Dancers of the Week: Erika and Erin Banks of Eagles Landing Dance Center

The Banks twins have been literally dancing since they were toddlers. They both have attended many dance conventions (KAR, The Beat and The Pulse on Tour) and have also competed in various dance competitions. Since this is the twins first year of high school, Erika has decided to take a break from competitive dance so that she will have more time to focus on school, but she still takes classes 2 days a week so that she can maintain her skills. Erin is still competing on the elite level and is looking forward to performing her 2nd solo this year. She has received several dance scholarships. Last year, she attended the American Ballet Theater (ABT) Summer Intensive and was accepted into the program again this year. She was also accepted into the Dance Theater of Harlem’s Summer Intensive program for 2017.

 Ages: 14

Dance School:  Eagles Landing Dance Center in Stockbridge, Georgia.

What made you two become dancers?

Our mom wanted us to try different things so that we could figure out what we had a passion for. We started out doing gymnastics at 4 and then cheer-leading at 6, but then our mom, who was also a former dancer and cheerleader, took us to our first dance class at 6 ½ years old and we fell in love with the art form and never wanted to do anything else.

Tell us about your special dance skills: 

Erika: I love tap because it’s fun, and I like learning new combinations. I also enjoy contemporary to do my favorite thing, which is doing leg extensions.

Erin: I absolutely love Ballet because it’s the foundation of all genres of dance. Performing jazz allows you to be graceful and elegant. I also love contemporary because I get to do my favorites things……leg extensions and turns.

Tell us about your special dance performances

Erika: Performing my favorite tap performance “The Detectives” at competitions last year. It was an amazing piece that won many awards, including 1st place overall at all the competitions we competed in.

Erin: I’ve had a lot of special dance performances, such as dancing at the Trumpet Awards this year and dancing at the American Ballet Theater (ABT) Summer Intensive last year, but my all-time favorite performance so far has got to be performing my very first solo at competition last year. I was very nervous to be on stage alone, but I conquered my fears and my solo actually did very well, placing overall in several competitions.

 

What is it like when both of you have to audition for only one spot in a dance performance?

Well, fortunately for us, we haven’t had to audition for the same performances. We both take the same type of classes, but our dance interests are different. Erika favorite genre is tap so if she auditions for anything it would be tap related. Erin loves Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz, so auditions related to those genres would interest her.

How do you balance your academics, dance school and social life?

Erika: It can be difficult, but I know that in order for me to be able to dance I must keep my grades up, so I study as much as possible.

Erin: As a straight “A” student, I balance my academics by bringing my books to the dance studio and studying in between classes. Because I am still on a competition, I sometimes have to stay up late to get my work done. As far as my social life goes, most of my friends are also dancers so we are always together.

What were the best dance tips you receive?

 

Erika: Don’t be so hard on yourself when learning something new. Never give up. Just work hard and you will get it.

Erin: The best dance tip that I have received is that you should always show emotion when dancing because that’s the best way to draw your audience in.

Who inspires you the most?

Erika: My sister Erin because she is a good role model. She is very talented and does many things well. She is my best friend.

Erin: My family because they are very supportive and they push me to be the best that I can be.

What advice do you want to give young girls starting in dance?

Our advice would be to listen to your instructors’ critiques. Remember and apply them because they will only make you a better dancer.

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