Ella Grace Cunningham Reflects on Her Year as 2017 Tremaine Dancer of the Year


What does it mean to be Tremaine Dancer of the Year?

DOTY (Dancer of the Year), is when you go to Tremaine Nationals and basically audition against 300 girls to win the title of DOTY. When you win dancer of the year, you travel and assist the Tremaine faculty, and you represent them. Depending on how many cities you go to, you will perform a solo in the faculty show.


Tell us a little bit about the audition process for Tremaine Dancer of the Year?

For the auditions, first you learn a ballet combination. You will get cut or be asked to stay. Then, you learn a jazz combination, and you will get cut or be asked to stay. Then, they narrow it down to about 15 girls to be the finalist. Once you're a finalist, they will give you a red ribbon and watch you throughout the week (even around the hotel). The faculty will interview about 5 girls at a time and ask questions to get to know you.  Throughout the week, we have special rehearsals for a dance that we perform at the gala.

What cities did you travel to?

  • Houston
  • New Orleans
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • St. Louis
  • Dallas
  • Orlando (my favorite city)

How has being Tremaine Junior Female Dancer of the Year made a difference in your life?

It has taught me responsibility 100%. I've been able to meet people throughout the United States, and I've been able to get closer to people I have met. Not only have I become closer with old friends and met new ones, but I've also grown a bond with the faculty members. I was able to get to know them and grow closer to them because of the time spent (long hours) with them. They’ve grown to be like my family.

What were some of your favorite memories of your year as Tremaine Junior Female Dancer of the Year?

  • Hearing my name announced as dancer of the year
  • Busting my lip in Keri's class in Dallas (she called me out to do it by myself, I did it so full out I busted my lip)
  • My very first city, I was so scared and confused. I didn't know anyone, but now that I've become more comfortable with the process, I've grown to love it. It really does go by so fast. I just want to go back and do it all again. It was so fun!
Lynn Prejean