Abby Walker: Dancing dreams come true

Published 9:16 am Monday, February 17, 2020

At 11 years old, Abby Walker of Kill Devil Hills has accomplished a lot. Already competing in the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious world-wide ballet competition, attending classes at the School of American Ballet in New York and dedicating her time to over thirteen dance classes a week, Abby has built herself an impressive resume.

Abby started dancing when she was two years old. Her mother, Colette Walker, had danced through college and taught dance classes, which she involved Abby in. “I just loved it,” Abby said in an interview with The Coastland Times.

Currently, Abby practices at the Outer Banks Dance Academy under the direction of Sabrina Hassell, owner/director of the academy. Hassell described Abby as a “shining star.” “Abby’s dance instructors have watched her grow from just a small girl and have loved watching the kind and humble dancer she has become,” Hassell said.

Abby said that last year she was chosen to perform at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). For her contemporary performance, she placed in the top twelve. “This year I’m competing there again,” Abby said.

In January of 2020, Colette said that Abby “was very excited to finish in the top 12 in the classical ballet division and second place for her contemporary piece.” After the competition, Abby was invited to the New York finals due to her score in the classical division.

Throughout her dancing career, Abby has attended various intensive ballet programs. She spent one week at the School of American Ballet and three weeks at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. She also spent some time at Ballet Academy East in New York City.

“They were a lot of fun,” Abby said with a big smile on her face. Abby has competed in many competitions over the course of her career, one of which is a regional competition known as “Encore.”

“At Encore, they have title winner,” Abby explained. “I’ve done competitions there for at least five years now and once you are old enough, you can compete in ‘improv’ to a song that they choose. The winner receives a tiara.” Abby has won this title three years in a row.

Right now, Abby said she is in the training stage of her ballet career. “At my age, you train really hard to get to where you want to go, to get people to know your name more,” she explained. Abby said she wants to continue to grow through ballet and see where it takes her.

One of the reasons Abby has stayed dedicated to dance for eight years is because she has found a strong work ethic that can be applied to her daily life. “Life is all about working hard and it [dance] shows me how to work hard to get where you want to go,” she said.

“You can express yourself through dance,” Abby added. Colette has watched Abby mature through her dance academy, where Colette also teaches. “As a dance instructor and a mom, there are moments where being both are helpful,” Colette said. “I can bring in people I know to help Abby.”

Abby said she has learned a lot through her teachers, especially Hassell. “She has taught me to always keep pushing and do the best that you can on everything,” Abby shared.

Abby attended the Kirov Ballet Academy summer intensive audition last month. She received a scholarship to attend the intensive this upcoming summer of 2020. Colette said, “She has accepted their invitation and will spend five weeks in DC at the academy this coming summer.”

When she is not at dance class, Abby attends First Flight Middle School. She said she enjoys spending time with her friends as well as her little sister, who is also a dancer. Abby has a tight schedule with school five days a week and dance six days a week, but she has still been able to relish her middle school years and work towards her dreams.

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