Jensen Delius Rediscovers Passion for Dance at New Studio

Aubrey Hall, Photography Editor

When individuals discover their passion, it is often by accident. This is the manner in which Jensen Delius (11) stumbled upon her love for dance. Now 16, Delius first set foot in a studio at age nine. She instantaneously fell in love with the art, and has continued to jump at every opportunity to take part in it for the past seven years.

“When I first got into dancing, I was at Ormao Dance Company,” says Delius, “and I started out there because one of my friends dragged me to one of their modern dance classes and I just was immediately like, ‘Oh this is cool and I can actually do this,’ and I just sort of fell in love with it from there and continue to now.”

Delius now primarily participates in contemporary dance, which combines elements of dance genres such as jazz, modern, lyrical, and classical ballet. It’s the type of dance that Delius has found she feels the most free doing. “[It’s] one of those types of dance that you can just feel completely at ease and so happy and not think about anything while you’re doing it,” she says.

Despite the fact that she discovered her passion for contemporary dance at Ormao, Delius recently left the company. “I decided to leave Ormao because the environment became really toxic and wasn’t healthy for me or any of the other girls I was dancing with, so I decided to transfer studios because I wanted to try something new and gain new experiences and just become a better dancer, but also just be happy dancing again, and I definitely am now, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

This experience prompted her to leave the studio at the beginning of the summer of 2016 to begin taking classes at Synergy Dance Academy, a studio that prides itself on being “a caring, conscious community of excellence.” These are traits that Delius, particularly after her experience at Ormao, values in a studio setting.

“They (people at Synergy) are just a lot more positive and so far I’ve felt really cared for and really wanted. I really matter there, and their dancing and choreography is just better and is something that makes me happy. Doing those moves gives me joy, and it’s not just the people, it’s moving and dancing and just being in that environment.”

Though there are parts of her lengthy experience at Ormao that Delius will miss, she feels that she made the right choice in leaving. The decision has allowed her to rediscover the strong passion she feels for contemporary dance and the joy it gives her.

“I definitely miss some of the girls that are still [at Ormao] that I’m not dancing with anymore, but honestly I think my move to Synergy was, like I said, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m so happy there constantly, and no matter what type of day I’ve had, I can always go there and leave smiling. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Aside from what Delius describes as a difference in environment, the other primary difference between the two studios is that while Ormao is a strictly performance-based studio, Synergy is a competition studio. Delius will be participating in her first dance competition this coming January. As she has never taken part in one before, it is likely to be a bit of an adjustment.

“I have no idea what I’m going into,” Delius says, “I’m gonna just work hard and try my best and wing it and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll hate it, and maybe I’ll absolutely love it, who knows, but it’ll be worth it for the experience.”

Despite her intentional move to a competition studio, Delius maintains the belief that dance is not about winning, but about opportunities to showcase hard work, something that a strictly performance-based studio does not necessarily offer as much of.

“It’s definitely, for us at Synergy anyway, not about the trophy,” she says, “It’s not about winning first place or beating another dance team. It’s about getting out there and getting recognition and just giving us more opportunities to perform and show what we’ve been working on because, as a dancer, you train and you train and you train so many hours a week and there’s so much craziness that goes on and then you get on stage for two minutes and then it’s over, and that’s all you’ve worked for.”

When Delius says that dancers train “so many hours a week,” it’s hardly an exaggeration. She is always at the studio Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays for approximately four hours each day. On top of that, she often has master classes, rehearsals to clean choreography, and, starting in January, frequent drives up to Denver for competitions. Because of this, Delius says that she often gets home around 9:00 or 10:00pm three or more days a week. “It’s a little rough doing homework at 10:00,” she says, “But it’s definitely worth it.”

Because of the large time commitment, Delius says that she has had to make sacrifices in different areas of her life.

“I think all of my friends are used to hearing, ‘Sorry, I can’t. I have dance,’ and it’s not like I’m trying to get out of things, I really can’t because I have dance,” she says,” and I think there are a lot of people out there that say that you have to sacrifice a lot of your childhood to be a professional dancer, but I think that if it’s what you really want to do and if it’s what makes you really happy and it’s what you’re passionate about, then it’s the right amount of sacrifice. It’s worth it to do what you love.”

This passion and sacrifice is one thing that Delius believes has molded her into the person that she is today not only physically, but mentally as well. She says that it has made her a better person in terms of having a strong mindset and being able to push through things with greater ease.

“There are so many forms of adversity we face as dancers,” says Delius, “whether it’s getting injured, or not being able to do the steps to a piece, or anything of that sort, there are so many things you have to overcome just day-to-day, so I think being a dancer for such a long time has made me a stronger person, and made me able to overcome obstacles more easily, and to just be more confident in myself.”

It is because of her passion for dance that Delius wishes to pursue it beyond the high school level, ideally studying it in some capacity in college.

“Dance has really made me the person that I am today,” she says “and I would never just want to drop it all. It’s so important to me and it just gives me so much joy, so even if I end up not being a professional dancer, I still want to keep doing it for as long as possible.”