CVDA Alumni Dancing In Hawaii

Jan 17, 2017 | Blog, Bottom Home Page

It’s so exciting for us to keep in touch with our CVDA family, even after they fly the nest. Two CVDA alumni, Abby Woolsey and Audrey Gohman, are currently attending Hawaii Pacific University and became members of the HPU dance team!

Hawaii Pacific University is a small, private college located in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. To audition, the girls had to submit videos last April of each one doing jazz, hip hop, Pom, and combinations across the floor.

In order to stay on the HPU dance team, Abby and Audrey will have to audition again at the end of the year, but this time live. Their spots are not guaranteed; they will have to earn them by performing choreography, other displays of technique, and go through an interview process.

We caught up with Abby and Audrey, both graduates of C.S. Lewis High School, to find out what they’ve been up to since heading to Hawaii.

Chehalem Valley Dance Academy: How long did you dance at CVDA?

Abby Woolsey: Eleven years, and I did Performing Company for six of those years. My best memories were spending time with other soloists back stage before competing.

Audrey Gohman: I danced at CVDA for four years, and my final three years I was on PC. At my very first convention, I was only supposed to watch. Kristen came up to me in the morning and said I could dance if I wanted. It was crazy and overwhelming, but I loved it! I learned so much in that one weekend, and the spontaneity made it feel like a special privilege.


CVDA: What were some of the “lessons” you learned at CVDA that have carried over to this year?

AW: Dance has taught me to be more outgoing and more confident, when I’m dancing and when I’m not. I love lyrical and tumbling; tumbling because I like to learn new tricks and lyrical because when I watch professionals dance, it looks so beautiful and elegant and easy, I want to be able to dance like that!

AG: CVDA taught me many things, like time management, professionalism, and work ethic. The most valuable thing I learned from dance is (how to take) constructive criticism. The attentive, focused, mindset used to improve dance skills has really helped me adjust to living in a new place with new people and dance style.

Hip hop is my favorite. It has a certain freedom about it that other genres do not. I’ll never forget my first hip hop class with Kristen. I immediately quit doing all sports and started taking more dance classes!


CVDA: Why did you decide to attend Hawaii Pacific University?

AW: I wanted to go somewhere sunny, and not too far away. I also wanted to have a different experience than what I’m used to; to experience different adventures, and have the ability to explore somewhere new. This school is also one of the most diverse colleges, so I was excited to meet a lot of people from all over the world.

AG: Hawaii Pacific University is ranked the sixth most diverse college in the country. This means I not only experience the Hawaiian culture, but am also exposed to many others cultures through my peers.


CVDA: How often are you dancing this year?

AW/AG: We practice about 6.5 hours a week, plus the games and gym workouts from August through May. We don’t compete, only perform at the volleyball and basketball games, and school and community events.

CVDA: Tell us more about the HPU dance team.

AW/AG: We technically don’t have a dance teacher/coach. Instead, there is an administrator and advisor who organizes activities, and team captains, who lead everything. The culture is very different; more casual. We don’t actually have our own studio and the dancing is very different than what we’re used to. The intensity level isn’t as hard technically, but the captains push us to be more entertaining and expressive for the audience, because we want the audience to cheer with us for the players. We don’t work on technique often in our dancing, either. There are 13 team members (12 girls and 1 guy) and overall it’s pretty diverse; some came from high school dance teams and some came from dance studios.


CVDA: What’s been challenging so far?

AW: My biggest challenge is balancing school and studying, along with dance and wanting to go on adventures!

AG: It’s hard adjusting to a team that has such a different atmosphere and expectations than that of a studio.



Thank you, Abby and Audrey – we are so proud of you both!