Salute To Seniors: CVDA Mac’s First Graduates

Jul 18, 2016 | Blog

What an exciting spring and summer it has been at CVDA! We are happy to congratulate our first graduating class of seniors from McMinnville. Although it’s sad to say goodbye, we are confident they will be successful achieving their future goals! Before they move on to their next adventure, read about these four remarkable young women: Paige Benner, Maddie Bisgyer, Kalie Ferry, and Allie Pope.

Paige Benner, honor student and ASB president, graduated from McMinnville High School. Paige will attend DePaul University in Chicago this fall to study digital cinema and plans to minor in marketing & advertising. She is getting some experience this summer working as a survey ambassador for Visit McMinnville, a destination marketing organization. She’s also finding time to play – vacationing with family and adventuring with friends.

Paige danced at CVDA for seven years and was a member of Performing Company for four. “My favorite genre is contemporary/lyrical because there is so much freedom in the movement.” She says some of her favorite memories from dancing with CVDA are the fun times they self-choreographed Beyonce routines.

Paige advises new dancers to take advantage of the CVDA dance community. “It’s a very special group of people and a unique atmosphere. You can learn a lot!”

In closing, Paige says, “A big thank you to the CVDA family for seven amazing years. I’m so happy to have been a part of something so great!”

You’re welcome, Paige, and thank you! Your leadership has been a positive influence at the studio. We’ll miss you and best of luck!

Maddie Bisgyer, a graduate of the Sheridan Japanese School, has been dancing since she was a little girl, and with CVDA for 8 years. Some of Maddie’s favorite memories from CVDA were the holiday dances. “The teachers would choreograph hilarious routines that we would never perform on stage, but everyone remembered for a long time after!” Maddie recalled.

Her favorite dance genres have changed over the years, but Maddie’s current favorite is hip hop. “Hip hop makes me the happiest. It’s fun and I get to let the emotions fly,” she says.

Soon Maddie will head to Boston to attend Brandeis University with an interest in international development, the sciences, and of course, join some dance groups. This summer she is working at Peirano and Daughters on 3rd Street in downtown McMinnville. “I’m spending time with friends (this summer) before we go our separate ways in the fall.” She is also seeking the beautiful outdoors in Oregon before she moves to the bright lights of the big city.

Maddie has lots of advice for beginning dancers: “Practice your dances at home. I didn’t figure that out till later than I would have liked. Also, put feeling into your dance, no matter what that feeling might be. It will make you shine even brighter than you already do. Lastly and most importantly, have fun and don’t worry too much!”

Great advice, Maddie. Thanks for eight wonderful years and good luck on the East coast!

Kalie Ferry, a McMinnville High School graduate, has been dancing with CVDA for seven years (11 years total) and has also danced on Performing Company. This summer she is assisting classes at CVDA and working at Hillside Manor, and plans to keep working, dancing, and taking care of her family.

Kalie describes her best memory from CVDA: “Standing on stage with all the seniors exhausted, excited, and anxious to begin the last dance we’d ever do at a CVDA recital. The music began and it just felt so good!”

Kalie advises other dancers to pause if you’re struggling and remind yourself you are beautiful and capable. “Don’t give up on yourself. Forgive yourself. Don’t dwell on the mistake, instead figure out the problem and tackle it. And…. don’t take corrections personally! This is SO important!”

More thoughts on CVDA from Kalie: “Dancing at CVDA has taught me to take opportunities when they are available to me. To live fully and accept that people care and want to be in my life. That independent doesn’t mean alone. Independent means strong and capable. CVDA has taught me to work hard for myself and not others.  Because if I’m going to commit myself to something I need to do it to the best of my abilities.”

So true, Kalie. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your growth and learning, as a dancer and individual. Your future is bright!

Allie Pope just graduated from McMinnville High School with honors and plans to attend the University of Oregon to study architecture this fall. During the summer she is working at Evergreen helping with marketing and events. “I miss taking classes with CVDA so much. It’s hard not to break out dancing when I’m sitting at my 9-5 desk job making spreadsheets. I can’t wait to get to college and sign up for more classes in Eugene,” says Allie.

Allie has danced for 15 years, the last two years with CVDA. She says her favorite genre is ballet, because it takes so much hard work and dedication to look sophisticated and graceful while keeping your balance. “It’s a decent metaphor for life, actually,” Allie noted.

Allie’s favorite memories of CVDA were being all together, laughing and smiling, sweaty and tired. Must be a lot of those memories! Allie’s advice for young dancers is:

“Just know that the more you dance, the more you’ll fall in love with it. Ten years from now you’ll look back on the progress you’ve made and be so proud of yourself. So go ahead and fall in love!”

We couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you, Allie, for dancing with CVDA. We can’t wait to see what your future holds!