Two dancers from Severna Park High School earned All-State honors in the late January competition, and a third achieved Honorable Mention All-State honors. Faith Bender and Alexa Kasten are now ranked among the 26 best in the state, with Maggie Kubista earning Honorable Mention. The dancers were honored at the Maryland Public High School Dance Showcase event at Goucher College in January.
Kasten, a senior at Severna Park High School, started dancing at the age of 2, doing mainly ballet, tap and jazz. At age 5, she became a competition dancer at Spotlight Studio of Dance in Millersville. There, she said, the studio director Wyndee McGovern served as her mentor.
“I’ve grown up with her,” Kasten said, “and I’ve had so many opportunities from her that have made me a better dancer.”
Today, Kasten’s favorite style is musical theater dance, as she loves the combination of acting and dancing. “It’s so fun and energetic to me, and I hope one day to audition for
Broadway shows and things like that, because that’s a passion of mine,” she said of musical theater dance.
Last year at Severna Park High School, she choreographed a musical theater dance, and she will choreograph again for this year’s spring show.
After dancing at All-State last year and earning Honorable Mention, Kasten said that this year she “went into it with the same mindset but a little bit more confidence.” The combination of dance styles at All-State worked well for her as, she said, “the modern class allowed me to display a lot of emotion and show my personality, and the ballet class allowed me to show my technique.”
The dancers were selected via audition by a panel of judges, including professional dancers and college/university dance faculty. They were judged in various categories including technique, musicality, professionalism, performance, attitude and likelihood of future success in dance.
As for the future, Kasten recently committed to Towson University, where she hopes to be on the school’s PomSquad, which is the university’s dance team.
Kubista, a junior at Severna Park High School, hopes to perform as a Rockette in the future, and to become a dance teacher later in life. She started dancing at age 3, and when at age 10 she realized that she wanted to be a dance teacher, she became more invested in it.
Kubista said that she especially loves that dance is “both a sport and an art … and you can just be creative with it.” She added, “You can always improve with dance. There’s no limit to what you can do with it. And I also just fell in love with performing.”
At the All-State audition, Kubista said she felt prepared, but that “it was harder to show my personality in my dancing,” as the two All-State classes, modern and ballet, are more technical styles of dance with “less room for personal flair.”
Outside of school, Kubista dances with Maryland Performing Arts Center under the direction of Kelsey King. King, she said, helped to “ignite my love for dance and my passion for dance.”