photo courtesy of Keenan Schember
Beginning dance at the age of seven, Keenan Schember, now a freshman at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, competes at dozens of dance competitions around the country including Nuvo, The Pulse, Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, and Starquest. Starting his second year at the dance company Poetry in Motion, Schember continues to work hard and one day hopes to pursue a career in dance.
As a dancer at Poetry in Motion, Keenan performs as a part of the company’s Pre- Professional program. In addition to serving as valuable training experience for a career in the dance industry, the program allows Kennan to perform with members of the professional company.“I have danced at Poetry in Motion Dance Company for a while and I love it. This past year we have performed [frequently] and had so much fun,” Schember said.
Practicing a total of 18 hours a week, Keenan strives to balance his hectic schedule and his school work. “The load we put on as dancers is a lot so our teachers and choreographers try to keep the hours as low as possible. It’s a pretty tough load especially with the [amount of] homework I have, but I make it work,” Schember said.
In addition to attending classes four times a week, Keenan also works as a teaching assistant at Poetry in Motion’s national workshops for young dancers. “Assisting my teachers across the country at national classes is one of the best opportunities I have. It is an awesome feeling to have younger kids and other dancers look up to you,” Schember said.
Last year, after entering into WCDE, or the West Coast Dance Explosion, Keenan beat out dozens of dancers from studios around the country to win the national Junior Elite award. In addition to winning the award, Keenan was asked to travel to all of the cities where WCDE performed including Las Vegas and Denver. “Winning the Junior Elite was so exciting and a great experience for me. It was really fun to be involved with that competition because this past year I got to travel and perform for the dancers at the ‘Faculty Show’ that the competition holds,” Schember said.
Although only a freshman, Keenan is already thinking about plans to pursue a future career in dance. “Dancers really need to plan out their future very early in their life. I would like go to a college that involves dance because I would like to someday pursue a dance career. I know that it is very hard to make it in the dance world because it is a growing business and there are a lot of dancers that want what I want. It doesn’t make the [largest salary] but I will be able to say that I love my job,” Schember said.
Even with his busy schedule, Keenan is looking forward to being a freshman and spending time with his friends. “I don’t see my friends a lot during the summer because I am so busy with dance, so I think it will be another great year,” Schember said.