Dancing on the way to the top

By Laura Gallagher
October 26, 2011

To some people, dancing is a leisurely activity to do with your friends or at an event. For Kimberly Perry,  junior psychology major, it’s a lifestyle. She began her dancing career in the third grade at 9 years old.

“I started to find dance fun. It was a good stress release,” Perry said.

Throughout her life, Perry has performed in many recitals and competitions as a dancer. Her strongest form of dance is contemporary jazz.

Perry went to Dreyfoos School of Arts, a performing and visual arts high school,  in West Palm Beach, Fl. Perry was a musical theater major during her freshman and sophomore years. Along with dancing, Perry can sing and act, making her a “triple threat.” In her last two years of high school, she switched her major to dance.

“My mom originally did not want me to switch to the dance department in high school, so I secretly auditioned behind her back and was accepted,” Perry said. “At the end of the day, she was very proud of my accomplishments.”

Going to a school of the arts, specifically in dance, developed struggles of body image. There was no required weight to be in the dance program but there was a lot of pressure on the students. Perry always stayed focused and positive during dance and confident in her body image.

“One of my teachers said to me, ‘if you ever get hungry stick a piece of gum in your mouth,” Perry said.

No matter how intense the pressure became, Perry always did her best and exuded pure talent.  “I just didn’t listen to it, I knew I was as good of a dancer as any other girl.”

At age 17, she was accepted to Joffrey’s summer intensive, which was a two-week-long dance program.

“Pretty much all we did was eat, sleep and dance.”   Perry said. They offered for her to come back for another year but she needed to prepare for college.

Upon arrival to Cabrini, Perry knew she wanted to continue dancing. She joined the Cabrini dance team as an incoming freshman not knowing what to expect.

“It’s more laid-back than what I am used to but I’ve made a lot of good friends that have become family,” Perry said.  “We all push each other every day. We have different strengths and weaknesses.”

“Kim always wants the team to be the best so she is always pushing us to achieve new moves and more challenging routines,” fellow teammate Theresa Agro, junior education major, said.

Former dance coach Michelle Filling also noticed Perry’s passion for dancing. “Kim seems like she is most at home when she is dancing,” Filling said. When she would go to the studio for rehearsal, Perry would already be choreographing a dance, for herself, as well as dancing to music. “I was very privileged to be able to work with her as she is one of the most beautiful and talented lyrical dancers,” Filling said.

Perry choreographed a dance as a freshman and is now teaching it to the team. The team is also taping a dance and sending a video to West Chester University to see if it will be  accepted for their winter showcase.

“George Balanchine, a famous choreographer, once said that he didn’t want dancers who want to dance, he wants dancers who have to dance; and, that truly describes Kim,”  Filling said.  Dance is her calling and I suspect she will have a successful dance career long beyond her years at Cabrini.”

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Laura Gallagher

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