Executing 13-14 revolutions on one leg isn’t something the average person can do, but Chaz Wolcott, dance performance senior, does it with ease.
“I started dance when I was about 1 when my parents taught me how to do the cha cha,” he said. “They say I was still in diapers.”
Wolcott’s parents enrolled him in tap and jazz classes when he was about 2 1/2 or 3 years old. He said he hasn’t stopped dancing since.
While Wolcott’s pirouettes are acclaimed to be “absolutely amazing” by Mary Price Boday, associate professor of dance, turning hasn’t always come easy to him.
“When I was little I could not even do a double up until the age of maybe 14,” he said. “It always bothered me ’cause boys always seemed to turn and I couldn’t at all.”
Determined to improve, Wolcott practiced turning by spinning for hours in socks in the kitchen.
“The only way you can get better at turning is just to keep practicing, and not necessarily in class. You just have to find your center, which is something I think you have to find on your own. You can’t just take ballet once a day or whatever and expect to get it. You have to just keep practicing and spin around in the grocery store isles until you find your center,” he said.
Boday said having the ability to execute at least a double or triple pirouette is must to be a competitive working dancer.
“If you look at what dancers can do today, as opposed to what dancers could do 75 years ago, it’s really really different,” she said. “That’s just the nature of any of the performing arts. We always push and try to do more.”