After more than a decade of dancing, the hard work and determination of a 14-year-old girl from Sanford took her one step closer to making her dream come true. Now she is asking the community to help her bring her passion for dance to the national stage.
Ella Wilson, who has been dancing since she was little, burst into tears when her name was announced as the winner of the Teen Miss Dance of NC title in the Carolina Dance Masters competition.
“When I won I didn’t really believe I won – because I’ve been working for that specific title since I was 7,” Wilson said. “And that was probably the best feeling in the world because – something that you work so hard for and finally get it.”
Wilson dances about 3.5 to 4.5 hours a day after school, balancing his love of dancing with school, homework, and friends. Wilson was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and alopecia universal.
She fondly remembers receiving a standing ovation for her hard work and being hugged by every title holder as she received her crown, saying, “If I could relive this moment every time, I would. “
Dancer’s Workshop, the dance studio she attended since her early childhood, has become her family.
“They were with Ella when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and then when she lost all of her hair we had a shaving party here,” says Ashley Wilson, her mother. “They were so supportive and loving. So for them to watch her work so hard and then win this huge title, it was an extremely emotional night for everyone. There were tears everywhere.”
Learn to dance in the rain
While being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or losing hair from alopecia isn’t news that no one hopes to receive, especially at such a young age, Wilson fully embraces who she is – and found it. strength and beauty.
“I have alopecia and my hair is falling out. My immune system is just attacking my hair follicles,” she says. “When I was in 4th grade, all my family and friends came to my house to support me on my ‘shave night.’ First I had to shave my mom’s head. ‘shaved his head. And then we had a party. “
Then, just a week later, at just 9, she had to take the stage and perform in front of an audience – after losing her hair.
“The following weekend was our first competition where she had to go on stage without hair and perform – and she rocked it,” her mother said.
Her team supported her through it all, even learning what she should do if Wilson were to pass out or need insulin.
“Sometimes when I’m dancing I’m either really high or really low. When I’m low I have to sit – and I hate to do that – and take something to get my blood sugar to where it needs to be. ‘m high, my senses are getting very high, and the music is super loud, i have a headache. But i work through it, and it doesn’t really affect my dancing, ”says Wilson.
Tori Melby, dance teacher and owner of Dancer’s Workshop, credits Wilson’s alopecia for boosting Wilson’s performance. She became notable in the use of enhanced facial expressions on stage to convey emotions.
Wilson says that sometimes, like any teenager, she doesn’t feel safe. But the support and love of her friends and teammates lifts her up and reminds her that she is beautiful and worthy.
“The diagnosis has definitely changed my life, but for the better,” Wilson said. “There are definitely pros and cons, but I wouldn’t do anything to change it,” she said.
Dreaming of the national route
Wilson specializes in all manner of dance including ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyric, hip-hop, tap and point. She uploads videos of her dance to her Facebook page.
Now that she has won the title of Teen Miss Dance of NC, many doors are opening for her. But she asks the community to help her raise funds to attend the National Dance Masters of America Championships, which includes a 12-day stay that she has to pay for herself.
His teacher Melby has trained two more national winners in previous years, which means Wilson is in good hands to become the next winner.
“The two that I had before are currently dancing professionally in LA and New York. It gives them a lot of open doors,” Melby said. “The competition is accompanied by great national recognition.
The competition includes interviews; competitive lessons in ballet, tap dance, jazz and acrobatics; rehearsals for an opening act and a formal banquet. This allows her to befriend peers from across the country, meet industry leaders and network, and be seen on a national stage to set her up for future success.
Wilson hopes to raise $ 10,000 to help cover expenses.
“If there is one child who deserves it, it is this one”, says her teacher.
She started a GoFundMe to help raise funds for the dream she has worked for most of her life. She has raised almost $ 3,000 so far.
“I had a lot of kids who came and went, a lot of amazing dancers – but this one has a light that you can’t dim. It radiates from inside of her like I don’t have. never seen before when it’s on stage. “
She dreams of performing on Broadway and owning her own dance studio – maybe even taking over the one she’s spent her entire life with.
“Dancing is something I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s been there for me since I was little. I can really express my emotions and do what I love,” Wilson says.