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Arts and Entertainment

New York dream realized for dance scholar Iyanna Jackson
Myers Park High senior to attend Tisch School
Published Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:02 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Iyanna Jackson, a senior at Myers Park High School, is graduating early to enroll at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Iyanna Jackson cannot wait to pursue dancing as a professional.

She will graduate a year early from Myers Park High School to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

As one of two Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship recipients, Jackson can now head to college without the pressure of the cost of living in North America’s largest and most expensive city. The scholarship is distributed to as many as two Charlotte area high school seniors, who may receive up to $10,000 from the annually renewable grant.

Recipients are chosen based on financial need, academics, plans to pursue performing arts degrees, acceptance into a college or university with an established performing arts program as a full-time student with at least 12 credit hours. The scholarship acknowledges business owner and Blumenthal Performing Arts patron Mary Doctor, who advocated for young people pursuing the arts.

“The scholarship really affected me because it covered my whole room and board,” Jackson said. “New York is very expensive. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to have to get an apartment, or share an apartment, or what exactly was going to happen. Now I’m able to focus more on what I’m doing in New York versus where I’m going to stay and the cost of that.”

Jackson began dancing at age 2 but quit two years later. She returned, and even danced in competitions when she was 10 and has been active since.

“Around 14 years old, that’s when I really got serious about dance,” Jackson said. “I started going to more dance intensives and started looking at what exactly I wanted to do with dance. Last year was when I decided now that I know what I want to do with dance, where do I want to go?”  

Jackson’s Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and foreign language credits allow her adventure to begin in New York a year early.

“Let me go ahead and start my next steps instead of staying here in Charlotte and pursue my dream faster,” Jackson said. “With the coronavirus, I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to go, but hopefully I can go to New York on time and start my career.”

Dance studios have been closed for months, which forced Jackson to shift practices to her home studio, where she utilizes live and Zoom classes, as well as Facetime for private sessions. She intends to carry Facetime private instruction with her throughout her career as an extra tool.

Hip hop classes instead of standard ballet or pointe mix up her routine and brighten her mood when she feels down.

“I’ve been in my studio a lot more now because I have a lot more time,” Jackson said.

After graduating from NYU, Jackson intends to pursue dancing on Broadway or with a contemporary company such as Alvin Ailey or Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“After my time performing on stage is over, I plan to open up a studio for low-income children, so they can have a lot of opportunities and dance training,” she said.


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