Move to Express


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Lily Hartney, sr., dancing for her senior photos.

Fifteen years is a long time to be committed to something. In 15 years, Lily Hartney has dedicated her mind, body, and soul to dance, and continues to push herself at dance practices and competitions.

To Hartney, dance is almost second nature. It gives her a creative outlet unlike any other, allowing her to express herself through movement.

“I dance because it makes me so proud and happy,” Hartney said. “Dance is a way I can stay active and let my creativity and skill shine.”

Hartney dances not only for herself, but her teammates too. She pushes herself to improve for them, and they do the same for her.

“My favorite part about dancing is dancing with my teammates at eXtensions Dance Academy,” Hartney said. “They are such an amazing support network that never fails to amaze and challenge me.”

Although dance is her life, Hartney says that the stigma that surrounds the community can be difficult to overcome.

“Everybody assumes it’s just an art, but competitive dance is just as hard, if not harder, than any other sport,” Hartney said. “There’s agility, balance, strength, focus, and flexibility that all competitive dancers must focus on at all times.”

Hartney’s whole life has been dedicated to dance, so it would be almost unnatural if she suddenly quit because of graduation. In the future, Hartney plans to continue improving as a dancer and choreographer.

“I am planning on joining the dance program at Cornell college,” Hartney said. “I recently got a dance scholarship worth $20,000, so I am very grateful to continue my passion at a collegiate level.”

Dancing at the college level brings many new difficulties and opportunities for Hartney to grow as a dancer.

“The dance director Avlon Reed is such a well-respected choreographer in the Cedar Rapids community, so I am looking forward to working with him and learning all he has to teach in the program at Cornell,” Hartney said.

Hartney continues to push herself in ever aspect of dance, including mental, physical, and emotional, and with hard work and perseverance, Hartney has potential to become a well-known artist in the dance community.