Life as a Dancer: Featuring Middle School Montrosians

Dance is a beloved art that expresses emotion with movement. Here at Montrose School, girls have countless hobbies outside of school, including painting, drawing, writing, different sports, music, and many more. Dance is one of them. Due to Covid-19, many dancers’ regular practice hours and normal schedules have changed. Recently, I interviewed two dancers who expressed their love for dance. They shared with me their best, funniest, and hardest moments.

You may know Siena Elliffe ‘27 and Abigail Scollins ‘25. Did you know that they are both dancers? Siena does Irish step dancing, while Abigail does lyrical and contemporary styles. These diverse dance genres all require hard work — physically and mentally. Normally, without Covid-19, Abigail practices 12-15 hours a week, and Siena practices 10 hours a week. Unfortunately, with Covid, they can only dance about 6-10 hours. 

Though they have different dance schedules because of Covid, it is all worth it. Memories are the best part of any hobbies we do. For these dancers, memories are always a sweet thought. I have danced for about four to five years and I know some mistakes can make the best memories. Siena shared with me her mishap in a solo dance. The back of her dress popped open during her dance! One of Abigail’s favorite memories is getting the lead role of Clara in the Nutcracker. 

There are so many fun times in dance, but it can be straining, both physically and emotionally. I asked both dancers about the challenges they face. Abigail said that she has had back issues and that she competes against her friends, which can feel like it’s every (wo)man for herself. Siena has also had physical issues with her feet in Irish step, leading to physical therapy. 

Both dancers adore their dance styles, so I asked them a hard question. If they had to do any other dance type, what would it be? Abigail said that she loves competing, but she would love to be a traditionally trained ballet dancer. Siena has done lyrical in the past and would do it again. 

Dancers work so hard everyday, but does this interfere with their school work and other activities? The answer for most would be yes; yet, because of the schedule change this year, having Wednesdays off is extremely helpful. Student-athletes can finish up your homework and fit studying into a tight schedule. In the past, however, they had difficulty keeping up with homework and studying. 

Dance is a long process and requires time. Abigail and Siena both started dance at a young age. Most people I have met who love to dance were put in a class when they were young to “just try it out,” and it ended up becoming a hobby. There is always a phase when we were little kids, finding things we were good at so we could keep ourselves busy. Most people who have done dance have also done soccer or other sports, and settled on dance as their primary passion. That is true for Abigail and Siena. Abigail told me she tried soccer and did not like it, so her mother put her in a dance class — and she loved it. The same is true for Siena. There are always ups and downs in every sport or hobby you try. You could face a challenge physically or face a friend and be challenged emotionally, but the most important thing in anything you try is to get back up and do it again, especially if you love it. Hard work always pays off every time, and you end up meeting amazing people along the way — life long friends, good laughs and many more. Another favorite thing is looking back at old dance costumes! So cute!

Finally, I asked the dancers what they would tell people who are starting dance or are facing a challenge. The advice was unanimous:  “Don’t compare yourself to others or you’re never going to improve.” 


Rachael Botelho ‘26, Staff Writer and Rising Middle School Editor