Inlet is in the middle of its 17th season! There are many reasons to celebrate the life of the organization, and we are going to start by celebrating the lives that have been impacted by Inlet Dance Theatre. This article is “Why Inlet?” because no matter why, how, or when people were involved with Inlet, they have a story to tell and an experience worth acknowledging.
This month, meet Ashley Champa, a senior at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School in Chardon, OH, and is a longtime student of Inlet Dance Theatre’s Summer Dance Intensive and Student Ensemble Program at The Music Settlement:
I’ve chosen Inlet as my place of training for 6 years now because I know there is not another company quite like them. Inlet isn’t your average modern dance company; they are a family. At Inlet, you’re never just a number. In addition, they will tell you they take their craft very seriously but not themselves, and they push for you to do the same. At Inlet, there is never a dull moment. Each day is full of laughter and smiles that never leave your face while learning way more than you ever expected you could. In my perspective, the laughter along with the relationships you make makes the learning process easier and more fun. Inlet expects you to work hard but they do it out of love because they want to encourage you to do better and be the best you can be. Inlet has helped me get to a point where I feel nothing is impossible. It’s just that some things will take more time. Boundaries are pushed and process is made.
I have had a lot of personal success dancing with Inlet which is another reason why I have stuck around for so long. Throughout each summer I can feel myself getting not only stronger and more flexible, but more confident. I’ve built bonds with a lot of other people with the same goal as me through working together as a team. I know that they really want me to succeed just as much as I do.
Inlet Dance Theatre gives you numerous opportunities to dance not only with and for each other but also at many events. In my past years at Inlet I have had the opportunity to dance at the lantern festival at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art’s 100-year anniversary, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cain Park and many more. My proudest performance with Inlet Dance Theatre though was when they gave their Summer Dance Intensive students the opportunity to perform at the Republican National Convention at Public Square in Downtown Cleveland in 2016. That is definitely an experience not many people can say they got to perform at. It was also an eye-opening experience because on our side there were people working together to entertain and create art while the other side of the square was a very different story.
My proudest educational moments are always in Non-Traditional Partnering when I achieve something I would have never thought I could do. Inlet members always tell you to just say yes and trust. When you finally do just that, the sky becomes the limit.
I encourage everyone to take a class at Inlet with an open mind because I guarantee it’s not like anything you have ever done before. I truly love it more than I can explain. Once you try Inlet, you won’t want to leave, EVER!