September 2016 Featured DancerLainy Johnston
This month’s featured dancer is Lainy Johnston. She dances at Studio 19 Dance Complex. Thanks for stopping by and reading this interview.
DanceAdvisor: How old were you when you started dancing?
Lainy: I was 4 when I started dancing 🙂
DA: What studio do you currently dance at?
Lainy: I dance at Studio 19 Dance Complex – the only home studio I’ve ever danced for.
DA: What is your favorite dance style?
Lainy: I honestly love and appreciate all styles. My top favorites are contemporary and jazz funk.
DA: Who has been the most inspirational teacher that you have had and why?
Lainy: My most inspirational teachers have been my own studio teachers Katie Watts and Tammy Croftcheck as they were the first to believe in me and give me a solid dance foundation to build upon. My big sister, Sarah, has also been a huge inspiration as I have been constantly striving to make her proud and dance like her. The past few years I have been so inspired by many convention teachers – for contemporary Dee Caspary, Talia Favia, Erica Sobol, Tokyo & Braham have ignited my love for contemporary. For jazz funk I love Lisette Bustamante as well as many other amazing teachers. Overall Denise Wall has also had a huge influence on my learning and understanding how my body works and how important it is to properly train.
DA: What obstacles have you had to overcome in order to keep dancing?
Lainy: Like many dancers, I have had to overcome some big obstacles and continue to work on them every day. When I was 7, I developed a rare eye infection and ended up losing the vision in my right eye. The infection lasted over a year and was extremely painful and I had five surgeries to my eye over the past few years. With blurred vision, light sensitivity and constant headaches I have learned to focus my attention as best I can on all of the positive things surrounding me. Even though dance became more challenging it also became my release. Unfortunately, the surgeries have triggered a nerve pain condition where I have constant pain on the right side of my face. This pain is something I have to manage every day. Again while this makes dancing more of a challenge, dancing is my escape and source of expression and the exhaustion of a long day of dance feels great to me. In order to learn choreography I have learned to be a very close listener to make sure I pick up the details. Most people don’t even know that I have a vision impairment.
DA: What do you do when you feel as though you want to give up?
Lainy: I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like I’ve wanted to give up but I have been very frustrated and disappointed. In these times I quickly remember how blessed I am to be able to do what I love. So many people would love to have the ability and opportunities that I do and I don’t ever want to take my blessings for granted.
DA: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your dance career?
Lainy: I have been given lots of great dance advice and I try to take it all in. Regarding competition dance my dad gave me the best advice saying ‘win with class, lose with class’. He has taught me to have the best work ethic and to always give 100%. This hard work as helped me become a strong dancer and I’m fortunate to do well at competitions. However I know that it doesn’t matter at all if you win a competition . It doesn’t make you a good person. The way you treat others is the most important thing. We should always be kind to one other. My biggest wish for the dance world is that dancers show respect towards one another.
DA: What do you foresee yourself doing with dance in the future?
Lainy: In the future I see myself doing many things with dance. I would love to tour as a dancer with a well known recording artist, be on faculty at a reputable dance convention, dance on broadway, choreograph for artists tours and shows and one day own my own dance convention or event.