During this unprecedent time of Covid-19, our school has had to slow down a few beloved projects, however we continue to explore. One of the things I find therapeutic during this pandemic is to connect with likeminded people; from national dance seminars, to old friends, and past students. Connecting with people who love what I love has been great!
Today we are starting a new blog series “Dancer’s Journey” where we will take a look at some of the amazing people that have walked through our doors and what they are up to now. I hope you enjoy learning about their dance path as much as I have!
Reconnecting With Sara Radka
Hi, my name is Sara, and I am very excited to be rejoining the Live Oak Dance Family and becoming a part of the faculty! I am a New Orleans native returning home after recently graduating from the Kansas City Ballet’s Daytime Program.
Training to Be a Professional
I started dancing at age 10 at Dance Academy West before moving to New Orleans and making dance my main hobby. I danced at several studios, including New Orleans Dance Academy, and was also a part of Lusher Charter School’s Certificate of Artistry Program for dance during High School. I soon fell in love with ballet and realized I wanted to be a professional dancer, so in January 2016 I started a more intense ballet training with Jarina Carvalho at Live Oak Dance. I felt intimidated for starting “late” in ballet terms at the age of 15 but at Live Oak Dance, I was able to grow in a strong and supportive environment. I felt that I was quickly able to bridge the gap and catch up with the other students my age all while making lifelong friends. I remember Ms. Jarina pushed me out of my comfort zone with “balls to the wall” and I realized that I could do more than I would have ever thought. Singles turned into doubles and doubles started to become triples!
I was very fortunate to be able to attend summer programs for American Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and, of course, Live Oak Dance. Live Oak’s program was always one of my favorites because I received individualized attention and prepared for the longer intensives each summer where I was able to learn from amazing teachers such as Sarah Lamb, Kathryn Morgan, Larissa Ponomarenko, and Julie Kent.
During the Kansas City Ballet summer intensive of 2018, I was invited to be in their Daytime Pre-Professional Training Program.
I was fortunate enough to be able to accept their invitation and I moved to Kansas City to finish my Pre-professional training. In Kansas City, I studied various forms of dance such as modern, flamenco, contemporary, jass, hip-hop, and character.
I also performed soloist roles in the Kansas City Youth Ballet’s performances Don Quixote, Ice Queen, and Esmarelda, and lead roles in Marcus Otis’ “Electric Panda” and Cameron Miller’s “unknown.” During my time at Kansas City Ballet School, I also became an approved teacher of levels Pre-Ballet- Ballet 4.
I was honored by this position, as I greatly enjoy teaching ballet and helping students grow. I graduated from Kansas City Ballet’s Daytime Program with the class of 2020.
I am excited to return home and share all of the valuable information that I have learned with the students of Live Oak Dance. Although I have to return home earlier than expected due to the pandemic, I am excited for the next chapter in my journey. I love using my extra time to improve my technique at home and start new hobbies. One hobby that has really made lemonade out of this lemon of a situation is making items to help me stay dancing at home. I recently built my own ballet floor that allows me to jump, turn, and work on my pointework all with supplies that are available out of our local Lowe’s. I’ve also learned how to make new ballet skirts to wear during zoom classes and my next task is making new fun leotards to keep me inspired. I have found that staying motivated is hard sometimes but with the right mindset and a few fun projects up my sleeve, we can get through anything. I can’t wait to meet all of the new students and reconnect with the older ones once we can return to classes.