Features: Faye Stearns ’24

You may see her around Montrose as the smiling girl with really long blonde hair or the one dancing in the halls between classes. She is also the girl that’s late to class because she was in the chapel praying. To me, she is one of the most caring, thoughtful, and genuine people I have ever met. She’s also my best friend. However, I didn’t know until I surprised her at her recital on her birthday that she’s actually super humble too. She didn’t tell me how she’s really an exceptional dancer. So, instead of having to brag for her all the time, I interviewed her for you. 


What made you get into dance?

When I was really little, I started out with gymnastics and had a dance class once per week. However, I wasn’t super passionate about dance. A while later, I hurt my ankle in gymnastics and had a cast and crutches for 6 months. I was too emotional looking at gymnastics because I knew I could never practice again because of my ankle. I started watching dance and realized that this was something I could do and have the doctor’s approval. The doctor had pretty much told me that I would never do gymnastics again, but I still wanted to continue at the time. He told me what would happen if I continued and it was scary to me. He and my parents didn’t want me to go through that and injure it more.

If you hadn’t hurt your ankle, would you still be in gymnastics?

Well, one struggle with gymnastics is that it is harder to do with long legs. When I was 10 years old, I was 5’ 4”, so I don’t think that I would be doing well as a gymnast. Also, I enjoy dancing more because I’m free to express myself through what I do. Gymnastics is rigid and there is almost always a certain way to move. Dance is almost like athleticism and art combined which makes it so much more fun to me.

How do you make it through the frequent roadblocks?

Definitely through knowing that God created me to not only be a dancer, but to be so many more things. I know that my single sport does not define everything about me, it is just a factor to who I am. I love martial arts as much as I love dance. If I’m stressed about missing dance or injured, or if my self confidence fails, I remember that there’s so much more to who I am.

What is your favorite type of dance?

Definitely classical ballet because it’s the foundation for everything. All the other styles of dance wouldn’t exist without classical ballet. Dance became something a long time ago and has evolved over time and is still constantly changing.

Does dance increase or decrease your stress levels?

Well, it’s two-sided because there’s that stress right before you step on stage or perform for everyone in class because of messing up and embarrassing myself. It gets stressful when I have too much homework and can’t make it to class or rehearsal or when I have a competition or recital coming up. It always changes when I step out onto the floor. The stress melts away and I become one with the music and my emotions. It’s why I dance. All the rehearsals, time, and energy put in to dance pay off when I’m on the floor.

How did you audition for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? Did you think you’d make it?

It was a video audition because of the virus which was different from what an audition normally is. I had to send in two videos, one with a ballet routine and one based on a style called Horton. One of Alvin Ailey’s main focuses is Horton. However, I had never danced in the style of Horton so I was really challenged with this portion. I had help from my modern dance teacher and we came up with a routine and sent it in. I was really confident in my ballet portion and hopeful on my Horton piece. 

How do you balance dance, martial arts, and school while taking care of yourself?

Quite often, more times than not, I feel like I have no control over my life and it feels like too much. I get stressed easily, and a part of me knows how challenging it is to balance multiple things. I love a good challenge and I always want to push myself, so it’s one of the reasons why I kind of love a busy schedule. At the end of a long and busy week, the validation that I give myself from dancing for 10 hours and practicing martial arts for 4 hours on top of homework helps my mental state. I remember that I’m accomplishing something that is super difficult and that when I’m super stressed I can go to my family, my friends, and God. I also remember that I go to a small, but amazing school where everyone wants to support you and everyone is on your side. I know that when I feel unbalanced and I’m falling behind, my mentor and teachers will understand that I will put in as much effort as possible to get back on track.


Anya Marino ’24, Staff Writer