Every Friday, we spotlight a past Joci Awards finalist and find out what they’ve been up to since performing in the annual competition, learn what the future holds for them, and ask them to dish sage advice to future competitors. Look for a new finalist spotlight every Friday, and if you know of a past winner interested in being featured, contact us here.
First, tell us what year, category, song/piece, etc., you performed at the Joci Awards. In 2014, I got the honor to perform “Roxie” from Chicago the Musical in the dance category!
What are you up to now? Are you in school? Working? I am currently a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Nutrition/Pre-Pharmacy. I joined the UT Dance Team my freshman year and now have the honor being Co-Captain this year. It is such an amazing experience getting to dance at a collegiate level and represent UT nationally at competitions. I am so in love with UT and am blessed that I get to pursue my dream career, as well as my passion of dance!
What are your plans for the future? My main goal for the future is to graduate from UT in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Nutritional Sciences. From there, I will hopefully be accepted into a Pharmacy School in Texas that I will attend for four years to get my certification as a pharmacist. I plan to take dance classes and teach dance on the side of pharmacy because I can never let it drift away from my life!
Tell us about your Joci Awards experience. What was it like performing on stage of the Empire Theatre? Any other fun memories that stand out? My Joci Awards experience was one for the books. I will always remember the feeling I had when I walked on the Empire Theatre stage and told myself that this was it. This was my time to show everyone my dear love for this art and why I had dedicated so many years of my life to it. The Joci Awards opened up a competitive, yet freeing environment where the arts could truly shine and impact the not only the performers, but also everyone who got the chance to see the magic of the show. Getting the honor to share the stage with such talented and inspiring artists will be a memory I will never forget. The Joci Awards not only gave me an opportunity to showcase my art, but also gave me a sense of ease when it came to transitioning to college and finding a way to pay for all of the expenses. The scholarship I earned was such a blessing, and I am beyond thankful for it!
What advice do you have for future scholarship applicants and Joci Awards performers? This is the perfect time to showcase your hard work and dedication to the art you are truly passionate about. I would recommend not thinking of it as a competition. This is a rare time where artists from all around Texas get the chance to come together and express why the arts are so important and how much they can impact people’s lives. Use this amazing opportunity to push yourself to be the best performer you can be. Stretch your boundaries as an artist and learn from all the talent that will surround you. Nerves will kick in, but think about the bigger picture of why you are there. You are representing the arts community and showcasing why it should be respected and loved. Sing, act, or dance your heart out on that stage and soak up every second of it!
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