dancing, you shouldn’t lean back to much, but you should instead keep your center of gravity forward because you are mostly dancing with the balls of your feet.
  • Not practicing slowly, or concentrating on speed instead of accuracy and precision: Tap dance is a constant learning process, and beginners are often eager to learn new steps. But, it’s important to remember that cleanliness of the sound of your taps should come before speed. Almost any tap dancer can quickly perform a tap step, but it takes a skilled tap dancer to perform it with precision and accuracy.
  • Not Warming Up Your Muscles Before Dancing: Like any other style of dance, stretching is vital for preventing injuries and for performing at your best. Before practicing or performing, you should take time to stretch your legs, feet, and ankles. Loose ankles are key to tap dancing, because most of the strength comes from your leg muscles.
  • Wearing the Wrong Type of Tap Shoes: Not all tap shoes are created equally. For beginners, I would recommend lace-up tap shoes that have a hard sole or reinforced sole for added foot support. For more advanced dancers, split soles work best because they give the dancer more control and allow for more advanced steps like toe stands and wings. The best brands include: Capezio and Bloch, however there are many other brands available. Size should also be considered because tap shoes should fit snugly and comfortably against the foot.