Artist in the Spotlight: Lifelong dancer Courtney Volta pursues pass

By Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer

Sophomore Courtney Volta started dancing  at a young age and since then, she has blossomed into a full-fledged powerhouse of dance.

Sophomore Courtney Volta, a former dance team member, performed in “Dance Concert” at PLU for the first time last weekend. Volta, who has been dancing since the age of 6, described dance as a “lifelong passion” and said she “can’t imagine not dancing again.” Photo courtesy of Quinn Huelsbeck.
Sophomore Courtney Volta, a former dance team member, performed in “Dance Concert” at PLU for the first time last weekend. Volta, who has been dancing since the age of 6, described dance as a “lifelong passion” and said she “can’t imagine not dancing again.” Photo courtesy of Quinn Huelsbeck.

Volta began dancing at the tender age of 6 at All That! Dance Company in her hometown of Eugene, Ore. She started focusing on studying jazz, tap and ballet dancing.

Volta said dancing was just a fun and exciting pastime until the fourth grade. It was around then that she decided to join the competitive team of All That!, buckling down and getting serious about her dancing.

Her seriousness showed through when she began teaching classes in middle school. By the time high school rolled around, Volta was dancing almost constantly.

“By high school, I was dancing about 25 hours a week — before and after school — and traveling to competitions on the weekends,” Volta said.

Dancing, although pleasurable for her, was beginning to take its toll on Volta.

“My senior year [of high school] I started to get pretty burnt out. With so many commitments, I felt like I was no longer dancing for myself,” Volta said. “But I did, so that I wouldn’t disappoint my family who had paid so much for my training and traveling, and my instructors who had invested so much in me.”

After a short summer intermission between the end of high school and the start of Pacific Lutheran University, she decided to join the PLU Dance Team her first year and participated in the Spring Concert.

However, she did not go on to pursue a spot on the team this year. She said the break has given her a new sense of what it means to be a dancer.

“The ability to express what I feel words cannot is the biggest reason I love dancing so much,” Volta said. “There is no feeling like being on stage conveying a powerful and personal message to an audience through dance.”

After dancing in multiple pieces as well as choreographing several original dances, Volta has yet to choose a favorite form of dance.

She does, however, hold true to the fact that being surrounded by loved ones makes a considerable difference in which dances are especially memorable.

“Dances that have a special place in my mind are ones that I danced with my closest friends,” Volta said. “There is so much power when you dance with someone whose energy you feel and feed off of.”

Volta’s latest work includes her performance and choreographed dance in this year’s “Dance Concert” production. She danced in several acts, and her own work, “Joy,” debuted on stage to applause, cheering and whooping.

Even though this is a milestone for her, Volta said she has no plans to slow down anytime soon and intends to dance with PLU again next year.

“Dance is absolutely a lifelong passion. I can’t imagine not dancing again,” Volta said. “I hope I can be 90 years old shaking what I’ve got.”

 

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