September 29, 2017

Dare, dream, dance

1.7 min read| Published On: September 29th, 2017|

By Leigh Neely

Dare, dream, dance

1.7 min read| Published On: September 29th, 2017|

Photo: Fred Lopez

Local dancer Landi Hicks is heading to Manhattan for two years of intense training that could make her Broadway bound!

Her dream was to be a Rockette, but she was caught short—by about 4 inches. Rockettes must be at least 5 feet 6 inches tall. However, that didn’t stop Landi Hicks from pursuing her dream of being a professional dancer. Now, she’s one step closer to hitting her mark.

In February, the graduate of The Villages Charter School auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and was among the 21 percent of candidates accepted into the program. For the next two years, she’ll be living in New York City and dancing every day. In addition, she’ll take voice and acting classes. “They have one of the best combat classes in the country,” Landi says.

She began her training at age 2 with her mom, Terri, who owns Dance Dynamix in Leesburg. The instructors at Dance Dynamix encourage all their dancers to study ballet throughout their training, and Landi says it provides the strength and technique to support all forms of dance.

Much of what she has done outside the dance studio has prepared her for the rigorous training ahead. She’s been in the school chorus since middle school to develop her singing skills and performed as a participant in local scholarship pageants. “I was Little Miss, Junior Miss and Teen Miss Leesburg, and Little Miss, Junior Miss, and Teen Miss Hometown,” she says.

For several years, Landi has been learning under beloved instructor Ron Holiday at Dance Dynamix.

“I’ve been training with him since I was 6. He’s very strict—no talking, hair in a bun, and never be late—but it’s worth it because you learn so much,” Landi says. “It aggravates me that these younger kids don’t know the opportunity that’s right in front of them to learn dance from him.”

Landi has also moved up to teaching younger dancers, and Terri admires her daughter’s skill with the younger dancers.

“I can come up with stuff so easily. My mom says it’s amazing how quickly I can choreograph,” Landi says.

Future plans include being a concert dancer—the ones who dance behind J-Lo, Beyoncé, and other famous performers.

“I’ve always wanted to go to New York City and dance. I’ll be living in a dorm in Manhattan and dancing about 40 hours a week,” Landi says. “But I like being able to express myself through the movements. You get lost in the dance and lose all the stress.”

About the Author: Leigh Neely

Leigh Neely began her writing career with a weekly newspaper in the Florida panhandle, where she not only did the writing, but delivered the papers to the post office and dispensers. She has been writing ever since for a variety of newspapers and magazines from New Jersey to Leesburg. With her writing partner, Jan Powell, Leigh has published two novels as Neely Powell.

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