Hathaway smiles to the audience during her performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 6. (Peyton Raybon)
Hathaway smiles to the audience during her performance of The Nutcracker on Dec. 6.

Peyton Raybon

Discipline, dedication and dance

December 16, 2019

Amelia Hathaway lives her life through dance.

She started ballet when she was three years old. Fourteen years later and a junior in high school, she continues to dance almost every day.

“To me, dance is a place where I have to work really hard but also have fun,” Hathaway said. “My best friends are at dance, and I’ve learned some of my most valuable life lessons there.”

Now dancing at the Dance Conservatory of Charleston, Hathaway practices every Monday through Thursday and has rehearsals every Saturday and Sunday. Her practices are anywhere from two to three hours long and rehearsals are two to seven hours long. 

“We put in so much time and effort and tears and sweat and blood like they say,” Hathaway said. “So much goes into it and then when it pays off, it’s just really nice.” 

Her commitment extends beyond the school year. While some use the summer as a three-month “night off,” Hathaway uses it as an opportunity to improve and learn more about what she loves. She takes a three week-long intensives (camp)  throughout the summer — some have been in Charleston, others out of state in places like Cincinnati and Alabama. 

“It’s just hard choices, I mean she’s at dance so much that she does…miss other things that she would like to do, but it’s not a negative necessarily because she loves it so much,” Lesley Hathaway, Amelia’s mom said. 

As with any sport or activity, Hathaway has had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. 

“I’ve had to miss a lot, making sacrifices like friends’ parties or vacations with family… Really I’ve had to miss a lot, but it’s all worth it,” she said. “I love it.”      

And it is that mindset and determination that has led Hathaway to love and live through ballet.

“Sometimes I’ll get frustrated with it… cause I couldn’t do something, but I’m not gonna quit, that just makes me want to work harder,” she said.            

Despite the sacrifices she has had to make, Hathaway still dances.

Despite the tiring hours, Hathaway still dances.

Despite everything that may have made her want to quit, Hathaway still dances. 

Every time she steps onto that stage, every sacrifice, hour and obstacle melts away, and Hathaway expresses herself through her love of dance. 

“I feel very nervous, but also very calm, in a weird way,” she said. “I also feel very happy because I know that all of my hard work is paying off.”

Hathaway has performed in a number of pieces, including a few of her favorites — Balanchine’s “Serenade” and Balanchine’s “Snow Flakes.” Others include “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Wizard of Oz” and many more. 

Her latest show though, is Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.” Put on by her current dance company — Dance Conservatory of Charleston — Hathaway was one of Maria’s gifted harlequin dolls, a snowflake in a dream winter wonderland and a dewdrop in the land of sweets on some nights and a flower on the others. 

“The feeling you get when you perform is probably my favorite part,” Hathaway said. “When you keep pushing yourself more and more for each performance, it shows what you can really do and it’s exciting.”

Although Hathaway plans to possibly pursue event planning and marketing, dance will never stray far from her no matter where she ends up and teaching is one of the ways she plans to do that.

“I want more people to get to do what I got to do and to experience that, so I think that teaching them would really help spread dance,” Hathaway said. 

But no matter where life takes her, the lessons she learned throughout her dance career will not soon be forgotten. Dance has impacted Hathaway’s life in so many positive ways, that she plans to take it with her no matter what she does or where life takes her.

“I have definitely learned discipline, commitment and what it means to be dedicated….,” she said. “I plan to keep doing it for a long time.”

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